Craftivism and the Art of Gentle Protest

Craftivism and the Art of Gentle Protest

Words Sarah Corbett

Photography Craftivist Collective /
Jonathan Cherry

Martin Luther King Jnr had a dream not a complaint. Gandhi mobilised people to ‘be the change they wished to see in the world’. UK Suffragettes never gave up on their goal of ‘Votes for Women’. These activists knew about the infectious power of dreams: they are as attractive to people as honey is to bees and can help activists avoid burn-out by focusing on the light at the end of the tunnel when the darkness tempts us to give up on our goal.

So why is our default to become problem-complainers rather than solution-seekers? Dr Charlotte Rae, neuroscientist at the University of Sussex writes:

‘When we feel threatened, the habit-based centres of the brain drive automatic behaviours, shutting down opportunity for new thinking. However, when we pause and make a conscious effort to imagine our ideal world, we engage our prefrontal cortex – the creative solution-seeking system in the brain.’



Join me, Sarah Corbett, founder of the global Craftivist Collective in partnership with Heritage Open Days (England’s largest festival of culture and heritage) for a series of free ‘craftivism’ (craft + activism) workshops 13th-22nd September across the England to learn from and celebrate local dream-makers of the past who have shaped our present day and be inspired to dare to dream of a better world we can all be part of making. Whether you are an experienced activist or new to campaigning, an extrovert or an introvert, regardless of your political persuasion, everyone is welcome to experience this slow, strategic and quiet form of non-judgmental activism and see where it takes you. You may be surprised.



With adult craftivism workshops in Totnes, Norwich, Durham, Manchester to name a few, each unique event supports participants to hand-stitch their positive visions for the future onto fabric ‘dream clouds’ whilst using the mediative and calming effects of handicrafts to think critically and discuss compassionately how we can all be part of positive social change. There will be ‘crafterthought’ questions to reflect on and then you decide on a meaningful location for your cloud to be hung to provoke viewers on and offline to #DareToDream of a happier, healthier and more harmonious world for all and how they can be part of turning the dream into a reality.

‘I found it so interesting, and a proper challenge, to think deeply about what my utopian dream actually is rather than just thinking about what I don’t want for our world.’ Wrote craftivist Fabienne C after making her cloud.

No craft skills are needed, just an open heart and an open mind. In a society which can feel like it’s becoming more fractured and in a world that feels more fragile, let’s make hope possible not despair convincing.




MAKE your dream at our events across the UK- book your free ticket before they sell out at Events-Calendar

READ more about how Craftivist Collective has helped change laws, business policies, hearts and minds around the world in: ‘How To Be A Craftivist: the art of gentle protest’ (Unbound hardback out now. Paperback out Sept 2019)

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