In a strange way, perhaps, it seems as if Sarah’s path to craftivism - complete with detours into other forms of activism - was predetermined at birth. “I’ve been involved in activism since I was in the womb” she says. Sarah grew up in West Everton, Liverpool: an area “where you could see the impact of inequality and injustices directly”. Her dad is the local vicar and at that point her mum was a nurse, then a full-time mum (now she’s a Cabinet Member of Liverpool City Council); “They brought up me and my brother and sister to stand up and speak out when we saw injustice and I learnt from them and members of our community how local campaigns could be won.”
Another family has now taken her in too. During the closing months of 2016, Sarah was adopted. Or at least in name only she was. “I asked in November 2016 if people would adopt me for the 12 months of 2017 for £10 a month so I could gain the living wage and focus on doing important work without worrying about money.” More than 180 supporters from around the world stepped up to back her, with more still welcome in order to help the Collective strive even further. This “isn’t a new concept” says Sarah, though as the adoptions mainly take place online, it is a modern update of its predecessor: the historical tradition of patronage of artists and activist.
More than that, it’s a running start into what looks set to be a busy year. “I’ve already received many more emails and social media comments post-Brexit and after the US election results from people that desperately want to protest against many politicians, business people and journalists”. In response, she will be launching ‘The School of Gentle Protest’ with vlogs and downloadable tools to provide support, advice and skills to current and newbie craftivists.
Together, they will “build bridges not walls with those in positions of power”. Whether their crafts can stop those same people from building walls themselves remains to be seen. But Sarah’s advice is clear-cut. “Breathe. Be mindful of your motives, make sure you’re focused on making the world a better place, be in solidarity with those suffering - and then work with courage and care.”