Podcast 79, CRAFTIVISM WITH SARAH CORBETT - STITCHING THE REBELLION
HAPPY FASHION REVOLUTION WEEK! To join the movement, find out more here.
EPISODE 79 FEATURES SARAH CORBETT
She is author of How to be a Craftivist and the founder of Craftivist Collective. Sarah Corbett believes, “If we want a world that is beautiful, kind and fair, shouldn’t our activism be beautiful, kind and fair?”
This episode is a call to arms for fashion change-makers, a demonstration of the persuasive nature of gentle activism, and the wonderful idea that together we might stitch a rebellion, sweep out the status quo and usher in a fairer world in fashion and beyond.
84% of respondents said that fashion brands should be tackling global poverty and 85% said that fashion brands should be tackling climate change. 72% of the public said that fashion brands should do more to improve the lives of the women making their products and 80% said that fashion brands should disclose their manufacturers. The majority of respondents (68%) agreed that the government has a role to play in ensuring that clothing is sustainably produced. Three-quarters of people agreed that fashion brands should be required by law to protect the environment at every stage of production, while 77% agreed that fashion brands should be required by law to respect the human rights of everyone involved in the making of their products.
WHAT WE TALK ABOUT…
DEFINING CRAFTIVISM. Sarah says, “Craftivism is for everyone from skilled crafters to burnt out activists, and those people who want to challenge injustice in the world but don’t know what to do, where to start or how to prioritise their energies and time.”
BETSY GREER is the American craftivist who coined the term in the mid-2000s. In 2008 she published Knitting For Good, “guide to how to use your knitting and creativity to improve your life, the lives of those in your community and the world at large.” She’s the editor of an anthology called Craftivism: The Art of Craft and Activism - an anthology that showcases the work of a bunch of influential craftivist from around the world. Clare interviews Betsy in Rise and Resist. More here.
SHOP-DROPPING is the opposite of shop-lifting. Or “putting a mini fashion statement - beautiful little scrolls that are wrapped in ribbon and contain a message - into the pockets of clothes in stores that could be more ethical.” Read what happened when a BBC journalist went with her a couple of years ago here.
TRADITIONAL SHOUTY ACTIVISM Some of the silliest examples throwing eggs and cream pies, but even sensible traditional activism - marches, protests, sit-ins - tends to be, well, kind of argumentative. Think about your position - you are PROTESTING, you are actively AGAINST a particular issue. But as Sarah says, “Shouting, heckling, and hating are not the only forms of political engagement” …
Clare liked it, however, when Vivienne Westwood hired a tank in 2015 and drove it to then UK prime-minister’s country house to “declare war” on fracking.
SARAH DID A TED TALK. Watch it below:
“USING YOUR HANDS WHILE LISTENING MEANS YOU ENGAGE MORE DEEPLY, SO IT’S A GOOD THING WHEN WE ENGAGE OUR HEAD, HANDS AND HEART TOGETHER.” - SARAH CORBETT
“WHAT I LOVED ABOUT CRAFT IS IT’S ACCESSIBLE… AND I IMMEDIATELY NOTICED IT SLOWED ME DOWN. DOING THIS REPETITIVE HAND ACTION WAS VERY SOOTHING, IT CALMED ME DOWN, IT HELPED ME CLEAR THE ANGER AND THE WORRYING AND THE FOG. ” - SARAH CORBETT
REPETITIVE HAND ACTIONS AND CALMING DOWN. For much of the 20th century many scientists regarded the idea that the brain might be productive during downtime as ludicrous, The Scientific American reminds us. “German neurologist Hans Berger disagreed. In 1929, after extensive studies using an electroencephalogram—a device he invented to record electrical impulses in the brain by placing a net of electrodes on the scalp—he proposed that the brain is always in ‘a state of considerable activity,’ even when people were sleeping or relaxing.”
But these days the connection with handwork and mindfulness is widely accepted. “Crafting can help those who suffer from anxiety, depression or chronic pain, experts say. It may also ease stress, increase happiness and protect the brain from damage caused by ageing.” Via CNN
“My approach I call gentle protest, activism is always the priority and craft is the tool not the taskmaster. It’s all about doing careful and courageous compassionate activism using the process of craft to slow down and think.” - Sarah Corbett
SUCCESS. Sarah mentions that craftivism helped changed the law to protect migratory birds in Spain. In 2016, WWF mobilised thousands to create origami paper birds to convince the Spanish government to not to dredge the river in the Doñana National Park. “The birds then went on ‘migration’ to Madrid where they formed a beautiful display outside the Spanish parliament. The idea was to show the Spanish government that people around the world wanted to protect this World Heritage site from the planned river dredging which would have threatened the millions of migratory birds that rely on its biodiversity. It worked: the government responded to our campaign by cancelling the dredging plans.”
A NOTE ON OUR MUSIC: IT IS BY OUR FRIEND MONTAIGNE, WHO SANG A SPECIAL ACOUSTIC VERSION OF "BECAUSE I LOVE YOU" JUST FOR US. IT'S FROM HER ALBUM GLORIOUS HEIGHTS.
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