Dare to Dream (2019)

Yesterday’s dreams shape today’s reality. What future are you dreaming of?

In 2019 Heritage Open Days is celebrating People Power in all its forms, so for this year’s Unsung Stories commission we’re delighted to be working with award-winning activist and founder of the Craftivist Collective, Sarah Corbett.  ‘Dare to Dream’ explores the stories of those who have affected positive change in their community by dreaming of a brighter future, and asks what we can do to keep moving things forward.

Throughout England’s history, real change has come from those who dared to dream and thought bigger than the problems they faced, like the women celebrated for last year's put her forward.  We remember those who envisaged how to change the world around them for the better, and worked hard to make their dream a reality. ‘Dare to Dream’ will celebrate dreamers of all kinds; from the ‘greats’ who dominate the pages of history, to unsung local activists who played a vital part in making our countryside, villages, towns and cities places to be proud of. Join us in shining a spotlight on the stories of these dream-makers: the politicians, poets, art makers, law makers, influential orators, and those quietly working behind the scenes who have inspired and empowered us to help create a more positive future.

Whilst it might feel overwhelming to think about how to find solutions to the problems the world faces, it’s never been more vital to strive for a better future. Change can blossom from the humblest beginnings, so let's pursue our utopian dreams full of hope and positivity, and never feel discouraged from daring to dream.

The power of dreaming

Although crafting clouds to create visions of a better future may sound fluffy, this approach is backed by scientific research into how the human brain works.

Dr Charlotte Rae, neuroscientist at the University of Sussex:Neuroscience research shows that when we feel threatened, the habit-based centres of the brain drive automatic behaviours, shutting down opportunity for new thinking. This project engages the creative, conscious, planning system in the brain – the prefrontal cortex - opening up mental space to consider what actions we can take for a better future. Research has also shown that when we encounter something unexpected, such as a carefully-crafted cloud in a perhaps incongruous place, the brain generates a ‘surprise signal’ called ‘prediction error’. This is a very potent way of grabbing our brain’s attention, and pulling us out of habit-driven, automatic thinking into conscious, active, consideration of the situation. By combining active pursuit of positive goals, with the unique fabric cloud format of messaging, your Dare to Dream activity makes use of these known neurobehavioural strategies to create effective change.” 

Dream with us

Over the festival, Sarah will be delivering four craftivism workshops across the country and encouraging organisers to set up their own. Each workshop will offer relaxed, thought-provoking discussion about local dream-makers, whose visions of a better world has shaped our reality. The workshops will give attendees the opportunity to reflect on what changemakers from history achieved to inspire participants to dream up the future they want to see, and consider how they can play a role in making it happen.

There will be a series of ‘crafter-thought’ questions, designed to help participants dream up their own vision for change as they stitch their message about the world they wish to live in – onto an ethically-sourced fabric dream cloud. Once completed, the cloud can then be taken out into the community and displayed wherever it will have the most inspiring effect on others and then photographed to share online to reach an even larger audience.

By creating something small and beautiful to hang in a public place, you can provoke thought and create curiosity without being confrontational. Your craftivism creation can help people become solution-seekers rather than problem-worriers, quietly encourage passers-by and online-viewers (by posting a picture on social media) to #DareToDream.

Find out more

Get involved

There are lots of resources to help you organise your own craftivist event and encourage more people to #DareToDream. Here are some initial guides to get you started. Organisers will find lots more in a special toolkit we've created in your Organiser area.

Introducing the Craftivist Collective

Craft + Activism = Craftivism

Craftivist Collective is all about inspiring, educating, and empowering people to engage in more emotionally intelligent, creative and kind activism that encourages the makers and others to stop, think and act. Through their kits, workshops, and the acts of gentle protest they have delivered around the world, they aim to transform the way people think about, engage with, and practice activism. Always inclusive, always collaborative, always positive, they strive to create an inviting, inspiring environment in which all are welcome to craft with courage and care, wherever you go.