Introducing Beautiful Rising co-editor Marcel Taminato

We’d like to introduce Marcel Taminato, the new co-editor of the forthcoming Beautiful Rising creative activism toolkit for (and by!) organizers and campaigners from across Africa, Asia and Latin America.

He is an anthropologist and social activist, co-founder of Escola de Ativismo (School of Activism) in Brazil and co-editor of the Portuguese edition of Beautiful Trouble (Bela Baderna: Ferramentas Para Revolução). He has been working with non-profit organizations and social movements across Latin America and Asia for the past ten years. A researcher, editor, and learning facilitator on issues related to non-violent resistance, social and environmental justice, and movement building, Marcel currently lives in Bangkok, where he is doing research on politics and disasters.

Marcel Taminato

As always, we’re @BeautRising on Twitter and Beautiful Rising on Facebook and we hope you’ll keep us updated on your work too!

-The Beautiful Rising Team


Posted by Mara Ranville
October 05, 2015

Statement of Values

The Beautiful Rising team is committed to embodying the following values:

Open collaboration and distributed leadership

We are committed to ensuring that the Beautiful Rising toolkit is built in active collaboration with frontline activists working in difficult circumstances — particularly women, youth, indigenous peoples, and activists who face discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity, class, race, or religion. The toolkit will be guided by the needs of the movements and activists we work with, prioritizing local voices and local leadership at every stage.

Undoing power and privilege

We commit to working to unravel unequal power relations rooted in historical and structural violence, which can poison well-meaning efforts emerging from places of privilege. We commit to transparency in our aims and funding sources, and we reject efforts by governments, corporations, financial institutions, and international NGOs to suppress or co-opt social movements through direct suppression, tied aid, debt austerity, disinformation, and clandestine support for elite groups.

People power and international solidarity

We stand in solidarity with popular movements’ efforts to defend fundamental rights and exercise grassroots democratic power. We seek to facilitate learning across activist networks and struggles for liberation, and commit to practicing anti-oppression and south-south solidarity in all aspects of our work.

Creativity in the face of violence

We seek to share tools that will amplify the creativity, security and effectiveness of popular movements. Though our focus is on achieving social change through mass movement building and nonviolent direct action rooted in love and solidarity, we do not presume to dictate the range of acceptable responses to each situation.

Enriching the commons while protecting privacy

We will use and contribute to open-source software initiatives whenever possible, and all materials will be free to circulate under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial Share Alike 4.0 International License. The toolkit should be accessible regardless of limitations of financial resources, bandwidth, language, technology, and security. As much as possible, we will use communication and collaboration tools that protect contributors’ privacy. If we are required to use systems or networks that we believe to be inherently insecure, we will provide clear guidelines on how to safely engage with these systems and networks.

Disclaimer:

The Beautiful Rising team claims no responsibility for the victories achieved, the risks incurred, the defeats suffered, nor any unintended consequences that may arise from use of the toolkit.

This document is a work in progress. We welcome input on these values and expect that they will evolve throughout the production of the toolkit. Share feedback here or email dave at beautifultrouble.org, swa at ms.dk, or marceltaminato at gmail.com.


Posted by Søren Warburg
September 14, 2015

Beautiful Rising coming soon to Bangladesh and Uganda

Beautiful Rising is pleased to announce two new workshops to be held in the fall of 2015. We will in Bangladesh from October 4-8, and returning to Africa to visit Uganda from November 9-13.

Building on the lessons learned from our previous workshops in Burma, Jordan, and Zimbabwe, these new workshops will continue providing a space where activists from diverse backgrounds can work together to identify, articulate, and disseminate their practices.

Beautiful Rising will also work with frontline activists in these countries to shape their stories of strategic movement building for our online toolbox of creative activism especially geared for campaigners from across Africa, Asia, and Latin America. (Coming soon!)

As always, check back here for more details, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter @BeautRising.

-The Beautiful Rising Team


Posted by Mara Ranville
August 14, 2015

Seeking Co-editor for online activist toolkit

Application deadline: August 3, 2015

Are you passionate about creative activism, radical politics and south-south international solidarity? Do your political networks include community activists at the forefront of feminist, anti-capitalist, and anti-colonial struggles in the global south? Are you a skilled editor with a keen eye for detail, an ability to synthesize complex ideas in accessible language, and a passion for using persuasive language as a tool for social change? This is an opportunity to work with a global constellation of changemakers in developing a toolkit of creative activism for activists from across Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Beautiful Rising is looking for a Co-editor to work with a dispersed team of troublemakers in assigning, writing, editing, and assembling content for an online toolkit to be published in spring 2016. The successful candidate will have:

  • substantial experience as both a political writer and a professional editor;
  • a keen interest in publishing accessible, engaging, and actionable content for a diverse global readership;
  • significant ties to / experience with social movements in the global south;
  • a familiarity with creative activism toolkits like Beautiful Trouble, the Global Change Lab, or others;
  • a firm grasp of the history, thought, and practices informing radical politics and creative activism across diverse contexts;
  • excellent time management, interpersonal, and communication skills, and an ability to work collaboratively across great distances;
  • tact, grace, and a generous sense of humour.

This is a part-time, contract position, averaging between 5 and 10 hours per week until the end of March 2016, at US$40/hour, with the possibility of travel to and facilitation of one or more in-country workshops (to be compensated separately).

Please email a resume, cover letter, and sample of recent work to dave(at) beautifultrouble.org by August 3, 2015. Only those candidates short-listed for an interview will be contacted.

Beautiful Rising is committed to practicing anti-oppression and south-south solidarity in all aspects of our work. We strongly encourage applications from activists operating at the front lines of multiple, intersecting oppressions, and will prioritize these applicants in all hiring decisions. The successful applicant will either be based in, or have significant ties to, Africa, Asia, or Latin America.


Posted by Søren Warburg
July 07, 2015

Zimbabwe Beautiful Rising: A recap

In early June 2015, members of the Beautiful Rising team assembled in Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital, to work with a group of 20 experienced human rights activists, feminists and writers over four days of knowledge exchange, discussion, collaboration and writing — lots of writing!

The timing could not have been better: activists in Zimbabwe are struggling with a wide range of issues, from growing civil society and donor fatigue, to increasingly shrinking democratic spaces, yet are able to draw on an incredible legacy of struggle in terms of thinking through approaches for building a better future. Expectations of participants ranged from the desire to “Africanise” Beautiful Rising, to wanting to learn new tactics and finding ways of rejuvenating social movements or addressing the burnout many activists are feeling.

Many of the participants were excited to be in the same space with other activists, and wanted to explore ways of building collaborative networks that would enable the strengthening of each other’s work; or, in the words of one the facilitators, Francis Rwodzi, to “find ways of using the right tactics, at the right time, for the right reasons.” The participants also spent time discussing ways of building meaningful relationships while reflecting on the commonalities and differences among their various political struggles.
Photo by Dave Mitchell

The main endeavor of the workshop was to document some of the successful and inspiring local action stories, tactics and principles of nonviolent collective activism and organizing, with the ultimate goal of contributing to the global Beautiful Rising creative activism toolbox. Participants felt that by creating a contextualised toolbox of stories and tactics for Zimbabwe, this would go a long way in strengthening the ability to organise by articulating effective approaches through documenting old and new tactics. Such a toolbox would also seek to strengthen the capacity of frontline activists to facilitate effective change.

The dynamic facilitation team guided the group through processes of reflection on their different activist experiences, identifying successes (and failures!) from specific campaigns and actions that would then kickstart the participants on writing stories for possible inclusion in the Beautiful Rising toolbox. The group identified a number of successful local case studies, ranging from the women’s sewage campaign targeted at policy makers, to case studies of both the “no” and “yes” campaigns for the referendum to ratify a new constitution. It emerged that a lot of successful and well-executed campaigns and actions, particularly those undertaken by the women’s movement, have gone undocumented, and the Beautiful Rising experience in Zimbabwe presented a heartening opportunity to coherently document important pieces of history related to citizen nonviolent activism and organizing.

On the second evening, we were also joined by two well-known and brilliant local activists, Jestina Mukoko of the Zimbabwe Peace Project and McDonald Lewanika of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, who both discussed their experiences in confronting the regime. Both activists has some invaluable lessons to share about movement building and organising.

A key concern that emerged from discussions around civil society collaboration was the issue of trust, or lack thereof, wherein participants highlighted the challenges of organizing in a highly polarized sector that the state has permeated through strategically placed informants.

There were a lot of interactive breakout sessions where participants held discussions around the political context and the need to identify — in a country where a simple act like watching a video of the Arab Spring got people incarcerated — specific actions that would not potentially endanger people’s lives,but that could create more space for democratic engagement.

Participants found particularly useful the practical, hands-on session of planning a campaign using a prototype of a Beautiful Rising card game. First they identified real-life pertinent issues in Zimbabwe and formed groups that then strategised and visualised possible actions to undertake, following the strategic steps laid out in the game. Participants also identified and discussed the challenges of organising in the current political environment. Such challenges included the “NGOization” of social movements — which is seen to have the ultimate effect of alienating and demobilizing supporters of causes, leaving the struggle in the hands of technocrats who are often at the mercy of donor dictates.

At the end of the workshop, participants creatively strategised about future collaborations with each other and left with a sense of community, having also committed to writing and contributing their varied experiences to the development of a Zimbabwean toolbox.
Photo by Beautiful Rising

Natasha Msonza is a human rights activist and digital security trainer currently managing operations at Her Zimbabwe — a non profit organisation that brings important commentary to women’s issues using digital and offline spaces.


Posted by Natasha Msonza
June 30, 2015

Beautiful Rising’s beautiful spring

Photo by Theis Dencker

Beautiful Rising has had a very busy spring. We held a workshop at the World Social Forum in Tunisia, convened troublemakers from six countries throughout the Arab world in Amman, and met with Syrian and Turkish creative activists in Istanbul. We’ve heard success stories, and been thrilled to discover new tactics and ideas for effective organizing in diverse and challenging circumstances. Read on for highlights…

World Social Forum

On March 27, during the World Social Forum in Tunis, the city that ignited the Arab Spring, Beautiful Rising’s Rae Abileah led a workshop entitled “Creative activism under challenging political circumstances.” The workshop was packed with people — from Tunisia, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Belgium, Sweden, Turkey, Algeria, and beyond — all there to share stories of creative resistance and learn from one another. Questions ranged from how to plan jail support for activists engaging in civil disobedience, to how to encourage conservative audiences to join a flash mob.

Participants teased out key lessons from their campaigns and creative resistance. Sofiane Belhadj and Zied Touzani spoke about utilizing cartoons and coordinated Internet customer pressure to overturn Internet censorship in Tunisia. Thinzar Shunlei Yi showed real-time photos of protests in Yangon condemning violent police attacks on students. Meanwhile, Norman Tumuhimbise shared his story of releasing pigs doused in yellow paint inside the Ugandan Parliament to protest massive government corruption.

Read Rae’s full dispatch from Tunis highlighting stories of creative resistance from Myanmar to Zimbabwe.

Arab Regional Workshop

Photo by Theis Dencker

After Tunis, Beautiful Rising held our second listening workshop, from April 12-15 at ActionAid’s Global Platform in Amman, Jordan. Fifteen frontline activists from Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and Tunisia came together to document action stories, build cross-movement networks, and, as co-facilitator Andrew Boyd put it, “make Beautiful Rising their own.”

With co-facilitators Nisreen Haj Ahmad, Rae Abileah, Theis Dencker, Andrew Boyd, and Diana Haj Ahmad, the participants explored the constraints and challenges activists face in the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region through breakout groups, the Beautiful Rising card game (in beta), and a theater workshop.

From discussions of political contexts in the Arab region to highlighting challenges of organizing under current regimes and successes from specific campaigns, each participant identified a story that they then began to write — starting a future contribution for the Beautiful Rising toolbox. These included new strategies (“Divestment”), tactics (“Currency hacking” and “Radical travel”), principles (“Maintain momentum” and “Personalize and polarize”), theories (De-colonizing NGO funding”), and case studies (“Stolen Gas Campaign”, “Birthright Un/Re-plugged”, and “Highway Dummies”).

We were inspired to see a coordinator of the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and an organizer with the global climate justice movement to divest from fossil fuels pair up to write a piece on divestment, and discover common principles and different challenges. “This is the magic of working across silos,” said Rae Abileah, “and distilling out best practices from our lived experience.”

Read more about the Amman workshop in this blog post by Tunisian participant Zyna Mejri.

Amman-2015-cardgame-600.jpg

Istanbul

Next up was Istanbul, where in between cups of tea and games of backgammon, Andrew and Rae launched the Turkish edition of Beautiful Trouble - Bela Iyidir. As is tradition at launch parties for new language versions of Beautiful Trouble, talented local musicians sang the Table of Contents — in this case with Turkish and Persian musicians and traditional instruments.

Andrew and Rae also facilitated a nonviolent action training for Turkish activists, and met with Syrian activists at The Day After to hear their stories of creative organizing and ideas on how best to build Beautiful Rising.

The Road Ahead

Beautiful Rising’s next stop is Harare, Zimbabwe, for our third workshop, from June 2-5. Later in 2015 look for us in Uganda and Bangladesh — email us at swa(at)ms.dk if you have activists contacts in these countries who may be interested in getting involved.

Thanks for reading. As always, we’re @BeautRising on Twitter and Beautiful Rising on Facebook and we hope you’ll keep us updated on your work too!

-The Beautiful Rising Team


Posted by Mara Ranville
May 13, 2015

Troublemaker’s workshop in Amman

“If you don’t like the news …GO OUT and make some of your own!”

–Wes “Scoop” Nisker

As part of the Beautiful Rising project, a workshop was held at the ActionAid Global Platform in Amman from 12 to 15 April, 2015. The workshop brought together 15 activists whose work is based in six Arab countries (Lebanon, Palestine, Egypt, Tunisia, Syria and Jordan) to reflect on and document their work together, share their own experiences with creative activism, and join an international network of rising social movements.

The workshop provided participants with new in-depth technical knowledge, tactical and strategic insights, and networks of information-sharing and mutual support that will empower them in their coming day-to-day work. It also included writing sessions in which participants helped transform their success stories into cases useful in other countries. There was also training in strategic campaigning, networking, creative action planning and brainstorming on best practices, tactics, and approaches used in social activism across the Middle-East/North Africa region.

Participants and facilitators had an incredibly valuable and inspiring experience:

“When describing the Beautiful Trouble book, a storm of ideas come to mind. Inspired by the social movements mentioned in it, and by the tactics, principles, theories, and quotes contained in it; you go back to your country carrying plenty of ideas, and start seeing activism differently: as an everyday joy and pleasure!” wrote Zyna Mejri (Tunisia).

“The Beautiful Trouble book is useful beyond documentation in that it contributes to a common language for activist work and makes a great deal of this work available in a concise, cross-referenceable form which we all can draw from,” says D. ‘Alwan, an Iraqi-American activist and a participant at the BR workshop. “My take-aways in addition to new relationships and networks, come in the form of written case studies. These writings will highlight tactics, principles, and theories of activist campaign work based in the Arab world that will be included in some way in Beautiful Trouble projects.”

However, according to D., the Beautiful Rising workshop model also faces some challenges, including how to best encourage global engagement since the format of the content being collected is already set. In order to be involved, international participants are being asked to work within predetermined western paradigms that feed Beautiful Trouble, the book. This limits what these participants are able to explore together as well as contribute. The Beautiful Rising project will address this constraint as it moves forward to work in more countries.

But it wasn’t just about learning, documenting, and planning for the future. Participants took action, too: In one of the action-design sessions participants rewrote lyrics to Lauryn Hill’s “Killing Me Softly” in order to encourage her to cancel her upcoming concert in Tel Aviv as part of the cultural boycott of Israel for its human rights abuses. Participants filmed themselves singing the song and produced a music video that got traction in online news sites and joined the global chorus asking Ms. Hill to not play the show — a movement that was ultimately successful in helping Ms. Lauryn Hill to do the right thing and cancel her show. You can thank her by adding your name on the “Thank you Ms. Lauryn Hill” site.

The Beautiful Rising project was co-founded by ActionAid Denmark and Beautiful Trouble in 2014 and is funded by the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) under the heading “Innovative Partnerships.” Beautiful Rising aims to strengthen the capacity and effectiveness of social movements, activist groups, and civil society organizations to achieve lasting social change. The first phase of the project includes an across-the-world “listening project” to identify inspiring stories and key factors in practicing creative activism in politically challenging circumstances. The workshop in Jordan this past April was the second of five or six that are planned. The team went to Myanmar in January, and future workshops are scheduled later this year for Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, and Uganda.


Posted by Zyna Mejri
May 12, 2015

Call for participants for a Beautiful Rising workshop (Harare, Zimbabwe)

Do you want to join an international network of movement leaders and share your organizing experiences with creative activism? Are you interested in documenting your success stories and contributing writing and ideas to a global online toolbox for change makers? If so, we hope you’ll join us at a 4-day workshop June 2-5, 2015 in Harare, Zimbabwe.

We’re looking for experienced activists from across Zimbabwe. Please apply through this form or share in your network before the application deadline of May 10.

We are calling for seasoned activists who ideally have:

  • extensive experience with mobilising and organising communities in creative campaigns;
  • an interest for writing/documenting successful action stories and tactics used (you are expected to contribute to this during the workshop and afterwards);
  • extensive knowledge of social movements in the your country and/or the region, and the specific successes and challenges of these movements in driving social change;
  • experience as social movement educators, trainers, analysts, theorists, commentators, or communications campaigners;
  • an interest in helping to articulate the principles and best practices of effective activism and organizing.

The workshop

At the workshop you can expect to be:

  • Working and creatively brainstorming on best practices, tactics, and approaches used in social activism;
  • Using a substantial part of the time in writing sessions transforming specific stories into cases useful to activists in very different contexts for the Beautiful Rising public toolbox;
  • Networking with activists from across the country;
  • Receiving some optional/additional training in strategic planning, networking, or creative action planning.

A convening, not a training

By attending the workshop and joining this innovative network, participants will gain a deeper understanding of tactics, principles, and theories of activism through co­developing online modules for the Beautiful Rising project and toolkit.

As such, the workshop is not a training but a space where activists from diverse backgrounds can work together to identify, articulate, and disseminate their practices. It is a chance for participants to run the show – to create content that will be useful for social movements locally, regionally, and globally.

Beautiful Rising - a new and innovative project

The Beautiful Rising project seeks to form new kinds of partnerships with organizations, social movements and activist groups with the aim of creating a web-based knowledge platform on creative activism. This project seeks to strengthen the partners’ capacity and creativity in campaigning, public mobilization, advocacy and nonviolent activism in diverse contexts across Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

The project is co-founded by ActionAid Denmark and Beautiful Trouble. You can learn more about the project and the partners here.

Costs covered

Food and refreshments during the days of the workshop are covered for all participants and those travelling from outside of Harare will have their accommodation and travel expenses covered.

Thank you for your interest.

Yours sincerely, on behalf of the Beautiful Rising team

Søren Warburg ActionAid Denmark, swa(at)ms.dk

If you’re ready to apply, here’s the link to the application form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1wKPLvk5nBulW5FLhv4wYwNR9eRfQuR59Pc4dN9qi43c/viewform


Posted by Søren Warburg
April 23, 2015

Beautiful Rising at the World Social Forum, 2015

Participants at the World Social Forum hold Palestinian flags during a march at the end of the 2015 World Social Forum (WSF) in solidarity with Palestinians, in Tunis, March 28, 2015. | Photo: Reuters

Participants shared experiences of how to creatively organize for social justice and equality at the 2015 World Social Forum in Tunis.

“Where is Salle B?” I ask through the torrential downpour of rain.

“Come with me, I will take you there,” says the Tunisian student volunteer. I follow him through crowds chanting liberation slogans for Palestine and Argentina, past the frozen flash mob of Tunisian students demanding university rights, around the African dancers ringed by smartphone-clad onlookers capturing the moment, and along rows of tables with piles of literature blowing around like confetti in the strong storm winds. We reach the classroom where the workshop is taking place and my guide, a Tunisian engineering student, says, “You are welcome.”

Getting lost, asking for help, and navigating through a maze of classrooms is a constant activity here at the World Social Forum in Tunis. Despite over 88 pages of workshop listings and information, the Forum guide has no map to the University of Tunis El Manar campus. My frequent bouts of frustration at not being able to find sessions seem to always be interrupted by the presence of one of the friendly students offering to take me wherever I need to go. And that beats following GPS on my cell phone and tripping over the sidewalk on the way.

Perhaps this is an ample metaphor for the state of many social movements:
(read full article…)


Posted by Søren Warburg
March 30, 2015

Welcoming new members

Hello again from the team at Beautiful Rising,

We’ve had a busy winter, and wanted to share our successes with you. Most importantly, we held our first in-country session in Myanmar/Burma, in late January, 2015. You can read more about it, and where we’re going next, here.

Also in January, we convened our second advisory network meeting to seek input on the project’s statement of values, and on a creative card game entitled “Cards for Humanity” we’re developing for use during the in-country sessions. We also held a preliminary “security bootcamp” for our team and offered a security primer to workshop participants.

January also brought a new member to our team: Theis Dencker. Theis will be contributing to project management on the ActionAid end of things for the next three months, including coordinating our next workshops.

New Advisory Network members

We also have some new additions to the Beautiful Rising Advisory Network to announce. Joining our existing advisory network members – Katharine Ainger, Tom Allen, Laura Walker Hudson, Anna Levy, and Aurelia Moser – are:

Nisreen Haj Ahmad is the co-founder of Ahel & Mujtama3i and a board member of Leading Change Network. Over the past five years, she has been leading or coaching campaigns for human rights in Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. She studied law at the University of Edinburgh in 1997 after which she was a legal advisor to the Palestinian negotiating team. She also studied community organising with Marshall Ganz at the Harvard Kennedy School in 2007.

Suzan Abong Wilmot is a mother, a neighbor, and a friend. Originally from the Lango sub-region in Uganda, she is an internationally trained social change organizer, recycled jewelry artisan, and Director of Solidarity Uganda. She is interested in transforming the professionalistic nonprofit culture of Uganda into one that works more seriously on the ground and generates real results.

Phil Wilmot - After working with several nonprofits and activist groups internationally, Phil married into Uganda and now oversees strategy and operations at Solidarity Uganda. As a consultant-trainer, he has trained many communities in nonviolent action, including those trying to protect land and natural resources, end corruption, and fight unemployment.

Philemon Matsotso Jazi is the Head of Programmes and Policy for ActionAid Zimbabwe. He is a development practitioner with extensive experience in supporting capacity development of Civil Society including social movements in programmes focusing on the civil, political and socio-economic rights of youth and women, governance and accountability, and participatory democracy. His main interest is in enhancing the role of civil society and social movements in sustainable development and democracy.

Thanks for reading. As always, we’re @BeautRising on Twitter and Beautiful Rising on Facebook and we hope you’ll keep us updated on your work too!

– The Beautiful Rising Team


Posted by Mara Ranville
March 10, 2015

Call for participants for a Beautiful Rising workshop (Amman, Jordan)

Do you want to be part of the Beautiful Rising project? Do you want to join an international network of great social movements and share your own experiences with creative activism? Then join us at a 4 day workshop April 12th – 15th 2015 in Amman, Jordan.

We’re looking for experienced activists based in Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Egypt, Tunisia, or Jordan. Please apply through this form or share in your network before the deadline for application on March 4th 2015.

We are calling for seasoned activists who ideally have:

  • extensive experience with mobilising and organising communities in creative campaigns;
  • an interest for writing/documenting successful action stories and tactics used (you are expected to contribute to this during the workshop and afterwards);
  • extensive knowledge of social movements in the your country and/or the region, and the specific successes and challenges of these movements in driving social change;
  • experience as social movement educators, trainers, analysts, theorists, commentators, or communications campaigners;
  • an interest in helping to articulate the principles and best practices of effective activism and organizing.

Activists with the ability to speak and write proficiently in English are strongly preferred though translation will be available to some degree.

The workshop

At the workshop you can expect to be:

  • Working and creative brainstorming on best practices, tactics, and approaches used in social activism across the MENA region;
  • Participating in writing sessions transforming specific stories into cases useful in other countries;
  • Receiving some optional/additional training in strategic planning, networking, creative action planning;

Networking with activists from six countries across the MENA region.

You’re in charge

By attending the workshop and joining this innovative network, participants will gain a deeper understanding of tactics, principles, and theories of activism through co-developing online modules for the Beautiful Rising project and toolkit.

As such the workshop is not your ordinary training but a space where activists from diverse backgrounds can work together to identify, articulate, and disseminate better practices. It is a chance for participants to run the show – to create content that will be useful for social movements locally, regionally, and globally.

Beautiful Rising - a new and innovative project

The Beautiful Rising project seeks to form new kinds of partnerships with organizations, social movements and activist groups with the aim of creating a web-based knowledge platform on creative activism. This project seeks to strengthen the partners’ capacity and creativity in campaigning, public mobilization, advocacy and non-violent activism in the MENA region and 4 countries in Asia and Africa.

The project is co-founded by ActionAid Denmark and Beautiful Trouble. You can learn more about the project and the partners here.

Costs covered

Accommodation, food and refreshments during the days of the workshop are covered for all participants and those travelling from outside of Jordan will have their travel expenses covered.

Thank you for your interest.

Your sincerely,
on behalf of the Beautiful Rising team
Theis Dencker
ActionAid Denmark

P.S. If you’re ready to apply, the form is right here!


Posted by Theis Dencker
February 20, 2015

Myanmar/Burma workshop and the road ahead

nadine-and-soren.jpg

Beautiful Rising facilitators Nadine Bloch (left) and Søren Warburg (right) work to document case studies of creative activism in Myanmar/Burma with local activists.

Hello again,

In late January, we held a four-day workshop at ActionAid’s Global Platform in Yangon, drawing together 20 frontline activists from across Myanmar/Burma to document their successes and distill their key insights. The workshop was a huge success, providing an important look into the constraints and challenges activists are facing and pulling together a community to give input on the activist toolkit as it develops.

Back in North America, we have been working hard to better understand what delivery platforms and content from Beautiful Trouble might resonate for a diverse range of activists in many different regions. To start exploring these questions in a creative way, our design team at The Public Society developed an offline card game for use during the in-country workshops. After rapidly developing numerous versions of the game, testing it with activists in New York, and sharing it with our advisory network, a beta version was sent to Myanmar/Burma just hours before the gathering got underway. You can see the card resources in development here.

cards-for-humanity.jpg

The Road Ahead

Beautiful Rising’s next stops are Tunis, Tunisia for the World Social Forum (March 24th-28th) and Amman, Jordan (April 12-15) for our next in-country session.

World Social Forum, March 24th-28th: Beautiful Rising’s next step is Tunis, Tunisia to participate in the World Social Forum. We are currently reaching out to other groups to collaborate on the workshop, but we are envisioning a session will be both hands-on, featuring interactive games and discussions to identify the best examples of creative activism and to help shape the forthcoming Beautiful Rising toolkit. It will also be an opportunity to talk about action strategy – pitfalls and breakthroughs – under politically challenging circumstances.

Amman, Jordan, April 12-15: Our next in-country sessions will be focused on the Middle Eastern Northern Africa (MENA) region. It will be hosted by Action Aid in Amman, Jordan and will invite participants from across the region. We are actively looking for case studies of creative activism from recent struggles that would fit with this workshop – if you have suggestions, please send them to our way.

Thanks for reading. As always, we’re @BeautRising on Twitter and Beautiful Rising on Facebook and we hope you’ll keep us updated on your work too!

– The Beautiful Rising Team


Posted by Phillip Smith
February 17, 2015

Beautiful Rising is hiring a part-time writer/researcher in Myanmar

Beautiful Rising, a toolkit of creative activism that will showcase the innovative tactics & strategies of social movements across the global south, is looking for a Myanmar-based writer/researcher to contribute to the project.

The writer/researcher will develop case studies for the toolkit over the next few months, in collaboration with the editorial team. These will be similar to case studies from Beautiful Trouble, but will focus on recent creative and innovative actions and organizing in Myanmar specifically. The goal will be to write up these actions and how they were successful so that activists both in Myanmar and in other countries across the global south can learn from them.

We encourage interested applicants to read a few case studies from our previous toolkit to get a better understanding of the format. For example:

The successful applicant will have a strong interest in social movements in Myanmar and a proven proficiency in written English. To apply, please email dave@beautifultrouble.org with a short letter (one page maximum) explaining why you want to write for Beautiful Rising, and attach a writing sample (in English).

This position pays an honorarium of USD$100 for each case study.

Please apply by Wednesday March 4.


Posted by Søren Warburg
February 16, 2015

Call for ideas

Beautiful Rising is seeking the best examples of game-changing creative activism from the global south - and we need your help!

Share your idea today by filling out this form.

The global south has long been at the forefront of creative protest tactics and strategies. Beautiful Rising, a partnership between ActionAid and Beautiful Trouble, seeks to document, decode and share these innovations so that others can learn from them and apply them in their own contexts. We’ll not only showcase the best examples of creative activism at work in the global south, but partner directly with grassroots activists to illuminate the principles and practices of effective creative activism in diverse and politically challenging circumstances. For inspiration, here are just a few examples:

  • A pro-democracy Burmese youth movement uses graffiti stencils and pamphlets to spread messages opposing Myanmar’s military government during the Saffron Revolution.

  • A Ugandan anti-corruption coalition encourage people to dress in black every Monday to show their opposition to corruption by those in power. This way the movement grows in visibility every week.

BUT — to ensure we draw on as broad a network as possible, we need your ideas. What bold, creative actions, campaigns and movements from across the global south should we showcase?

Fill in this form to let us know!.


Posted by Søren Warburg
November 05, 2014

Announcing the first members of the Beautiful Rising Advisory Network

First of all, thanks for your interest in Beautiful Rising — the project is generating a lot of excitement so far and we’ve only just begun!

With this short email we just wanted to keep you in the loop as you have asked to be kept updated.

We are thrilled to announce the first few names of people that will be joining the Beautiful Rising Advisory Network — a group of people that will help guide the project as it develops. The first batch we are presenting here have a particular skillset that will help inform the tech and editorial side of the project.

And here they are! (drum roll please)…

Katharine Ainger - co-editor of We Are Everywhere: The irresistible rise of global anti-capitalism and a former co-editor of New Internationalist. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, The New Statesman, Adbusters, and ZNet. She is interested in the points where creativity, radical democracy and ecological justice intersect.

Tom Allen - Global Engagement Manager for ActionAid International, digital expert with an in depth knowledge of the third sector. Have worked predominantly in environmental campaigning, international development and human rights issues and have been involved with most of ActionAid’s International ICT4D projects so far.

Laura Walker Hudson - Chief Executive Officer for Social Impact Lab (makers of FrontlineSMS, award-winning open-source software used in over 135 countries), and Advisory Board Member at SpaceUnited - she has supported people and organizations around the world to use inclusive technologies to make systems and services more accessible, responsive, and resilient.

Anna Levy - Governance Project Director for Social Impact Lab (makers of FrontlineSMS, award-winning open-source software used in over 135 countries) where she is managing programs, projects, and partnerships in relation to transparency and accountability in public services and foreign assistance/international development programs, inclusive policy making, and digital infrastructure for social services.

Aurelia Moser - works as a developer and code-cartographer at Ushahidi and Internews-Kenya, and as an advocate for global code curricula, she balances experience in design, development and data-journo departments. She also coordinates Nodebots-NYC meetups and leads the hub-chapter for Girl Develop It, a non-profit that is empowering women of diverse backgrounds from around the world to learn how to develop software.

Gabi Sobliye - Gabi holds a Masters in Human Rights from University College London. As a programme coordinator for Tactical Tech works on visual persuasion areas central to our book Visualising Information for Advocacy. She works on a variety of data representation projects and is currently working on a visualisation of housing collapses in Egypt. She has an interest in data and design, which, outside of Tactical Tech, she applies to the creation of braided hair wreath displays.

We are working hard to expand the list with more good and inspiring people, particularly people who have close familiarity with the political issues, forces and dynamics at play in the local context.

We will stay in touch very soon with more exciting developments and news!

Soren and the Beautiful Rising team.

If you’d like to receive updates about this project as it unfolds, sign up at the top of this page.

For more information, contact project manager Søren Warburg at swa (at) ms.dk or tweet @sorenwar.


Posted by Søren Warburg
September 30, 2014

Announcing Beautiful Rising - A Global Toolbox for Changemakers!

Exciting new partnership will support & share lessons from activists in the Global South

Over the next two years, ActionAid Denmark will be partnering with the creative gang of activists behind Beautiful Trouble and organisers in rights-based activism and campaigns in Zimbabwe, Uganda, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Egypt. Together, we’ll be developing an online toolkit for activists in the global south to engage in thinking through, and sharing, their most effective strategies for achieving social change.

The project, funded by the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) under the heading “Innovative Partnerships,” seeks to strengthen the capacity, creativity, and effectiveness of social movements, activist groups, and civil society organizations to achieve lasting social change.

If you’d like to receive updates about this project as it unfolds, sign up at the top of this page.

For more information, contact project manager Søren Warburg at swa (at) ms.dk or tweet @sorenwar.


Posted by Søren Warburg
August 05, 2014