Sarah Corbett

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Sarah P. Corbett
Sarah Corbett.jpg
West Everton
Known forFounder of Craftivist Collective

Sarah Corbett is an award-winning speaker, professional activist, author and the founder of Craftivist Collective, a social enterprise which uses the technique of craftivism - combining craft and activism[1] - to engage people in social justice issues "in a quiet, non-confrontational manner involving pretty, handcrafted gestures of defiance."[2]

She wrote A Little Book of Craftivism which was published in 2013,[3][4] and How To Be A Craftivist, published in 2017.[5]


Corbett has "a huge passion for craft".[6] She has no formal training as an artist or craftsperson, saying "I can do it anyone can do it."[7] Her main craft is cross-stitch,[8] which she often uses to make mini-protest banners.[9] She has described her work as using "creativity to make the public aware of the struggles people are still going through".[10]

Work by Sarah Corbett has been exhibited and sold in art exhibitions[8] including:

  • 'Article 31.1' at Workshop 44.[11]
  • 'Renegade Potters and Extreme Craft' at Ink_d.[12]
  • 'Riot Here, Riot Now' at W3 Gallery.[13]
  • 'Spoken Threads' in New York and Los Angeles.[14]
  • 'Gentle Protest' in Stockholm.[15]

She has spoken about craftivism at various TedX meetups,[4] Salon London,[3] Lost Lectures, Sunday Wise at The Ivy, the Victoria and Albert Museum and at Women's Institutes.[16]

She has also given guest lectures at Parsons The New School for Design and Leeds College of Art, participated in a project with Falmouth University[17] and has been a Twitter chair and guest blogger for the British Museum.[18] She is a columnist for Crafty Magazine and[19] and blogs regularly for Campaign Central.[20]

Corbett was featured on Stitched Stories, a documentary by Northern Productions.[21] She was also a panellist discussing 'Not Knowing' for the Lush Speakeasy podcast.[22]

Corbett's 2016 talk Activism Needs Introverts was featured on the TED homepage in November 2017 and has generated over 1 million views since. [23]


Corbett grew up in West Everton in Liverpool in the 1980s,[3] when it was one of the most deprived wards in the UK.[16] Her mother is a local councillor in Liverpool and her father is a vicar.[24] Her parents have been a big influence on Corbett's politics, for example by taking her to South Africa as a child[25] and on protests to save local housing from demolition. She has said "All we ever do around the kitchen table is talk about religion and politics."[7]

At school Corbett was voted Head Girl and successfully campaigned for lockers for students. She studied at the University of Manchester[9] where she was active in numerous campaign groups. After graduating she took a course on grassroots community action based on the work of Steve Biko. She went on to work for various international charities in their youth and community programmes and campaigns departments, including Christian Aid and the Department for International Development.[4] In 2011 she worked on campaigns for Oxfam in London.[9] In 2012 she went part-time at Oxfam to devote more time to the Craftivist Collective.[24]

Corbett is a Christian who says faith plays a role in her craftivism and that she has "learnt to act out my faith rather than just talk about it".[24]

One of Corbett's most distinctive features is her tattooed arms, which include a pair of scissors wrapped in thread,[7] a sewing needle, measuring tape, and safety pins. The 'craft tattoos' remind her of "what I do and why and to make sure I keep going."[26]


  1. ^ Alexi D., ‘It sounds quirky, but it really does work’: craftivist Sarah Corbett on the power of positive crafting, Time Out, 22 December 2016. Retrieved 28 September 2017
  2. ^ Alexi Duggins, Is there a protest message in your new jacket's pocket? You've been shop-dropped, The Guardian, 18 September 2017. Retrieved 28 September 2017
  3. ^ a b c Corbett, Sarah (2013). A Little Book of Craftivism. Cicada.
  4. ^ a b c How a piece of fabric can change the world: Sarah Corbett at TEDxBrixton,, 23 October 2013. Retrieved 7 January 2014
  5. ^ Corbett, Sarah (2017). How To Be A Craftivist. Unbound.
  6. ^ Nikki Shaill, Craftivist Collective, Lady Craft zine for Ladyfest Ten, Summer 2010
  7. ^ a b c Charlotte Humphery, We'll change the world stitch by stitch, Oh Comely magazine
  8. ^ a b Holly Howe, Sarah Corbett, House, Autumn 2010
  9. ^ a b c Jameela Oberman, Stitch in time, Big Issue in the North, 10–16 October 2011
  10. ^ DK Goldstein, Make a Stand, Pica Pica magazine, 2010
  11. ^ Article 31.1 programme, Retrieved 7 January 2014
  12. ^ Hannah Bullivant, The Craftivist Collective,, 5 April 2010
  13. ^ Exhibition: Riot Here, Riot Now, W3 Gallery, Retrieved 7 January 2014
  14. ^ Spoken Threads Craftivist Fiber Art, Retrieved 7 January 2014
  15. ^ Sarah Corbett Gentle Protest Retrieved 13 September 2017
  16. ^ a b Katie Harris, Meet the women quietly crafting their own revolution, The Daily Telegraph, 13 March 2013. Retrieved 7 January 2014
  17. ^ Craftivist Garden #wellMAKING Retrieved 13 September 2017
  18. ^ Can craft be used to help change the world?,, 31 August 2011. Retrieved 7 January 2014
  19. ^ [1], Retrieved 7 January 2014
  20. ^ [2], Retrieved 7 January 2014
  21. ^ Stitched Stories: a tale of subversive stitchers, Retrieved 7 January 2014
  22. ^ The Lush Speakeasy - Not Knowing Retrieved 13 September 2017
  23. ^ Sarah Corbett: Activism needs Introverts Retrieved 23 November 2017
  24. ^ a b c Sharon Barnard and Jameela Oberman, I use my craft skills as a tool for peace, Woman Alive, May 2012
  25. ^ Karima Adi, Craftivism, Lionheart magazine, issue 4
  26. ^ Ruth Lewy, I get frustrated knitting socks. I want to make a difference., The Times Saturday Review, 10 December 2011

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