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A Children's Book About Social Change

Jenn Cole shared this method with us in seminar. It is a beautiful way to think about social change and how it can come about. Here is how the method works:

  1. Create the present situation. How are things going?

  2. Create the transformation. How do we get there?

  3. Create the future. What are we working for?

  4. Create a title page.


In my booklet, the status quo is very full and loud, dark and horrific. There are different shapes, mostly lines, that are all drawn with a lot of pressure. Some of them overlap but it seems as if they do not take notice of each other. At the bottom, there are three blocks on a flat ground. From there, a large arrow points upwards towards a large star.

When I look at my drawing, I see a culture that is based on fear, violence, and power abuse. Concepts are clearly outlined and appear to be distinct, objective, and quantifiable. But underneath lies the capitalist growth paradigm that alienates members of society from land, resources, and each other. The arrow reaching towards the stars shows that there is no strong sense of belonging in society but that people are always striving for more – higher, faster, further.


The picture of social transformation that is very different. In this drawing, there is a lot of space, i.e., the centre of the page is completely empty. Instead of one linear development towards the stars far away there are several movements happening at the same time. Four distinct yet diverse groups seem to withdraw into their respective corner of the page. Each group has a pair of eyes and ears that are wide open, looking back at the reader.

In this idea of transformation, people(s) actively take a step back to leave room for others and to create space for a clear analysis of the situation. Suddenly, the pressure is released and there is space to build new, respectful, cheerful, and caring relationships with the land and with our local and global communities. Most importantly, this transformation cannot happen with our eyes closed. Opening both eyes means enabling two-eyed seeing; an Indigenous concept that is often used to reconcile Indigenous and Western worldviews. Opening our ears means active and deep listening to each other.


The third page shows three round but open shapes: a large snake, a sun, and a circle with many dots. Additionally, there are sunbeams at the top of the page and two curly lines that symbolize water. The picture gives a calming and warm impression with a lot of space.

Water is the source and carrier of all life and plays an important role in my imagined future. In our coming together as a community with all our differences and abilities, we can embrace respectful relationships and nourish each other. The symbols in this picture are distinct, yet complex, and flexible. They bring together the past, the present, and the future.


The front of the booklet combines all themes by simply showing a pictogram of an eye and an ear. Both invite the reader to look at the small things and cherish them. Everyone can be an activist because, symbolically, everyone has eyes and ears. Our ears are the reminder to listen to ourselves, our community, and the world around us. Our eyes remind us that it is our responsibility to open ourselves to the injustices of the world, and, as Mehrangiz Monsef said, to hold them in our hearts if we cannot speak to them.

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