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 stands between and is co-created with the innovators and change agents
- It harvests stories from the undercurrent
- It gives words to new concepts
- It spreads valuable ideas
- It keeps the dialogue alive
- It kisses the future awake
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.