Our Past Stories

Your group will make an image that illustrates an example of creative activism from history. What do we mean by history? At least 20 years ago, or before you were born.

STEP 1: Get ideas on the table

5 minutes

  • Say hello and get to know each other
  • Everyone quickly summarize a history example from their cultural past

History examples can be either “Elementary School History Class” type stories (commonly recognized history, legends, etc) or “Radical History” stories (the lesser known struggles)

STEP 2: QUICKLY choose an example

60 seconds

Pick one. Spend 60 seconds making the decision. You don’t need to come to consensus, or worry about hurting anyones feelings. You can simply flip a coin – it’s just an exercise!

STEP 3: Start illustrating

15 minutes


  1. Everyone should draw
  2. Represent it as an image, no words (don’t worry, you will explain aloud)
  3. Outline the story and plan to present to everyone


  • How was creativity used?
  • How was it innovative?
  • Was it used effectively?
  • Unintended consequences?

Write it down.

It may be helpful to consider, in your example, did the historical actors: • Demonstrate their politics? • Teach their ideals? • Use popular culture? • Prefigure the future? • Shift the terrain? • Stage a spectacle? • Tell a story? • Act as if? • Build on cultural foundations? • Perform reality? • Make the invisible visible? • Use style? • Use humor? • Use symbols? • Make their culture into communication? • Appropriate tradition? • Redefine the political? • Transform tradition? • Queer culture? • Play with politics? • Empower others? • Think artistically about all aspects of activism?


Want to download this exercise?