Tools For Change Activation Session

By Esther Ellard

On Tuesday night we kicked off our Tools For Change civic hack. Richard Wilson director of Stop Funding Hate was in attendance alongside Citizens UK community leader Tahmid Islam.

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 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.

This session was a chance to really interrogate the briefs and start brainstorming ideas for the Hack.  Protest is such a vast and varied subject with many challenges embedded within it, we created our briefs from specific challenges that both SFH and Citizens UK found to be reoccurring issues.

  • How might we create tools for mass collaboration? The idea for this challenge was to disrupt how we communicate and collaborate within a crowd. Demonstration are made up of large number of people, how can we use this momentum of people to create collaboration and tools which facilitate change?
  • How might we disrupt the message? This came from a particular tactic that Stop Funding Hate often use which is to Hi-jack a particular campaign message and twist it to suit their own means. For example hijacking the John Lewis Christmas ad to create a subversive video that shows the other side of the story. (In this case that John Lewis use advertising space in the Daily Mail and The Sun to advertise their products.) How can we piggyback and hijack these messages?
  • How might we cut the cost of action? Protest tools and props cost organisations hundreds of pounds a year and are often only used once. How might we reduce the cost of creating tools for protest?
  • How might we create a unified visual statement? Often the most effective demonstrations involve mass participation to create one unified message. The Pink Pussy Hat campaign was so successful because it created a very clear unified statement and continues to become a visual communicator of the issue even after the demonstration has taken place.
  • How might we make invisible choices visible ? This idea sprung from the fact that very often we make choices as consumers that are invisible to the rest of the world. From the phone provider we use to the food we consume. How can we make these choices visible and sharable encouraging positive consumer behaviour.


The ideas created in this session will now inform and inspire the makers who will be spending the next two days hacking solutions to these issues. The outcomes will be exhibited in Somerset House from November 18th to the 23rd. Follow us at


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Posted By Esther Ellard