The Creative Resistance Research Network

Creativity has a long and celebrated history in struggles for social change. However, more often than not this history has been written through the works of consciousness-raising agit-prop, or in the copy for gallery fundraisers, rather than through the artistic productions of the movements in struggle themselves. Yet these critical divisions no longer function as smoothly for a generation of contemporary artists and activists who engage with the terrain of creative practice as a central component of their everyday lives.

Since the 1960s ‘creativity’ and ‘culture’ have become one of the leading sectors of Western economies. Not only in the form of a ‘leisure’ society where our time is spent consuming ‘spectacles’ in galleries, movies and increasingly online, but also in our production of culture as commodity.  From artistic directors to programmers, youtube uploaders to care-workers, creative production has become a central part of everyday life. This new cultural terrain includes activist practices which take creativity, affect and the aesthetic as their primary field of social struggle. Such practices do not fit neatly into recognised and received notions of either “art” or “activism.”

In the past two decades there has been much debate around attempts to theorise these practices. They are labelled as, for example, radical aesthetics; cultural activism; temporary autonomous zones; ethical spectacles; guerrilla art; tactical media; and art-activism. Working transdisciplinarily, the Creative Resistance Research Network (CRRN) brings together scholars, artists and activists to examine creative resistance practices, and the conditions they respond to. The network provides a platform for research into the history of these struggles and offers a space to discuss new theoretical perspectives being developed by emergent, institutional and autonomous researchers.

We support research and practice on ‘creative resistance’ through three principle activities:

  • Research Development: Host seminars, symposium, workshops and works-in-progress series to provide a space for researchers to develop their scholarship and practice individually and collectively.
  • Early Career Support: Provide a supportive and collegial environment for early career academics through skill and resource-shares; generate collaborative opportunities for publishing and research fundraising.
  • Public Education: Run public workshops, ‘free school’ programming and community-student research exchanges through our go.create.resist programme.

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