Banned on the Hill’s Indiegogo Updates 2013- 2014

by Franke James

Read this on Indiegogo


The funding for the Indiegogo Banned on the Hill Project is successfully completed. November 10, 2013 note – Please see the new update on the shows in Washington, DC and Calgary, Alberta.

See the full campaign updates below as it unfolded on the streets of Ottawa, Halifax, Calgary, Washington and in media from across Canada, to the USA and the UK.


Banned on the Hill Indiegogo Updates: May to September 2013

Double-Header: “Do Not Talk about Climate Change” posters go up in Calgary and Washington!


With this double-header we’ve definitely achieved our stretch goals — even beyond my dreams! I have a lot to tell you about the Banned on the Hill posters that are up now up in Calgary and Washington.

But first I want to start by thanking YOU – because without your help, this climate art project would never have happened. As I fill you in on the news, I think you’ll be amazed at how the project has gained momentum. It launched in Ottawa in the Spring. And in September it made waves in Halifax. As word travelled it attracted major supporters which made it possible to hit the ball out of the park and right onto Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. Wow!

Calgary: The “Do Not Talk about Climate Change” posters in Calgary were timed to coincide with the Conservative Party Convention and send a strong message to the Harper government that Canadians need to talk about climate change. I flew to Calgary to talk to Calgarians on the street and attend the Pros and Cons event, which was organized by Common Causes to educate people about how the Harper government is forever changing the face of Canada. (I’ll be writing more about my Calgary adventure.)

Oh No Canada! Show Poster

Washington, DC: Indiegogo funds helped put the “Oh No Canada!” art show on the streets of Washington. Three major environmental groups in the USA also stepped up to help: NRDC, Sierra Club, and National Wildlife Federation.

See the six posters and the media coverage.

The “Oh No Canada!” show was kicked off by a climate symposium at the National Press Club on October 11th. Dr. David Suzuki, Tzeporah Berman, Dr. Danny Harvey, Tim Gray and myself formed the Canadian Delegation panel.


On October 10th, members of the Canadian Delegation, including Clare Demerse from Pembina, and Courtenay Lewis from Sierra Club, met with Democratic Congressional staffers and State Department officials.

A few of the DC related articles…

INSIDE CLIMATE: Artist Blacklisted by Canada Over Criticism of Climate Policy Takes Show to U.S.

THE HILL: Anti-Keystone XL poster campaign hits Washington, D.C.

TORONTO STAR: Franke James Goes To Washington (print headline)

Read more on my site and here:

Thank you so much for your contribution! YOU made a big difference.

Together we’ve told Harper we’ve had our fill. We will not be Banned on the Hill. Please spread the word about the shows in Washington and Calgary!


Banned on the Hill Goes to Halifax! Thanks to YOU and 220 Indiegogo funders


Do Not Talk about Climate Change? Ha! That is what the Harper govt would love, but more and more Canadians are standing up and saying we’re not going to be muzzled. “Banned on the Hill” is on a roll thanks to Indiegogo funders who contributed to get the Do Not Talk about Climate Change posters up… First in Ottawa. And now in Halifax!

Halifax welcomed me and nine of my Banned on the Hill posters — in great style. Phenomenal! Amazing! I got a very warm hug ‘down East’.

One Indiegogo funder in particular gets special thanks for making this happen: The College of Sustainability at Dalhousie University purchased my “perk” to give a keynote talk and a Green Conscience Art Workshop (co-sponsored by the Dalhousie Art Gallery).

On September 12th, I presented at Dalhousie’s evening series of Environment, Sustainability and Society Lectures. My visual presentation “Speaking up for the climate and against censorship” featured three of my stories. When the Sustainability Director Steven Mannell first contacted me to arrange the talk he wrote, “Our early fall lecture often presents an historic figure (Rachel Carson, John Muir) through performance; I think your story is a strong contemporary resonance of the resistance of these individuals, and we don’t need an actor to play your part!”

It was very cool and a great honour to speak at Dalhousie. There was a packed audience of 475 people, a mix of students and the public. My main point for the students was to let them know the importance of speaking up for the planet. And to emphasize that censorship doesn’t work. Especially if you can wield a paintbrush. Most Canadians don’t get too excited about censorship, so I was thrilled that I got the Dalhousie crowd on their feet and clapping — and many stayed afterwards to speak with me, take photos and sign books. It was a special night. Marie Visca’s article, Painting a Picture of Dissent in the Dalhousie News, includes reactions to my talk. Christina Joynt, a Dalhousie student said, “As a second year, I’ve attended a number of guest lectures, but I thought this one added a lot of enthusiasm to environmental ethics and lobbying of environmental rights. The blacklisting of citizens is something that I didn’t realize took place under Harper’s government.”

See the full post and pictures of all the protest posters. Please share this news and get people talking about climate change!

Crossing The Finish Line: June 29, 2013

GoalExceededGreetings everyone! The Banned on the Hill campaign has wrapped up on Indiegogo. Thanks to you and 220 funders we raised $12,869.00 in 45 days. Yes!! We are 257% funded. This is a moment to celebrate.

You can feel proud that you are making a difference in a very tangible way. Together we are showing Harper that blacklisting and censoring citizens does not work — especially if they wield a paintbrush, and have great people like you on side!

Thanks to you, we have succeeded in taking the ‘Banned on the Hill’ campaign to Ottawa. The “Do Not Talk about Climate Change” ads appeared on outdoor street posters, and online in The Hill Times and Rabble (and in print in The Hill Times). We have received media coverage in the Guardian UK, Vancouver Observer, The Province, Calgary Herald, CTV Power Play, Toronto Star, Ottawa Citizen, Montreal Gazette, Grist Magazine, DeSmog Canada, Dogwood Initiative, Huffington Post, Globe and Mail and others. (For those interested in the numbers, our purchased ads cost $6461.96, which is for the Ottawa outdoor posters, The Hill Times and Rabble ads.)

What’s next?
We will be taking the campaign to other cities and finding fresh, creative ways to get more public participation and media attention. I will be in touch to let you know the plans… If you have media or environmental contacts in Halifax, Vancouver, Calgary or Washington, DC, who you think could help, please put them in touch with me.

Where are my perks?
The Perks will be mailed out to everyone as soon as possible, which means you should get your perk in July. (Some people have already received them.)

Status update:
– The books are ready to ship.
– The Tarsands poster is ready to ship.
– The ebook is still in process (but close to being ready on ipad)
– The stickers and tattoos are being produced.

If your perk included several items (the book, the poster and the tattoo) it won’t be mailed until all the items are ready to ship.

I hope you are enjoying being part of this activist campaign. This is very exciting! So glad to have you on-board.

If you have any questions or advice, please email me.

Thanks for joining me on Banned on the Hill!


June 23: The Home Stretch

You can help take the show to Washington, Vancouver or Calgary…

Gain strength from our “wins”:

  1. We got Go Go Boots? Well, kinda… We got the “GoGofactor”!! Banned on the Hill made Indiegogo’s front page!
  2. To the chagrin of the government, Banned on the Hill is succeeding in getting people talking about climate change —> The “Do Not Talk” posters went up on the streets of Ottawa and on one of the govt’s favorite sites.
  3. Can you hear the Buzz? From the UK to the USA and across Canada, we scored excellent media coverage in the Guardian UK, CTV Power Play, the Toronto Star, the Ottawa Citizen, the Montreal Gazette, the Vancouver Observer, the Globe and Mail, and GRIST Magazine in the USA.
  4. And there is MORE media to come.
  5. Yes, we’re at 185% of our funding goal. Which is DAMN good! But we can do better.

So here’s the pitch…

And why this MATTERS to all of us…

Even though it’s summer, there’s a chill in the air. Many people are afraid to speak up lest they be pushed into a corner and labeled “radical”. If you think carefully, there are probably people you know very well who you are afraid to talk to about climate change.

I know because I feel it too. We naturally ZIP our lips because we don’t want to antagonize people.

But remember, there’s nothing radical about wanting clean air and clean water. We need to be brave and SPEAK UP about climate change. We need to show our government and Big Oil that we will not be silenced. They may not like what we have to say but it is our right to speak up. Green voices must be heard.

Let’s hit the ball out of the park. Let’s take my Banned Art — the same ART that the Harper government did NOT want the world to see — and spread the message further. Let’s take the show to Washington, Vancouver or Calgary.

Read what Elizabeth May, MP, and Green Party of Canada Leader said, “Franke James’ commitment to art, free expression and political commentary put her in the cross-hairs of Stephen Harper’s Conservatives. See what the government didn’t want the world to see.”

Thank you for supporting Banned on the Hill. You are one of 190 people who have stepped up to the plate. Can you spread the word further? Read:

“If Walls Could Talk… what would your wall say?”

Buy a Banned Perk so we can take the show to another city!
There are over 12 banned perks you can buy depending on your pocket book. From $12.00 to $25,000.


June 17: BIG News — Interview in Grist Magazine!

Grist_FJ_Screen shot_500px“A Franke discussion: How one artist fought back when the feds tried to shut her up”

Seattle-based GRIST Magazine, one of the top environmental news sites, published their interview with me about being “Banned on the Hill” and how I am fighting back.


“Canadian artist Franke James knows how to convey gloomy information without being a downer. She takes a relentlessly cheerful, self-deprecating approach to issues too often screamed about by scolds and trolls. (It’s an approach we here at Grist admire.) Her illustrated essays call out individuals, corporations, and governments for their inadequate responses to environmental threats, but in an unfailingly good-natured way more likely to make you grin than grimace. Though her art reaches a wide audience, James is no subversive revolutionary; she herself says, “I don’t like to get in trouble for what I do.” So it’s hard to believe the Canadian government would be keeping its eye on her, much less interfering with her work.

“In the U.S., Canada, and beyond, environmentalists of all kinds have been the subjects of increased government attention in recent years — especially as opposition to fracking and the Keystone XL pipeline grows more intense… James didn’t know she was on the government’s radar until promised federal funding for a traveling show of her art in Europe was mysteriously yanked, and the Croatian nonprofit organizing the show was pressured to scrap it. By filing Access to Information requests (the same as a U.S. Freedom of Information request) and poring over internal government emails, James discovered that her art, and its criticism of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s tar-sands-boosting administration, didn’t sit so well with the feds. Her book ‘Banned on the Hill’ tells the tale as only she can: in a series of illustrated essays, some of which were published a few years ago and cited by bureaucrats in their email exchanges as examples of James’ unacceptable artistic dissent. We caught up with James — whose work has been featured on Grist — to learn what it’s like to be the unlikely target of misplaced government paranoia.”

Read more and catch the plug at the end for my Indiegogo campaign……

Please read and share so that we can get more supporters and take the show to Vancouver, B.C. or Washington, D.C.


June 14: Get Dad Talking / New! Bookplate Stickers

GiveDadTalkAbout_IGG Two weeks to go and we’re getting closer to realizing the ambitious goal of taking the ‘Banned on the Hill’ campaign to another city. People are coming forward and offering help… we may just do it if we can keep the momentum going.

To help generate more word of mouth — and conversations across generations — I’ve posted this gift idea, “Hey, this Father’s Day Give Dad Something to Talk About!”

I’m also announcing a new perk — Art Bookplate Stickers.

You get to choose four Banned on the Hill bookplate stickers. The selection includes the No Keystone XL Flag (featured here), What is Harper afraid of?, Joe Oliver riding a fish, George Orwell on political language, “Franke James is your fault?” and others… I’m also open to requests, so if there’s an artwork from my book that you’d like to see transformed into a sticker let me know! NoKeystoneXLflag_1000

Very cool news — I’ve been invited to submit the stickers to an international art show curated by Catherine Tedford and Oliver Baudach. Read about the concept here: Re-Writing the Streets: The International Language of Stickers   Please keep spreading the word. I’ll be in touch with more news as it develops!

June 1: Media Coverage, Posters & Online Campaign

A Great Start - Franke James in Ottawa
Hooray!! Wave a Canadian flag! Celebrate the win — but not for too long! Yes, thanks to your contribution and 141 funders from Canada, the U.S. and Europe, we got the “Do Not Talk about Climate Change” posters up in Ottawa.

We’re off to a great start — see the major media below — but the BIG opportunity is to take the message to other Canadian and U.S. cities. The S-T-R-E-T-C-H goal is to raise a total of $10,000 (or more) to go to another city, like Calgary, Vancouver or even Washington. You can help by spreading the word.

Visual proof – Here I am in front of a poster at Bank and Slater. The shopkeeper came out to tell me that lots of people are posing in front of the poster — and he wanted to know more…. I told him to please go look at BANNED ON THE HILL on Indiegogo. And tell others to get their support!

Here’s what we did with the $5,000:

Crowdfunding Success: “Do Not Talk About Climate Change” Posters Go Up in Ottawa
We bought street ad posters and online ads on The Hill Times and Rabble sites. We also bought a print ad in The Hill Times.

Here are some of the links to media in the past two weeks:


TORONTO STAR: Climate activist gets even with new book
Print headline, A6, May 27, 2013 By Raveena Aulakh, Environment Reporter

VANCOUVER OBSERVER: Deep pocket PR vs. artist Franke James: the fight’s on
By Andrea Bennett

CTV POWER PLAY: Don Martin interviews Franke James, Author of “Banned on the Hill’ & Climate Activist

OTTAWA CITIZEN:Toronto artist Franke James says Harper government monitored her climate change artwork By Mike de Souza

GLOBE AND MAIL: Conservative attacks are nothing but bullying By Gerald Caplan

THE GUARDIAN UK: Artist finds inspiration in Canadian government’s attempt to silence her By Suzanne Goldenberg

May 29: The Posters Are Up In Ottawa!

Celebrate! The Posters Are Up In Ottawa! With your help we did it! Yeah!! The “Do Not Talk About Climate Change” posters are up on Bank Street for one month thanks to crowdfunding contributions from YOU and over 134 people from Canada, the USA and Europe. Legendary CP photographer Fred Chartrand shot this photo in Ottawa today. (His CP photo from the Death of Evidence Rally is on page 330 of my book, Banned on the Hill.) The posters are on Bank Street at Slater if you want to drop by and have your photo taken in front of one of them. I’ll be posting the best, here and on my site if you want to show them off! Tell me why you think it’s important to talk about climate change. Thanks for your help in making this happen! Spread the word — if we can raise enough funds we’ll take the campaign to another city. Which of these 4 cities should we go to next? Calgary, Vancouver, Montreal — or Washington, D.C. Let me know by leaving a comment or tweeting @frankejames




May 28: VO “Deep pocket PR vs. artist Franke James: the fight’s on”


Yeah!! The “Do Not Talk” posters are made and ready to go up on the streets of Ottawa. Here I am standing on top of one poster which measures 47″ × 68″. Will it get people talking about climate change in Ottawa? It’s getting great buzz across the country. See the Vancouver Observer’s article May 27th: “Deep pocket PR vs. artist Franke James: the fight’s on”

The S-T-R-E-T-C-H GOAL is to take the campaign to other cities. Calgary? Vancouver? Montreal? — Or maybe WASHINGTON, D.C. Which city would be most impactful?? Leave a comment letting me know what YOU think. Please help spread the word and bring more Free Speech Defenders on side! To take the campaign to more places we need to double, or triple the funds raised.

Thanks for your support!
Franke James, Author Banned on the Hill

May 26: 100% Fully Funded!



Jump up! Shout-out! ‘The Banned on the Hill’ project is 100% funded! We’ve passed the $5,000 goal and are going full-speed ahead…

Thank you to the one hundred and twelve funders who backed ‘Banned on the Hill’. We’re going to Ottawa because of your help. Take a bow! You did it! Feel good! We are going to get people talking about climate change — and the undemocratic muzzling of environmental voices by the Canadian government.

And we’re going beyond…. Today, another nine funders came on-board to join in the activist excitement. We’re now at $5,650.

Tomorrow I’ll announce the S-T-R-E-T-C-H Goals for the next phase.

But here’s the icing on the cake…

The TORONTO STAR has just published a great article by Raveena Aulakh:

“Banned on the Hill: A True Story about Dirty Oil and Government Censorship was released last week and tells the story of how Canadian bureaucrats withdrew support for James because her views on climate change didn’t match those held by the Harper government.”…

Please share the good news with your friends and family. Invite them to join in. We’ve just gotten started…


May 25: Making News in Ottawa and across Canada

Thanks for joining my Banned on the Hill campaign on Indiegogo! 103 funders have pitched in from Canada, the USA, the UK and Belgium. We’re just $274 away from the $5000 goal…

We are making news across Canada…

OTTAWA CITIZEN: By Mike de Souza
Toronto artist Franke James says Harper government monitored her climate change artwork

“More than two dozen senior officials and diplomats in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government monitored information about a Toronto artist over her criticism of the oil and gas industry’s environmental performance.”


(The article also appears in the Montreal Gazette, The Province, The Calgary Herald,…)

GLOBE AND MAIL: Gerald Caplan
Conservative attacks are nothing but bullying

“Ms. Casault could have a great class on government bullying by introducing her kids to the shocking saga of Franke James. Ms. James is an artist/author/environmental activist… Two years ago, she was supposed to have her work exhibited in 20 European cities. But the localNGO that was sponsoring her was bullied and intimidated so badly by Canadian officials that it pulled out and the entire show was canceled. Her terrible crime? As a spokesperson for our government candidly explained, Ms. James’ show was about climate change and her opinions were contrary to those of the government. That was it. Here’s the big message that all kids better learn if they’re to survive in a bullying culture. With the rarest exception, Stephen Harper and his minions never ever admit they’re wrong.”


The story of Franke James and the art of activism

“Franke James is doing what every Canadian is taught from an early age: to stand up and fight for what you believe is right. Franke has turned her art, her story and her activism into a visually stunning book, Banned on the Hill: a True Story about Dirty Oil and Government Censorship, and on Monday her book got international attention with a feature in UK’s Guardian media outlet”

Thanks for your support! Let’s show the Harper Govt that they cannot silence citizens.

May 22: Perks are being delivered!

‘Banned on the Hill’ Perks are already being delivered!

Banned on the Hill is getting out in the real world! Scott Olson was one of the first supporters of my ‘Banned on the Hill’ Indiegogo campaign and he has already got his new book delivered. Super thoughtful of him to post this picture (see the gallery pics) and tweet it (@NJHighlands). What a product shot! (Notice Bill McKibben’s Eaarth in the background.)

Encourage your friends to join in the activist fun… Banned on the Hill is making news. Stay tuned… Thanks for your help!

May 20: Not Just Preaching to the Choir

Not just preaching to the choir, “Do Not Talk” banner tops Ottawa-insider’s Hill Times

Your contributions to the ’Banned on the Hill” project are already being put to work. Today, thanks to 73 Indiegogo supporters, we succeeded in putting climate change at the top of a site that every Ottawa-insider knows and reads. The Hill Times is “Canada’s politics and government newsweekly” and their readers include “influential players in Parliament, Cabinet, the Prime Minister’s Office, the Privy Council,” and more.

Which makes it just the perfect place for my “Do Not Talk about Climate Change” ad campaign — because it cannot be missed. No doubt there were a few cheerios spat out when this animated ad played on The HillTimes today…

These banner ads are just a taste of what’s in store! Thanks for joining my activist campaign and helping to make a difference.

May 17: The Guardian UK – “Artist finds inspiration in Canadian government’s attempt to silence her”

GuardianFrankeJames_May17_2013 450My “Banned on the Hill” campaign got a major boost today in the UK Guardian. “Artist finds inspiration in Canadian government’s attempt to silence her” by Suzanne Goldenberg
“Visual essays by Franke James reveal how the ‘troublesome artist’ was targeted because her views on climate change clashed with the push to develop Alberta’s tar sands”

The Guardian also set up a gallery of 8 images.

Please share this news with your friends and invite them to join my campaign by buying a book, or even chipping in a buck.

Harper’s Iron Fist:
“Harper’s iron-fisted message control is now viewed sufficiently seriously that Canada’s information commission earlier this year launched an investigation into media controls on seven government departments, including environment and natural resources, which oversees tar sands development.”

One woman who won’t shut up:
“But there is apparently one woman whom the government can’t shut up: the Toronto environmental writer, illustrator and activist Franke James, who turned the efforts to silence her into material for a new book.”

Many thanks for fighting back by speaking up! We have the power to change government by joining our voices together.


May 16: Alternatives Journal Magazine

20130516122636-aj_frankejames1_266Amazing news! Alternatives Journal Magazine is featuring a 3 page visual excerpt from “Banned on the Hill” in their May/June 2013 issue.

Pick it up on a newsstand or visit their site. The whole issue is fantastic as it focuses on environmental art and activism. John Bennett from Sierra Club Canada is interviewed on the touchy issue of civil disobedience. Five documentary filmmakers give their insights on “How to See Things.”

My story scored a great cover blurb… “No, Mr. Prime Minister, You can’t stop art and you can’t stop Franke James”.
Two of Three pages from A/J Banned on the Hill spreadAlternatives Journal Magazine features Banned on the Hill


May 15: “Do Not Talk about Climate Change” Poster designed

DO NOT TALK ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGEThis is getting pretty exciting! Thanks to everyone for your support.

Here’s the design for the Outdoor Street Poster. This will be shown in Ottawa and other cities.
It is against government policy.
Writing: Franke James
Design: Franke James and Billiam James
ATIP reference: Jean-Bruno Villeneuve, DFAIT spokesperson
Photo credits: Franke James / Parliament Hill; David Dodge CPAWS / Syncrude 2007-12, (Tarsands)


Please support my Indiegogo Banned on the Hill Project: Buy the Book or a Perk and join in…



oilytruth600“The Canadian government has clamped down on scientists who tell the truth about the tarsands– and it’s tried to shut up artists too. Happily, Franke James is indefatigable!”
Bill McKibben, Founder

Banned on the Hill book cover

I dug for evidence to find out. Over the past 2 years I filed ‘freedom of information’ requests with four government departments. And I have received over 2,000 pages that explain why the government found my art so threatening (hint: dirty oil). Key documents are in my book including this very undiplomatic email from a diplomat who was blaming a staffer… (the black bars are “redactions” done to protect international security and conversations with/or about a Minister, etc.)


The diplomat’s email inspired my ‘Bureaucat’ illustration below.



Shockingly, the Government worked to shut down my show — and bully my supporters — simply because my climate change art was “advocating a message that was contrary to government policies”.

Jean-Bruno Villeneuve, The artists’ work dealt mostly with climate change, and was advocating a message that was contrary to the government's policies on the subject.

Does this mean that ordinary citizens are not allowed to ask questions about government policy? Especially if they’re asking about climate change?

Isn’t Canada a free country? PEN Canada spoke up for me by issuing a press release. They said, “The government of Canada has no right” to do this.”

I told the govt one thing

Government finger

If the Govt is not protecting my rights — or yours — who are they working for?

Our rights are being squashed — and our country is being polluted — all to serve Big Oil. Scientists are being muzzled. First Nations are being pushed aside. Even our librarians are being told to shut up.

The government cannot do this if we don’t play along. They can’t make ALL of us shut up. We have to fight back! For free speech. And for the environment. Please join my campaign. Tell Harper he can’t silence our voices.

Our Voices Joined Together Have The Power to Change Governments

Together let’s tell Harper we’ve had our fill. We will not be, Banned on the Hill.

Please go to Indiegogo to buy a book, or a perk and support the project!

The Indiegogo Campaign is over but you can still help Franke take the “Do Not Talk” campaign to other cities by donating below…


2014 Indiegogo Update! “What can Anybody tell Obama about the Keystone XL?”


Great news for ‘Banned on the Hill’ in 2014…
My new visual essay “What can Anybody tell Obama about the Keystone XL?” was just published on Grist, Vancouver Observer and my site… At the end, readers are asked to send a letter to President Obama. So far, over 1,000 ‘Anybodies’ have sent letters.
I want you to add your name, too! In early February, I will be going back to Washington DC… And I want to make the most of the opportunity by dropping a bound copy off at The White House. The book will include a list of all the names of people who have sent in letters to the President. That’s cool, right?
Please join me by sending a letter to President Obama from my story. Your name will be added to the book.

Read “What can Anybody tell Obama about the Keystone XL?” on Grist.

Or find it on the Vancouver Observer, or on my Franke James site.

Thanks again for supporting my Indiegogo ‘Banned on the Hill’ project! See this cool news on ‘5 Canadian artists who rocked in 2013’. It’s all thanks to you!

Best to you for 2014!

Franke James

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