XR Arts Working Group Guidelines
“Politics is not solely, or even primarily, about reasoned thinking and rational choices; it’s an affair of fantasy and desire. People are rarely moved to action, support or even consent by realistic proposals; they are motivated by dreams of what could be.”
— Stephen Duncombe, Dream (2008)
Extinction Rebellion (XR) is creating a world for generations to come through a mass international movement of non-violent direct action.
Your Arts Working Group offers a space to incubate, share and develop creative ideas and skills, with the aim to amplify XR’s three demands through disruptive creative work:
- Tell the truth about climate change & biodiversity loss
- Act now to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2025
- Beyond Politics of today to a democratic Citizens Assembly
Extinction Rebellion invites all artists, visionaries, performers, workshop leaders, radical teachers, holders of space, luminaries and gardeners of the human spirit to come together for vital acts of co-creation, artistic expression, of connection to the planet and one another; of celebration, grief, love, transformation and resilience!
We are waking up and rising up to the climate crisis and action we need to take, and with this comes powerful emotions which we welcome into our space, inspiring transformation and empowerment as part of our regenerative culture.
“Seeing the vulnerability of ourselves and our world clearly for the first time opens us to its beauty properly, as if for the first time.”
— Dr. Rupert Read
- Disruption: To create disruption (public or targeted businesses etc) through mass civil disobedience.
- Outreach: To tell the truth and bring people together, through protest or media.
- Visioning: To demonstrate the future we want to see through beautiful creative actions.
Non-violence is KEY: Our actions never involve any physical or verbal violence. We show respect to our opponents, to make resolution of any political conflict more likely. More detail on Non-violence within XR here.
Civil Disobedience: The key to the effectiveness of Civil Disobedience is mass participation - everyone getting involved! More detail on how Civil-Disobedience works here.
XR Arts Working Group Creative Aims
- Develop ideas to disrupt, outreach and vision through creative non-violent direct action
- Communicate and amplify the 3 demands of XR
- Awaken, inspire and empower people to transform denial into action
- Create and hold spaces for people to grieve, emote, transform and resist together
- Regenerate the spirits of Rebels on the streets taking non-violent direct action
- Build the XR community through collaboration, workshops, co-operation
Creative projects have so far fallen into 3 areas (with much crossover too!):
Community art projects sharing skills, developing teams and creating work for protest
Art for Actions
Dynamic creative interventions
Movement Building Creative work and communications which aims to raise awareness about the climate crisis, engage people into the XR movement and stimulate the International cultural community to take action
“The question of art is no longer of aesthetics, but the survival of diverse life forms on this planet.”
— John Jordan
Photo: Jess Ross www.jessicarost.co.uk
- Create a narrative – this may be with banners, placards, costume, music and drama.
- Consider the look/feel of the action: how are you getting the message across and what is the tone?
- Style: We encourage XR rebels to dress smartly or in costume, to be taken as seriously as possible. Consider Hi-vis for safety and the weather. We have a principle of individual accountability and tend not to hide our faces (with masks etc).
- Re-use, upcycle, real objects, foraging, DIT (Do it together).
- Explore the body as a canvas. How can your action liberate the human body and reactivate it as a vehicle for expression?
- Artworks created for actions need to be easy to install and mobile, unless you are able to provide infrastructure. There is no guarantee pieces won’t get lost or confiscated during direct action.
- We live in a visual age: think sight lines, design & colour schemes, Instagram and digital impact if planning a visual spectacle. Click here for the official XR Design Guidelines and for Art Blockers guidelines click here.
- Consider how your work interconnects with the rest of the XR creative ecosystem and how it can they be scaled up and / or replicated elsewhere.
- Set up a local XR Arts Hub where you can work communally. This might be someone’s private home, it might be a building, guerilla garden or abandoned space. Get together.
- Collaborate with your Logistics group to manage objects on the ground: Plan ahead for transport to bring objects full circle, site ‘dressing’ and maintenance of artworks. 3D requires police liason.
- Arts & outreach go hand in hand. Work together, plan together.
The XR Logo and the Extinction Symbol are both legally protected and for non commercial use only. Our actions are all non-commercial expressions of defiance and beauty aimed at creating a more sustainable society.
Ways of Working
“Eco over Ego”
This is a space to re-imagine the role of art in this time of climate emergency.
How can your action promote the Core Demands of XR?
Be the change: self-organised, adaptable, resilient, compassionate, diverse, inclusive, collaborative and connected. Seek to foster empathy, frugality and humility for a new age. And don’t be an island! Creative output grows richer and reaches further through collaboration. Taking on too much or trying to do everything yourself can ruin the fun. Discover more about Regenerative culture here.
Anyone who adheres to the 10 principles and values outlined here can take action in the name of Extinction Rebellion.
Extinction Rebellion has been founded on a self-organising system model, inspired by holacracy. This means we have working groups with coordinators who ideally work in pairs. This document helps outline the roles of internal and external coordinators.
You can find more info about the ever-evolving XR organism in our constitution. If you are working on a specific creative project it’s not entirely necessary for you to be part of the ‘mandates’ system as described in these docs, however, we do suggest that there are coordinators as a means of ensuring healthy integration between the activity of your group and other XR working groups. For more detail on systems please read our ways of working together document.
We advise working closely with your local Media & Messaging team to ensure that the message of your artistic work aligns with the demands and creative strategy of XR. Also with videographers, photographers and media creatives to expand the reach of your actions. Make sure your creative action is promoted in advance via your local (and National, if appropriate) XR channels (newsletter, social media) and that it is captured not only for media on the day but for archiving and sharing in the future.
It is also important to sync with your local Actions & Logistics team when developing any visions into actions. Please read this Actions doc as a helpful guide to planning actions and integrating the ever-evolving creative vision of XR. This is to ensure that your action meets the values of XR and the following roles are prepared if necessary: police liaison, legal observers, well being, stewards, technical and production teams.
Remember, XR is You! If you’re in alignment with XR Principles & Values please go ahead and pursue your vision. Bring people together to realise it independently.
If you have an idea you’d like further support developing, or has National or International reach please send a brief to email@example.com. Please note that the Arts team currently have limited funding and kindly ask contributors to
consult local XR group funding, crowd-funding or consider volunteering their contributions.
Include in the brief:
- Name of proposal
- Date & location Ideas (if fixed)
- Technical specifications
- Contact details & links
- What production support do you need in addition to your self-organising?
“Art is a weapon that penetrates the eyes, the ears, the deepest and subtlest human feelings.”
— David Alfaro Siqueiros
Winter 2020 - Facilitators are subject to change.
For access to the XR Design Programme please firstly contact members of your local group before contacting and requesting the source file from: firstname.lastname@example.org
XR Art Blockers Guidelines Printing, painting, woodblocks, flag-making!
Contact XR Art Blockers for support.
Paint the Streets email@example.com
We want you to do something more fantastic than we could possibly imagine, without any help from us, with love & rage. Search Extinction Rebellion / Follow us on social media for updates and events