School of Gentle Protest

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I signed up for the School of Gentle Protest!
School of what? 
Gentle protest? 
I know, some of you might be thinking what on earth has this to do with sewing, but have you read my post from 2015, Can We Solve the World's Problems with Artivism

"Gentleness, conversation and collaboration can make our world a better place, and the road there less angry, aggressive and divisive." Sarah Corbett

In recent months, with so much anger and impatience, there has been quite a bit of shouting and violence in activism.  I went to my first protest in 1989. My parents took the whole family as a sign of support to the Chinese students at Tiananmen Square, but also to protest against the crackdown.  I remember everyone walking in total silence. After that, life carried on as normal and people forgot, or chose to forget.  I believe gentle protest in the form of craft / art helps continue the message beyond the time of the initial conceptualisation of the message. 

Do you remember the Umbrella movement in Hong Kong? It was an act of defiance against the Mainland Chinese government. Although the protests were dissolved (albeit violently), many citizens carried on their protest through gentle means. For example, a few groups and individuals promoted the use of the Cantonese language (predominantly used in Hong Kong versus Mandarin on the mainland) through books, print media and art as a way of showing that the public would not submit to mainland dominance (see video below).

These ladies in the USA are using quilting to bring together people no matter what their political opinions.  Politics has divided communities, friends and even families, but a craft can bridge that divide and provide a platform for people.

So how's the school so far?

I am loving it! There's homework (sometimes watching a movie) and discussions, but it really gets you thinking. For each lesson, they have a visiting lecturer who will share their experiences and give invaluable tips.
I'm still figuring out how best to bring across what I value, but for me, my message is to get people to think about their clothing. When they notice the upcycled / repaired garments I am wearing, it starts a conversation.  I share my tips, my tutorials; I give talks and workshops.  One lady (who's now a good friend) came to interview me for her school project and she was moved by the message that she decided to cut down on shopping and start repairing/upcycling her clothes.

My favourite lesson so far in Inner Protest.

Is there a better way to get this message across?

It's a very dynamic process and I definitely think the medium in which we express ourselves will change. But I love sewing so I that will be the best way to do it for me.

I'm now on lesson 4 but the videos and homework are left on their website. So join in the conversation!

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