At last Anti university Now came around and I was at Hackney Museum with invited seniors. Some were to come through Eventbrite but I saw neither hair nor hide of them and two women turned up out of the blue. I still had enough biscuits and cherry tomatoes and the Museum Educational Room is packed with paper, felt tips and glue but no wi-fi.
I had been very nervous about storing knowledge about international and national 1968 counter culture events because the Eventbrite lot may well have been political boffins and may well have attended Anti uni in Old Street in the summer of love, the year of student unrest. I had not. I was in London but had never known or was never taught about the anti establishment ways. I knew about French youth, the Sorbonne and London students, those mighty clever ones sitting in at the London School of Economics.
It turned out that one American born participant had been in London in 1968 and had gone to lectures at the Anti university. Her memories were scant. It turned out that 50% of the seniors present had not been rebellious in any which way, were foreign born and had not a clue about the nature of my workshop. My work was cut out.
I wanted to discover through chat inspired by the vocabulary of our youth during those hippy days whether our actions demonstrating people power in 1968 were influenced by world-wide events as portrayed in the press or through adolescent hormones kicking against parental authority. Cue Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-changin’ “.
We selected words which evoked memories. We did wordsearches finding words relating to Anti university. Two women had never done a wordsearch before. Our words and anecdotes, quotes, and memoes we stuck into three scrapbooks.
We moved from introspection to a group rallying session where we scribbled down words to which readers of archives and searchers at Wikipedia could relate to by reference. We pinned those words onto a 36″square of material to make a montage of knowledge in scarf art style.
I thank my participants. Barbara was a hoot. She came prepared and modelled her hippy uniform although what should have been bath-shrunk Levis were comfy elastane almost jeggings. She was swearing like a trooper, fired up by her stories and memories which she generously shared in a trusted setting. Eric fell asleep in his chair. Hey! It’s Anti university. Do as you please.
We were there to learn and interact as is the nature of any university.
There was much more to report but the session is done. The scrapbooks and the scarf art represent a significant revisited road for most of the people who found me. The others were bystanders on that sunny June evening in a beautiful busy venue.