Explaining creative activism using communication theory

Target group: 
Group size: 
A board or a large paper and markers.
This method provides a framework of factors involved in the process of implementing creative actions.

Shannon-Weavers basic model of human communication identifies different factors involved in a communication process. These factors are a sender who wants to send a message to a receiver or receptor. The message is transmitted using a specific code and through a concrete channel.

If we are looking at our actions as a communication process, we can use some of these concepts to present creative activism and reflect on the process behind creating an action.

As an individual or a group we want to send a message to a receptor. The receptor will be our target group (women, old people, young people, unemployed, pedestrians, etc...). The message will be transmitted using a code, in our case the code will be the technique used (urban intervention, guerrilla, craftivism, culture jamming) and through a concrete channel, in our case this will be the location where we will place the action (the supermarket, school, forest, inside a train, mailboxes, etc...). 

After presenting this basic model it is possible to analyze each factor in detail, if it is needed. It is also interesting to analyze the relations between the different factors involved and how they influence each other.

An example: If we want to spread the message “less consumption” it will have different effect if we spread this message in a shopping mall or in a small shop in a rural village. The message about consumption will be different if we want to target children, elderly people or activists. The technique used to get this message across will influence the location of the action and to who will be the receiver etc...


Really experienced participants may find this exercise a bit basic. This model can be used as scheme to help participants in the process of creating a concrete action. It can also be used when a group have experienced a concrete action, to analyze the different factors involved and to evaluate results and future improvements.