Share resources on creative cultural resistance

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Share resources on creative cultural resistance

Share articles, videos, toolkits, guides, case studies – anything that you think would be helpful for someone interested in learning more about cultural resistance and how to put it into practice.

Share these resources by adding comments below!

Videos and webinars on creative cultural resistance

There's a lot of text out there (i.e. this dialogue) and we all appreciate when we can receiving information thru other mediums (which speaks to the importance of visual arts in human rights work) so I wanted to share these great videos on cultural resistance to help spark some conversation:

This first video is an 8-min video interview with Nadine Bloch (yes, our partner for this dialogue).  In the interview, Nadine explains the importance of creativity, art, and culture in making nonviolent direct action powerful and effective in ways that resonate with activists and help build the capacity of movements. The interview was carried out, documented and shared by the International Center for Nonviolent Conflict.  It is a great introduction to creative resistance, and could be a helpful starting point for you to talk to your colleagues about applying these tactics to your campaign.

This second video is a 60-min webinar titled The Arts of Protest: Creative Cultural Resistance (sound familiar?) again led by Nadine Bloch. In this webinar, again hosted by ICNC, Nadine "explores how some of the most impactful and memorable moments from civil resistance and nonviolent movements are sung by the masses, printed by the thousands, enacted through craft, painted in vivid color, or performed in traditional dress. This webinar takes a critical look at Creative Cultural Resistance: the broad use of arts, literature, and traditional practices in the service of protest and political and social actions."

I'm sure there are many more videos on this topic so please share them here by adding your comments!

Enabling voice

Dear all,

I am happy to share the experiences of a creative arts based charity, Momentum Arts from Cambridge (UK), whose team  coordinated the participative arts element of the first ever Street Child World Cup in Durban in 2010.  Working with a local young people’s charity, the impact of the project on these otherwise unheard young people  was  phenomenal, as could be seen from the exhibit of their work in London the following year, and from their personal testimonies earlier this year as they helped to usher in the launch of Street Child World Cup 2014 in Rio.  You can read more about this at the following link:

Best  wishes,

beautiful trouble

the new book / toolkit 'beautiful trouble' looks like a good resource for creative cultural resistance

Re Beautiful Trouble:

Agree, Dan

Just came across this book, which has just been released:it outlines tactics, principles, theory and case studies of creative actions


Tactics include "advanced leafleting", "Artistic Vigil", "Banner Hang", "Blocakde", "Creative Disruption", "Culture Jamming" and more.

Cases include Billionaires For Bush, Dow Chemical Apologises for Bhopal...

Worth a look!

Beautiful Trouble.!

Here's their promo video.  It really does look like an interesting tool, certainly for teaching.


May Day Parade as Cultural Resistance






In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota USA employs visual and performing arts to build community, practice grassroots democracy, and challenge the culture of consumption.

The 38th annual May Day Parade and Festival put on by the In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater is a Minnesota staple and nationally recognized a model for community arts initiatives. In addition to visually stunning theater, the event brings attention to issues of food justice, water use, transportation, and energy policy solutions.

The link above illustrates the months-long process of community creation. This video provides a glimpse into the community workshops that lead up to the annual parade, ceremony, and festival.



Cultural resistance from an anarchist perspective


Josh MacPhee and Erik Reuland, eds. 2007
Realizing the Impossible: Art Against Authority
AK Press, Oakland and Edinburgh

Selection from a review by Alan W. Moore

The volume reviewed here bespeaks an exciting upsurge of attention to a world of dynamic, committed artistic practices, past and present. Realizing the Impossible, a collection edited by Josh MacPhee and Erik Reuland, is largely a book on contemporary art, exploring politicized artistic practice now and in the recent past. It surveys radical art and art-making communities from around the world; the investigation spans a range of work, including those rooted in traditional genres, as well those which have created their own language of analysis. Realizing also recognizes the substantial part of the debt owed to international perspectives. It is constructed as a series of historical essays and close personal interviews, providing critical discussion and first-person experiential accounts of the pursuit of an “anarchist aesthetic.”

Taring Padi and Under, After and In Between

One of the collectives featured in Realizing the Impossible is an Indonesian Art Collective  Taring Padi (  Taring Padi is renowned for Arts, Activisim and Rock n Roll! In particular using artistic mediums such as wood cut prints, murals, parades/protests, community festival and celebrations to advocate and bring awareness to issues of oppression, capatalism and inequality. 

As I write Taring Padi is undertaking a puppetry project in Yogyakarta, Indonesia with Myanmar artists  and Thai artists. The project is called Under, After and In Between (check it out as they live stream -  This title is symbolic of the political situation, and particulalry repressioin of artists and communities, in each of the countries participating. 

Under refers to Myanmar - being Under a political regime.

After referes to  Indonesia - life After the New Order dictatorship.

In Between refers to Thailands, which is in-between opposing political systems . 

I was fortunate to be part of this collaboration 2 years ago when it was first held at Empty Space Chiang Mai, Thailand.  Over a two week period amazing performances were created that explored current political realities using traditional folk tales.  Using puppetry and folk tales that spoke of old - which could be interpreted to relate to current realities protected the artists. This was most noted with a performance by the Thai artists that showed a shadow king that silenced the puppet animals of his kingdom.  This performance was made in the wake of the red shirt upriseing,  where people in Thailand were being sentenced for openly critisizing the King .  Thai friends at the time were very cautious of speaking openly in public about what was happening, but felt that creating a puppetry performance that was not overtly explicit would allow their voice to be heard. 

Not only were amazing pieces of cultural resistance created in this project but it also allowed artists from the three countries to come together and share skills, experiences and cultural resistance tactics.

I am excited to see what will happen with this latest installment of Under, After and In Between and particularly to hear how skills that were developed in the first meeting have been used over the last two years. Unfortunetly my internet connection in PNG is not sufficient to view the live streaming but i urge those of you who have decent connections to check it out - the final performances will be held this weekend at Kulon Progo, a community south of Yogyakarta that is fighting to protect its land from the Yogyakarta Kraton (King) who want to develop it for iron ore mineing. 

Resources !
Take-aways from the Art & Campaigning Forum

Great list of resources so far!  Keep them coming!

New Tactics member Holly Hammond participated in the Art and Campaigning forum in Melbourne early this year.  She summarized the highlights from the panel discussion on her website, Plan to Win.  The take-aways (many of which have been added to this dialogue) include:

  • Build strong culture. Tom Civil emphasised that art doesn’t just play a role in communicating a cause or trying to influence people; art can be part of building a strong alternative culture around social movements, which can be sustaining, inspiring, and attractive to new people.
  • Representation can be powerful; representation should be ethical. How people are portrayed can be either oppressive or empowering, as can the ways these images are viewed and consumed.
  • Consider your audience. Arlene TextaQueen spoke about how some art may be appropriate to display for a particular audience or in a particular context, but not others. It’s important to be clear about who you seek to communicate with and what you want to say – and be mindful about how this might impact on others.
  • Art can attract attention and controversy. This controversy can potentially be politically beneficial, beyond the actual artwork.
  • Always remember the visuals. Tom Civil emphasised the importance of visual communication as part of activism. Allow enough time for the best use of graphics, for example in fliers and publications, and value graphic design.
  • Value the labour of artists. Art takes time, resources and skill to produce, but many artists are low paid and rely on other work for their income. While artists may be prepared to produce artwork to be used in campaigns, and make that art available at low or no cost as a political contribution, the panel emphasised the importance of asking artists before using their work.
Cultures of Resistance Documentary

Cultures of Resistance is a powerful documentary film that showcases different expressions of cultural resistance by various groups of people around the globe. The film's website provides information about the film and links/descriptions of many other resources with similar messages. You can sign up to be on a mailing list that notifies you when a screening will take place in your area, or you can even arrange to get a copy of the film if you want to show a screening for your community or organization. Also, the facebook page for the film frequently posts inspiring and creative stories related to cultural resistance. Check it out!

Film website:

Facebook page:

Film about Syria - crisis, humanity and creative resistance

Thanks for sharing this, Katie!  Cultures of Resistance (CoR) recently announced the debut of their new film titled The Suffering of Grasses.  The film documents the humanity and suffering of Syrian refugees and the devistation in Syria.  In itself, film is a powerful medium to express your message and build awareness - but this film also explores the creative acts of resistance being used by Syrians. You can watch the trailer on their website.

Some resources for artists and organizations

freeDimensional hosts activists in art spaces and use cultural resources to strengthen their work... we have a list of resources geared towards such artists/activists in need of emergency support.  I also keep a list of resources on my personal website.

good white person

It often seems that people see fighting oppression as choosing to battle dominant forces outside of themselves. We can choose to 'attack the power holders' but we are all part of a complex system of oppression in which we each hold power and privilege over others. Fighting oppression is also about de-prioritising our own voice to allow others who don't hold our privileges speak, and about learning to live anti-oppressively in all our inter-personal relationships. Creative cultural resistance is often about alerting and educating others about oppression that exists in the world that they might not know about and may not be obviously nor directly responsible for, but it can also discuss that which we have a part in, might benefit from, are inextricably linked to because of our privileges. 

The following certificate was printed up to give to Good White People who believe their chosen anti-racist identity / work in human rights etc absolves them from being able to enact racism. It's intended to be (and has been) given out by individuals to other individuals, and sent to anti-racist (yet predominately non-people of colour run) organisations and multicultural funding boards. 

What is the impact of giving mock awards/certificates?

Thanks for sharing this, TextaQueen!  What has been the impact of sharing this "Good White Person" certificate?  What would be the next step, after this certificate is shared?  Is the goal to open discussion and dialogue around priviledge, power and racism? 

This tactic reminds me of other initiatives that give fake/mock awards to harmful corporations, governments, etc to build awareness and to shame the recipient.  The Yes Men gave an award called the "Corporate Power Tool Award" to the Trans-Pacific Partnership for their "tireless work against the 99%". From their website:

Is there a way to get lots of attention for something boring, secretive, and highly wonkish, with an acronym that sounds like stuff you wipe your butt with? The TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) is yet another nasty trade deal being forced on the world by US trade reps under the influence of corporate lobbyists, and an anonymous organization sought the help of the Yes Lab to stir up some media interest. Together we cooked up a comic microphone hijacking and rogue awards ceremony which honored US Trade Representatives in Dallas for their tireless work against the 99 percent.

For a more detailed account of the event, check out this press coverage:

Are there other examples of giving mock awards, certificates, etc?  How do these tactics fit into the larger strategy?

cultural survival = cultural resistance
Creative Activism and "Social Practice"

Happy to find this "webinar" -- it can be a valuable archived resource if properly built up. I'd like to add very quickly, ad hoc, some resource suggestions. These come under the heading of "social practice" art, a relatively recent development within the institutional artworld (teaching and museums) of engaged politicized art. There have recently arisen numerous degree programs in the U.S.A. teaching this, and we may reasonably expect a great number of well-trained activist artists to emerge in the coming years.

1 -- Creative Time Summit -- -- Sponsored by Creative Time non-profit arts organization in New York City, and organized by Nato Thompson, this annual event is live-streamed to various locations and archived online. It includes short talks by many distinguished socially and politically engaged artists who have been working for many years with political themes, and together with local communities and activists worldwide. Last year an exhibition was held and a catalogue published, "Living as Form: Socially Engaged Art from 1991-2011" (ed. Nato Thompson, MIT Press). It is a casebook of work relevant to struggles in all areas of social concern; e.g., I pop it open to Barefoot Artists Rwanda Healing Project, 2004-ongoing, directly relevant to the concerns of this host group. I recommend less for the discourse than for that -- links to specific projects and people who can provide inspiration and advice for activists in different project areas.

2 -- Social Practices Art Network -- -- This is a continuation of the online Community Arts Network. (Before "social practice" emerged as a field, it was a relatively low profile field of practice called "community art"; among the earliest post-1968 practitioners of this were mural painters and, of course, street theater companies. Arlene Goldbard has written useful histories of this practice in the USA.) SPAN has a "scoopit" site, a feature-blog which is full of interesting information and opportunities, conferences, papers, etc. The focus is academic and institutional, but the information is rich and informative, and may also lead to many contacts for activists.

3 -- Theory and Discourse -- Several prominent voices concern themselves with “social practice” art. Two come from the English academy. Claire Bishop is a prominent English art historian of installation art who has marked out a conservative position (relatively speaking) in her very recent book "Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship." She blogs at more politically engaged albeit recessive academic is Grant Kester. Years ago he coined the term “dialogical aesthetics” (see, e.g.,, which was floated in the English academy. He later wrote “Conversation Pieces: Community and Communication in Modern Art.” His texts are posted at Another important institutional figure in this field is Ted Purves. In 2005 he publiished the casebook "What We Want Is Free: Generosity and Exchange in Recent Art." See major critical voices in the political art field include the artist Martha Rosler, identified with perhaps more traditional Marxist and feminist positions on art instituitions and practice. See her many writings listed at Gregory Sholette, also an artist, wrote a book on collectives called “Dark Matter,” and has published recently on Occupy Wall Street. Texts like "After OWS: Social Practice Art, Abstraction, and the Limits of the Social (2012)" are online at his Brian Holmes, who began working in France as a media critic, is eloquent on the larger connections between art and politics, and most recently, the neoliberal economic world system. He writes in English, Spanish and French, with some texts in Chinese at Probably most directly relevant to most readers of this list, the prolific writer and street level activist, Benjamin Heim Shepard teaches social work and writes book like “Play, Creativity, and Social Movements” (2010). See Many other voices are contained in the Los Angeles -based Journal of Aesthetics and Protest – For deep research, this 2002 bibliography of books and articles of a political turn was prepared for an exhibition in Chicago. (That city remains an epicenter of politically engaged art. Mess Hall is an exemplary project.) – . So far as Europe is concerned, the EIPCP-run web journal Transversal is a source of consistently interesting texts on a variety of cultural-political issues. These can be abstruse and academic, but with the tremendous virtue that they are always translated into a number of languages, typically English, German, Spanish, and French –

This is a start. There are many more important writers I am forgetting, surely – but I trust many of them will be mentioned and cited by others in this discussion.

best regards,/awm

Participatory Theater Design

this link just crossed my inbox, so i am passing it on here--

looks like an interesting and useful site over all

The Learning Portal for Design, Monitoring & Evaluation (DM&E) for Peacebuilding 

Thank you for participating in this dialogue!

I can't believe it has already been 7 days - it has gone by so quickly!  I can't thank you enough for creating such a fascinating conversation!  I especially want to thank Nadine Bloch for helping to facilitate this dialogue and engaging her network of practitioners to participate.

It was great to have this opportunity to reflect on what is so powerful about creative cultural resistance, to exchange stories of CuR in practice, and to share challenges and struggles around the use of CuR.  I'm glad we also had a chance to share some thoughts on how CuR tactics fit into a strategy - a new addition to our usual dialogues! I hope you all are taking away new ideas, new resources, new reflections and new allies!

We will begin the process of writing a summary of the comments posted here.  It will most likely take a few weeks and once we're finished, we'll post the summary on the front page of this dialogue.  For those of you that added comments, I'll notify you by email when the summary is posted. 

The featured resource practitioners committed to participate in this dialogue for 7 days.  Although that commitment has come to end, you can still add comments until the summary is posted.  So please feel free to continue to add your thoughts, reflections, resources and stories!

And finally, we'd appreciate your suggestions for 2013 New Tactics conversation topics, especially those that relate to creative cultural resistance!  Are there any topics that we could cover in 2013 that would help to bring this conversation forward?  Share your ideas by replying to this comment or contacting us via email.

Thank you!

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