This year’s Heritage Open Days is running a new interactive arts porject, using Craftivism to celebreate People Power.
Launching in Totnes, and called Dare to Dream, Craftivism is a form of gentle and positive protest combining craft and activism.
This year, they’re celebrating our 25th anniversary with a national theme of ‘People Power’; working with the founder of the global Craftivist Collective, Sarah Corbett, to explore positive change through a series of free Craftivism workshops across the country.
Positive visions for the future
At these, Sarah will offer participants the chance to hand-stitch their positive visions for the future onto fabric ‘dream clouds’, to hang in meaningful locations and share on social media.
Each workshop will take inspiration from change-makers of the past, to build on stories of those who dreamt of a brighter future, and in Devon the focus will be on the Dartington Experiment.
Established by Dorothy and Leonard Elmhirst at their estate near Totnes, the Dartington Experiment began in the 1920s, bringing together artists, thinkers, writers, philosophers and musicians, with the idea of creating a new model for living. Dartington Hall was a place where the brightest and most diverse minds of the time came together, to discuss, plan and dream how they might improve the world.
Their achievements were astonishingly wide-ranging, but perhaps even more so were the ideas created; together, the Elmhirsts and those who came to share their small utopia, sowed the seeds for the NHS and welfare state, the Arts Council and the Open University.
Dreaming as a tool for activism
Following the Craftivist workshop, this special launch event will also include a panel of guest speakers. Chaired by Sarah, they will discuss the importance of dreaming as a tool for activism and positive change, drawing on their expertise in the fields of environmentalism, positive psychology and arts development.
This special launch event will also showcase a panel of guest speakers, including Lou Rainbow, founder of Craft Revolution based at modern-day Dartington. Rob Hopkins, environmental activist and co-founder of the grassroots ‘Transition Movement’, and Miriam Akhtar, positive psychologist and author, will also join Sarah for a thought-provoking discussion of dreaming as an effective tool for change.
The gentle form of People Power
“We’re thrilled to be working with Sarah, who embodies the gentle form of People Power that is at the heart of Heritage Open Days,” says Heritage Open Days national manager, Annabelle Thorpe.
‘We can all positively shape the future’
“Throughout history, real change has come from those who have thought differently, dreamed big and believed solutions are there to be found. Dare to Dream offers a chance for everyone to think about how we can all positively shape the future, and make our dreams for a fairer, happier society become reality.”
Vision to reality
Campaigner, Sarah Corbett says: “By having a vision rather than just fixating on a problem, our brains start finding ways to turn those visions into reality.
“Join us and craft your creation, whilst you think deeply about what your dream for a better world will look like, and how you can be part of making it. Stitch by soothing stitch, we can become positive change-makers.”
Dreams and hopes
After the festival, insights drawn from the nationwide workshops will create a picture of our dreams and hopes for society in the next 25 years. Yesterday’s dreams shaped today’s reality; what are our dreams for the future?
Check out the Heritage Open Days website and follow the hashtags #DareToDream and #ThisIsPeoplePower
top image credits: Craftivist Collective / Jonathan Cherry / Robin Prime
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