Discussion: Urban Activism – Working for Change on a Local Scale

Apr 25
6:30 pm
8:00 pm
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Join 1014 |Space for Ideas for a timely conversation co-hosted with The Urban Activist to discuss what activism means to people, its power to create positive change, and how it has been evolving over the past decades.

With Devin Allen, Trebor Scholz, Eloísa Trinidad and Leslie Davoland. Moderated by Sarah Seidman, Puffin Foundation Gallery Curator of Social Activism at the Museum of the City of New York and the curator for the ongoing exhibition “Activist New York".

Climate activists, gluing themselves to paintings or blocking roads, know their tactics make people angry – yet they believe that it’s a price worth paying. In the streets of Baltimore, activists’ demand for social justice is not a tactic, but rather a “fundamental aspect of life”. For others, activism is an understanding of human agency translated into acts of courage and bold solutions in their local communities.

Museums and Archives on both sides of the Atlantic, like The Museum of the City of New York, have dedicated exhibitions to urban activism, using the topic to foster awareness, encourage critical thinking, and stimulate dialogue. Even museums are moving into more activist activities themselves, so how is activism developing from the past into the future?

In many ways, activists are facing very similar issues as those in the past: Like climate protesters, the suffragettes were not loved a hundred years ago. The same pressures are re-emerging today. And there is the same need – if not a greater need -- for self-organization of ordinary people. However, at a time when we seem to frame everything in moral terms, activism may have gone a step further and become as much a part of our civic responsibility as paying council tax or jury duty. From local volunteering in soup kitchens to making one’s voice heard on the streets.