Decolonizing The Revolutionary Imagination

Decolonizing The Revolutionary Imagination

Talk @ No-Space, March 29, 7:30 pm

With smartMeme

Story telling is an ancient and powerful form of human expression. Today, however the power of story is mainly used by advertisers, PR flacks and political propagandists. In order to make change, social movements must tell new stories that challenge assumptions and shape new possibilities for action and change.

How can activist and artists use story-based strategies to design “image events”: actions, images or stories that simultaneously destroy and construct new meaning? How can we either replace existing sets of symbols or re-define their meaning? Can we connect organizing struggles with the ethereal world of culture, media and narrative?

The story-based strategy approach is grounded in a narrative analysis of power––the recognition that humans understand the world and their role in it through stories and thus all power relations have a narrative component. Every issue already has a web of existing stories and cultural assumptions that frame public understanding. Story-based strategy provides a process to understand the current story around an issue and identify opportunities to change that story with the right framing,messages, messengers and creative interventions.

Join Doyle Canning and Patrick Reinsborough, cofounders of smartMeme and authors of Re:Imagining Change for a provocative, multi-media presentation and hands-on training that will explore the power of memes, creative action and new strategic frameworks for affecting social change and the transmission of culture.
The smartMeme Strategy and Training Project builds movements and amplifies the impact of grassroots organizing with new strategy and training resources, values based communications, collaborations, and meme campaigning. SmartMeme uses the power of narrative to advance a holistic vision of grassroots social change that connects struggles for democracy, peace, justice, and ecological sanity. SmartMeme innovates practices in the sector through experimentation, research and development, and creative cultural intervention.In today’s media-saturated culture where 24/7 sound byte news coverage seamlessly blends with the onslaught of global advertising and marketing, social change brands and messages can be easily overwhelmed by the tidal wave of information. SmartMeme works to overcome these obstacles by helping grassroots activists bring a more sophisticated understanding of the dynamics of the cultural environment and the power of storytelling to their social change campaigns. At smartMeme we believe deeply that changing the story is the first step to changing the world.
Doyle Canning is a strategist, trainer, and organizer with a deep commitment to building 21st century social movements for ecological justice. She came to the smartMeme collective in 2003 after studying critical pedagogy, working as a grassroots organizer, and being banned from Australia for her rabble rousing. As co-director at smartMeme, Doyle serves social movements a facilitator, message maker, campaignconsultant, and coach. She is a contributor to Letters from Young Activists (Nation Books, 2005), and has served on the advisory funding panel of the Haymarket People’s Fund, an antiracist social change foundation.Patrick Reinsborough has been involved in campaigns for peace, the environment, and social justice for over twenty years, and previously served as the Organizing Director of the Rainforest Action Network. In 2002 he co-founded the smartMeme Strategy & Training Project as a vehicle to explore the intersections of social change strategy, imagination and narrative. Several of his strategy essays are published in Globalize Liberation: How to Uproot the System and Build a Better World.
Re:Imagining Change provides resources, theory, hands-on tools and illuminating case studies for the next generation of innovative change makers. This unique book explores how culture, media, memes, and narrative intertwine with social change strategies, and offers practical methods to amplify progressive causes in the popular culture. Re:Imagining Change is an inspirational inside look at the trailblazing methodology developed by the non-profit strategy and training organization, smartMeme. Founded in 2002, smartMeme offers tools, training, and strategy support to organizations and movements working for justice, ecological sanity and transformative social change. Re:Imagining Change is a summary of their approach, and a call to innovate our strategies for collectively addressing the escalating social and ecological crisis of the 21st century.





March 29, 2010


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