First Alternative Education Open-Day. Oct 2017, SET Space, London. Photo Maria Christoforatou.



A bibliography on self-organisation, DIY, peer-to-peer networks, co-operation, collectivity, group dynamics, collaboration and study groups. Most of the links lead to accessible online copies, others link to the publisher’s page or other sources of additional information. For additional resources on self-organisation, group work, co-operation and collectivity see the separate resource pages for alternative art education and co-operative art education.

Bey, Hakim (1985). T.A.Z.: The Temporary Autonomous Zone, Ontological Anarchy, Poetic Terrorism. New York: Autonomedia.

Choi, Binna, Annette Krauss, Yolande van der Heide and Liz Allan eds. (2018). Unlearning Exercises: Art Organizations as Sites for Unlearning. Amsterdam: Valiz.

Bion, Wilfred R. (2001/1961). Experiences in groups and other papers. London: Routledge. Influential study of unconscious group behaviour that  contributed to the evolution of group psychotherapy. A record of observations from Bion’s work with groups (including study groups) that he believed might apply to society more broadly. Bion suggests that there are two groups present in every group, the work group which keeps the group anchored to its purpose, and the basic assumption group, which is mired in the tacit assumptions that inform behaviour within the group.

Bookchin, Murray (2005/1982). The Ecology of Freedom: The Emergence and Dissolution of Hierarchy. Oakland: AK Press. Traces the conflicting legacies of freedom and domination, from the emergence of human culture to global capitalism and argues that environmental, economic and political devastation are born at the moment that human societies begin to organize themselves hierarchically.

Bradley, Will, Mika Hannula, Cristina Ricupero and Superflex eds. (2006). Self-Organisation/Counter Economic Strategies. Berlin: Sternberg Press. Survey of different approaches to the creation, dissemination and maintenance of alternative, ‘bottom-up’ models of social or economic organisation, and the practical and theoretical implications, consequences and possibilities of these self-organised structures. The term is borrowed from systems theory and the natural sciences, where it describes systems whose internal organisation tends to increase in complexity without being guided by an outside source. It is used to describe social groups or networks that are independent of institutional or corporate structures, non-hierarchical, open and operate participatory decision-making processes. Counter-economic strategies are radical alternatives to classical capitalist economic organisation. Writers from different fields have been invited to investigate these themes with reference to particular situations. They discuss a wide cross-section of activity, from new approaches to intellectual property and impact of the free/open source software movement to political activism and the self-organisation embodied in informal architecture and the black economy. They represent diverse, and sometimes conflicting, viewpoints and interpretations.

Chatterton, Paul ed. (2008). What’s this place? Stories from radical social centres in the UK and Ireland. Leeds: Autonomous Geographies.  Research project on the network of autonomous spaces and social centres in the UK and Ireland at the time.

Chilver, John (2007). Group and Gang (The Absent Collective). Afterall / Contexts (April 2007).

De Wachter, Ellen Mara (2017). Co-Art: Artists on Creative Collaboration. London: Phaidon Press. Over the past fifty years the number of artists making work collaboratively has grown exponentially. Co-Art: Artists on Creative Collaboration explores this phenomenon through conversations with pairs and groups that offer insights that are relevant beyond the art world, a vital tool for those who seek to work with other people. Featured: Allora & Calzadilla, Assemble, ayr, Biggs & Collings, ChimPom, Claire Fontaine, DAS INSTITUT, DIS, Elmgreen & Dragset, Eva & Franco Mattes, GCC, Gelitin, Guerrilla Girls, Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, John Wood and Paul Harrison, Lizzie Fitch/Ryan Trecartin, Los Carpinteros, Pauline Boudry/Renate Lorenz, Raqs Media Collective, SUPERFLEX.

Downing, John (2011). Encyclopedia of social movement media. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Dunn, Peter and Loraine Leeson (1997). The Aesthetics of Collaboration. Art Journal Vol. 56/1, Aesthetics and the Body Politic (Spring 1997), pp. 26-37.

Encyclopaedia of Informal Education (2018). Group work principles, theory and practice. Encyclopaedia of Informal Education. A collection of resources on group work.

Forkert, Kirsten (2006). Artistic and political autonomy, or the difficulty and necessity of organizing artists. Chto delat/What is to be done? When Artists Struggle Special Issue. Republished in the Journal of Aesthetics and Protest.

Freeman, Jo (Joreen) (1970). The Tyranny of Structurelessness. Updated version. Originally published in Second Wave vol. 2, no. 1 (1972), pp. 1-6. Republished in a pamphlet together with the riposte: Levine, Cathy (1974). The Tyranny of Tyranny. Black Rose No. 1 (Autumn 1974).

French, Robert and Peter Simpson (2010). The ‘work group’: Redressing the balance in Bion’s Experiences in Groups. Human Relations, Vol. 63/12. pp. 1859-1878.

Freud, Sigmund (1949/1921). Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego. Trans. James Strachey. Standard Edition, vol. XVIII. London: Hogarth Press and Institute of Psycho-Analysis, pp. 67-143.

Fuchs, Christian (2007). Self-Organising System. Encyclopedia of Governance, Vol. 2, Mark Bevir ed. London: Sage, pp. 863-864.

Hebert, Stine and Anne Szefer Karlsen (2013). Self-Organised. Bergen: Open Editions.

Holmes, Brian (2006). The Artistic Device, or, the Articulation of Collective Speech. ephemera, vol. 6, no. 4 (Nov 2006), pp. 411-432.

Holmes, Brian (2008). Articulating the Cracks in the Worlds of Power, 16 Beaver Group talking with Brian Holmes. Continental Drift.

Holmes, Brian (2012). Eventwork, The Fourfold Matrix of Contemporary Social Movements. In Living as Form: Socially Engaged Art from 1991-2011, Nato Thompson ed. New York: Creative Time, Cambridge & London: MIT Press.

Izak, Michal and Linda Hitchin (2014). Editorial. Untold Stories in Organisations Special Issue. Tamara Journal Vol.12/1 (March 2014), pp. 5-6.

Jakobsen, Jakob (2003). Notes on institutions, anti-institutions and self-institutions. Infopool.

Jakobsen, Jakob (2006). Self-institutionalisation: for good and ill the process of institutionalisation has become internalized. Art Monthly 298, Jul-Aug 2006, pp. 7-10.

Kester, Grant H. (2004). Conversation pieces: community and communication in modern art. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Kracauer, Siegfried (1995). The Group as Bearer of Ideas. In Mass Ornament: Weimar Essays, Thomas Y. Levin ed. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, pp. 143-170.

Latour, Bruno (2005). Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Latour, Bruno (1996/1990). On Actor Network Theory: A few clarifications plus more than a few complications. Soziale Welt, Vol. 47 (1996), pp. 369-381.

Lind, Maria, Johanna Billing and Lars Nilsson (2008). Taking the Matter into Common Hands: Contemporary Art and Collaborative Practices. Black dog Publishing.

Lind, Maria (2010). The Collaborative Turn. In Selected Maria Lind Writing, Brian Kuan Wood ed. Berlin: Sternberg Press, pp. 177-204.

Lippard, Lucy (1970). The Art Workers’ Coalition: not a history. Studio International, November 1970, Vol. 180, Nr 927, pp. 171-174.

Loomio (2015). Loomio Co-op Handbook. Wellington:

Matt (Firefly Collective) (2001). Anarchism And Collective Organization. Northeastern Anarchist #2 (Spring 2001).

Milstein, Cindy (2014). Organizing Social Spaces as if Social Relations Matter. ROAR Magazine, 13 June 2014.

Molenda, Ania and Cristina Ampatzidou, MoneyLab Network (2020). Radical Care: Embracing Feminist Finance. Rotterdam and Amsterdam: Amateur Cities and the Institute of Network Cultures. A collection of interviews and artworks that address the question of value in terms locality, cooperation and caring. MoneyLab is a collective of artists, designers, researchers, geeks and activists experimenting with more equitable, diverse and sustainable futures for finance and economy.

Nunes, Rodrigo (2014). Organisation of the Organisationless: Collective Action After Networks. Luneburg: PML Books & Mute.

Opstrup, Kasper (2017). The Way Out. Invisible Insurrections and Radical Imaginaries in the UK Underground 1961-1991. Colchester: Minor Compositions. A counterculture history of art and experimental politics. Examines the radical political and hedonist imaginaries of the experimental fringes of the UK Underground from 1961 to 1991 and the relations between collective and collaborative practices with an explicit agenda of cultural revolution. Charts a history of experiments with cultural engineering, art, media, politics, radical education and the occult revival. Case studies include speculative techniques for igniting an insurrection with cultural means: the sigma project, London Anti-University, Academy 23 and thee Temple ov Psychick Youth. Contained within these imaginaries is a new type of action university: a communal affair that would improvise a new type of social relation into existence by de-programming and de-conditioning us. Instead of being turned upside down, the world was to be changed from the inside out.

Pethick, Emily (2008). Resisting Institutionalisation. Nought to Sixty publication, Issue 4 (Aug 2008). London: Institute of Contemporary Art.

Purchase, Graham (1998). Communes, Collectives and Claptrap. Spunk Library.

Purchase, Graham (1998). Anarchist Organisation: Why it is Failing. Spunk Library.

Ranciere, Jacques (2009). Misadventures of Critical Thought. In The Emancipated Spectator. Trans. Gregory Elliott. London: Verso.

Raqs Media Collective (2009). Additions, Subtractions: On Collectives and Collectivities. Manifesta Journal #8: Collective Curating 2009/10.

Seeds for Change (2018). Effective groups. Lancaster: Seeds for Change. A guide to successful group organising, from starting up groups to keeping them going.

Seeds for Change (2013). A Consensus Handbook: Consensus decision making for activists, co-ops and communities. Lancaster: Seeds for Change. Consensus decision making is a creative and dynamic way of reaching agreement between all members of a group. Instead of simply voting for an item and having the majority of the group getting their way, a group using consensus is committed to finding solutions that everyone actively supports, or at least can live with.

Seeds for Change (2010). Consensus Decision Making. Lancaster: Seeds for Change.

Seeds for Change (2010). Consensus Decision Making: A short guide. Lancaster: Seeds for Change.

Seeds for Change (2017). Quick Consensus Decision Making. Lancaster: Seeds for Change. A guide to using consensus in fast moving situations, actions and protests.

Seeds for Change (2009). Organising Successful Meetings. Lancaster: Seeds for Change. Basic tips on making your meeting productive, effective and inclusive.

Seeds for Change (2019). Facilitation Tools for meetings and workshops. Lancaster: Seeds for Change. A compilation of tools and techniques for working in groups and facilitating meetings or workshops.

Seeds for Change (2019). Facilitating Meetings. Lancaster: Seeds for Change. A guide to making your meetings effective, inclusive and enjoyable.

Seeds for Change and Footprint Workers’ Co-operative (2015). How to set up a Workers’ Co-op. Leeds: Radical Routes. Lots of information to help set up your workers’ co-op. Written in the order you’ll be doing things if you set up your workers’ co-op from scratch. Some sections (such as Chapter 12: Working together), may be useful throughout the process.

Seeds for Change (2013). Setting up a workers co-op. Lancaster: Seeds for Change. The short guide.

Shukaitis, Stevphen (2009). Imaginal Machines: Autonomy & Self-Organization in the Revolutions of Everyday Life. New York: Autonomedia.

Shukaitis, Stevphen (2009). The Composition of Movements to Come: Aesthetics & Cultural Labour After the Avant-Garde. London & New York: Rowman & Littlefield.

Smith, Mark K. (2004/1996). The early development of group work. Encyclopaedia of Informal Education.

Starhawk (2011). The Empowerment Manual: A guide for collaborative groups. Gabriola Island: New Society Publishers.

Stimson, Blake and Gregory Sholette (2007). Collectivism after Modernism. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Szefer Karlsen, Anne (2012). Self-organisation as Institution? Free School of Art Theory and Practice, Budapest, January 2013.

Temporary Services (2006). Group Work. New York: Printed Matter. A multitude of perspectives on group work and collectives from the 1960s to the present. Interviews with General Idea, Haha, The Ex, WochenKlausur, What, How & for Whom (WHW), essays on The Abortion Counseling Service of the Chicago Women’s Liberation Union and the anarchist Guerilla street theater group The Diggers.

Thornton, Cassie (2020). The Hologram: Feminist, Peer-to-Peer Health for a Post-Pandemic Future. Pluto Press. A vision for revolutionary care: a viral, peer-to-peer feminist health network. Drawing on radical models developed in the Greek solidarity clinics and directly engaging with discussions around mutual aid and the coronavirus pandemic, The Hologram develops the skills and relationships we need for the anti-capitalist struggles of the present, and the post-capitalist society of the future. One part art, one part activism, one part science fiction, this book offers the reader a guide to establishing a Hologram network as well as reflections on this cooperative work in progress.

Trapese Collective (2007). Do It Yourself: A Handbook for Changing Our World. London: Pluto Press.

Watzlawick, Paul, D.D. Jackson and J.H. Beavin (1967). Pragmatics of human communication: a study of interactional patterns, pathologies, and paradoxes. New York, London: W. W. Norton.