Tools for Change : The Winners!

By Esther Ellard


Our hack kicked off with a public activation session inviting the public to collectively re-imagine the briefs looking at issues of collaboration, resistance, impact and connectivity. 

We were pleased to see so many makers, designers, thinkers and activists come together including the likes of Richard Hering from History of Resistance, Somerset house studio’s residents, stop funding hate director Richard Wilson and makerversity members alongside students from MA Reporting and Design Management and Cultures from LCC.

This hack asked citizens to re-imagine protest. From how we engage with it to creating new tools to facilitate collaboration in a crowd.


The Hack was an intensive two day session that saw the makers exploring many provocations before settling on a particular issue and exploring this in context; Questioning who the user was, where this would be taking place and how it would be used.



Amy Humphreys, Sofia Niazi, Tom Meades.

The Problem: Protests often draw big crowds, fostering a sense of community spirit and connection but in reality how much communication is actually occurring? Protest is a veteran tool of civic engagement, public collaboration and expression. But it has become habitual and stagnant, no longer forcing the public or attendees to truly engage, communicate and question.

The Solution : The BLOK is a simple tool that can bring people together and leave a visual impression of community building behind a campaign. Providing the public with easy accessibility to hacking protests. Made from a basic cuboid net, the Blok can be downloaded, printed and assembled using a video tutorial or step-by-step instructions.

The Hive

Ikra Arshad, Huxley Mann

The Problem: When researching into this project we felt there was too many negative connotations associated with protests, their loud, disruptive, aren’t always assessable to the masses and the message can also be very unclear.

The Solution : Our solution is the Hive! A visual interactive installation inspired by the bumblebee which represents community and unity. Imagine walking through Trafalgar Square with this installation suspended above you, it’s cultural and can be used both indoor and outdoors and is cheap to produce it’s a tool that can have an ongoing message to be seen and appreciated for years to come.


Michael Buick, James Leitch

The Problem: Direct action is powerful tool for citizens to challenge unjust laws. It has been used in many important struggles, from Indian independence to the civil rights movement. One foundation of current direct action is consensus decision-making: during preparations, unanimous agreement is reached on when and how, helping to build trust and solidarity. Activists see this as radical democracy in action. The problem is that when quick decisions are needed during the action, the existing methods can be painfully slow. Crowds struggle to make democratic decisions quickly. This often gives police the advantage.

The Solution: The Blue-Red Tool is a proposal for a universal visual language to help solve decision making. Using two colours, along with a grammar for what they mean and a way for each individual to display them to everybody else, it allows instant group expression of either emotions or choices.




Jacob Boast

The Problem: Protesters want to spread a message, but increasingly they seem to be talking amongst themselves. To the non-protesting member of the public, the energy and creativity of a protest can disappear once the protesters have left the scene, leaving little or no trace behind. Protest? What protest?

The Solution : STAMP is the protest shoe that spreads your message as you walk. It’s a tool that can be used at protests of any size, to leave behind an imprint of the protest message on the urban landscape. The STAMP sticker-dispenser easily attaches onto your shoes, allowing the wearer to deposit a trail of stickers on the ground.


Yun-Pei Hsiung, Matt Perchard, Sabina Weiss.

The Problem: Our choices come from our thoughts. Every day we make choices that shape our world. Driving a car into town, or taking the tube, leaving a comment under shocking news, or just reposting it to Facebook. News companies are biased – people do not critically engage with facts as they believe in the newspaper’s authority. How can we make public thoughts more transparent and therefore disrupt biased headlines and having a fairer communication in our community?

The Solution : By giving people simple tools to leave comments and thoughts on a newspaper we create a physical parallel to digital commenting and liking system. Hate news commonly comes from a mutual mis-understanding. Giving a physical platform for the public to be exposed to a variety of opinions allows for a better chance to understand each other’s point of view. This is a preventative tool for balancing conflicting views in the society and de-radicalizing the hate fueled news.

We will  run the next hack in our summer programme. Watch this space & sign up to our mailing list to be the first to hear about upcoming events, workshops and talks!

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Posted By Esther Ellard