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So long and thanks for all the solidarity

Some not so great news today I’m afraid. Union Island is vanishing from the SL map.

We’ve had it running for 2 years now and learned a lot from the many excellent people we’ve met inside SL, and the good work many have been doing here. But the coalition style project for Union Island never really came off properly – all the organisations involved were too busy and short of resources to devote enough time to sharing the running of events, or just being in to chat to visitors, and so we’ve taken the decision that it’s better to close down the island than to have an inactive space, which may raise people’s expectations and disappoint.

You’ll still be able to find the union organisations involved on the web:,,,,

There are loads of places to go for continued action in SL, as most of you will probably know: SLLU, Imagine Network, SLDM, Commonwealth Islands, Nonprofit Commons and more. Check them out and give them your support if you can.

Thanks go to all the residents who’ve helped us with the island over these 2 years – a list too long to detail, but without whom, the island would have been less fun, less interactive, less noisy and less beautiful. We’ve had a very interesting time, and many of the people involved are still about as Avies to chat if you want us. Try getting hold of Uniglobalunion Oh, Wotcher Tenk, Johninnit Ni, or Unionisland Republic.

Best wishes and solidarity, virtual-world and real-world.

Dress codes for virtual workers

We’re having enough controversy with RL dress codes after a motion to the TUC’s conference called on employers to stop mandating their female staff to wear high heels, even if it might cause them health concerns. But it seems that could be pretty tame now compared to virtual world avatar dress codes!

IT analysts Gartner have predicted (on what evidence I’m not entirely sure) that by 2013, 70% of employers will have dress codes for their staff when in avatar form. This does sound pretty likely I guess. People want to make their avatars into extensions of themselves – possibly as augmentations or fantasies based around their self-image and feelings. As people start to work more and more in virtual worlds, issues of how they represent their (possibly squeamish) employer with clients are likely to arise. Read more »

Get ready for the Imagine Festival

Tomorrow (Friday 9 October 2009) sees the start of another three day music and message extravaganza, from the very talented folks who brought you The Rings and SL HRF. The Imagine Festival will be spread over three locations, and will feature art installations, gigs and performances, and talks and discussions, anticipating a peaceful, fairer and more sustainable world.

One of the highlights will see Yoko Ono join the festival in to unveil a virtual version of Iceland’s Imagine Tower, in an RL/SL linkup with Iceland. But with events round the clock, it should be a great event, whenever you’re able to dip in.

Check out the opening event tomorrow 10am SLT at Four Bridges:

SL Earth Week is coming!

A nicely made machinima trailer for Second Life’s Earth Week celebrations. Co-ordinated by a network of SL activists, 18th April to 25th April will see a programme of events, discussions, concerts, happening right across SL and right across timezones, but all aimed at raising awareness of environmental issues amongst Second Life users. Check out the organisers’ site at

My Activist Second Life

Plot Tracer of Second Life Left Unity has an article up at Red Pepper, a UK left politics and current affairs magazine, arguing for left activists to get more closely involved with new media tools and services as new channels for political activity.

HRF slideshow

For those who missed it – or those who want to remember some of the highlights, Human Rights Festival organiser Medora Chevalier has put together a slideshow of events and sims that took part in last December’s Second Life festival to mark the anniversary of the UN Declaration of Human Rights. Check it out now.

Virtual politics – Obama team reaches out to SL

Another great video from Draxtor Despres on civil society and virtual society. This machinima focuses on US President Elect Barack Obama’s transition team on healthcare, consulting with a wider audience on healthcare proposals with American SL residents, and how the huge volunteer effort behind Obama’s web presence is extended online.

Peter Mandelson

And in the UK, look out for trade and industry minister Peter Mandelson appearing in SL next month, to launch a new group blog and new media strategy for the UK Labour Party. Wonder if he’ll come by Union Island to talk industry policy with us – he’s always very welcome!   ;)

Human Rights Network – new year, new beginnings

Human Rights group meeting

I attended a follow up meeting last night for the SL Human Rights Festival, held last December to mark the 60th anniversary of the UN Declaration on Human Rights. It was nice to meet a bunch of really great individuals, with a lot of performing and organising talent, as well as a solid commitment to further work on promoting human rights in the medium of SL. Read more »

Big Rights Debate on Union Island


Thanks to everyone who came to our event for SL’s Human Rights Festival on Monday. We had an ambitious plan to link senior international unionists in Brussels, Geneva and London, and it nearly worked!

We had two great presentations from Philip Jennings, General Secretary of UNI Global Union, and Owen Tudor, Head of International for the TUC, and brought in Zuzanna Gorska, Polish federation Solidarnosc’s (Solidarity) member of the ITUC Human Rights Excecutive for a discussion afterwards. Read more »

The Big Rights Debate – Union Island, Monday 15 Dec

Discuss globalisation, human rights and labour rights with Philip Jennings (UNI Global Union GS), Zuzanna Gorska (Solidarnosc) and Owen Tudor (TUC).

Union Island is taking part in a huge, six day Second Life Human Rights Festival, to mark the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Some of Second Life’s leading musicians are coming together with human rights activists and organisations to stage dozens of special events, raising awareness, forming international links and having fun.

We’ve got our own special event on Union Island on 15 December at 8am SLT (4pm GMT, 5pm CET), when we’re delighted we’ll be discussing labour rights and human rights, with Philip Jennings, the General Secretary of UNI Global Union (the Switzerland-based global union federation for business services, representing over 20 million union members all around the world), Zuzanna Gorska, socio-political issues expert for Solidarnosc (The famous Polish union federation, Solidarity), Owen Tudor, Head of International Relations from the TUC (UK national union federation) and other unionists from countries all over the world. Read more »

© Trades Union Congress 2007