Skip to main content
    

Envisioning the Next World

Envisioning the Next World: A new blog post from Christine Novotny

Posted on June 26, 2020
by Christine Novotny

“Our imaginations are typically governed by the creative content that we take in, and that creative content is produced by a culture that has its own motivation for putting together whatever it is we see and what we don’t see.”

- Autumn Brown, How to Survive the End of the World podcast, episode “Apocalypse Survival Skill #9: The Right to Defend Ourselves”

 

I furiously scribbled this quote on a scrap paper a week after Minneapolis police officers murdered George Floyd, a week into the social uprising, as I was weaving away and listening to podcasts. This statement has burrowed into my heart and consciousness. To us white people, issues of anti-racism, dismantling or defunding the police, have a renewed (or for some, new) sense of urgency. Brave and bold discussions are taking place in Minneapolis (my home until I moved to Grand Marais a few months ago) and beyond about what we want our future to look like. The changed world that we seek will not be shown to us by the current dominant culture.  We must look beyond content created by a culture that is founded on and upheld by white supremacy. If we are committed to transformation and liberation, we must imagine this new world and work toward it.

But thankfully - we are creative people! We are artists, craftspeople, and supporters of beauty and truth in the handmade. Our imagination muscle is strong - we’ve honed it. We’ve learned to push past our first idea and our second idea to create something truly unique, to expand the bounds of what we thought was possible, to endlessly experiment because we have an inkling there’s a better way that something could be done. In the same ways that we reinvent and refine creative objects, we hold the power to reimagine our society and our roles in it. We have the ability to move our hearts, minds, and policies toward anti-racism and equitable empowerment. We can reinvent our businesses and nonprofits to center civic engagement and reparational work. We do not move forward by doing what we’ve done before and resting on our laurels. We do it by activating what we are good at and applying it to our current situation.

Autumn’s word’s have empowered me to see my own creative imagination as a powerful tool to apply to a social uprising. I am open to trying and failing in my creative work. I rarely am able to produce what I see in my mind’s eye in the first go-around. This openness and humility applies to a lifetime of anti-racism work. I am curious. I want to know how things are made and why. This curiosity encourages me to educate myself past the narrow slice of history I’ve learned, and consume and support creative content from non-white cultures. I am better suited to work for change when I work to understand and celebrate BIPOC (black, indigenous, people of color) perspectives. And my propensity toward hard, slow, precise work in handweaving has shown me that this “next world” creation is not easy or fast work. But the work is valuable, and necessary for life, just as I believe art and craft is.

As an artist, I have challenged myself to use my imagination to envision a new world that is equitable for all people. I want to see neighborhoods coming together for change. I want to see more racial and cultural diversity in the world of craft. I want to see the police disarmed and defunded, and that money go back into the community supporting mental health, anti-poverty efforts, and better and more equitable education systems. I want to see resource sharing and redistribution, whether that be money, time or skills. I want to see universal healthcare and access seen as a basic human right.

I’m working to use that creative muscle that I have honed from childhood, through painting and drawing and weaving, to imagine and believe in this new world, and then work to create it.

 

Resources:

Crafting the Future: A collective of artists working to increase representation in art and craft mediums. Become a member!

How to Survive the End of the World Podcast: The Brown sisters “delve into the practices we need as a community, to move through endings and to come out whole on the other side, whatever that may be.” (from Apple podcasts)