IMG 5532For the past year, a team of Radio Skid Row producers have been walking the streets of Sydney talking to activists who are fighting for change.

In some cases, they are fighting for a change in their local neighbourhood.

Others are trying to change the country and still others are trying to change the world.

We talked with over thirty people about how they see their activism, how much time they spend support their cause or causes and how they see activism changing with the emergence of online activism.

So what do we mean by the term "activist"?

Wikipedia tells us that "Activism consists of efforts to promote, impede, or direct social, political, economic, or environmental change, or stasis. Activism can take a wide range of forms from writing letters to newspapers or politicians, political campaigning, economic activism such as boycotts or preferentially patronizing businesses, rallies, street marches, strikes, sit-ins, and hunger strikes."

Some of the poeple we interviewed said they felt that you were not really an activist if you were being paid to do a job, while others said that was unfair because so many community jobs include a mix of paid and unpaid hours.

Another suggestion was that to be an activist you had to be working on campaigns which go beyond your personal realm of family and social networks.

Most people agreed that signing online petitions and supporting causes by liking and sharing them in social netowrks was not activism.


Activist Profiles


Cathy Nisbit- Local Activist

When Radio Skid Row reporter, Em Couch went to interview Cathy Nisbit from Kogarah Community Services about her work, Cathy wasn't sure if she considered herself an activist. "I just never thought of an activist as having painted nails and wearing lipstick" she said. Cathy is a part time community worker at the Centre where she is paid for two days a week work. Like a lot of community workers,…
Peace activist

Nick Deane- Marrickville Peace Group

The Marrickville Peace Group are a collective of individuals of disparate political views who come together to foster activities in support of peace and in opposition to war as a means of settling international disputes. They meet in the back room of a Marrickville cafe once a month and Nick Deane often finds himself writing minutes, press releases and letters on behalf of the group. "We don't…

Micah M White - Occupy Wall Street

When we started this project we spent lot of time searching the Internet for people to interview. We were surprised when we were looking for people to talk about online activism and its realtionship with direct action, how hard it was to track down some of the key players. The name Micah M. White kept coming up in articles and twitter searches - so we sent off a bunch of emails trying to contact…

Sophie Peer

At the time of writing this, things couldn't be much worse in Australia for refugees. The issue of people claiming refugee status has been the political football of both major parties, while many of us are left speechless. Sophie Peer is not lost for words when it comes to the issue, inparticular the issue of refugee children. she is currently the campaign director and the only paid worker…

Paddy Gibson- Stop the Intervention…

Paddy Gibson is an organiser with Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney (STICS) and has studied the impact on those in the 'prescribed communities'. Since 2008 he has been a researcher for the UTS Jumbunna House of Learning. STIC is an open collective of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people committed to the repeal of the NT Intervention and the struggle for Aboriginal self-determination. The…

Frank - Cycle Re-cycle Club

The Cycle Re-Cycle Club which is sometimes kown as the Nunnery Bike workshop is a group of volunteers who spend their time fixing old bikes. Cycle Re-cycle accepts donations of old and broken bikes and then put the bits and pieces together. What we like best about them is that they give the fixed bikes to people who can't normally afford them. Frank is a vounteer at the centre and sees his work…
Ray jackson

Ray Jackson- Indigenous Social Justice …

If you ever find yourself walking down the streets of Redfern in Sydney, you may come across a well-known figure, Ray Jackson. He is pretty hard to miss as he always wears a hat coverved in political badges- often with a matching vest. definitely an old school activist, Ray has devoted decades to the campaign to Stop Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. At present Ray is the president of the Indigenous…
protester aboriginal

Barbara McGrady - Photographer

At a recent opening of Barbara McGrady's photographic exhibition at the Redfern Community Centre, Gary Foley said that one of her photos was worth thousands of pages written by historians like himself. At the same time Gary noted that while there are many community photographers, Barbara's photos were different because they are taken with an Aboriginal eye. We love Barbara's photography of…
greenway 1

Jug Agius - Friends of Greenway

If you live in the inner west chances are you have hear about the Greenway Project. What probably didn't know is that the project started with a handful of passionate people. Jug Agius was one of them. Friends of Greenway is a community group which started a campaign which has now spanned years. Theirvision was to preserve a greenway- a kind of linear park- along the side of an old railroad…

About the project

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What is an Activist?

For the past year, a team of Radio Skid Row producers have been walking the streets of Sydney… Read more...
police shot

The I Am Active! team

The iAmActive team includes: Executive Producer: Nicola Joseph Reporters: Em Couch and Isobel Deane… Read more...

How this project started

The idea for the iAmActive project was inspired by the demonstrations in Tunisia and Egypt during… Read more...