Star and Shadow Cinema is a volunteer-run
DIY space for Newcastle, Tyne and Wear, and the north east UK. It is set
up as an open-to-join co-operative housed in a building it owns,
culture coming from and/or programmed by the grass roots - particularly
cinema and music.
Emphasising the collective experience that makes Cinema special, Star and Shadow exists as a space for a dialogic approach to culture through critical, active spectatorship: watching, listening, thinking and talking collectively and then possibly programming something yourself , as opposed to buying your ticket, sitting or standing in the dark and then heading home.
There is no hierarchy - there is no boss, just working groups and meetings, email lists and a dose of honest disorganisation. No-one is paid. The building is run and programmed by its audiences, which means you are us - we don't do if for you, we do it with you! WE ARE YOU!
There is no single programming line - anyone can get involved and put a screening/gig/meeting/talk/party on, as long as they are willing to contribute something to the running of the building. Alternatively they can hire the space.
It operates a 'safe space' policy and strives to be Self-driven/ horizontalist/ experimental/ non-canonical/ independent/ critical/ internationalist/ dialogic/ inclusive/ subversive/ improvised/ co-didactic/ underground-overground/ transformative/ emancipatory.
The Star and Shadow evolved from screenings, events and debates at the Side Cinema, Waygood Gallery, and Bookville from 2001-2005. Made up of people from differing cultural perspectives (artist-run spaces, radical left politics, direct action, Free/Libre Open Source culture, organising against the Gleneagles G8, LGBT, DIY music/film) sources of inspiration came from European underground film and squat culture, situationism, and a vision of culture protected from state and market cultivated hierarchies of power and commercialization. In 2006, The Star and Shadow redeveloped a building on Stepney Bank, in the Ouseburn through the concept of a Building Festival - a strategy for facilitating open participation in the construction of a cultural space with the idea that building the space increased ownership of the space which increased liklihood of programming the space, a strategy we are now repeating in our new space.
We played host to a
genuine, alternative, independent and emancipatory people's culture up
until the building closed, at the mercy of a benevolent but capitalist
landlord. This leads to the reason for owning our own building -
liberating us from the risks of ephemeral transience that many projects
like this are exposed to in a culture of high city rents,
market-oriented urban planning policies and fluctuating state support.
In effect, through owning this building as a non-hierarchical,
volunteer-run, open co-operative, we are creating new commons! In an
era of austerity, escalating property prices and increasing economic
inequality, what could be more inspirational than this example of