Amsterdam 2018 Creative Action Accelerator

Thinking about doing a creative action at the AIDS Conference? Let’s work together. Center for Artistic Activism staff will be on hand to share our expertise. Some workshop tools, design help and materials may be available. Our workshop space is 20 min from the RAI Conference Center at the NDSM wharf.

Sign up for Creative Action Accelerator Office Hours here

(hurry – spots are limited!)

What is the Center for Artistic Activism Accelerator?

In Amsterdam, we’re spending a portion of our time meeting with groups who are thinking about doing creative actions, helping to refine ideas and:

  • Operationalize objectives into creative strategy and tactics: clarify specific creative action goals, objectives and tactics.
  • Develop creative tactics using design thinking, and drawing from local culture, stories and spectacles
  • Assist in designing and building props for actions.
  • Consult on and take part in execution of actions, helping the group remember key tenants of creative activism, such as engagement with audience that lasts beyond the action, making actions fun and surprising while always pointing actions towards measurable goals.
  • Reflect and evaluate: Our reflection process includes an evaluation of the actions and discussion on how to develop and improve their future use.

At the IAC in South Africa in 2016, we helped SWEAT (Sex Workers Education & Advocacy Task Force) and the Asijiki coalition conceive of, refine, build and execute a number of creative actions as part of their larger strategy. We worked together to make stuff – a huge digital clock, a Peanuts-style advice booth, a talk show set, a fancy celebrity award, and much more. To see how we used all this in a whole bunch of interventions, check out our South Africa webinar video.

The project was an overwhelming success, exceeding the objectives we’d created (including meeting and presenting an award they had created to Elton John), changing the tone of the largest health-related conference in the world, and getting national press attention (front page news, national television, and more) in South Africa. SWEAT’s political position progressed considerably in that week, and changed how they approach their work throughout the organization. More recently, at the end of 2017, the ANC adopted SWEAT’s position in a resolution to decriminalize sex work.

Here’s what Ishtar Lakhani, the Advocacy and Human Rights Defence Manager at SWEAT in South Africa, said about C4AA’s work with SWEAT leading up to the IAC:

“Our relationship with the C4AA had a vital role to play in our success at the 2016 International AIDS Conference – a game-changer for sex workers in South Africa with huge amounts of media coverage, the winning over of government officials and policy makers, and an increase in pressure felt by South Africa to urgently deal with the human rights violations of sex workers. The mentoring we had from the C4AA ensured that we did not fall into our old habits of recycling old tactics, strategies and actions and challenged us to think outside the box (and in some cases, throw the box away entirely). As sex worker rights activists we deal in incredibly serious, often depressing situations on a daily basis. Because the interventions were creative and often humorous my team had fun and therefore had more energy and an increased morale to ensure that the intervention was sustained.”

Sign up for Creative Action Accelerator Office Hours here