How To Be A Craftivist: the art of gentle protest

By Sarah Corbett

book cover

Learn how to do activism in a slow, kind and beautiful way using craft

Publication date: October 2017
Choose book format:

Unbound Exclusives

About the book

If we want our world to be more beautiful, kind and fair, then shouldn’t some of our activism be beautiful, kind and fair?

The word “activism” can conjure up connotations of quick signings of petitions, clicktivism, or loud and aggressive ways to demand justice. But activism can be different. I believe that Craftivism - activism through craft - can be an effective tool in the activism toolkit.

I’ve been a Craftivist since 2008. My approach to Craftivism is to tackle issues not with anger and shouting, but with gentle protest. Gentleness is not weak, it requires self-control in the face of anger, injustice and sadness. Gentle protest lets us have conversation instead of an argument, debate instead of shouting, and collaboration instead of opposition.

I became a Craftivist because I had become a burnt out activist. I grew up in a low-income area of Liverpool, and aged just 3 I was joining my parents and community in their campaigning. I went on to become a professional campaigner but I’m an introvert, and so many traditional forms of activism drained me. And I didn’t like demonizing people or telling them what to do.

One day I picked up a craft kit for a long train journey. Stitching immediately calmed me down. It helped me think more clearly and it felt empowering. People asked me questions about what I was making. I began to leave small pieces of provocative street art in my area, and those pieces started conversations on and offline. I embroidered a hanky as a gift for my local politician with a personal message. It felt much more respectful than shouting at her. We became critical friends rather than aggressive enemies.

In 2009, I set up the Craftivist Collective after much demand and to help people become effective Craftivists and good global citizens.

I don't want to create just another book of craftivism projects. I want my book to get to the heart of what Craftivism is about - the purpose, process and pitfalls.

In this book you will learn:

1. How to use the process of making to engage thoughtfully in the issues you care about.

2. How to see every detail of your creation as important: from the colour you use to the fonts, the size, the messaging....

3. How Craftivism can engage people on and offline around the world.

4. How Craftivism can create conversations and action in places where social justice isn’t often discussed.

5. How I’ve learnt from the challenges I’ve faced.

6. How, with some examples from case studies, you can transfer skills into other parts of your life.

Gentleness, conversation and collaboration can make our world a better place, and the road there less angry, aggressive and divisive.

Helping make this book happen and becoming a Craftivist taking the first steps down this path, one stitch at a time....

More information