Banners have a key role in activism. As well as being useful on demonstrations or at events, banners can in fact be the centre-piece of creative actions when displayed in public places - off bridges, large buildings, or major landmarks. Here's a quick guide that was sourced from Global Justice Now and Extinction Rebellion.
This training is a 3 minute read.
First, have a discussion in your group about the kind of banner that you’d like to make. You’ll need to think about:
Where you’re going to use the banner
Are you going to be carrying it on a march or dropping it from the side of the bridge? This will determine how big your banner will need to be as well as how you’ll attach it. If you’re going to use it at a protest, we recommend metal poles attached at each end and something that’s no bigger than 5 meters. If you’re going to do something from a bridge you’ll want something that’s at least a quarter of the length of the bridge attached using cable ties and rope. When it comes to attaching it to a bridge over a road, use extra cable ties to make sure the banner definitely doesn't come down. The location of the banner will also influence the material you will want to use. Getting a mesh banner or cutting holes in your banner will prevent it from acting as a sail.
The message you want to put on your banner
Go online and look for good examples of banners. Remember where the banner will be hanging, for instance, big banners over roads shouldn't have too much text on them.
What materials you’ll need
There are two ways that you could go about making your banner:
Make your banner out of scaffolding mesh, use rip stock fabric to cut out your letters, and use strong spray-on adhesive to attach. You might need to put a few stitches in to be sure the letters will stay in position. You’ll also need cable ties and some strong rope to attach the banner. This is recommended for bridge drops.
Make your banner out of cotton fabric using paint or spray paint to write on your message. You can easily pick up these from fabric and craft shops. You’ll also need a needle and thread to create loops at either end of the banner to insert some poles in to make it easier to carry.
Where you are going to make the banner
You’ll need a large space where you’ll be able to get a bit messy!
Check legal restrictions
If you are planning on doing a banner drop off a bridge it's important to know that this is often not strictly legal. Read up on local laws to be on the safe side. To avoid getting into trouble and encourage local authorities to turn a blind eye it can be a good idea to:
create a risk assessment form (something to present to local police if they show up)
staying with the banner at all times while it is up (never leave banners over roads unattended)
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