Get more people talking about A Future That Works demo by sharing your protest art!
Making something for 20 October? Let’s have a look!
With 20 October just two weeks away, activists Guy Atkins and Becky Luff have launched a new website called Make The March.
To help build momentum for the demonstration, Make the March is asking people to share their protest art in the lead up to the day. And if your work catches the eye of Josie Long or Bob and Roberta Smith, you might even win some cash.
Guy Atkins explains more…
Direct, witty and often darkly beautiful, anti-cuts protests have been hugely creative. Clegg as a naked Cameron’s fig leaf, the campaign of Tea Cups Against Kettling, Claire Rayner’s beyond-the-grave promises to protect the NHS… We know people will again be making great banners, placards and costumes for 20 October. But rather than wait for the demo, Make the March is asking people to share them beforehand to get more people talking about the importance of 20 October.
We hope the project will encourage people to make great stuff, and most importantly, come on the march. So if you are making something great for 20 October, upload a picture to the site, and get people sharing.
Inspiration: The ten-minute banner
The Make the March website is a bit of an experiment. It feels like we’re not getting much media support in letting people know about 20 October. So we want to see if we can spread the word through one of the anti-cuts movement’s biggest assets: activist creativity.
The idea grew out of Save Our Placards, a project at last year’s March For The Alternative. Hundreds of people gave a team of us from Goldsmiths their protest material at the rally in Hyde Park. And we’ve been finding new audiences for the artworks (and the stories behind them) ever since.
One of the people who gave us their banner was Laurice O’Sullivan, a youth worker from South London. It was Laurice’s story of how important making the banner had been that got us thinking – wouldn’t it be great to share people’s work before the day, to encourage others to come on the march?
Laurice and colleagues, Natalie and Faye, made the banner just as the children services department at their local authority was being ‘restructured’. The banner – some paint, a bed sheet and “about ten minutes” – was an act of urgent defiance to the cuts. Not long after the march, their fears were realized. On fixed-term contracts, at a stroke, they lost their jobs. While they did ultimately find new contracts elsewhere, it was a terrible ordeal.
In the end, it was the camaraderie amongst their team, the same camaraderie out of which the You're As Shit As This Banner banner emerged, which got them through - each helping the others to find new employment. But even now, looking back, they remain very anxious for the young people they had to leave behind.
Make the March wants to recognize the importance of making and carrying anti-cuts material like Laurice’s banner – the efforts people go to, and the impact the material can have. It’s easy to forget that a chair, say, or your computer, were ultimately designed and made by people. But the low-techness of banners and placards forces you (and the media) to recognize the people behind (and under) them.
Half-rubbed-out pencil marks, rough chipboard edges - all show how someone has sat down and created something that reflects their politics. They’ve chosen what it is they want to say, about what issue. And taken a rare chance to speak from the gut.
We’re really looking forward to seeing what people will share in the build up to 20 October. Will it work? Who knows?!
To add a little interest, we’re also running a not-so-serious contest through the website.
There will be 5 £100 prizes for items picked out by comedian Josie Long and artist Bob and Roberta Smith. All material uploaded to the Make the March site will have a chance of winning. And it’s not just placards, there will also be a prize for the best graphic or video uploaded. For more details, have a look on www.makethemarch.org.uk. And make sure to tweet and share those you like. The most shared will get onto the judges’ shortlist. Thanks go to the TUC for sponsoring the prizes.
Make The March blog
We’re especially keen if people would like to get in touch if they have thoughts on creative activism.
There’ll be a blog running up to 20 October with articles from lots of different people on artful protesting.
First blog - from False Economy!
False Economy’s Clifford Singer starts us off with a piece on his brilliant mydavidcameron.com campaign. If you would like to write a piece for the blog, please drop us a line. Right then, time to find some crayons.
I’ve got a plebgate gag to craft….
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