Criminological craftivism: Using craft to communicate our research

A/Prof Alyce McGovern1

1UNSW Sydney, Sydney, Australia

The contemporary practice of ‘craftivism’ – which uses crafts such as knitting, sewing, and embroidery to draw attention to ‘issues of social, political and environmental justice’ (Fitzpatrick 2018:3) – has its origins in centuries of radical craft work, where women and marginalised peoples in particular have employed crafts to protest, take a stand, or comment on issues that concern them. Focusing on social justice craftivism, this roundtable will open with a discussion of historical and contemporary examples of social justice craftivism, and how crafts are being used to highlight concerns around the missing and murdered, political violence, increased surveillance and legislation, mass incarceration, and race and gender discrimination, amongst others. It will also consider the opportunities for us as criminologists to reflect not only on the sorts of subject areas we engage with, but also the ways that we present and communicate our work, including what Close (2018: 867) terms ‘participatory politics’ and intersectional activism. Following this, roundtable attendees will be given the opportunity to make their own craftivist creations, in the form of embroidered or cross-stitched statements. Participants will be provided with instruction, as well as all the necessary tools and materials, to craft an item during the roundtable session.


Alyce is an Associate Professor in Criminology at UNSW Sydney. She researches in the area of crime, media and culture, including police-media relations, police use of social media, young people and sexting, and knitting graffiti. She is the author of ‘Craftivism and Yarn Bombing: A Criminological Exploration’, and co-author of ‘Policing and Media: Public Relations, Simulations and Communications’ and ‘Sexting and Young People’.


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