Our Creative Action Accelerator Program is an initiative designed to help groups jumpstart their social change campaigns through intensive Center for Artistic Activism mentoring and project implementation. It is in-depth, on-site collaboration with senior staff from the Center for Artistic Activism.

Imagine us as the “Q” for your team of Double-0 agents; designing and building tools, objects, and devices to help you achieve you objectives. And it’s more – this is an opportunity to turbocharge your group’s action campaigns through mentoring, materials, and a proven process that results in a full suite of polished tactics, tools, and techniques for implementing creative campaigns for years into the future.

Services included (all in collaboration with your team):

  • Operationalize your objectives into creative strategy and tactics
  • Designs for fabrications for actions
  • Consult on and take part in execution of actions
  • Reflection and evaluation

Deliverables include:

  • Creative strategy document made in collaboration with your group
  • Designs for tools, props, and/or costumes for creative actions based on that strategy
  • A creative objectives and tactics planning framework and materials for ongoing implementation and development by your group.

The Center for Artistic Activism has been training activists and artists in the philosophy of artistic activism for the past 9 years, worldwide. The Creative Action Accelerator takes the most essential parts of that training and customizes it for a particular group’s specific goals, cultural context and assets. This is a unique opportunity for a group to get the best of the successful models that have been implemented with OSF grantees around the world in a process that is personalized and focused on achieving both immediate goals and sustainable, long-term impact. The framework provides momentum and a structure that shows results in a few months that might otherwise take years.

Sample Project #1: The 2016 AIDS Conference

In May of 2016 C4AA traveled to the offices of Sex Workers Education & Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT) in Cape Town to help with the upcoming International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa. In our first afternoon, we identified 12 goals the group had for the conference and some creative methods for achieving them. In the days that followed, C4AA aided in much of the organizing, designing, and logistics of the projects, with frequent check-ins.

The project was an overwhelming success, exceeding the objectives we’d created, 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.

Don’t take our word for it…

Ishtar Lakhani is the Advocacy and Human Rights Defence Manager at SWEAT in South Africa. (She’s featured on one of our webinars here).

Ishtar says:

There are many amazing things I can say about SWEAT’s partnership with the Center for Artistic Activism.

Our relationship with the Center for Artistic Activism 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 Center for Artistic Activism 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).

a game-changer for sex workers in South Africa”

Ishtar Lakani, SWEAT
  • The Center for Artistic Activism assisted us in ensuring our objectives were clear, concise and targeted.
  • We explored and implemented a range of creative actions, some requiring a large amount of time and preparation, and some easy and cheap interventions.
  • We were pushed to think past our limited opinion of what we thought was achievable to set a much higher bar…turns out the impossible is actually possible.
  • Many of the actions we did were completely replicable and as such we continued to do them after the IAC (the “Desk of Disappointment” the “Ask a sex worker booth” and the sign).
  • 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 throughout the event.

Ishtar Lakhani, SWEAT

Sample Project #2: Saving Lives in Seattle

8 foot tall numbers that read "508". In the face of the numbers are flowers.
508 – campaign for drug user health in Seattle

In late 2017, C4AA worked in Seattle, helping the YES to SCS coalition. Check out their new campaign site, yestoscs.org (archived). Through the Accelerator program, we implemented creative strategies and actions to help save lives in the opioid crisis through working toward the first safe consumption space in the U.S..

Check out some of the creative campaigning we did with YesToSCS:

Since we started working on this project in August of 2017, the push to create the nation’s first Safe Consumption Space quickly gained momentum in Seattle and around the country.

Ask us if you want to know more about the Creative Action Accelerator for your group or coalition.