Definition and Purpose of Good Trouble Makers
Good Trouble Makers are artist-agitators based in Los Angeles and working internationally. Inspired by the words of John Lewis, we are committed to making; making art, making room, making change, making good trouble.
Good Trouble Makers do serious work without taking ourselves too seriously. We are playful, audacious, and fill our work with pleasure and joy. We are a genre expanding, practice-driven collaborative that is engaged in a lifelong commitment to anti-racist and queer art making, knowledge sharing, and performing.
We actively work to dismantle white, heteropatriarchal systems in favor of cultivating a responsive, multigenerational art-full ecosystem. We prioritize resource sharing, embodied knowledge practice and the healing of the individual, our collaborative and the communities we engage with.
We divest from scarcity and instead build coalition and community through mutual support, alternative economies, thoughtful collaborations, and community celebration. We believe intergenerational collaboration is how artists grow, communities thrive, and new opportunities are created.
We are focused on healing while dismantling, using art to re-imagine, and remaking with joy because, to put it bluntly: it’s not about a seat at the table, fuck the table, let’s dance on it, to music of our own making, and use its materials to create something better; something that leaves no one behind, and is all our own.
Good Trouble Makers uses movement and multi-disciplinary collaboration to create original artistic projects, events, and knowledge sharing opportunities. Our work is community centered and often includes food as fellowship. We believe in using joy and celebration as tactics to welcome you into the work and foster healing. We use our collaborative creativity to stir your spirit, activate your body, and challenge your mind.
Internally we create highly adaptable mutual aid structures where we share resources and expertise among all members. This helps our individual development, enriches our collaborations, and allows us to function as a better resourced interdependent community. Our creative mischief involves a deep commitment to experimentation, evaluation, and redirection however often is needed to stay committed to our mission.
We follow 4 core tenets:
Prioritizing the rest, care, and healing of our BIPOC members as we grieve, rage, and process the community wide and ongoing trauma that is living under white supremacy.
Empowering our white members to be co-conspirators and active allies. They are committed to continuous learning.Launching programming and partnerships so that you too can participate in the rest and work outlined above. Our programming centers co-learning spaces rather than top down ‘training’ models.
Dreaming, experimenting, plotting, and planning how to achieve the future we are working towards:
When our world is one where white supremacy and the structures that empower it are left by the wayside. How will we know that this is achieved, you might ask? When saying “black lives matter” stops being a fight and becomes a fact.
When our world is accessible, physically, and economically.
When our work becomes the norm and more people are empowered to use their creativity to make their own systems of power by building strong communities and strengthening ties to one another.
When our world lays the toxic myth of self-made individuality to rest and instead celebrates intergenerational knowledge, skill, and resource sharing.
Good Trouble Makers in relationship to Mass Struggle
Good Trouble Makers exists to build capacity for artists and activists who center the rejection of white body supremacy and instead favor the fostering of creative collaboration and community organization. GTM connects to the greater sociopolitical landscape by having a foundation in safety while inviting pleasure, levity, and healing into our queer art making.
Good Trouble Makers acknowledges that having a collective of diverse racial and cultural individuals brings very different lived experiences to our shared space. Good Trouble Makers hold ourselves accountable as we endeavor to have honest and open conversations and collaborations. Accountability is further developed through White Working Groups and BIPOC Affinity Groups.
As a queer, Black-led organization that is always operating at the intersections of art, activism, and queer and BIPOC community, Good Trouble Makers was built for this moment and the work that comes next. Our collaborative was founded so that together we can work to divest from white supremacy and create a community of mutual support that recognizes our membership as whole people, not just agents of economic and creative output.
Pleasure Activism: Adrienne Maree Brown
“How do we make social justice the most pleasurable human experience? How can we awaken within ourselves desires that make it impossible to settle for anything less than a fulfilling life? Editor adrienne maree brown finds the answer in something she calls "Pleasure Activism," a politics of healing and happiness that explodes the dour myth that changing the world is just another form of work. Drawing on the black feminist tradition, including Audre Lourde's invitation to use the erotic as power and Toni Cade Bambara's exhortation that we make the revolution irresistible, the contributors to this volume take up the challenge to rethink the ground rules of activism.”
My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies: Resmaa Menakem
“In this groundbreaking book, therapist Resmaa Menakem examines the damage caused by racism in America from the perspective of trauma and body-centered psychology. My Grandmother's Hands is a call to action for all of us to recognize that racism is not about the head, but about the body, and introduces an alternative view of what we can do to grow beyond our entrenched racialized divide.”
Queer Art of Failure: Judith Halberstam
“The Queer Art of Failure is about finding alternatives—to conventional understandings of success in a heteronormative, capitalist society; to academic disciplines that confirm what is already known according to approved methods of knowing; and to cultural criticism that claims to break new ground but cleaves to conventional archives. Tacking back and forth between high theory and low theory, high culture and low culture, Halberstam looks for the unexpected and subversive in popular culture, avant-garde performance, and queer art. She pays particular attention to animated children’s films, revealing narratives filled with unexpected encounters between the childish, the transformative, and the queer. Failure sometimes offers more creative, cooperative, and surprising ways of being in the world, even as it forces us to face the dark side of life, love, and libido.”