Everyday we’re reminded of the horrors that exist in the world. Whether it’s reported in the news or by human rights organisations, knowing about the global state of affairs is important for understanding the world we live in. But being bombarded with nothing but bad news fuels despair and does not fix any of the problems reported; worse still, it makes us feel powerless to do anything about them. But this has to change, because submitting to injustice and accepting defeat shouldn’t be an option.
Instead, we need to put our despair to one side and spark a new way of working, one which embraces new ideas, creativity, critical thinking and, importantly, hope and possibility. Key to this is changing the narrative: rather than just describing what we’re fighting against, we must better describe what it is we’re fighting for. After all, if we can’t imagine it, we can’t achieve it.
To this end, CRIN is launching Utopia — a new collaborative project that draws a picture of what a rights-respecting world would look like, bringing together the factual and imaginary as a tool for change.
We’re launching Utopia at the Tate Exchange on Wednesday, 6 March alongside other organisations, activists and artists. CRIN is one of the partners for the week-long event called BETA Society, which will explore ideas for making society a better, fairer place. For our part, we’re organising a series of thought-provoking talks and workshops on themes such as the environment, tech and surveillance, citizenship rights, and a world without borders.
On the day, we’ll ask questions like: how equitable would societies be if all under-18s — almost a third of the world’s population — could vote? Would a world without borders lead us to no longer fear differences between nations and peoples, and instead celebrate the similarities? And how would we need to live to enjoy a truly healthy and sustainable planet?
Beyond the launch
We won’t be drawing Utopia on our own, however. Human rights are a collective responsibility we all share, so this project will be a collaborative undertaking. And it’s one that requires taking human rights and social justice outside of the confines of nonprofits and the corridors of the United Nations, and bringing in new people with different talents, ideas, and ways of approaching an issue.
To this end, we’re inviting anyone interested in helping us to shape this project. To join Utopia, and re-imagine the world with us, get in touch: email@example.com
Digital Maker Collective conceived and produced BETA Society. They are a group of artists, designers, students and academics from the University of the Arts London who explore emerging digital technologies in arts, education, society and the creative industries. As the ‘laboratory’ for the future, they have created a space with unique anti-disciplinary culture that encourages the mixing and matching of seemingly disparate research areas. digitalmakercollective.org/
CRIN is a centre for creative thinking on human rights, with a focus on children and young people. We challenge the status quo because the norms that dictate under-18s’ place in society need radical change. Through questions, artwork and our vision for the future, we encourage people to think critically about the world and start their own conversations. www.crin.org
Tate Exchange is an opportunity for everyone to play, create, reflect and question the impact art can have on individuals, communities, and societies. Held on the fifth floor of the Blavatnik Building at Tate Modern, each year’s free-and-open-to-all programme is built collaboratively by a small army of associates whose debates, workshops, art making and more, aim to spark debate and engage with issues that matter today. www.tate.org.uk/visit/tate-modern/tate-exchange