Report of IOPS Dublin chapter participation in the Dublin Anarchist Bookfair April 12th 2014
This is a joint blog outlining and evaluating the process of participating in the Dublin Anarchist Bookfair.
The contributing authors/editors are
Fintan Bradshaw, Ciarán Bradshaw, John Baker, Lizzie Meade, Conor O’Boyle and Eoin O’Connor
The planning for the event began in January when the possibility of participating was raised during discussions about how to get the word out about IOPS and increase membership. During a chapter meeting we agreed to investigate the possibility. Fintan took on the responsibility for contacting the organisers and asking how we could participate.
At the next meeting in February, we found out that we could have a stall at the event and there was a possibility of providing a speaker for a panel. We then discussed the opportunity and agreed to take part.
At the following meeting in March, we discussed the planning of the event. The time was short so our options were limited, on reflection more communication and organisation between meetings might have helped. Although at this meeting we also endeavoured to use the forums on the IOPS website to discuss and plan the event. Using the forums for this proved a great success in designing and choosing promotional material, setting up rosters for the day and generally organising while also showing the activity that was happening in a public way to give people the opportunity to see what was going on. Fintan designed and printed a banner and t-shirts.
Some of this organising worked well such as the participative discussion of a flyer designed by Antonio. However, other aspects such as delegation of tasks, the ability of members to commit to tasks and the agreeing of a budget in advance could have worked better. Some of these issues could be addressed by better and more precise advance planning which we acknowledged at our recent review.
The day itself we all agreed went very well and was a success.
The bookfair ran from 10am till 6pm. John set up a Doodle poll in advance to determine who would staff the stall and this worked smoothly, with participation by Ciaran, Conor, Eoin, Fintan, John and Lizzie. In hindsight, with better advanced planning, we could have ordered some ‘Fanfare’ books, although we did advertise them at the stall. As it was, Eoin donated books to the stall, the majority of which were authored by members of the ICC, such as Chomsky and Graeber among others.
The stall was well attended during the day and we handed out quite a few information flyers and leaflets. We also managed to make face-to-face contact with some members who for whatever reasons (geographical or temporal impediments) find it impossible to attend chapter meetings but had managed to travel to the bookfair.
We also introduced IOPS to many people unfamiliar with the organisation. One forum for this was participating in a panel discussion entitled ‘Current Campaigns’. Fintan gave a brief presentation stressing that currently IOPS's central focus, as we see it, is building an organisation strong enough to have a meaningful impact. Questions followed and they were answered by other IOPS members including IOPS England members Mark and Jason and Irish IOPS member Eugenijus.
Finally, an important part of planning for the bookfair was including a social event where we could get to know each other better. We collectively chose a central Chinese restaurant as the venue and then a trip to a pub. We were also joined by Conor an IOPS member from Thurles and Jason, Mark and Chris from IOPS in the UK, which provided for great discussion about all things IOPS and beyond. It was a great way to informally debrief after the day, wind down, share stories and have a laugh. Exhausted, but enthused we all headed home happy to have organised a reasonably successful day.