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So this week we’re doffing our caps to the work of Women on Waves, who worked with our good friends at Yes Lab to create the www.diesalforwomen.com website ‘Misopolis’, a fabricated fashion brand which claimed to provide free abortion pills to its female workers in order to set them free and to create a fun factory.

The website is designed as ‘a parody on the PR campaigns and the reluctance to address human rights by the fashion industry in general and Diesel in particular. It intends to show that violations of human rights never happen in isolation and that the right to a safe abortion is connected with the broader framework of social rights, workers rights and the right to autonomy.’

A great tongue-planted-firmly-in-cheek example of subversive use of capitalism and its symbols to fuel women’s rights!


You can read more about the action on Actipedia, here: http://actipedia.org/project/women-waves-creates-hoax-website-under-diesel-brand-stand-workers-rights


This week we’re taking a look at the McDonald’s Videogame, where you own and operate a McDonald’s restaurant.

In the game you have the choice to try to operate ethically or make decisions like using genetically modified soy or administering bovine growth hormone. If you go the ethical route, you bankrupt the company and lose.

The game is designed by Molleindustria,  an Italian guerrilla semiotics and culture jamming website.

Check out more info on the game at our Actipedia entry, here: http://actipedia.org/project/mcdonalds-videogame



‘My art has nothing to do with religion.’

This week we’re throwing the spotlight on the guerilla street art of Princess Hijab.

Princess Hijab détournes advertising in public spaces: superimposing black veils onto the iconography of popular culture.

‘The Hijab is very powerful, not just religiously. It has been used in fairytales. It is part of the collective memory: a symbol of observance, mourning, and death. It can be luminous, it has many symbols attached to it: in the western world and the eastern world. The hijab doesn’t belong to a single religious or ethnic group. My art has nothing to do with religion.’

We like the way the artist works in a space that is both secular and highly sectarian: heterogeneous and also conformist; creating a form of activism that challenges everyday commuters to consider their own position in the way that identity is formed.

You can find out more by visiting the Actipedia entry: http://actipedia.org/project/hijabizing-dolce-gabbana

And, watch a great short intro to her work here: http://theviralmedialab.org/876/2011/10/princess-hijab/


From the vaults of Actipedia this week we’re looking at a subtle way of subverting your local store to do your messaging for you!

When Hobby Lobby, the US craft store, filed a lawsuit against a federal mandate requiring employers to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives Jasmine Shea and Nathaniel Peck decided to take action. The pair then rearranged various alphabetical crafting supplies to spell out “PRO CHOICE” alll over the store.

So simple, and fun for all ages!

Why not put a little extra activism in your day and get creative with craft store trolling?

Check out more info on the action at Actipedia: http://actipedia.org/project/pro-choice-trolling

Pro-Choice Trolling

2014 SCA Barcelona Participants

So in the build up to the break for the holidays, we missed this post to present the participants from our most recent School for Creative Activism workshop in Barcelona. Better late than never, we’d like to introduce you to them all now:

Mara Kardas-Nelson

Mara Kardas-Nelson is a journalist, advocate, and activist. She lived in mara_caldas_nelsonSouth Africa for five years, where she worked on access to medicine issues for MSF’s Access Campaign and the Treatment Action Campaign, and was a contributing writer to the Mail & Guardian. Mara has now returned to her home country of America, where she continues to write on environment, health, and culture. She is also a consultant for OSF’s Access to Essential Medicines Initiative, where she works on communications and narrative change.

 Lotti Rutter

lotti_rutterSince July 2013, Lottie has been an activist campaigning to reform the patent system to improve access to medicines in South Africa (through the Fix the Patent Laws Campaign) for the Treatment Action Campaign. Previously she has worked on IP and access to medicines campaigns for the Stop AIDS Campaign in the UK since 2010. Before moving to HIV and medicine pricing Lottie was a social justice activist campaigning on a range of issues, which included setting up a Suffragette inspired women’s climate action group and mobilizing people to take mass action.

Mary-Jane Matsolo

Mary-Jane has worked for the Treatment10687144_750737851666888_6790508416707928180_n Action Campaign for five years. Since 2013 she’s been working on the “Fix the patent law campaign” which involves workshopping ordinary South Africans in different provinces on how patents block access to affordable treatment which led to a mass mobilization and action for the Department of Trade and Industry to finalize South Africa’s Intellectual Property policy. This is the latest campaign in a series of different campaigns that TAC has embarked on over the years.

Diarmaid McDonald

Diarmaid McDonald is Advocacy Manager at STOPAIDS and has DiarmaidMcDonald photobeen in the role since December 2009. He has worked on HIV programmes in Tanzania and Ethiopia and has eight years’ experience in advocacy and campaigns with UK NGOs, including the coordination of the grassroots university network of the Student Stop AIDS Campaign. He leads STOPAIDS work on access to medicines and reform of the medical innovation system.

Thuthu Mbatha

Thutu works for SECTION 27 as a researcher for the National Strategic Plan (NSP) IMG-20141205-WA003Review. The NSP review is a joint publication between TAC and SECTION 27 that is published quarterly. As a researcher, her role is to monitor the implementation of the NSP and report on the state of the health systems across the country and things that hinder people from accessing healthcare services i.e. stock outs, overpriced medicines, lack of skilled personnel, etc. Moreover, it involves partaking in community mobilization, demonstrative protests and teaching people about the fix the patent laws campaign.

Oleksandra Ustinova

Oleksandra has worked with Patients of Ukraine since organization’s foundation. SashaShe leads all the media campaigns supporting the advocacy of adoption the national programs, reducing the prices for medicines, allocating additional funds in the state budget for state procurement of medications. Creative solutions to attract TV-channels and media pressure have always been the key element of the success of our organization’s campaigns. Just in a few years we managed to adopt the first national program on Hepatitis and allocate additional state budget for it, to increase the number of people receiving ART from 40 to 60 000, decrease the price of medicines for hepatitis twice.

Paata Sabelashvili

Paata Sabelashvili press photoPaata Sabelashvili holds MA degrees in International Relations and European Studies. He worked on South Caucasus armed conflicts reconciliation while working for Danish Refugee Council in 2003-2009. In 2006 he founded the first LGBT organization in Georgia. Since 2011 he works at Georgian Harm Reduction Network as a Programs Manager. In his current position he works for rights advocacy of people who use drugs. In 2012-2014 Paata Sabelashvili was Open Society Foundations Access to Medicines Program fellow. His project focused on HCV treatment access. He is member of HCV World CAB (Community Advisory Board).

Vanessa Lopez

vanessa_lopezVanessa is the co-founder and executive director of Salud por Derecho from 2004. She graduated in Social Physiology and received a Masters degree in Development. In its first six years, the organization focused on the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic in impoverished countries. From 2010 Salud por Derecho has gone further in a broader global health perspective  and has additionally focused in the promotion of more and better R&D in a needs-driven and affordable innovation system and incorporated the commitment to promoting universal social health protection.

Ancel.la Santos

Ancel.la joined the HAI team more than a year and a half ago. Ancel.laAncel·la is Policy advisor responsible for the projects on the rational use of medicines and good governance. She contributes to HAI’s goal to improve affordable access to needed medicines by promoting policy change and contributing to capacitate other civil society groups.

Ancel.le has a degree in Political Sciences, and Masters in Journalism and in European Politics. She has worked in the past for the medical devices industry sector.

Aliénor Devalière

In addition to holding a degree in European Law from La Sorbonne, Alienor DevaliereAliénor has a Masters in European Public Affairs. Before joining the HAI Europe team, she worked for three years as a consultant at a Brussels-based public affairs consultancy. Prior to that, Aliénor gained experience on the European Institutional System having worked at the European Commission and the General Secretary for European Affairs in Paris. Within HAI Europe, her work focuses on equitable access to essential medicines, including issues on price and transparency.

Ioannis (Yannis) Natsis

IMG_20140528_201442Since joining TACD, Yannis has spent most of his time lobbying the EU on issues of medical innovation. Additionally, he has planned and carried out several patient empowerment workshops in Athens, Greece. Their overall goal is not only to strengthen the voice of patient groups and effectively counter the government rhetoric but also to highlight the failures of the current model of medical innovation in Europe. Prior to TACD, Yannis worked at the European Parliament and for a public affairs consultancy in Brussels. He has also spent four years as an investigative reporter for a Greek TV news programme.

David Hammerstein

David Hammerstein has been working as a senior advocacy advisor for the 39221_davidhTransatlantic Consumer Dialogue since January 2010. He holds a degree in sociology from the University of California. He was born in Los Angeles in 1955 and he is of Spanish Nationality.  He has lived and worked in Spain since 1978.  From 2004-2009 he was a Green Member of the European Parliament and was a member of  its Industry Committee and also was the spokesperson for the Greens on the EP Petitions Committee that defends citizens rights. As a green politician since the mid-nineties in Spain and in the EU he has legislated and campaigned on a variety of health, environmental and social issues, as well as being a foreign policy specialist on the Mid-East crisis. 

Merith Basey

MerithMerith has 10 years experience in global health and advocacy. Following studies at Universidad Complutense, she spent many years leading AYUDA, where she was responsible for strengthening local capacity in diabetes communities across Latin America. After a Master’s at LSHTM, she worked with the World AIDS Campaign. Her interest in access to medicines stemmed from experiences on the ground and disheartened by a lack of action around access to insulin she was inspired to co-found the 100 Campaign aimed at re-framing insulin access as a human rights issue and reducing barriers to access. She recently joined UAEM as Executive Director.

Keaton Andreas

UAEM’s campus campaigns organizer Keaton Andreas focWIN_20131120_105626uses on keeping UAEM’s student chapters supplied and engaged in advocacy.  In addition to training in organizing and social action, he offers direct support in areas of recruitment and chapter planning.  A graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary, Keaton has an academic grounding in advocacy and social action, and is particularly skilled in speaking from a “moral authority” angle.  He has interned with worker justice groups such as CLUE-LA and worked for the faith-based advocacy organization Bread for the World where he served as a regional organizer for their advocacy groups.

Peter Maybarduk

Peter Maybarduk is a Washington, D.C.-based human rights Rosenfield_PeterMaybarduk_8650_1000px-1 68lawyer and a songwriter. He directs Public Citizen’s Global Access to Medicines Program, which helps developing countries defeat pharmaceutical monopolies in order to promote access to medicines for all. His work has yielded major HIV/AIDS medicine price reductions and new state access to medicines policies. As a composer and performer of music Maybarduk has released three albums, the latest of which is A Ring Around the Atlantic (2012), produced by J. Robbins.

Pedro Villardipedro_pic

Pedro has degree in International Studies and is a Masters in Public Health. Since 2012, he is the coordinator of the Working Group on Intellectual Property, a collective of about 15 NGOs and social movements. Pedro is author of the book “Status Patentário e Registro Sanitário dos medicamentos ARVs no Brasil”.


Luisa Arueira Chaves15454720003_54e23f0a17_m

Luisa is a hospital pharmacy specialist with experience in community and undergraduate education, research and activities in access to medicines, rational use of medicines (RUM), pharmaceutical services, primary healthcare and evidence-supported health interventions. She has worked on the production of educational materials on access to medicines and RUM and have been granted twice the national RUM award by the Brazilian Ministry of Health. Currently, she is an MA student in public health and teaches health policies, pharmaceutical managing, consumerism and evidence searching and evaluation. 

Lorena Di Giano

María Lorena Di Giano, Executive Director, Fundación Grupo Effecto PositivoLorena-Di-Giano (FGEP) – Ms. Di Giano is a lawyer who specializes in human rights and HIV/AIDS and earned her law degree from Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata in Argentina. She is an experienced advocate who has dedicated her professional background to defending the human rights of people living with HIV (PLHIV). Since January 2012 Lorena is serving as General Coordinator of RedLAM – Red Latino Americana por el Acceso a Medicamentos (FGEP is the leading organization of RedLAM) in which role she is coordinating a regional program focused on improving access to ARVs by addressing intellectual property barriers in countries of Latin American region.

Giten Khwairakpam  Singh

Giten is currently the Community and Policy Project Manager at Giten 1TREAT Asia in Bangkok. He has been working on improving hepatitis C treatment access and advocating for price reductions in South and South East Asia. Giten also has been providing training to national PLHIV and PWID networks on hepatitis C treatment, access issues and new direct acting agents and their use with antiretroviral therapy. His involvement in regional advocacy for hepatitis C treatment access has included efforts to engage with UNITAID and the Global fund, and facilitating negotiations with originator and generic pharmaceutical companies to address price- and non-price barriers.

Loon Gangte (Henminlun)

Loon is the founder of Delhi Network of Positive People (DNP+) in1012312_10151472923275811_1518880965_n-1 1999. He has 5/6 years experience working directly with HIV patient at Michaels Care Home, which is care home PLHIV, before the ARV era in India. In the last 6/7 years Loon has worked as ITPC-South Asia regional coordinator, giving small grants to community to base organization to do advocacy work around treatment access.

Gaëlle Krikorian

Gaëlle is currently working as a political advisor for the Green/EFA at the European 98c756e6a7Parliament. Before that she was conducting research on intellectual property, free trade agreements and access to medicines. She has a PhD in sociology and is a member of the Interdisciplinary Research Institute on Social Issues. Social Sciences, Politics and Health (IRIS) in Paris. Her involvement on access to medicines issues started at the end of the 1990s when she was an AIDS activist with Act Up working primarily on access to medicines in the Global South.

Irene Romero

Irene Romero Bhathal is a European Coordinator for Universities Allied bsv7F-x3_400x400for Essential Medicines. She has been researching on access to medicines (HepC drugs) and advocating for universal access to healthcare, new models of R&D and transparency in public healthcare. She is one of the leaders of UAEM’s Access & Innovation Project, which aims to involve researchers in advocacy for public needs-driven research, and new models of R&D funding. She is also working on a documentary about access to medicines, R&D and austerity measures in Spain. She has experience in facilitating workshops about access to medicines and R&D intellectual property laws.

“Embodied Place: Ovservations and Notations” OPEN CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

Sierra Nevada College’s MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts

“Embodied Place: Observations and Notations”

Juried exhibition January 16 – February 27, 2015


Garage Door Gallery: Holman Arts & Media Center

1008 Tahoe Blvd. Incline Village, NV 89451


Open Call for Submissions

Deadline:      Monday, December 15, 2014 5PM PST

Contact Sarah Lillegard, Gallery Coordinator


This fall Sierra Nevada College at Lake Tahoe announced the launching of a new low-residency MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts. In honor of the program’s initiation, SNC will be hosting a group exhibition in the Garage Door Gallery juried by one of the program’s lead Visiting Faculty, Amy Franceschini of Futurefarmers, and the MFA-IA Program Director, Russell Dudley.


Open Call

We are inviting artists to submit works that play with the program’s commitment to creative problem solving and interdisciplinary practice through careful observation and the articulation of “Embodied Place”. By this, we mean to seek the work of emerging artists who are particularly interested in creating spaces of opportunity, both inside communities and within an individual’s understanding of the world. We want to see the evidence of your explorations of subject, place, environment, location and context. All media are welcome, including but not limited to painting, drawing, sculpture, video, sound, performance, intervention and installation.


For Application Details, please click HERE.

CAA Advisor Keri Smith has a new book!


A conceptual artist and author is luring kids into questioning the world and appreciating every smell, texture and mystery in it

At 42, Keri Smith still writes to a pen pal. She deeply appreciates secret passageways. And she sometimes rolls dice to determine which way she walks down the street. That won’t surprise her readers who have followed instructions from her bestselling books like Wreck This Journal — a tome that asks “users” to cover the pages in dirty fingerprints, smells and drawings made by strangers.

What they might not know is that Smith, a rosy-cheeked Canadian now ensconced in Northampton, Mass., is secretly trying to spark a political movement with her whimsy. “What I’m doing is trying to get kids to pay attention, to look at the physical world more, and to question everything,” she says, leaning across a bowl of yellow heirloom tomatoes on her kitchen table. “I am trying to get kids out of the house and away from screens. Someone is needed in this culture to speak up and say this behavior is dysfunctional.”

Keri Smith is on the Board of Advisors for the Center for Artistic Activism. Read more of her article on Time about her work and her newest book The Imaginary World of _________ HERE! 

SCA Participant: Artivism and the “Aha” Moment

Think back to the exact moment when you decided to become an activist.


Go ahead. We’ll wait.

Was it…


Because someone sent you a petition?
Or because a friend forwarded you an advocacy alert?
Or, I know: was it because you read a really great white paper?


Chances are, none of these inspired you to become an activist. So why do advocacy organizations persist in using these approaches?


The answer is: they are safe and tested. They generate the kinds of measurable returns that professionals love to see. And they are not likely to end in a spectacular failure.

We recently brought the School for Creative Activism to healthcare professionals through Open Society Foundations. One participant, Sacha Evans, describes her experiences including the “Ah Ha” moment of Artistic Activism and why it’s important to diversify approaches. Continue reading her blog post HERE. 

Call for Applications School for Creative Activism: Advocacy Campaigns to Challenge High Medicines Prices

We’re pleased to announce a call for applications to a School for Creative Activism training session taking place this December, in Spain.

We’re inviting grantees of the Open Society Public Health Program and their allies working on access to medicines to apply to participate in a 4-day School for Creative Activism (SCA) to be held in Barcelona, Spain on 15-18 December 2014.

You can download the application form here: SCA Call for Applications – Medicines Prices – Barcelona

Please note: this workshop is only open to grantees of the Open Society Public Health Program. Don’t worry, we’ll be doing more workshops in the coming months, so if this doesn’t apply to you this time stay tuned for future programs.