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Becky Alexis-Martin

Manchester: Something rich and strange Ginkgo – Becky Alexis-Martin The green spaces of Manchester are the adopted home of a living fossil. The paired lobes of the leaves of Ginkgo biloba are marked by prehistoric striations, unchanged for 270 million years. Like Homo sapiens, the ginkgo is the sole survivor of a once ample family tree. Unlike us, a single tree can survive for over 2,000 years, outliving our regimes and empires. The ginkgo has somehow persisted, seemingly oblivious to the melodramas of both dinosaurs and humans. However, isotopic traces of our

in Manchester
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Something rich and strange

Manchester: Something rich and strange challenges us to see the quintessential post-industrial city in new ways. Bringing together twenty-three diverse writers and a wide range of photographs of Greater Manchester, it argues that how we see the city can have a powerful effect on its future – an urgent question given how quickly the urban core is being transformed. The book uses sixty different words to speak about the diversity of what we think of as Manchester – whether the chimneys of its old mills, the cobbles mostly hidden under the tarmac, the passages between terraces, or the everyday act of washing clothes in a laundrette. Unashamedly down to earth in its focus, this book makes the case for a renewed imaginative relationship that recognises and champions the fact that we’re all active in the making and unmaking of urban spaces.

This book explores contemporary urban experiences connected to practices of sharing and collaboration. Part of a growing discussion on the cultural meaning and the politics of urban commons, it uses examples from Europe and Latin America to support the view that a world of mutual support and urban solidarity is emerging today in, against, and beyond existing societies of inequality. In such a world, people experience the potentialities of emancipation activated by concrete forms of space commoning. By focusing on concrete collective experiences of urban space appropriation and participatory design experiments this book traces differing, but potentially compatible, trajectories through which common space (or space-as-commons) becomes an important factor in social change. In the everydayness of self-organized neighborhoods, in the struggles for justice in occupied public spaces, in the emergence of “territories in resistance,” and in dissident artistic practices of collaborative creation, collective inventiveness produces fragments of an emancipated society.

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Private greed, political negligence and housing policy after Grenfell

As the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire of 14 June 2017 has slowly revealed a shadowy background of outsourcing and deregulation, and a council turning a blind eye to health and safety concerns, many questions need answers. Stuart Hodkinson has those answers. Safe as Houses weaves together Stuart’s research over the last decade with residents’ groups in council regeneration projects across London to provide the first comprehensive account of how Grenfell happened and how it could easily have happened in multiple locations across the country. It draws on examples of unsafe housing either refurbished or built by private companies under the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) to show both the terrible human consequences of outsourcing and deregulation and how the PFI has enabled developers, banks and investors to profiteer from highly lucrative, taxpayer-funded contracts. The book also provides shocking testimonies of how councils and other public bodies have continuously sided with their private partners, doing everything in their power to ignore, deflect and even silence those who speak out. The book concludes that the only way to end the era of unsafe regeneration and housing provision is to end the disastrous regime of self-regulation. This means strengthening safety laws, creating new enforcement agencies independent of government and industry, and replacing PFI and similar models of outsourcing with a new model of public housing that treats the provision of shelter as ‘a social service’ democratically accountable to its residents.

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Jonathan Silver

the British Empire visited on many parts of the planet. It is a stark reminder of how museums must be understood not just as celebrations of culture, but also through these darker colonial histories. Debates concerning decolonisation have gathered force over recent years, spurred on by the heroic young people of the ‘Rhodes Must Fall’ movement in South Africa. The move to bring decolonisation into the cultural and public sphere has generated 17  (Opposite) Egyptian artefacts in the Manchester Museum 60 Manchester: Something rich and strange difficult questions

in Manchester
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Jonathan Silver

1960s), the burning of coal powered not only the growth of Manchester but an entire global empire of cotton. If these chimneys have now, in the main, disappeared from Manchester, replaced by a new verticality of skyscrapers, then the legacy of these technologies is profound and long-lasting. Climate change was in effect kick-started by these brick structures bellowing carbon into the atmosphere. What was considered a localised problem of smog, pollution and air quality in Manchester has now become planetary in scope, even as the chimneys stopped smoking and the soot

in Manchester
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Jonathan Silver

story that unfolds from its striking similarity to a building hundreds of miles away in western Ukraine. It will become an important site of remembrance, celebration and everyday life for the Chortkov Hassidic dynasty. Chortkov, or Czortków as it is known in Polish, was located in the Galician province of the Austro-Hungarian Empire before becoming a part of Poland in the interwar years, and is now located in western Ukraine. It was an important centre for Hassidism, through the Chortkov Hasidic dynasty established in 1865 by the first Rebbe of Chortkov, Rabbi Duvid

in Manchester
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Natalie Bradbury

: Rutherford Press Limited, 2007). 2 Christina Riggs, Unwrapping Ancient Egypt: The Shroud, the Secret and the Sacred (London: Bloomsbury, 2014). 3 Sven Beckert, Empire of Cotton: A Global History (New York: Vintage, 2015). 4 H. A. Hudson, ‘The ancient glass of the Cathedral Church of Manchester’, Transactions of the Lancashire and Cheshire Antiquarian Society 25 (1907), pp. 119–41. 5 Peter Cormack, Arts & Crafts Stained Glass (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2015), pp. 248–53. 79

in Manchester
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Martin Dodge

textiles, its role was also essential to the economic dominance of Britain as it became a global empire. For most of the nineteenth century, raw cotton was the single largest import into the country and finished cotton textiles one of its more profitable exports. Manchester was built – and rebuilt – on the money that flowed from cotton, with whole streets and impressive commercial buildings serving the textile trade coming to symbolise its success. Maps of the city from this period – such as the Ernst & Co. publication from 1857 – illustrate the grandeur of Victorian

in Manchester
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Postcolonialism and ecology in the work of Tim Robinson
Eóin Flannery

sentimentality that fails to take into account the plight of the people who live on the island. His Árainn Mhór remains a place of habitations, not a museum-piece in which interesting relics can be observed under the white light of a severe scholarship.7 Deane’s comments are loaded with postcolonial irony  – he is well aware of and intellectually invested in the critique of British imperial rationalisations of Ireland’s ‘otherness’.8 The Aran Islands were an isolated fastness of the British Empire and, subsequently, of the Irish State, and its inhabitants have populated waves

in Unfolding Irish landscapes