Centre for Cultural Partnerships - Theses

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    Craftivism as DIY citizenship: the practice of making change
    Fitzpatrick, Tal ( 2018)
    As it is currently understood ‘craftivism’ is a term that can be used to describe any activity that incorporates the techniques of craft with the goals of activism. In this thesis, I consider the limitations of this conception and ask whether a more nuanced account of the value of craftivism could be developed by broadening this understanding to include seeing craftivism as a mode of do-it-yourself (DIY) citizenship. Through this repositioning I consider how craftivists can actively perform, test, rehearse and engage in the practice of democracy as part of their everyday lives. I also investigate the different ways that craftivist actions, regardless of their scale or political intent, contribute towards positive social, cultural and political change. I do this by considering how craftivism works to enhance people’s sense of political agency, foster social connection and reveal dissensus. The key question driving this research is: How does approaching craftivism as a mode of DIY citizenship empower artists and makers to actively engage in the practice of democracy and to materialise social, cultural and political change? To tackle this, I explore what approaching craftivism as a mode of DIY citizenship looks like in practice through seven socially engaged craftivism projects delivered over the course of four years. These include a variety of participatory and collaborative craftivism projects, as well as projects delivered in partnership with community groups and non-profit organisations. These projects vary in scale and political intent, and include interventions in public, private, institutional and online spaces. The material artworks and two self-published books created as part of this research project were exhibited at an exhibition titled ‘Craftivism HQ,’ which was held at Kings Artist-Run in Melbourne (7-10 March 2018).