The workshop brought together young people from Slovakia to the Ukraine, from dictatorships to (so-called) democracies, from war-torn countries to climate denying governments. For five days, this diverse groups of climate activists dug hard into the toolbox of principles and theories at the heart of Beautiful Trouble.
The training was hands-on and multi-dimensional: Deep ecology exercises to touch the emotional pain of climate injustices were mixed with theoretical (yet hilarious) presentations on the role of comedy in activism; surreal group building games such as Autonomous penguins followed on from presentations about the role of direct action and the history of civil rights movements; a beautiful trouble principles BINGO game punctuated the day amidst discussions of what art can bring to activism and vice versa.
The training, done in partnership with 350.org and GCCA, with additional support from Avaaz, was the debut of Beautiful Trouble’s European training program, and its core four trainers, Isa Fremeaux, John Jordan, Oriana Elicabe and Leonidas Martin Saura.
The workshop culminated on the streets of Budapest in a 1,000 person demonstration against the raiding of liberal NGO’s by the right wing government who see them as “fronts for leftist influence from abroad.” Two huge photographic cutouts of hands—generated during the creative imagery section of BT’s training—became the main symbolic image of the protest. They appeared on Hungarian news and TV were also picked-up internationally by the news agency AFP.
The photographic action was the perfect culmination of the workshop, a true hands on experience where young activists were able to see how a bit of creativity and some thinking outside the boring box of marches and hash tag activism can lead to front page news images and a lot of fun.