FAN (Family Activist Network)

FAN is a group of 35 or so adults and children, based across the UK (Cambridge, Chichester, Edinburgh, Lincoln, Liverpool, London, Norwich and Sheffield). FAN was formed to consider family life and climate change through a variety of art activist formats. Since its formation in 2014 FAN have exchanged slow mail correspondence, created a reading group This Changes Everything (Naomi Klein 2015), held recruitment events (Two Degrees festival, Artsadmin, London 2015), protested together (Time to Act, London, 2015; D12 Redlines in Paris for COP21, 2015), engaged in creating family performances showcase (Plas Caerdeon, Wales 2016), commissioned a science lecture about James Watt and the onset of Anthropocene Epoch (Glasgow Green, 2016), engaged in a themed discussion on Future Scenarios (2016), visited the site of the Happisburgh footprints, created Photo Books of FAN encounters (2015 – ongoing) and debated on FAN email list (2015 – ongoing).

FAN is composed of academics, activists, actors, artists, architects, babies, cultural workers, dreamers, parents, playwrights, school children and toddlers. They are Anna, Clare, Corin, Edward, Ella, Fionn, Gabriel, Gary, Hamish, Hope, James, Jennifer, Jodie, Jude, Laylah, Lawrence, Leah, Leo, Lena, Mahmood, Mala, Martha, Max, Neal, Oisin, Paula, Pete, Roma, Ruby, Sam, Sandy, Sarah, Sid, Susi, Tom, Valerie, Zoë so far. Some of the members are engaged in their own arts collectives (A Place of Their Own, Metis Arts, Migrant Artists Mutual Aid, Search Party, The Institute for the Art and Practice of Dissent at Home and Townley & Bradby), others work independently. All are concerned to imagine and create another possible world, with social and ecological justice at its core.

FAN at Happisburgh (2017)

98 Happisburgh beach ruins

FAN met during May half-term in Happisburgh. In our group of adults and children we searched for The earliest human footprints outside Africa. We talked about land erosion and climate change. We created the FAN Commune of Shifting Sands and Subjectivities.

103 FAN Commune sign 97 Happisburgh beach footsteps 2
99 Happisburgh Beach kids 100 Happisburgh beach adults and kids

FAN in Glasgow (2016)

The Family Activist Network met over the autumn half-term in 2016 in Glasgow. We re-created James Watt’s Eureka moment 250 years ago on Glasgow Green, the moment that kickstarted the fossil fuel age: the seperate condenser – inspired by this article.


‘Some scientists argue that the design of the parallel motion (or double-acting engine) in 1784 should serve as the starting point of the Anthropocene Epoch—the unofficial interval of geologic time in which human activity began to substantially alter Earth’s surface, atmosphere, and oceans.’ from Britannica.

What were FAN capable of re-imagining on this historic site? We interrogated the past in order to imagine better futures.


In Glasgow we also engaged in a themed discussion on Future Scenarios and visited the Necropolis.

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FAN at Plas Cardeon (2016)

Group Photo
Group Photo

Family Activist Network (30 adults and children) met in May 2016 at Plas Cardeon Outdoor Education Centre in order to reflect on 2015 – a year of slow writing and mobilization towards COP21.

We also created a series of chaotic climate change family performances.

Apoto Performance
Apoto Performance

Sarah Mahmood Laylah performance

Jen Ella
Jen and Ella

Townley & Bradby performance
Townley & Bradby performance

Suzy and Roma
Suzy and Roma

Search Party performance
Search Party performance

The Institute performed as a family of Polar Bears – Gabriel wrote the script.

the institute polar bears performance Photo 28-05-2016, 14 59 00 The Institute 'Polar Bears' performance

We ate and played: tables, picnics, fields, bridge and beach.

communal eating
Communal Eating

in the field
In the Field

Townley & Bradby farewell
Townley & Bradby farewell music

on the beach
On the Beach


On the Bridge
On the Bridge

One Fan member wrote: ‘What a FANtastic weekend at Plas Cardeon, Wales with the Family Activist Network, buzzing from affective encounters, post human discussions, perfectly made cups of tea, paddling in a freezing cold stream, a series of family performances about climate change, farewell music making, and a generally chaotic collective existence throughout the Bank Holiday Weekend… if only life could be like this more often.’

FAN at COP21 (2015)


#fanparis for #d12 #redlines – 14 children and 10 adults made it to Paris!

FAN Paris from dissentathome on Vimeo.

Lena’s reflection ‘A Moment in Paris’.

And check out our short report of D12 day on Climate Games website

Background Story

00 FAN

Family Activist Network from dissentathome on Vimeo.

Four Boys discussing climate change and our Paris trip

Since December 2014 the Institute have engaged in slow correspondence (letters and post cards) with 12 families across the UK and Denmark discussing climate change and family life in the lead up to COP21 in Paris. Whilst we don’t believe that the world’s leaders and neoliberal green capitalism will save us in Paris, we are understanding this moment, COP21, as a call to mobilize ourselves and others towards social and ecological justice.

We started this project in Decemeber 2014, a year before COP21. We initially contacted 20 families across Europe (with our own family making up the 21 of COP21). We have only managed to engage 12 families, 9 from the original 20 and 3 new ones. It’s not easy being green.

Nevertheless, our Institute walls have been filled with letters and post cards from the FAN’s delicious correspondence.
01 Jan full 02 Feb full
January February
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james time to act sid
neal gabriel
 In March we read Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything book and attended Time to Act march in London, together with students from Liverpool Hope University.
03 Mar full 03 Mar detail
March correspondence on the Institute wall
04 Apr full 04 Apr detail
April correspondence in the corner of the Institute
05 May full 05 May detail
May correspondence
WP_20150606_09_12_28_Pro recruitment
In June FAN met at Artsadmin for Two Degrees festival. as a part of Imagining the Impossible day.
We talked about Paris trip logistics, recruited some more families and shared enthusiasms and worry about the planet.
Slow mail correspondence continued throughout summer.
06 Jun full 06 Jun detail
07 Jul detail 07 Jul full
08 Aug full 08 Aug detial
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