This past week I have been editing the audio clips of the interviews we conducted. We asked ten KCL students a handful of questions including what they knew about no platforming, if they thought it was a problem for free speech and also their opinions on a few different ‘controversial’ figures – Germaine Greer, Tony Blair and Donald Trump.
Originally we were planning to interview more students but I quickly realised that we already had too much material for the time we had allotted to the interview segment. I had about an hour of audio to edit down to four minutes – quite a long task already, and unfortunately I had to leave out some of the questions I’d originally intended to include, which was a shame.
Germain Greer was no platformed by Goldsmiths University because of transphobic views. John Bercow essentially suggested no platforming Trump recently and although Tony Blair hasn’t been no platformed to my knowledge, it is not hard to imagine that in certain spaces, he would be a hugely controversial figure. Many people do think that his actions regarding Iraq mean he no longer has a place in any debate – which is the kind of point of view that goes to the core of no platforming.
I designed these questions and chose these people because I was interested in where our interviewees would ‘draw the line’ in terms of who to know platform and who to not. At which point would someones views because so unacceptable that they don’t deserve a platform? We ended by asking people if they would no platform someone overtly racist. My hunch was that THIS would be where the ‘line’ would be. Inevitably, the answers were much more varied and nuanced then I might had expected.
We were not interested only in ‘yes or no’ answers, but wanted to hear peoples opinions (and voices!). Now it is edited, I am pleased with the finished result because it represents a very wide spectrum of opinions of the issue. I think it will make a good start to our presentation because it will introduce the audience to the issue and as cope of opinions on it very quickly – but hopefully in a more engaging way then us simply describing them.