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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Interference: Art for Activism at Artsadmin

Artsadmin's course, running from 21st to 25th June, promises to give you all the inspiration you need to start acting up

Written by Amy Hughes

‘Glass Gun 2′ by Julie Hill

A couple of days ago my housemate returned home bursting with a tale that he’d been carrying around with him all day. What he had witnessed on his well-trodden route to work that morning had seemed to pervade the conditioned air of his office in the hours that followed, reruns of the scene played out in windowpane reflections and on the inside of mid-blink eyelids. He had been inspired.

‘Breath Should Be Held’ by Julie Hill

The action that had my friend so roused wasn’t overtly political. Nor was it spectacularly en-masse. It was a man. Alone. Dancing at 8am in the centre of one of Bristol city centre’s busiest junctions, multiple lanes of traffic whirring around unrestrained flying limbs like mechanical rings of chorus girls, their metallic bodywork sparkling.

The root of this act, and the results of it, we can only guess at. Was his rush hour spinning a signal that the rest of us should slow down? A statement on the vulnerability of the pedestrian or the mindlessness of the daily grind? Maybe he just fancied a dance.

CRASH at Artsadmin: experimenting with sustainable alternatives to financial and ecological crises CRASH at Artsadmin: experimenting with sustainable alternatives to financial and ecological crises

As my friend’s impassioned regaling of the scene evidenced, whatever its grounds, form or situation, art is an enormously affecting class of action. And it’s being increasingly embraced as a method of political expression beyond homemade banners or gallery walls, because we can all be arts activists. The only thing that’s required is a little imagination.

Image courtesy of Artsadmin: ‘Quantitative Teasing- A benchmark in post-capitalism’

Two artist activists are on hand later this month to help spark that imagination via Interference, a free five-day workshop to encourage people to develop new ways of working collectively to make a difference to the causes they care about. Beth Whelan (who last year played a large part in the Mainshull Solidarity Camp) and Julie Hill will be working with participants to develop art-related strategies for both acting towards and reacting against change, using such tools as story-telling and myth making, climbing and reclaiming public space, urban foraging, self-publishing and night biking. Interference runs from 21st to 25th June at Artsadmin’s Toynbee Studios in London, but is limited to just 20 places, so if you want one of them Artsadmin asks that you write a short paragraph explaining why you want to get involved, and send it to

Beth Whelan at CRASH

Open to people from all backgrounds and experiences, Interference is an invitation to those who want to go beyond just thinking about change; to act via art to be part of, or begin, an empowering, engaging and positive political movement. You never know, it might even be one that stops traffic.


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