Release’s 50th Anniversary: the Museum of Drug Policy

Release - the UK’s centre of expertise on drugs and drugs law - has been providing free and confidential specialist advice to the public, and campaigning for the reform of drug policy, for 50 years. To celebrate our 50th anniversary, we will be hosting the Museum of Drug Policy in London from November 3rd-5th.

The Museum’s exhibitions depict the human suffering caused by the drug war, and highlight how drug policy and drugs policing intersect with issues of social control, especially in relation to class and race. Alongside the Museum, we will also be celebrating the work that Release has undertaken over the past five decades.

Friday 3rd – Sunday 5th November, 2017

10am - 10pm (Sunday: 10am - 5pm)

47-49 Tanner Street

FREE ENTRY

Save the date, and join our Facebook event here.

The Museum of Drug Policy

The Museum of Drug Policy is a pop-up arts and cultural hub featuring live programming and art from around the world that highlight how drug policies impact and shape our communities. It provides a powerful, emotional experience that illustrates the harms caused by current prohibitionist drug policies and advocates for new approaches rooted in dignity, health, and human rights. The Museum transports audiences across the globe, pushing visitors to think and act outside the box through interactive installations, powerful documentary photos, multimedia displays and more.

The Museum of Drug Policy is supported by the Open Society Foundations and was first launched in New York City in April 2016.

Photos from the Museum of Drug Policy in New York:

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UK Art

We will be showcasing some of Release’s archived material – such as posters and materials from the late 60s through to the early 70s. These include promotional art for fundraising gigs featuring David Bowie, and various other materials from our archives.

Release Timeline

View the timeline in fullscreen

Panels & Workshops

Scroll to the bottom of the page for detail on the panels and interactive workshops that will take place alongside the exhibition.

The panels and workshops are themed under three overarching categories:

  • Gender, sexuality, and criminalisation: particularly focusing upon issues faced by women, the LGBTI community, and sex workers.
  • Policing poverty: addressing the policing of drugs as a form of social control, the racial disparity that exists in stop and search, and the sentencing of drug offences – with a focus on poverty as a driver of surveillance by the State.
  • Creative activism: how do we use art and creativity to push for social change?

Release will be teaming up with partner organisations to design and present these panels. Partners will include drug policy and harm reduction organisations, sex workers organisations, LGBTI groups, and movements working on issues of race.

Venue

All exhibitions and events will take place in a stunning warehouse space, 47-49 Tanner Street. This venue – provided by Ugly Duck – is a unique and atmospheric three-floor building with exposed brick and wooden beams. It is located between London Bridge and Bermondsey tube stations and offers on-site parking.

If you have any questions about the event, please contact Avinash Tharoor on avinash@release.org.uk.

 

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You can start planning your visit by reading up on some of the workshops and panels below. Most artwork and exhibits can be accessed while the below events take place.

More detail to come.

 

FRIDAY NOVEMBER 3

10AM - 12PM: Y-STOP Sessions

In partnership with StopWatch, Release will run Y-Stop training sessions to teach young people how to apply a harm reduction approach during a stop and search interaction, through group discussion, film and role play. The session is suitable for 11–25 year olds. To attend a session please email amal@release.org.uk in advance.

 

12PM: Project Mission Gallery - “The Check-In”

‘The Check-In’ is a conversation series held by Project Mission Gallery as a part of their interdisciplinary programming. This event centres WoC, QTIPoC, and Non-Binary people, with the goal of building community and providing the opportunity to share in collective discussion space in response to themes of drugs, policing, racism, ageism, sexism, gentrification or otherwise.

 

1PM: Stop and Search (with Carson Arthur and Zoe Carre)

This session will explore the issue of policing, in particular drugs policing, and how it impacts on people of colour and young people. With drug stop and searches accounting for 59% of all stop and searches nationally, discussion will focus on the effectiveness of stop and search and what real reform looks like. The panel will also consider the recent calls for increased stop and search in light of an increase in knife crime.

 

2PM: Whose Human Rights? (with Kojo Koram)

Details TBC.

 

3PM: Reimagining Sex Work (chaired by Kirstie Douse)

Bringing together some of the leading sex workers rights organisations, this panel will explore decriminalisation of all sex work activities and discuss what the future of sex work should look like.

 

4PM: Support, Don’t Punish: Local Actions: Global Voice

Support Don't Punish is a global campaign to end the “war on drugs”. Around 26th June, activists gathered in events across 206 cities to support harm reduction and drug policy reforms. This workshop will present the highlights from the campaign, and demonstrate how to take part in 2018 and beyond.

 

5PM: Drug Policy & Policing Poverty: Harms and solutions (with Release, Transform, Open Society Foundations, and the International Drug Policy Consortium)

A Q&A session chaired by Noah Stone, entrepreneur and judge of Shark Tank, with a panel of drug policy experts looking at the harms of prohibition, the evidence for alternative approaches and how drug policy is ultimately a tool of social control.

 

6PM: Drugs In Clubs: High Time For Reform? (with Fiona Measham of The Loop, Jordan Gross of Oval Space, and Deputy Chief Constable Adrian Hanstock. Chaired by BBC Radio 1 DJ, B.Traits)

East London venue Oval Space host this future facing discussion looking at harm reduction within the nightlife industry. The panel will look at current legislation and the problems surrounding it; where drug policy in clubs is headed; how we can influence politicians and the police to create a framework that is more compatible with harm reduction, and creative solutions we can deploy in the meantime.

 

7PM - 10PM: Sex Worker’s Opera

Details TBC. Learn more here.

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SATURDAY NOVEMBER 4

 

10AM - 12PM: Y-STOP Sessions

In partnership with StopWatch, Release will run Y-Stop training sessions to teach young people how to apply a harm reduction approach during a stop and search interaction, through group discussion, film and role play. The session is suitable for 11–25 year olds. To attend a session please email amal@release.org.uk in advance.

 

12PM: Project Mission Gallery - “The Check-In”

‘The Check-In’ is a conversation series held by Project Mission Gallery as a part of their interdisciplinary programming. This event centres WoC, QTIPoC, and Non-Binary people, with the goal of building community and providing the opportunity to share in collective discussion space in response to themes of drugs, policing, racism, ageism, sexism, gentrification or otherwise.

 

12PM: Training Today’s Youth for a Better Tomorrow (with Niamh Eastwood, Kirstie Douse, Daniel Williams, Zoe Carre)

In partnership with Students for Sensible Drug Policy UK (SSDP UK), Release will be delivering training sessions to current and aspiring young drug policy activists. The training sessions will introduce students to the following topics: ‘UK Drug Policies and the Law’, ‘University (Zero Tolerance) Drug Policies’, ‘Harm Reduction 101’, and ‘Communicating with Press and Media’.  The session is open to students in higher education in the UK.

 

4PM: Criminalisation & Prison Industrial Complex (with KUCHENGA)

KUCHENGA is a black trans feminist who publishes online journalism at Wear Your Voice and gal-dem magazines while working with Black Lives Matter UK, and Bent Bars, a letter-writing project for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual, gender-variant, intersex, and queer prisoners in Britain.

 

5PM: Safe Abortion Now (with Jade Jackman)

Details TBC.

 

6PM: Creative Activism (with the Soze Agency)

Artists have always played important roles in creating culture. And if we shift culture, we can shift policy. The Soze Agency will join in conversation with artists featured in the Museum of Drug Policy and their work both as visionaries and strategists.

 

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SUNDAY NOVEMBER 5

 

11AM: The Collective Liberation Project

The Collective Liberation Project creates positive change by teaching people about oppression, racism and sexism, and how to dismantle it within themselves and their communities. In this workshop, participants will explore their relationship to power, privilege and learn about how racism functions in the UK.

 

1PM: Counter Culture & New Media (with Duncan Campbell)

Details TBC

 

2PM: Chem Sex

Details TBC

 

3PM: Women & Drugs

Details TBC

 

4PM: Looking 50 years ahead

Details TBC