Discovering alternative futures. And helping them along. That is what drives Esther Barfoot in her work as a communication activist. Many systems, such as our democracy, financial system, ways of organising and communicating seem broken or faulty. Esther develops and realises communication concepts for bottom-up and future-oriented movements, such as a movement by police people in the Dutch National Police reclaiming their professionalism, a community initiated by Rotterdam council to prepare the city for climate change and the WE Programme, set up by Tchibo to improve human rights in the factories in their supply chain. Activist communication stands between the innovators and change agents and is co-created with them. It focuses on change that wants to happen. To do so, activist communication addresses the intuition and experiments freely and eagerly with a great diversity of work forms and (artistic) concepts. It is not an omniscient communication, but open to discover the future together with the participants.
Eroding the Power from within: Activist Communication (Esther Barfoot)Activism, Collaboration, Courage, Disruption, Esther Barfoot, Leadership, Power, Self-Improvement, Trust, Workshops
Get a load of this: in the Netherlands a police officer isn’t allowed to choose the partner with whom he is teamed up in the police car. He has no say in the choice of partner who might or might not save his life in a life or death situation. Police people, nurses, teachers and many other professionals are often prevented from doing their work properly by all kinds of rules, regulations and interference by managers and other staff, based on an inherent distrust of the healthy judgement of professionals. Fortunately, in many organisations, professionals are standing up and forming movements to reclaim their own professionalism, judgement and space to do their work properly. These movements, of course, want to spread the word and communicate with the people inside and outside the movement. This calls for a different kind of communication than the classic, top down corporate communication. It is what Esther calls ‘activist communication’.
Activist communication does the following:
It does this in many, often creative forms. Activist communication searches for ways to appeal to the right brain, the intuition. In this workshop Esther will talk to the participants about activist communication and her experience at – among others – the Dutch National Police (illustrated with many photos and examples). Then the participants will do the activist poster workshop she has done many times at the police and, for instance, in health care organisations. The participants develop an interesting quote or motto about something that really frustrates them in their work, makes them an feel rebellious, or alternatively something that really inspires them. Through (street) art they turn this into an appealing poster. The workshop is designed to empower participants, as well as search for ways to make progress, break down faulty systems and move from distrust to trust, while staying in conversation with the main order of things.