Over the last few weeks the XLR Collective have been going from strength to strength as they develop plans for their social action campaign to challenge sexual harassment on the street. Change Creator Will has been writing a blog about his experience and what the group have been up to.
You can read his entries for May and June below:
This week’s session started with the group pitching ideas for overall campaign names and hashtags for the social media campaign. We discussed the pros and cons of each before voting on our favourites. ‘Hack A Heckle’ was the winner for the campaign name, but the hashtag is yet to be decided.
More of a discussion will be needed in the coming weeks to finalise the hashtag in order to get started with the social media campaign. The thought process behind Hack A Heckle comes from the ‘problem’ and ‘solutions’ we defined on the previous week: we’ll be offering tips and advice for bystanders and victims [of harassment] in how to respond and who to contact after verbal or sexual harassment has occurred. And we’re hacking the misogynistic culture amongst young men by trying to de-normalise it.
Next we started planning our online media strategy, making sure we know exactly who our audience will be, how we communicate with them, the over-arching goals for the campaign and the tools needed to execute it successfully. The individual elements of the campaign include a launch event, busking/campaigning around the city, researching advice, obtaining anonymous stories of verbal and sexual harassment, creating the branding for the campaign and a website that the social media platforms all point to. We also pitched ideas for original content to promote the campaign online.
Finally, the group decided on team roles and sub team leaders to make sure the workload is evenly distributed.
The Change Creators met in the Arnolfini this week for inspiration on venues and using different spaces creatively. We had a guided tour round the contemporary arts centre [and saw] the rooms available for hire and the current exhibition: Basim Magdy – ‘The Stars Were Aligned For A Century Of New Beginnings.’ Magdy’s work is ‘rooted in dreams, scientific theory and failed utopian ambitions. Full of humour and quiet melancholy, his works on paper and in film, photography and slide projection reflect on the present social and political climate and our collective failure as, in the desire for progress, we repeat the same mistakes over and over again in a recurring cycle of aspiration, action and defeat.’ It was definitely thought provoking and was good to see an example of how an artist uses different mediums in different spaces.
After the tour, we all met back in the library to go over our personality types according to the Myers-Briggs Personality Test. Some people weren’t convinced by their personality description, but it was still interesting to get some feedback from the group and gave us a different perspective on how we work individually. Getting to know people’s strengths and weaknesses also gave us a starting point for our group’s approach to the campaign planning.
Towards the end of the session, we discussed in more detail our aims and objectives for the campaign, which eventually helped us to describe the overall ‘problem’ that the campaign will address and the ‘solutions’ we will strive for. The problem is that women are objectified every day. The solution to this problem is to de-normalise misogynistic attitudes. More specifically, we will aim to make young men more conscious of how they are making young women feel and raise awareness of objectification. Our objectives will be to campaign around the city and offer advice/responses to verbal and sexual harassment,
After the half-term break, the group returned and started by talking through all the elements of the campaign. This was to make sure everyone was up to speed and to get us thinking about a basic timeline and order of events. With the help of the Media Centre’s Rachel Clarke, we agreed on key campaign dates, dates for performances, deadlines and what work needs doing leading up to them. We wrote a timeline on a large piece of paper and added post-it notes to it, so that we can move things around easily and update it as the campaign progresses.
We then split up into two informal groups to plan the next steps: one on branding and the other songwriting/busking. The two groups were based on our group roles that were decided in the previous session. The group focusing on branding used a colour emotion guide as a starting point for discussion. We spoke about colour schemes, design styles, inspiration for a logo and what the graphics might look like on various merchandise and social media platforms.
We then answered questions such as:
Who is the audience and what actions do you want them to take?
How do you want them to feel?
What connotations does hack A Heckle conjure up and how might they be different for men/women and younger/older people?
What imagery and connotations do we definitely want to avoid?
Finally, we thought it would be a good idea to create a mood board to help visualise the branding, merchandise and social media posts. We set up a board on Pinterest, which you can view here.
The other group discussed songwriting and busking logistics: First, they agreed on specific locations, dates and times for busking around the city. A shortlist of local festivals was created [so] we can target by setting up on popular routes to and from the events in order to catch the large influx of people.
[…] Event banners will be used to promote the campaign while we perform and video equipment will be needed to document and promote us on social media. The group finished up by discussing the need to hire rehearsal space for songwriting and practising the songs. These songs will be recorded, potentially for some sort of EP release as part of the overall campaign.
The two groups then shared all this information with each other and updated the timeline together. At the end of the session, we made a few adjustments to the different roles of group members and agreed on things we need to do before the next session.
We also had our project keyrings arrive this week [made at KWMC: The Factory] with the Change Creators’ logo and core values engraved onto them. The core values were chosen at the very start of the project and will be influencing our decisions throughout the project.
This week’s session started early with the branding and website team (Maya, Liv, Will & Jerome) coming in for a meeting with the media centre’s Bart Blazejewski, Rachel Clarke and Daniel Edmund. Together we navigated our way through branding concepts, logo ideas, fonts and colours, graphic styles and photography. Olivia had created a mood board with several interesting concepts and the group had prepared a pinterest board with tons of images, photos, logos and graphics as inspiration for the branding. Bart will be trying out some basic branding elements over the next week, but many of the decisions are now made, which allowed us to move swiftly on to the website.
Rachel had brought in a website brief, consisting of several questions that need answering in order to create a successful website. These questions include:
Who are the key audiences for the website?
What do you want people to do after visiting the website?
What information do you want people to find out from the website?
Will brought in a couple of website drafts to see how things might look, so we could answer the above questions with specific examples. This allowed us to make some decisions based around pages and content. We also discussed the different groups of people who might come to the website and how each group might interact with it differently to others.
After a successful few hours, we linked back up with the rest of the group for the main Change Creators session. To begin with, we updated them on the meetings we’d just had, and other people then spoke about what they had been up to for the last week regarding the campaign. Last week’s timeline was scrapped and we started afresh by splitting into two groups, one focusing on branding/digital tasks and the other focusing on music creation/street campaigning tasks. A new timeline has now been completed with a lot more detail on exactly when things need to happen. Over the next week, we’ll be using the timeline to inform our costings and how best to use our budget.
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