Is Craftivism bringing social change? Julia Feliz says no

Julia Feliz made a very interesting point about the limitations Craftivism has a way to bring social change, the real one. She also pointed out another issue I´ve never think about, craftivism comes mostly from white women, for she, the opressors side.

I understand many of the points she shared. We need to rethink and reevaluate the impact of craftivism actions. I guess if for Julia, craftivism is only a self-strategy to feel proud of your humanity and creativity.

Honestly, I don´t think so.

After years of experience working in the field of development and social change, I think there is space for every kind of activism. The one who promotes and stands for human rights, by using different instruments: crafts, banners, protests, occupations, etc. Or the one who is involved in a long -term perspective and implements concrete actions, let´s say projects on capacity building, advocacy, education, and a long etc. Both ways are rigth and both ways bring change in a way. And this is what Craftivism tries to do so, as this research looks for. In this case, crafts are only a language, an instrument.

An open approach to craftivism that involves both ways of looking for a better world. We migth add the individual one, because our daily choices are also political acts (bying natural textiles, buying from local and avoinding companies abusing labour rights, using public transport, and much more…). But let´s focus on the issue.

Betsy explained very well, and has always prioritise this point of view in her webpage as you can see if you read all her work.

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By brinding concrete change in people´s live or by raising awareness on others. Both are necessary and both are relevant. For me the pussyhat movement was a wonderful way of saying – here we are!.

An opportunity to show how many people are linked and shared same values. (My percection might be wrong). But, the same people who coordinated the pussyhat movement are now coordinating the Welcome Blanket a way to raise awareness about the abuse and injustice the wall between Mexico and the USA represent. And I see this action as an action supporting POC people.

Now, what I see as a point that we can really think and analyse is how POC people is involved in the craftivism movement. According to Julia they are not part of the movement only “fake beneficiaries”. Why they do not participate in? they do not feel invited? or it´s because their real needs are not reflected in the message. How can craftivism movement be more participatory?

I do not have many responses but I´m sure there is a way of bringing craftivism to POC people as Julia said. A way of promoting a way to promote ownership of craftivism as strategy to let them voices heard.

At Dialogue Café, we organised a wonderful session on Craftivism (you can listen) in the framework of the Global Exchange of Crafts Makers.

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Any thought to be shared around?


Author: Dahlia Rodriguez

Handcrafted Textile Garments Crafts & Social Change Learning permaculture and connecting to nature

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