At the C4AA we like to say that: Imagination powers change. And changes power. But why is imagination so important to social and political change. In this encyclopedia article for The Palgrave Encyclopedia of the Possible on “political imagination,” C4AA Co-founder Stephen Duncombe and C4AA alumnus Silas Harrebye explore the whys and hows of activist …
Author Archives: Stephen Duncombe
The Copenhagen Experiment, Social Movement Studies
Over three days on a bridge in Copenhagen, C4AA Co-Founder Steve Duncombe and C4AA alumnus Silas Harrebye and a team of young researchers and activists set out to test whether creative forms of activism are more effective than conventional ones. (Spoiler: they are.) The findings of this first-ever public experiment in artistic activism is now …
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Artistic Activism during the Civil Rights Movement
From the mid 1950s to the early 1970s the Civil Rights movement involved tens of thousand of people and changed the civil rights for millions. It was also a consciously creative campaign.
The Copenhagen Experiment: The Report
This is the first ever public experiment on the comparative efficacy and afficacy of artistic activism vs more traditional forms of activist intervention.
Art Action Academy: Macedonia 2018
Behind the Scenes: a C4AA Art Action Academy in Macedonia, where artists are fighting corruption.
REPORT: ASSESSING THE IMPACT OF ARTISTIC ACTIVISM
As the culmination of nearly a decade of interviews with practitioners of artistic activism, and over a year of reviewing the relevant academic literature and professional reports, the C4AA æfficacy project research team drafted a substantial report, Assessing the Impact of Artistic Activism. You can read and download the full report, or a short 4 …
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Leading up to the Women’s March(es) on January 21, 2017, C4AA Co-Director Stephen Duncombe was asked to write about a “political object” for the web journal HiLoBrow. He chose to write about a protest sign he had made and carried at an earlier march.
Can Art Save Us from Bullshit? The Practice of Making Political Art that Works
In November of 2016, C4AA Co-Director Stephen Duncombe and School for Creative Activism alumnus Silas Harrebye were invited to Oslo Norway to do a presentation (with local actors!) at the National Theatre as part of the Public Calling conference. They later wrote up a version of this performance, sans actors, for Public Seminar, the web …
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Affect and Effect: Artful Activism and Political Impact
As part of a collection of essays on The Democratic Public Sphere (edited by Henrik Kaare Nielsen, et al.) C4AA Co-Director Stephen Duncombe writes about the history of a protest as a performance, what this looks like in an age of global information flows, and the problems of protocols and interface between spectacular protests and …
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Does it Work? The Æffect of Art Activism
In this article, published in Social Research in 2016, C4AA Co-Director Stephen Duncombe muses on the different ways in which activist art can “work,” In the process, presenting the patented C4AA mathematical formula for success. No kidding, well kinda kidding.
C4AA Co-Director Stephen Duncombe considers protest as a performance piece in this short 2013 article in Performance Research, using case studies from the Civil Rights campaign to desegregate Birmingham, Alabama to Occupy Wall Street.
Stephen Duncombe & Steve Lambert “The Good Life” was the mantra of the United States in the 1950s. The country had emerged from a devastating economic depression and a brutal world war into a era of seemingly unbound plenty. The economy was in high gear from the war: there were new products to consume for …
Our New Podcast! The Pop Culture Salvage Expeditions
A monthly podcast about the most popular, highest grossing, mainstream culture. How we can use all that bad stuff for good? In each episode an an academic, an activist, and an artist from the Center for Artistic Activism will navigate through flotsam and jetsam looking for treasure, applying what we learn from pop culture to …
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Formula for Success
The formula is quite simple: if attained aeffect matches desired aeffect, then we’ve succeeded. If it doesn’t we’ve failed. If attained aeffect comprises a fraction of desired aeffect, then we are on the right path. Expressed as a mathematical formula (that we just made up) it might look like this: …
How do people get new ideas?
On Creativity by Isaac Asimov A recently discovered essay by the great SF writer written back in 1959, giving advice to a think tank working on missile defense projects: “How do people get new ideas?” ON CREATIVITY How do people get new ideas? Presumably, the process of creativity, whatever it is, is essentially the same in …
Blade of Grass Fellowship for Socially Engaged Art
Our good friends and supporters at Blade of Grass are calling for applications for fellowships. Here’s the skinny: Online application form opens: Tuesday, September 2, 2014 Application Deadline: Monday, November 24, 2014 The ABOG Fellowship for Socially Engaged Art is an active, year-long funding relationship for socially engaged artists and artist collectives working nationwide. Eight fellows will be selected …
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Gerry Hassan: Time for some fun with our politics — The Scotsman
Article in the Sunday Scotsman about the School for Creative Activism working overseas with Changin’ Scotland. 22 November 2013 Radicals, leave dogma at the door – embrace a sense of playfulness and dare to dream of a better Scotland, writes Gerry Hassan To many of the tribes and partisans who inhabit our public life, all that …
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Activist Art: Does it Work? — from OPEN! Journal
The first rule of guerilla warfare is to know the terrain and use it to your advantage. The topography on which the activist fights may no longer be the mountains of the Sierra Maestra or the jungles of Vietnam, but the lesson still applies. Today, the political landscape is one of signs and symbols, story …
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School for Creative Activism, a project of the Center for Artistic Activism — Social Text
Overview The first rule of guerrilla warfare is to know the terrain and use it to your advantage. No longer does this require navigating the mountains of Cuba with a rifle on one’s back, as today’s political topography is one of symbols and signs, images and expressions. From small community organizations to international NGOs, the School …
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George Lakoff in 3 minutes
Before anyone on the Left was talking about the importance of understanding the cognitive science of political decision making and action, and the necessity of framing, metaphor, story and association, there was George Lakoff. He’s been telling his story to anyone who will listen for more than a quarter-century. Here he is giving his rap …
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