The Art of Activism

YOUR ALL-PURPOSE GUIDE TO MAKING THE IMPOSSIBLE POSSIBLE


STEVE DUNCOMBE and STEVE LAMBERT



“All true art is a form of activism, and the best, most enduring activism rises to the level of art. Here’s a thrilling invitation and actionable playbook for anyone willing to retrieve their autonomy, open minds, and fight the power.” —Douglas Rushkoff, author of Team Human and Media Virus

“Artists and Activists who want to collaborate often find they are separated by different languages. Steve and Steve bring them together and draw out the strengths of both to achieve beautiful and powerful results.” —Nathan Santry, Actions Director, Greenpeace USA

“All roads to lasting change lead through the intersection of art and activism. Too often this truth gets lost in sector jargon, undervalued skill sets and other nonsense. Here is a useful tool for anyone interested in social change to become well versed in creative problem solving and marshaling the talents of both artists and activists.” —Risë Wilson

“All roads to lasting change lead through the intersection of art and activism. Too often this truth gets lost in sector jargon, undervalued skill sets and other nonsense. Here is a useful tool for anyone interested in social change to become well versed in creative problem solving and marshaling the talents of both artists and activists.” —Austin Kleon, New York Times bestselling author of Steal Like an Artist

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About the Book

Here, in dazzling red and black words and pictures, is an all-purpose guide that shows how to bring about effective social change by combining the emotional power of the arts with the strategic planning of activism. Join the co-founders of the Center for Artistic Activism as they draw lessons from pop culture and mainstream marketing, delve into explorative teachings on ethics and evaluation, and set out the promises and pitfalls of the creative process and utopian thinking.

The Art of Activism brings together the authors’ extensive practical knowledge—gleaned from over a decade’s experience training activists around the world—with theoretical insights from fields as far-ranging as cultural studies and cognitive science. From the United Farm Workers’ boycott movement in sixties’ California to a canal-side beach in present-day Saint Petersburg, these pages are packed with contemporary and historical case studies that have been shown to work in practice.

The accompanying workbook contains fifty expertly crafted exercises to help you flex your creative imagination and hone your political tactics, taking you step-by-step toward becoming the most persuasive and impactful artistic activist you can possibly be.

368 pages • Paperback ISBN 978-1-68219-269-6 • E-book ISBN 978-1-68219-270-2

 

About the Authors

Stephen Dumcombe and Steve Lambert photo

Steve (Stephen) Duncombe and Steve Lambert are co-founders of the Center for Artistic Activism, a non-profit research and training organization devoted to helping activists create more like artists and artists to strategize more like activists. Over the past decade, they’ve trained more than 1000 artistic activists across the United States and around the world. Duncombe is a lifelong activist, whose NYC community organization has been recognised for its creative activism by the Abbie Hoffman Foundation. Currently a professor of Media and Culture at New York University, Duncombe has published six books and countless articles on the intersection of culture and politics, most notably Dream or Nightmare: Reimagining Politics in an Age of Fantasy, and the Cultural Resistance Reader. Lambert is an internationally recognized artist whose public projects have appeared in Times Square, cities around the United States, and in London and Melbourne. He is featured in four documentary films and over two dozen books. He’s worked alongside the Yes Men and Greenpeace, and won awards from the Art Matters Foundation, Prix Ars Electronica, and Creative Work Fund. Lambert is a professor of New Media at Purchase College, the State University of New York’s public arts college.

Read an Excerpt

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