We are rethinking democratic participation by giving focus to a rising capacity for action. The aim is to highlight the activism of our time, which defies passivity and replaces confrontation with creativity and empowerment.
On September 15th to 17th, we transform the old industrial area of the South Harbour in Aarhus into a city within the city with a school, a factory, a city hall, a cultural center and so on. We put the activists on stage and through a program of 150 events we rethink the city from the bottom up. (The program is mainly in Danish. There is an English track throughout the festival.)
We want to raise awareness in society that each one of us can be part of the transformation of the world. By using our creativity and capacity to act. And most importantly by actually doing something. We want to show that it is possible to change our lives and the society that we live in, if we collaborate and mutually support each other.
Today’s Danish society has been shaped by an array of popular movements: the cooperative movement, the folk high school movement, the labour movement. Are we witnessing the making of a new movement? Taking a look around, we discover a revived creativity and capacity for action. People who take matters into their own hands, creating solutions where they find that something is missing. They are engaged citizens, entrepreneurs or activists, from all parts of society – and they participate actively in shaping their own community.
The main event is a people’s festival on the weekend of September the 15th – 17th in the South Harbor of Aarhus with 10.000 visitors.
This former industrial area is being transformed into a temporary city within the city with all its classic, democratic institutions. Existing buildings will serve as city hall, factory, day shelter, culture house, health house, and others. A small-scale society sets the stage for the activists, making their visions real to the participants through workshops, performances, debates and dialogues.
Rethink Activism is created by Sager der Samler (translated: Uniting Causes) in collaboration with civil society stakeholders, cultural agents, businesses and local authorities. Sager der Samler is a community of citizens who work to connect bottom-up initiatives with resources, know-how and network, and ultimately foster powerful collaboration and development. Around 100 people are involved in setting up the people’s festival at the South Harbor.
Aarhus 2017 European Capital of Culture
Wahlberg Motion Design
Værestedet i Jægergårdsgade
Nordic City Network
Academy of Urbanism
Stadsarkitekten, Aarhus Kommune