A spoonful of craft helps the activism go down

Politics & Society
Mittwoch, 7. Mai 2014 - 11:45 bis 12:15
stage C


We live in an ever-changing world where many forms of activism are not as effective as they once were. The terms ‘clicktivist’ and ‘slacktivist’ are used to describe minimal personal effort and engagement. Politicians have referred to such campaigners as ‘zombie campaigners’. Many people are becoming cynical and feeling like ‘robots’ just asked to do transactional activities rather than being helped in their own personal transformation to be the change they wish to see in the world. 


My view as a professional campaigner working in public engagement and as a full-time craftivist is that we need to adopt some new activism tactics: craft such as hand embroidery can address some of the problems in traditional activism and should become a valued tool in the activism toolbox. Craft connects your heart, head and hands, and when you relate that to justice issues, it can be world-changing personally and politically. Such activism is also able to reach out to people otherwise untouched by more traditional forms of activism.

Growing up in the 80s in Everton, Liverpool, the fourth most deprived ward in the UK, I was brought into the world of activism from a young age having experienced firsthand my community battling against the effects of inequality, squatting to save local housing aged 5! I was an activist at university and I have worked in the charity sector for over 7 years in engaging people in global injustices working for Christian Aid, DFID and most recently Oxfam as a Community & Activism Campaigner. But a few years ago I felt completely burnt out and wondered whether I could be an activist again. Traditional forms of activism drained me, treated me like a robot and didn't fulfil me to continue to fight for a better world. 

I'm passionate about empowering and encouraging people to use their hobbies, talents and influence to be the change they wish to see in the world and  would like to propose a presentation focusing on 3 ways in which craft really can help the activism go down: through personal deep engagement in global issues, through building relationships and conversations with influential change-makers, and through increasing awareness of and engagement with global issues by the public through innovative methods and social media. I will use my experience both as a craftivist and campaigner to critique some of the current methods of activism and to provide evidence of effective craftivism by the Craftivist Collective in a fun way.

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