On Strategy And Craftivism

March 9, 2012 § 3 Comments

Craftivism – it’s been a remembered/innovative campaigning activity over the last couple of years, but is often misunderstood. Following a Facebook argument idea exchange, I thought I’d share my thoughts.

  • A question to consider – who are Craftivists, and why do they use craft to express political/social statements? By and large, craftivists are women who feel excluded and unable to take leadership in male-dominated, discourse-heavy activist cultures where the internal culture is often ‘my-way or the high-way’. By laughing-off what the craftivist movement is doing, we’re laughing-off those who we have failed to welcome into the work we do.
  • Craftivists work with the strategy that personal transformation is part of collective transformation, and that moments of reflection are key to commitment to social change.
  • Social change does not happen solely because of political leaders deciding to sign a law – it changes when someone challenges a friend on a racist/sexist/homophobic comment they’ve just made. Craftivism is a fantastic way to get people thinking, using a channel that doesn’t threaten or scare an audience.
  • What do people do as they craft? They talk – talk about the issues. For up to a couple of hours at a time. Compare that to the next time you try and get someone to sign a petition.
  • Real change = deep change. Deep change = relationships. Craftivism builds relationships. And that’s something that many NGOs could really learn from.

§ 3 Responses to On Strategy And Craftivism

  • Betsy says:

    I’d argue that there are a fair amount of male craftivists out there.

    To me, academics can laugh all they want, but wait until one of us is invited (and paid) to come to one of your universities to speak and draw interest from your students. Pessimistic view: Then, we’ll be paid to do exactly what we want how we want vs. jumping through hoops of the academy. Optimistic view: We’ll be opening up the door for dialogue within the academy and embracing it.

  • Betsy says:

    Also… many good points in this post! 🙂

    Especially “Compare that to the next time you try and get someone to sign a petition” (nice!) and relationship building. Craftivism may work slower, but it also, as you mentioned, runs deep.

    Dialogue needs to be both fostered and fomented, as all too often it gets trampled by ego… Which helps (and connects) no one.

  • […] I’ve written before about my love for craftivism and the work that Sarah Corbett and her co-craftivists do. My sister is a crafter, and I love how it brings in new groups of people into social change work – as well as reminding us day-to-day activists that we need to think creatively and innovatively about the work that we do. […]

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