We have worked for NGOs to provide new inspiration, generate bold new strategic ideas, and embed creatives in the processes of change. Combining campaign and policy expertise with artists and creative processes, and re-purposing the role of the artist within society. Artists are people with different sensitivities, different ways of thinking, and are often our sentinels when society is veering wildly off course. They are also unusually comfortable with the creative process. People are just starting to wake up to this: change makers and non-profits are in great need of creative renewal and could thrive by collaborating with artists in unexpected ways. Here are some successful examples of how we work:
Recently, we designed and ran a successful STORY LAB for Friends of the Earth’s European partners from national offices, facilitated by Swarm’s David Holyoake. Bringing effective story telling techniques to their communications and helping create new narrative around system change. With 22 FOE national participants and 3 artists in residence for live creation, we created a story board for short animation to put theory into creative practice.
Some of our graphic designers and branding experts are currently working on a fresh approach to visual identity for new environmental campaigns for international NGOs, informed by the research into how to communicate to the unconverted. As our core staff combine expertise in climate change policy and campaigning with creative arts direction, we have also devised and facilitated creative factories and workshops in creative thinking to help campaigners think differently about their work and generate ideas for action led campaigning by applying the creative process. Many participants have described these as inspiring or even ‘transformational’ for their work. But we have more audacious dreams yet to be achieved, new ways we would like to shake things up with Swarm thinking.
Writer Ben Okri states that “policies should be dreamt.” At all levels, there is an urgent need to confront the inherited ways of doing things. Swarm Dynamics is on the look out to design and establish creative residencies in government departments, think tanks, or to place our artists as creative mentors attached to the communications divisions of effective campaigning NGOs. We are also in the process of placing artists as coaches for political speech writing – helping members of the green party or progressive individual MPs with the poetics and performance of leadership around Transition.
If you are an NGO, change maker or an artist – get in touch if you would like to explore the possibilities for artist placement, a creative thinking workshop, or to work with one of our designers.