September 30, 2010 § 3 Comments

You may have come across the craftivist movement over the last couple of months, and I can’t help but love their cute and cutting mini-banners like the one below. Hanna has made a little video about Sarah from the Craftivist Collective and the wonderful Josie Long that raised some questions in my mind – particularly about the role of gender in activism.

It seems to me that craftivism has created a space in which you don’t have to engage in a (what Anna would call) ‘traditional white male’ way of doing things. Would it be fair to argue for having separate male and female spaces – as we find in many religions and cultures (like the Celts)?

§ 3 Responses to Craftivism

  • hannamade says:

    The Craftivist Collective actively encourages men to join, as do other female-led groups like Climate Rush. I understand your point that it’s exciting to have a new way of doing things that isn’t so male-dominated, and that’s partly why I love it, but I think it’s important to note that just because it’s female-led doesn’t mean in any way that it should then become separate (and probably therefore sidelined). I don’t think it’s too much to ask for men to explore a different way of working at times 🙂

  • Pete says:

    i think there is an interesting conversation regarding gender and activism that arises from this – a conventionally female activity, particularly when contrasted against Hacktionlab – a conventionally more male dominated area.

    Craftivism clearly has a position as a gateway to ‘more and better’ activism but it needs to be seen as such, a means rather than an end and the video seems to suggest it is an end in and of itself. If a few sayings on banners were going to change the world they would have done so already but as a means to bring people together, provide a space for radicalisation and to ‘open up’ the often stiflingly elitist world of activism then it serves this purpose.

    This does strike me as being more part of the Shoreditch/Stoke Newington indie knitting/sewing, buttons-and-bobbles trendy-by-being-untrendy fashion with a kind of nod and wink to activism.

    • Sarah says:

      Hi Pete

      I completely agree with your point that craftivism is a great gateway to attract people to activism but it is definitely not the way to change the world. I said clearly in the video that we are not a campaigning group but an awareness raising group and see ourselfs as a useful way to get people thinking and as a stepping stone for people who care but might be too scared to dive straight into campaign groups. Unfortunately Hanna was on a strict time limit so couldnt include my not-very-concise statement about that

      But i think its unfair of you to say we just ‘wink’ at global issues. Our priority is always activism first and then how to share issues threw craft. All our projects are extremely clear on what our message it therefore we dont knit because you cannot write a clear message through knitting. and yes we use buttons but only to make our message less threatening!;p

      I hope the above helps and you dont see it as too defensive.

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