Craftivism sounds simple: Craft + activism = Craftivism
Craftivism is a way for people like us to protest against injustice without waving placards or kettling.
Don’t let that deceive you though; it’s no less effective. Craftivists aim to change the world in a creative way, working towards a fairer society for all.
The Craftivist Collective started in London, with Sarah Corbett, after her alter ego ‘A Lonely Craftivist’ received support and encouragement and she realised she was touching a need within the craft community.
Their Manifesto: “To expose the scandal of global poverty, and human rights injustices though the power of craft and public art. This will be done through provocative, non-violent creative actions.”
This has been translated into mini protest banners, alternative valentines’ cards, ‘Don’t Blow It’ handkerchiefs and cross stitch graffiti (details of these can be found here).
The Collective has spread worldwide, including our little corner of the UK. Lorna McBride, part of the Collective in Manchester, invited me to meet the group and find out about their latest project - jamming.
To support Oxfam’s GROW campaign, the Craftivists are encouraging people to make tomato jam using a recipe given to Sarah by Christine, who is part of a women’s cooperative in Nairobi, where a generation has been lost to HIV/AIDS. The cooperative works to both directly support those affected by the disease and encourages them to support each other – emotionally, financially; sharing the burden.
“Christine was really funny and animated and really proud of what they were doing. She reminded me of a woman called Ann from my home town of Everton in Liverpool (the fourth most deprived area in the UK), who worked really hard in our community to make it better for little or no pay.
“She just wants to make it a better place to live and does everything from tackling anti-social behaviour by setting up playschemes to lobbying for better housing. I will never forget Christine. She is an amazing woman, but like Ann, Christine is probably still working really hard to help her community when they both should be retired.”
You are encouraged to not only make the jam, but to stitch messages on the lid covers, using a hobby to help spread messages of change, to try to make the food system fairer.
You can stitch, print or write anything you like:
‘Waste not, want not’
‘If you don’t like something, change it’
‘A society with more justice is a society with less charity’
Once made you then find a way to get your message out into the world. Send it to the supermarkets that don’t pay fair wages to those in developing countries, or to your MP to encourage them to lobby for change.
Little things can make a big difference.
Photographs: Charlie Hooson-Sykes
This is not a sponsored blog post.
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