The first rule of guerrilla warfare is to know your terrain and use it to your advantage. The political landscape of today is one of signs and symbols, stories and spectacles. Since 2010, the Center for Artistic Activism has trained grassroots activists around the world how to navigate this terrain. We teach social change agents how to map their cultural landscape and apply artistic methods and aesthetic perspectives in order to design more captivating tactics and more effective strategies. And, as imagination is critical in this endeavor, we utilize Utopia; not necessarily as a goal to be reached but as a dream to guide. In this participatory presentation, the rationale behind artistic activism will be explained, examples provided, and techniques demonstrated.
Stephen Duncombe, Ph.D. is Professor of Media and Culture at New York University and the author and editor of six books, including Dream: Re-Imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy and The Art of Activism. He is also the creator of the Open Utopia, an open-access, open-source, web-based edition of Thomas More’s Utopia. Duncombe is a life-long political activist and the co-founder of the Center for Artistic Activism, a research and teaching institute that trains activists to think more like artists and artists to think more like activists.
Sunday Platform is our most important and long-standing community event. These gatherings educate, stimulate personal growth, inspire reflection and action, and strengthen our community. Sunday meetings usually begin with music, followed by greetings and a talk given by a Society Leader, member, or guest. Platforms cover a variety of topics that reflect current events, pressing social issues, and Ethical Culture philosophy. A collection basket is passed and money is shared between the Society and a charity selected for that day. While contributions are always appreciated, Sunday meetings are free and open to the public. Each Sunday meeting is followed by a luncheon and social hour.