Greenpeace’s Poster Contest is Harmful to Our Movement
Chelsea Ritter-Soronen

Hi Chelsea,

I work for Greenpeace USA’s online team and helped promote the poster contest here in the United States. First off, thank you so much for calling us into this conversation and providing such great feedback. It is critical that non-profits financially support artists and value — not undermine — your place in our movements. Your feedback is being widely discussed at Greenpeace offices in various countries and in the Save the Arctic team.

I asked my Scandanavian colleagues who managed the contest for a little bit more information on the process and thinking on things like voting. This is what I heard back.

“The 3 judges all work for Greenpeace, one is a creative design lead, another is an Engagement lead, and another is a Greenpeace ships Captain. His blog on the winners and the journey ahead, here.
The voting was a way to highlight the public’s appreciation of the many posters, anyone could vote on any poster, and it also engaged further as when someone voted they were also asked to sign the petition. The voting also encouraged people to promote their work on social media, thus spreading the message of the campaign to a wider audience, thus helping raise awareness.
The number of votes was a consideration in the judging of the winners, but it was not the only factor that judges looked at. They also looked at things like composition, message, diversity and tone. Winning the competition was an incentive to participate but it is about much more than winning, hopefully people also saw it as away to express their wishes for the Arctic.”

I also got more info on how Greenpeace offices around the world are using the posters and how they really appreciate your additional ideas:

“Greenpeace offices met recently with Norwegian ambassadors in their countries and took with them posters to display in the event or even to hand over to the Ambassador. Offices are considering ways in which we can display the posters further, the great thing about the posters is they can be used forever. Additionally when the Arctic Sunrise travels to Svalbard this summer, many of the posters will be sent by the winners on board in the form of postcards to the Norwegian Environmental Minister asking him to address the people’s call to protect the Arctic waters and live up to their Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) targets. In these ways we hope to use the posters further to help communicate the messages of the campaign in a creative artistic way.
Highlighting other posters is a great idea. 55 are celebrated here.
Using the posters for a banner in an action or direct communication is also a great idea that different GP offices will hopefully consider.”

Like I said, thank you for starting this conversation. The timing couldn’t be better. We are grappling with ways to creatively engage volunteers and supporters that want to do more to protect the arctic than just sign petitions, particularly outside the professional arts and activist communities. Your ideas to harness their collective creativity are fantastic and we would welcome additional ideas from the arts community.

And we need we need to do better at supporting, not undermining, professional artists.

Thanks, I look forward to continuing this dialogue.

chris eaton

Global Engagement Specialist

Greenpeace USA

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