My wife and I were in London recently and we took the opportunity to visit the world-famous Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum in South Kensington. A particular display caught my eye entitled “Disobedient Objects” and I immediately thought it had a scientific sound to it. Imagining a set of everyday objects which somehow didn’t behave as you would expect, it sounded great fun so I wandered in. How wrong I was, it was actually an exhibition examining the powerful role of objects in movements for social change. The term ‘disobedient’ was used as these objects were designed by grassroots social movements mostly for use in street protests. These ranged from bike locks for chaining your head to a fence to makeshift tear gas masks; to large inflatable cobblestones designed to act as a barricade between protestors and charging police without causing damage.
However, I found myself becoming interested in the story behind the display which focussed on protests by people who had taken to the streets because they felt they had no other option to make their point known; or simply to show mass support for a cause they believed needed a much louder voice – their mission was to effect change. My interest increased when the exhibit video explained that the expansion of the internet and social media had brought new ‘online’ ways of ‘protesting’ or ‘campaigning’ to ‘effect change’ and some of these are now particularly powerful in many democratic societies. They are also much easier and safer to do than taking to the streets! For example in the UK, e-petitions which have reached 100,000 signatories can result in the petition subject being brought before a House of Parliament committee for further action. Social media is also very powerful if you can get a high-profile supporter to post or tweet your ‘campaign message’ and make it go ‘viral’. Some of these online ‘protests/campaigns’ will make it into the national newspapers and national TV news – particularly powerful for the third sector if the campaign is associated with signatures for e-petitions and/or charitable donations (viz a viz ice bucket challenge etc).
Whilst I was in this exhibition, it suddenly occurred to me that these people had the same type of mission as I do except that I use a modern (and safer) version of ‘disobedient objects’ in the form of this blog and it’s associated Facebook page. I’m also a regular signer of e-petitions for causes I believe need my support. I’m certainly not alone and it’s a sign of how the internet has changed the way we live, the way we think of ourselves and how we interact with each other and our governments. My blog and its associated Facebook site is designed to spread awareness of Neuroendocrine Cancer and offer support to people affected or interested in the disease. However, it is also there to help ‘effect change’ alongside and in support of the mainstream Neuroendocrine Cancer organisations across the world. You will therefore be pleased to hear that I’m not inviting you to take to the streets in protest about the lack of attention paid to Neuroendocrine Cancer. There is no need to chain yourselves to railings, face tear gas or throw large inflatable objects at the police 🙂 So, go on……. be ‘disobedient’ and help me ‘effect change’ by raising awareness of Neuroendocrine Cancer and the issues faced by patients who are living with the disease. What do I need you to do?
-Please ‘Follow’ this blog (you will find the ‘Follow’ button above or below the post depending on the machine you are using)
-Please ‘Like’ my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/NETCancerBlog/ (please ensure you like the page rather than a single post on the page)
-Are you on twitter? ‘Follow’ me here: https://twitter.com/RonnyAllan1
-Please also considering sharing my blog posts, Facebook posts and tweets as widely as possible. Sharing is caring 🙂
Thanks for reading and hope you had a wonderful time being disobedient!
If you want to learn more about the ‘Disobedient Object’ exhibition, see here: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/exhibitions/disobedient-objects/