Making Beautiful Trouble: A workshop on creative Confrontation

Are you curious about how to make change in your community? Are you looking for ways to creatively challenge the status quo? Do you want to join in envisioning the future we want to live in through peace and justice? Join us for this workshop with Beautiful Trouble exploring the role of design in creating change through projects featured in the exhibition Designing Peace.

The workshop will introduce you to Beautiful Trouble’s tactics and techniques of creative activism. Using the Beautiful Trouble toolbox and other participatory games, participants will brainstorm and develop unique ways to support peace and justice. As part of the workshop, Cynthia E. Smith, Curator of Socially Responsible Design, will provide an overview of Designing Peace. Participants are encouraged to view the exhibition in advance of the workshop.

about beautiful trouble

Beautiful Trouble is a book, web toolbox, and international network of artist-activist trainers whose mission is to make grassroots movements more creative and more effective. Beautiful Trouble is a collaborative effort by more than 200 artist-activists-strategists and more than ten leading creative campaign organizations including the YesMen/YesLab, Ruckus Society, Other 98%, and others. Praised by Naomi Klein as “elegant and incendiary,” the book is being used by campaigns and classrooms across the globe. Online, the Beautiful Trouble toolbox is available in eight languages and offers all the book content and more to the public under a creative commons license.

Nadine Bloch is the Training Director for Beautiful Trouble. She is a self-described “outside-the-box activist artist, political community organizer and strategic nonviolent actionista.” Her work explores the potent intersection of art and politics, where creative cultural resistance is not only effective political action, but also a powerful way to reclaim agency over our own lives, fight oppressive systems, and invest in our communities. In addition to contributing content to Beautiful Trouble, Beautiful Rising, and We Are Many: Reflections on Movement Strategy from Occupation to Liberation (2012, AK Press), she is the author of Education & Training in Nonviolent Resistance (2016, USIP) and the co-author of SNAP: An Action Guide to Synergizing Nonviolent Action and Peacebuilding (2019, USIP).

Dragonfly [aka Robin LaVerne Wilson] is the GenX descendant of enslaved Afrikans in North America, and accepts all pronouns said with love and/or respect. Their first direct action brought equity to how kindergarten attendance was taken so that those with last names towards the end of the alphabet weren’t always the last to go play. They have been a frequent troublemaking co-conspirator with The Stop Shopping Choir and E.A.R.T.H. Lab SF, and also appears as the flamboyant social justice alter ego, Miss Justice Jester. Their performance art series, Absconded Project, is a moving meditation on the geographically hidden histories of enslaved and displaced peoples. They are in the Beautiful Trouble Training Network.


  • Location: This program will take place in person in the Lecture Room at Cooper Hewitt (2 East 91st Street, New York, NY). The Lecture Room is on the ground floor of the museum and fully wheelchair accessible. There is an accessible restroom on the same floor. There will be group seating at tables. Read more about accessibility at Cooper Hewitt.
  • What to Expect: This workshop will include speaker presentations and group activities. There will be a scheduled break, and attendees may take additional breaks as needed. Participants are encouraged to explore the Designing Peace exhibition, located on the third floor, before the workshop. Please present your workshop ticket at the Visitor Experience desk for a museum ticket on the day of the workshop.
  • Accommodations: For general questions or if we can provide additional accessibility services or accommodations to support your participation in this program, please email us at or let us know when registering. Please make your accommodation request as far in advance as possible—preferably at least one week before the program date when possible.

Health & Safety Measures

Please visit Cooper Hewitt’s Plan Your Visit page for up-to-date information on health and safety guidelines.

About national Design week

National Design Week celebrates the power of design in our everyday world. Launched in 2006, National Design Week is held in conjunction with the National Design Awards. From October 17–23, 2022, Cooper Hewitt’s galleries will be free to enter, and programs will welcome all to engage with design. Visit for a complete listing of programs. Your support helps connect students and lifelong learners everywhere with today’s foremost designers, during National Design Week and throughout the year. Show your support today!

Special Thanks

The National Design Awards are made possible with major support from

Major support is also provided by Helen and Edward Hintz and Shelby and Frederick Gans. Generous support is provided by Alexandra and Paul Herzan, Crystal and Chris Sacca, and Lisa Roberts and David Seltzer. 

Additional support is provided by Agnes Gund, Amita and Purnendu Chatterjee, Esme Usdan and James Snyder, Jon C. Iwata, Keith Yamashita, Kim and Mac Schuessler, Margery and Edgar Masinter, Richard M. Smith and Dr. Soon-Young Yoon, and Cooper Hewitt’s Board of Trustees.

National Design Week programs are made possible with major support from

Generous support is provided by The Hirsch Family Foundation and The Pinkerton Foundation.