“A crucial resource for change-makers.”
— Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Who we are
We believe in people power and the game-changing role that creativity, humor, joy, and mischief can play in the struggle for a better world. We practice shared leadership, modified consensus-based decision making, anti-oppression politics, and international and intersectional solidarity.
View our operating principles…
We are a global network of organizers, artists, trainers, and writers who form the community of praxis called Beautiful Trouble.
Meet our team…
We equip social movements with an ever-growing suite of strategic tools and training to help grassroots movements be more creative, effective, and irresistible.
Check out our movement partners…
What we do
The secret to our success is our modular toolkit Beautiful Trouble, and its Global-South focused follow-up, Beautiful Rising, which document and disseminate the breakthroughs and innovations of cutting-edge practitioners the world over. The toolkits are multilingual, movement-crowdsourced, evolve in real time alongside the movements they serve, and are available as books, web toolbox, and even a strategy card deck.
Recent years have seen an unprecedented surge of social movements and grassroots organizing. From Paris to Harare, Los Angeles to São Paulo, Beautiful Trouble is inspiring and up-skilling local organizers with trainings in nonviolent direct action, strategic campaigning and creative tactics.
In a movement moment, there is no shortage of zeal, but sometimes there’s a shortage of know-how and strategy. We are filling that gap by directly supporting activists in the field with hands-on campaign strategy, direct action planning, and one-to-one mentoring.
If you tried to tell the whole history of Beautiful Trouble in one minute (set your timer and talk fast!), here’s how it might go:
In 2010, the year before the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street, 70 artist-activists from across North America and Europe decided to pool their collective wisdom — the result: Beautiful Trouble, a 500-page book with 150 mini-chapters, each the size of one action-ready idea, like “Tactic: Hoax,” “Principle: Make the invisible visible,” or “Theory: Environmental justice.” Over 25,000 copies in 7 languages sold to date!
The book was so well received that we decided to keep the band together and do two things: 1) get all the content of the book into an online toolbox under creative commons license so it could keep evolving alongside the movements it served, and 2) build a training program to help people apply the lessons of the toolbox in their own organizing. Over 15,000 people trained to date!
A couple years later, we got a call from ActionAid Denmark, an NGO that supports social movements around the globe. They wanted a Beautiful Trouble toolkit for the whole world! So with a few kroner from the Danish government, we convened jam sessions from Harare to Amman to Oaxaca, where frontline activists shared and documented their most innovative tactics and winning campaign stories. (Read more about that process here.) The result: a more responsive and inclusive toolkit, and the book Beautiful Rising: Creative Resistance from the Global South.
In winter 2020, we combined both Beautiful Trouble and Beautiful Rising toolkits to make the robust online toolbox you can view on this website. And to make all this wisdom even more accessible, we took the best of the best of both these efforts and made a strategy card deck.
We began receiving calls from universities to come teach about how nonviolent change happens. So we wrote a study guide. And became guest lecturers. And nowadays we zoom into classrooms around the world from our bedrooms.
Over the years, independent publishers and grassroots organizers across five continents have reached out to help translate our toolbox into their own languages. This was welcome news because we’re committed to making the toolbox as accessible as possible. (If you would like to translate Beautiful Trouble too, contact us with subject line "Translating BT.")
Along the way, we set up the Action Lab, a creative campaign incubator, that helps spawn great projects like the Climate Ribbon, Resistance Hotline, Climate Clock, and Solidarity Not Aid. And we make just-in-time micro-grants to grassroots groups all over the world via our Get Up Rise Up (GURU) direct-action fund.
What’s next? We’ve teamed up with New Economy Coalition, Peoples Hub, Highlander Center, and This Changes Everything to create Beautiful Solutions, a toolbox just like Beautiful Trouble, but for the just and sustainable world we actually want to live in!
And now, let’s make trouble together…
We need your help to keep doing all of this amazing work.
Please help us with a donation. Thank you.