About The Founders

Steve Lambert and Stephen Duncombe founders of the Center for Artistic Activism

Steve Lambert and Stephen Duncombe began collaborating in 2007 out of a mutual interest in studying efficacy at the intersection of art and activism. They co-founded the Center for Artistic Activism around this research and a desire to share it with other like minded practitioners. Both experienced educators, they communicate a combined expertise across multiple disciplines in ways that are accessible and often entertaining.

You can read more about each of them below.

Stephen Duncombe

Stephen Duncombe and Ronald McDonaldStephen has over two decades of experience as both a teacher and an organizer. With a PhD in Sociology from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, he has taught in the City and State University’s of New York and is currently an Associate Professor of Media and Politics at New York University. He received the Chancellor’s Award for Teaching while at SUNY and the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching at NYU. An activist his entire adult life, he co-founded the multi-issue community activist group in the mid 1990s, the Lower East Side Collective, which won an award for “Creative Activism” from the Abbie Hoffman foundation. He was also a lead organizer in the international direct action group Reclaim the Streets. He is the author and editor of six books, including Dream: Re-Imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy and the Cultural Resistance Reader, writes on culture and politics for a wide range of scholarly and popular publications, and is the creator of an open-access, open-source, web-based edition of Thomas More’s Utopia . In 2009 he was a Research Associate at the Eyebeam Center for Art and Technology in New York City where he helped organize The College of Tactical Culture and he is presently co-founder and director of the new Center for Artistic Activism. Duncombe is currently working on a book on the art of propaganda during the New Deal.

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Steve Lambert

Steve Lambert’s father, a former Franciscan monk, and mother, an ex-Dominican nun, imbued the values of dedication, study, poverty, and service to others – qualities which prepared him for life as an artist.

For Lambert, art is a bridge that connects uncommon, idealistic, or even radical ideas with everyday life. In 2008 Lambert worked with hundreds of people on “The New York Times Special Edition,” a utopian version of the paper announcing the end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and other good news. In 2011 he built a 20 x 9 foot sign that reads CAPITALISM WORKS FOR ME!, allows passers by to vote TRUE or FALSE, and is touring it across the United States.

His work has been shown everywhere from marches to museums both nationally and internationally, has appeared in over fourteen books, four documentary films, and is in the collections of The Sheldon Museum, the Progressive Insurance Company, and The United States Library of Congress. Lambert has discussed his work live on NPR, the BBC, and CNN, and been reported on internationally in outlets including Associated Press, the New York Times, the Guardian, Harper’s Magazine, The Believer, Good Magazine, ARTnews, Punk Planet, and Newsweek.

He was a Senior Fellow at New York’s Eyebeam Center for Art and Technology from 2006-2010, developed and leads workshops for Creative Capital Foundation, taught at Parsons/The New School, CUNY Hunter College, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and is currently Assistant Professor of New Media at SUNY Purchase. Steve has advanced degrees from a reputable art school and respected state university. He dropped out of high school in 1993.

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