Why is gentle protest important?

Democracy is maintained because everyday people choose to make their voices heard in public. Whether that’s calling businesses and Members of Parliament (MPs) to demand they care about communities and the environment, or showing up in the streets to disrupt and draw attention to a cause – progress is won because people take up space for the causes they believe in.

But the ‘typical’ pathways of protest of showing up to a rally or strike, or engaging in civil disobedience are inaccessible to a lot of people. Whether it’s because of the risks of illness or injury are too great, you care for people who need you, you live far away, your living situation is precarious or you are at risk of criminaisation or deportation – there are many reasons why it’s too hard to turn up to protest. That does not mean you don’t care.

Gentle protest or craftivism is a community building technique to hand make items with political messages, which can then be put up in public, mailed to decision-makers and carried to rallies and protests as a sign of solidarity. It’s a way of putting your voice into an artwork and sharing it far and wide.

At the School of Joy and Mischief we’re building on a long tradition of crafters and makers to support causes of social and environmental justice.


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