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13 November 2014

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You are in: Berkshire > Local radio > The Actiondesk > The art of protest

The art of protest

The art of protest

Ever been inspired to protest for something you felt strongly about? But don't know get your voice heard? Amy Cook took part in The Art of Protest workshop at RISC in Reading. Here's her step by step guide on how to do it.

We all know the French and Italians are good at it, in fact most of Europe have got protesting down to a fine art, but here in England we seem to have lost the knack.

I don't know about you, but whenever I go abroad I always seem to notice someone somewhere protesting about something.

Not chaining themselves to railings or anything that drastic but singing on the streets, organising marches or holding banners.

Inspired to find out more, I joined a workshop at RISC on London Road in Reading and spent a day learning how the rest of the world is using it's creative skills to get it's voice heard.

Under the excellent tutorage of local artists John Hogget and Carla Conte we explored different issues affecting young people in Reading today and how we could encourage members of the public to think about them too.

I've created my own step by step guide on how you can legally and safely perfect the art of protest and make your voice heard.

Our group get out of the classroom with the public

Our group on the streets

Step 1: Find your fellow protesters

First find a group of people who are interested in protesting with the arts too. You don't need to be an artist or an actor just interested in the world. The group can be any size or age; it's just a case of judging how many people you can co-ordinate.

Step 2: Getting started

Encourage everyone in your group to look inside themselves to discover what issues affect each person.

Our group draw around their bodies

Be creative with your drawings

For example what you're interested in, what you worry about and what you'd like to change. As a group you could do this by drawing around each other and write down the issues that affect you in life. You can be as creative as you like, so go mad with colours!

Step 3: Inspiration

Inspiration can be found in almost anything in the world around. You could look through newspapers and magazines with your group and get everyone to rip out the articles that cause a reaction, whether they make you happy or really hack you off.  Talk about why they make you feel this way, not everyone will agree! Don't forget to stick your cuttings on your bodies (step 2) so that you remember them.
Remember: use lots of different types of newspapers to get a varied perspective of today's news.

Finally we added public ideas to our drawings

Our final drawings

Step 4: Identify your issue

By now, your group should know what gets you all going, so it's time to pick the issue you all feel strongly about, that will make the public take notice and think. This could be an issue for your local area or something that affects us globally. For example in our group we picked homelessness, as one of our group members had been homeless before and there are quite a few people sleeping rough in Reading town.

We created freeze frames for an audience

Creating freeze frames

Step 5: Take to the streets

It's time to get onto the street and find out what people think about your issue!
You can do this by using Street Replay. This is a drama technique, where you ask people for their opinion on your issue and then you act out a scene that illustrates their thoughts. If you're not feeling too adventurous you could simply create a freeze frame, which is just as if you'd acted out a scene but pressed pause!
Remember: after your creative piece, ask your audience if they agree with your portrayal of what they said or whether there is anything they would change about it.

The workshop in progress

We had lots of ideas

Step 6: Back to the drawing board

Now go back to your drawings and write down all the thoughts and ideas that your audience came up with. This way you can find out how to develop your protest to engage the wider world on your issue.

Step 7: Don't stop now!

Finally you need to decide how to continue your protest. Are you going to create a big picture that you can display somewhere? create a performance to perform on the streets? or maybe you'll decide to keep it simple and continue with Street Replay.

Engaging local people in our issues

Engaging local people

Whatever you do, don't forget that it's all about learning what people think on different issues and to help them to spend a little bit of time thinking more deeply how they can also help make a difference.

After all there's no point in protesting if it doesn't bring about a change for the better!

Be legal, be safe and most importantly have fun!

Want to find out more?

If you'd like to know more about the art of protest and how to get involved, contact

The Reading International Solidarity Centre would like to create an art of protest group that meets regularly and through the arts will protest about the issues that affects local people.

last updated: 09/09/2008 at 13:34
created: 12/06/2008

You are in: Berkshire > Local radio > The Actiondesk > The art of protest

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