Economy & Decentralisation

Sarah Corbett: Craftivism - the Art of Gentle Activism

Video with Sarah Corbett on Friday 7th April 2017

Talk given by Sarah Corbett at the Advaya event Regenerative Activism:Revitalising Self and Society, April 2017

Talk Description:
Craftivism: The Art of Gentle Activism
Activism often conjures up quick transactional signing of petitions, clicktivism, loud and aggressive ways to demand justice. Craftivist Collective’s mission is simple: we believe craft can be a tool for gentle effective activism. By working with your hands, head and heart, craftivism can help us explore injustice issues and how they affect the world around us, we can create something beautiful, considered, positive and potentially world-changing that creates critical thinking, conversation, connection and long term social change.


About the Event:
An exploration of tools and approaches that can transform our activism into a source for flourishing, both individually and socially.

Those of us involved in social change are all too familiar with the challenge of meeting injustice and hardship in the world. Our aim is to explore a range of tools and approaches, collective and personal, to make our activism more effective and sustainable. We will look at the personal and inner dimensions, as well as the interpersonal and organisational factors that enable long term engagement and continuity in the struggles we face. We hope to understand how our work for social change can be a context for flourishing, both individually and socially. We will explore these issues using holistic and participatory methods, drawing on popular education, ecological and systems thinking, as well as reflective practices. The day will bring together leading activists and change makers from across the UK and beyond, to share practice and strengthen networks.


About the Speaker:
Award-winning campaigner Sarah Corbett founded Craftivist Collective in 2009 when after years of marches, signing protests and working on campaigns for large charities, she had begun to doubt the effects of some conventional activism, and as an introvert didn’t feel she fitted in to many activist groups. The time felt right to add a slower and less aggressive approach to the activism toolkit, not to replace other forms of activism but to add more tools to do activism effectively. Sarah saw how she could use some of the beneficial processes of craft and the final products as tools for a more gentle, respectful and more targeted way of doing activism. Although as a principle ‘Craftivism’ already existed, it took no time for Sarah to develop her own unique and award-winning activism approach she calls ‘Gentle Protest’.

Now with thousands of members, Craftivist Collective is thriving. Craftivism kits and tools are sold to craftivists and intrigued people all over the world. ‘A Little Book of Craftivism‘ book was release 2003 and a more in-depth book ‘How To Be A Craftivist: The Art of Gentle Protest’ was released in October 2017. You can find their approach to craftivism in many different publications (and languages) around the world; 4 TEDx talks; over 300 workshops and presentations given around the world attended by over 11,000 people, and many successful partnerships with charities (including Unicef and Save the Children), art institutionsand universities (such as Bauhaus University, Falmouth University and Parsons New School NYC) have all helped carry the‘gentle protest’ methodology to a global audience whilst their campaigns have created tangible positive change. Worldwide project exhibitions and high profile collaborations, with the likes of cult jewellers Tatty Devine, The V&A and Secret Cinema, have helped extend its reach beyond the normal bounds of activism.

Sarah Corbett #

Sarah Corbett founded Craftivist Collective in 2009 when after years of marches, signing protests and working on campaigns for large charities, she had begun to doubt the effects of some conventional activism, and as an introvert didn’t feel she fitted in to many activist groups. The time felt right to add a slower and less aggressive approach to the activism toolkit, not to replace other forms of activism but to add more tools to do activism effectively.

Read Sarah Corbett’s profile