DEMOCRACY FESTIVALS’ DESIGN DIMENSION
DEMOCRACY FESTIVALS’ IMPACT GOALS
How do we further develop the democratic conversations in democracy festivals in the Nordic and Baltic region? How do we bring the format of democracy festivals out to the rest of the world in the middle of a global democracy crisis?
Democracy is much more than democratic institutions, rules and laws. Democracy is not only a governance form but also a life form, like the Danish democracy advocate Hal Kock would say. We need occasions and room to talk freely to one another, exchange ideas, opinions and debate – across genders, ages, nationalities, political orientation and hierarchy.
In March 2019 We Do Democracy founded the Democracy Festivals Association, which gathers 9 Democracy Festivals under the same roof.
The tradition for democracy festivals began 50 years ago with Almedalsveckan and today has expanded to the whole Nord-East region. Over 550.000 citizens in 10 countries participate in 9000 events in 34 days, overall. Over 90% of the parliamentary parties are represented in the democracy festivals. The 10 festivals are the largest single democratic event after the countries' own election days.
Today there are national democracy festivals in Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Island, Germany, Holland and a European in Belgium. And new nations are knocking on. England, France, Ukraine, Croatia, Nepal and South Korea are in the process of establishing similar democracy festivals.
Across land borders democracy festivals are characterised by the fact that they are national and free for everybody. They work actively to increase the participation and democracy through conversations and dialogue. They encourage everybody to take part in a conversation in a relaxed and informal atmosphere and have a festival-like flair. All the festivals run for a few days and are located outside the capital and the typical power-center. This gives the clear advantage that everybody have the same access and time for both formal and informal meetings.
Demokratifestivals are the expression of a unique tradition which is a tribute to diversity and conversation among people.
We Do Democracy, as advisor, has been behind the development of:
JUBEL - The European Democracy Festival, Brussels
LAMPA - Democracy Festivals, Latvia
ALMANN - Democracy Festival, Netherlands