During the course of my final year at MSA my college [Re_Map]2000 has been re-branded [Re_Map]1812 - Rebels Against the Future, as a nod to the Luddite activism of 1812. The Luddites were a group of social activists in the nineteenth century who protested against the changes to society as a result of the Industrial Revolution, which they felt were fundamentally altering their traditional way of life, as well as leaving them largely unemployed.
The movement emerged during the harsh economic climate of the Napoleonic War era, and gained massive support within the severely difficult working conditions in the new textile factories. The principal objection of the Luddites was to the introduction of new automated looms that could be operated by cheap, unskilled labour, resulting in the loss of jobs for many skilled textile workers. The movement began in 1811 and 1812, and for a short period was involved in clashes with the army and the government, who, to suppress the movement, carried out many executions and penal transportations.
The action of destroying new machines had a long tradition before the Luddites, especially within the textile industry. Many inventors of the 18th century were attacked by vested interests who were threatened by new and more efficient methods of production. In modern terminology, "Luddite" is a term describing those opposed to industrialisation, automation, computerisation or new technologies.
As for the agenda for [Re_Map]1812 this year, I can only assume that we will be encouraged to investigate and explore the social, economic, and cultural ramifications of rapid technological evolution within the urban landscape. The selected area for study is Huddersfield, [West Yorkshire], a supposedly supremely-normal industrial town, which has bore witness to the same industrial and economic decline as other towns in this region of the UK. Perhaps Huddersfield will prove to have neo-Luddite tendencies and reject technological innovation in pursuit of economic and social reinvigoration? Or maybe it would embrace new technological progress? Time will tell...