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SoupGate, the radical flank and the politics of good taste 

October 20, 2022
You’ve probably seen the Just Stop Oil protesters throwing tomato soup over Van Gogh’s Sunflowers at the National Gallery this week – the video on Twitter has over 35 million views, and everyone is talking about it. In particular, a big debate about whether this is just vandalism or smart protest. Tom Aston reflects. In an interesting blog, James Ozden criticizes those talking heads in the UK
Featured image for “Two new Manuals for Activists, with some useful lessons”

Two new Manuals for Activists, with some useful lessons

August 13, 2019
I’ve been taking advantage of the summer lull to skim some of the backlog of tomes that have accumulated on my study floor. Some were so bad and/or obscure that they really don’t deserve a mention, but two on activism got my attention. First up, Be the Change by Gina Martin. Full disclosure, I bought this by mistake, mixing up

The journey of making mental health a development priority

May 23, 2019
For years, we’ve seen first-hand that mental health support and services globally are too sporadic, poorly funded and insufficient to meet the enormous demand for them. Dr. Dixon Chibanda and Elisha London talk about the work behind making mental health a development priority.

Have Children’s Rights Campaigners lost their Courage?

April 5, 2019
The former Save the Children UK chief executive, Sir Mike Aaronson, reflects on the history and legacy of the organisation. In advance of next Monday’s conference at LSE on Politics, Humanitarianism, and Children’s Rights, which explores the relationship between these three constructs, he asks whether we, as today’s children’s rights advocates, have the courage of our predecessors. Do children’s rights count for anything

List of your most disastrous campaign own goals – more please!

February 12, 2019
I’m teaching a course on activism at the LSE and one of my students, Gaia Frazao-Nery, asked me a disarmingly simple question – can you give us some examples of advocacy campaigns that have achieved the opposite of what they wanted? I was stumped, so threw myself on the mercy of twitter. So far, I haven’t quite got the perfect

New improved Make Change Happen: free online course for activists goes live in March

January 30, 2019
I spent a lot of time before Christmas following and commenting on Oxfam’s new MOOC (Massive Open Online Course – keep up) on ‘Making Change Happen’. A lot of time because there were so many comments (from about 3,000 participants) and they were so interesting. Now the MOOC is coming round for its second outing, starting on 4th March, so

How has Oxfam’s approach to Influencing evolved over the last 75 years? New paper

January 23, 2019
Oxfam has just published a reflection on how its approach to ‘influencing’ has evolved since its foundation in 1942. Written by Ruth Mayne, Chris Stalker, Andrew Wells-Dang and Rodrigo Barahona, it’s stuffed full of enlightening case studies and should be of interest to anyone who wants to understand how INGOs developed their current interest in advocacy, lobbying, campaigns etc. Some

What kind of Tax Campaigning works best in developing countries – top down or bottom up?

August 10, 2018
Tax Justice has become a big deal among a range of NGOs, including Oxfam. There’s a lot of global campaigning on things like tax havens and tax evasion by transnational corporations, but what kinds of campaign make sense at a national level in countries like Vietnam and Nigeria? Two new pieces dropped into my inbox on the same morning earlier

What did I learn from teaching LSE students about advocacy and campaigns?

June 14, 2018
I spent a week last month marking student assignments. Sounds boring, right? Well it was brain-drainingly hard work, but it was also enthralling. Usually I just give lectures or write stuff, and the level of feedback is pretty cursory. In contrast, marking the assignments for a course you have taught provides a unique peek inside students’ heads – you find

5 common gaps and 4 dilemmas when we design influencing campaigns

February 27, 2018
I’ve just read the initial proposals of 30+ LSE students taking my one-term Masters module on Advocacy, Campaigning and Grassroots Activism. Their two main assignments are to work as groups analysing past episodes of change (more on that later in the term) and individual projects where they design an influencing exercise based on their own experience and the content of

Campaigning organizations need to do a better job at reaching diverse communities

February 2, 2018
Guest post from Foyez Syed of Save the Children I went into my local chippie this weekend and got talking to Ahmed, the person serving me behind the counter. I told him I worked at Save the Children as a conflict and humanitarian campaigner. To my surprise he instantly jumped to the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, talking about the blockade

Hey FP2P readers, can you please help us choose the title for a MOOC on How Change Happens?

January 31, 2018
We’re in the middle of writing an Oxfam MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) aimed at activists around the world. It brings together some of the themes of How Change Happens (Power and Systems) with some of Oxfam’s more practical internal training materials for campaigners. More on the content to follow, but right now we have to decide on a title