Steve Lambert

wrote a book!!!

Yearly Archives: 2020

The Conversation – podcast

I was invited to talk to Michael Shaw for his Conversation podcast and it was a real pleasure. He ended up turning it into two-episodes, the first more about the work of the Center for Artistic Activism and the second drifting into how capitalism works in my life; how we measure success and deal with financial anxiety. Of course there’s much more I could say about how capitalism doesn’t work for me that gets into my family history and other life experience, but we talked much more depth than I usually get to.

Episode 280 – Steve Lambert on walking towards Utopia

Beacon, NY-based artist and professor Steve Lambert talks about the perils of working in ‘new media,’ particularly around scarcity and the market. He discusses the the complex relationship between art and activism, which led to him co-found the Center for Artistic Activism. He talks about working on a project in Macedonia that addressed rampant corruption, and a clever workaround for illegal protesting in Barcelona. He also discusses training artist-activists in how to achieve real “wins,” and what they actually look like.

Episode 281 – Steve Lambert on how Capitalism works – and doesn’t work – for him

In Part 2 with artist Steve Lambert, he discusses his most well-known artwork, Capitalism Works For Me, wherein he prompts participants to decide between “true” or “false” on whether capitalism really works for them on a personal level. Lambert himself says “false”, despite being in a better position than others and lists reasons why within the episode. He also weighs his career making more gallery-friendly art with his art for social change, and how he’s ultimately come down on the latter. His social change work thru the Center Artistic Activism was just featured on CBS News.

CBS This Morning on Unstoppable Voters

I was interviewed for CBS’ coverage of the Center for Artistic Activism’s Unstoppable Voters work. There are 11 artistic activism projects we’re supporting aimed at celebrating voting rights and countering voter suppression in the 2020 U.S. election. The projects are taking place before and on Election Day in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Talk at frank Gathering

This 10 minute talk from frank2020 tells about one of our favorite projects at the Center for Artistic Activism and how we worked with the Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Taskforce to win campaigns in South Africa.

In February the Center for Artistic Activism headed to the 2020 frank Gathering hosted by the Center for Public Interest Communications at the University of Florida. We hosted a short workshop and I presented in their block on anger.

Techtonic Podcast

Techtonic is a WFMU show “featuring conversations with creators and thinkers who are charting the way forward in a tech-saturated society. Tech, community, video games, and whatever else is next.” Mark Hurst is the host and we’ve crossed paths over the years making it fun to connect with him again.

Listen to Techtonic with Steve Lambert

We talked about capitalism, facebook, the COVID vaccine, “nudging” behaviors, ethics, propaganda, and transparency. Saying “the algorithm” vs. “corporate policy.” Open licenses, competition, and the similarities between licensing of drugs and software.

Living the City Exhibition – Berlin

Documentation of The Center for Artistic Activism’s workshop projects in cities like Macedonia and South Africa are part of an exhibition at the Tempelhof Airport in Berlin. The exhibition is open through December 20th of this year.

Cities are full of stories—simultaneous, contradictory, overlapping, and inextricably connected. Living the City tells over fifty stories from architecture, art, and city planning projects in the main hall of the former Berlin-Tempelhof Airport. The National Urban Development Policy exhibition shows processes and opportunities for action in cities across Europe.

For three months, the former airport will be transformed into a venue for city life. In a walk-through urban collage, visitors will encounter a range of stories from people and projects that are actively involved in the city and civic society. These stories ask questions concerning fundamental activities like loving, living, making, participating, learning, playing, moving, and dreaming in the city. These are stories that shape and transform, that make you feel and think. Furthermore, a wide-ranging event and education program invites everyone to actively participate and contribute.

The exhibition Living the City can not only be experienced live on site. On the one hand, the continuously growing website offers a virtual view of the projects. On the other hand, live streams, curated online and live tours as well as interviews provide access to content and events.

On the occasion of the exhibition, the catalog Living the City. Of Cities, People and Stories has been published by Spector Books.

Letter to University of California Regents re: Open COVID Pledge

The University of California Regents are accepting public comment and Free the Vaccine for COVID-19 is asking them to sign the Open COVID Pledge. We’ve been in talks with the school, so this could be a turning point.

You can send an email or tweet also.

Dr. Michael Drake,

My name is Steve Lambert, I am a University of California alumnus, Associate Professor at State University of New York, and work in public health.

As you know, the UC system receives millions in public funding through grants from institutions like the National Institutes of Health (congratulations!).

But with public support at a public university comes a moral obligation to make sure these discoveries actually benefit the public. History has shown us that when it comes to life-saving drugs, patents and monopoly licenses with pharmaceutical corporations become serious obstacles to access. Look at the HIV/AIDS crisis, the cost of the Epi-Pen or insulin, or Hepatitis-C treatments like Sofosbuvir.

Those who profit put forward the myth that monopolies are required for innovation – without a profit motive drugs won’t move through the regulatory process and get to market. But exclusive licenses don’t ensure development – research on Coronavirus sat largely ignored for years because it was not seen as profitable without a crisis. We must follow the example set by Jonas Salk who freely shared his Polio vaccine and saved millions of children: let innovation be driven by healthcare need, not shareholder’s desires.

The World Health Organization, global leaders, UN AIDS, OxFam, and a group of Nobel laureates are calling for for “vaccines, treatments and tests be patent-free, mass produced, distributed fairly and made available to all people, in all countries, free of charge.” (

Please don’t proceed the same way you did a year ago, five years ago, ten years ago. We are in a vastly different situation which requires UC to change the way it shares research. As I write this there are over 16 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 649,662 deaths. Make a meaningful commitment now. Sign the Open COVID Pledge.


Professor Steve Lambert

Speaking at Global Change Days

I’m speaking about the Free the Vaccine for COVID-19 campaign at Global Change Days along with Rebecca Bray, my colleague at the Center for Artistic Activism, and Merith Basey, Executive Director of Universities Allied for Essential Medicines.

The Berlin Change Days tradition goes back to the year 2009, when a small group of international facilitators met in Berlin to be inspired, to be connected and to be equipped for what the world calls us to do – to help creating thriving organisations, communities and societies. Meanwhile, the event has branched out to Canada, and Australia.

In 2020, like everywhere else in the world, we have been putting all our plans for BCD20 on hold. We still hope that face-to-face Berlin can take place in 2020. And if not, we are sure that we will welcome you next year!

However, we decided that we shouldn’t wait to connect the global changemaker community that we have been serving for twelve years. Now is the time for us to step up and help shape the new world that is emerging beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are proud to announce the first virtual Global Change Days in which we want to explore our role in response to global challenges, the transformation of organisations and in supporting health & wellbeing of ourselves and the people we serve.

Come join us on a journey which starts on June 15th with the first of three lighthouse events lighting the way towards a 24-hours, a globe-spanning day on June 26th to June 27th with more than 40 workshops, interactive sessions and multiple opportunities to connect and network. We will not end there but will continue to host regular meaningful ‘beacon’ events up to the next face-to-face event in Australia, Berlin and Toronto. Curious? Have a look at our programme at … and register now.

Global Change Days Site

Conversation with Avram Finkelstein

At our last Free the Vaccine for COVID-19 meeting some participants said they wanted to know more about working in collectives. We immediately went to Avram Finkelstein who has a wealth of experience with working in collectives on public health topics.

Avram agreed to share his insights on working in collectives like ACT-UP and GRAN FURY, as well as working in public spaces with broad, non-art audiences. We originally intended this to be about 15-30 minutes, but then the conversation just got rolling and was of such high quality, we rolled along with it.

Avram Finkelstein is an artist, activist and writer living in Brooklyn, and a founding member of the Silence=Death and Gran Fury collectives.

Merith Basey is Executive Director of Universities Allied for Essential Medicines in the United States. Rebecca Bray and Steve Lambert are co-directors of the Center for Artistic Activism.


Table of contents

TimeTopic Link
15:30Storytelling in Capitalism
24:55The Opening Sentence
28:13Critical Analysis
29:00Simple but not simplistic
36:45Working in Collectives
48:27Plan Campaigns
52:35Growing into your role
1:00:03Working in Public
1:06:35Tips for Collective Projects
1:11:08Q: Doubt the collective?
1:20:39Q: COVID conversations?

C4AA on the Nice Work! Podcast

Rebecca Bray and I interviewed for the Nice Work! Podcast from the Super Nice Club.

Most of us want a safe, thoroughly tested vaccine for COVID-19, stat. But, what good is a vaccine if the people who need it most can’t afford it? NO GOOD is the correct answer. 

Which is why the Super Nice Club is actively involved as part of the FREE THE VACCINE effort — over 300 artists, activists and researchers around the world who are advocating for and pressuring key stakeholders to ensure that the vaccine, when ready and safe, will be free at the point of delivery. 

This week’s NICE WORK! podcast features Rebecca Bray and Steve Lambert. Together, they founded FREE THE VACCINE. Learn all about what we’re up to by tuning in to this week’s episode wherever you get your podcasts…

Super Nice Club Podcast

N+T Asks with Nia Evans

On May 8 I participated in a conversation with Nia Evans (and Tomashi Jackson) for Boston’s Now and There.

This week Executive Director Kate Gilbert asked you, Nia Evans, Director of Boston Ujima Project, and Steve Lambert, artist and Director + Co-founder of The Center for Artistic Activism, “Is arts activism enough?” Together we examined issues around how art and artists intersect with grassroots activism, considered the significance of both individual advocacy and collective action, and imagined ways to employ art as a change-making tool during times of physical distance and after. Click to watch, read, or listen to the full conversation.

Now and There Blog

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