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In September 2017 ‘Sager der Samler’ in collaboration with many other stakeholders, organized the people’s festival Rethink Activism in Aarhus. We put together a program of 250 workshops, conversations, concerts and so forth which were all initiated by citizens and grassroots. The aim was to highlight a new capacity for action which is emerging across society and to raise the profile of everyday activists who are changing the world right there where they are through creativity and cooperative spirit. We set the stage for the experience of concrete local initiatives with an optimistic vision for society – not methods and fine speeches.

The festival took place in the area surrounding the old slaughterhouse and power station at Sydhavnen in Aarhus which was transformed into a city within the city with town hall, school, factory, culture house, day shelter, health house etc. The city spread across an area the size of 10 football fields and as the festival opened on Friday morning the city’s new inhabitants flocked to the place. The interest and curiosity turned out to be enormous, lasting all the way until the end Sunday evening. Despite a very limited advertising budget more than 10.000 people visited the festival that was held over three days.

And if the festival proves one thing it is this: a lot of people are committed to society and to making societal change. As journalist at Politiken Anne Bech-Danielsen commented: “They are young, they are old, and they act: Refugees, unemployed or people who have simply had enough of overconsumption, isolation or not doing anything and there are more of them than just a handful of cheerful civilians.”

Paul was project director of Rethink Activism.

3 days, 250 events, 10.000 participants
Budget 75.000 €
A new narrative about activism of our time
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