Proudly presenting: A Craftivist’s Manifesto in seven languages so far…

31 Jul Proudly presenting: A Craftivist’s Manifesto in seven languages so far…

I sometimes think Craftivism is like the word Punk. Under that umbrella term you have The Clash, Sex Pistols, Ramones, Blondie and so many other bands that sound nothing like each other but are all seen as part of the Punk scene. Similarly Craftivism (the term was coined by Betsy Greer in 2001) can be used to describe so many different activities and creations.

Here at the Craftivist Collective we focus on campaigning and activism where we question and challenge the root causes of poverty and suffering and look for long term solutions to those problems. The solutions might be a change in law, a shift in behaviour or a change in attitude. Our heroes are activists like Ghandi, Martin Luther King and the Suffragettes who all brilliantly changed our world for the long term. So the Craftivist Collective is not about fundraising, donating or simply awareness-raising. We use craft (mostly hand-embroidery and paper craft) as a powerful tool to create slow, quiet, thoughtful and compassionate activism as a catalyst for long term positive change in our world and in ourselves. We believe craft, if done wisely, can be a powerful, change-making instrument to add to the toolbox of activism.


We believe:

 “If we want our world to be more beautiful, kind & just, then our activism should be beautiful, kind & just”

We are aware that good intentions are only the start and that we can benefit from guidelines so that we don’t harm others. When we are working for example alongside vulnerable people to help them out of poverty and suffering, we believe we have to be even more emotionally intelligent and sensitive than if we were online pharmacy discount working in another area that doesn’t focus on justice issues. All of our craftivism actions should be rooted in our values, crafted with skill, sensitivity and wisdom.

As part of my my exhibition in Stockholm, Sweden I created this manifesto (pictured) as the largest piece in the exhibition room. It took 6 months to write, rewrite and reflect on before I thought it was good enough! For the Craftivist Collective and for myself, activism is the priority and craft is our tool where appropriate, never our taskmaster.


eric manifesto shot websize


I hope our manifesto is a useful creation to help others understand what it means to be part of the Craftivist Collective community and maybe even be a useful tool to help with other forms of activism…. What do you think? Please comment below.



Hang on your toilet door, office, studio or craft room. Important for anyone who wants to do effective craftivism.



The wonderful team at The Letterpress Collective, Bristol, UK  have letterpress printed our craftivism manifesto on recycled card to sell in our shop. That old-school method makes each one just a tiny bit different – a one-of-a-kind creation. Limited to 100 prints and all signed and numbered. Size A3 (29.7cm x 42cm) and arrives in a poster tube. Grab yours before they all go! So far we’ve had organisations buy prints for their office, a PhD student order one for his desk, craftivists purchase them to help with their craftivism as well as artists, writers and clinicians.


All profits go to help sustain and grow the collective’s activities to engage people in craftivism and support people to be the change they wish to see in the world.

Please do downland our manifesto PDF to print and use as much as you want. Currently we have it translated into six languages but would love help to translate it into more. A big thanks to Nick Hand of The Department of Small Works for his design skills.

If you can help translate our manifesto into another language please do email my via the Contacts Page. We need someone who is skilled in translation to get the nuance, tone and words correct. Every word has been used intentionally so please help us spread our gentle protest approach to craftivism with courage and carefulness 

  • Sarah Nickel Ellis
    Posted at 14:54h, 03 November Reply

    This is what I’ve been searching for…how can I get a copy of the Manifesto print? Thank you for your inspiration!

  • Danielle Carla Hogan
    Posted at 20:26h, 20 November Reply

    Love love love this manifesto Sarah! Wonderful work.
    Thank you for your continued inspiration.

    • Craftivist Collective
      Posted at 12:20h, 30 November Reply

      Thanks for your lovely words Danielle 🙂 x

  • Siobhan Tierney
    Posted at 05:16h, 03 February Reply

    Thank you for investing your time and energy into this. I didn’t realise I was looking for simple, powerful hope until I saw this. I will try to use it wisely ❤

    • Craftivist Collective
      Posted at 17:48h, 10 February Reply

      Thanks for your lovely and thoughtful words Siobhan 🙂

  • Making good: Five ways to be a Craftivist - Mollie Makes
    Posted at 15:32h, 20 April Reply

    […] the Craftivist Collective visit, Follow them on Twitter, download the manifesto or pre-order Sarah’s new […]

  • Divaganços sobre Craftivismo: reflexões e inspirações partilhadas @DialogueCafé | Colectivo Metamorfilia
    Posted at 15:05h, 25 November Reply

    […] Não me parece que seja fundamental estabelecer uma lista de critérios que uma qualquer expressão tenha que preencher para ser considerada craftivista. Ou que seja sequer importante atribuir este rótulo, agora que falamos nisso… Talvez seja por este motivo que, ao invés de “listas de critérios”, encontramos isso sim “manifestos” que dão linhas orientadoras sobre o espírito, a intenção e o objectivo desta prática. Os exemplos mais notórios serão o “The craftivism manifesto” e o “A Craftivist’s Manifesto”. […]

  • Walter Nowlan
    Posted at 14:06h, 03 March Reply

    What an inspiring manifesto. I would like to use it in some language materials that teach Foundation-level Art and Design students in China about sustainability and give them an example of a manifesto. Would it be OK for me to use your manifesto? I would, of course, cite you and include a link to your webpage. Keep up the good work!

    • Craftivist Collective
      Posted at 23:38h, 03 March Reply

      Hey Walter 🙂 Thank you for your kind words. Yes, please use it as much as you can – that’s why I made it. Do update me via with where and how you are using it and the impact if you have time. It’s always great to hear stories like this for me to share with my Craftivist Adopters and do consider becoming one if you can afford to donate the equivalent of £2.50 a week to help me keep the Collective thriving —->

      Keep up your important work. In solidarity, Sarah 🙂

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