Artistic Expression for Democratic Participation

Cultural Democracy in Participative Organizations: “Art of Democracy - Artistic Expression for Democratic Participation”

Youth in Action/Die Bäckerei - Kulturbackstube/Innsbruck/2014
a project funded by the European Union program Youth in Action and the Austrian National Agency


Art begins, where one stops being a passive bystander but takes an active and interactive part in creating a piece of art. Democracy starts, when people realize themselves as the authors of their political conditions instead of instantly delegating problems to institutions.

Therefore we want to develop a manual that helps cultural mediators to organise and realise projects with young people. The main concern of the subsequently resulting projects is to provide artistic ways for adolescents and young adults to participate in democratic processes and to enable them to make use of their knowledge about it.

Art of Democracy will bring together different EU-Partner organisations to work on the ideas and the realisation of the manual together. We will discuss our conceptions of democracy and we will find out together in which way artistic approaches can play an important role in democratic participation. The aim is to create an easy guide that every organisation can use to give young people an image of their possibilities to form the society they live in. (The operators ofArt of Democracy will prepare the background, the basics of the manual and invite experts in our main issues.)


Workshop Art of Democracy


In a second step we invite groups of young people from our partner countries (+1 head/embassador of each partner-organisation/optional) to transfer the manual to reality. Together with experts we will discuss their ideas of democracy, especially relating to their daily experiences and explore the different forms of democratic life and participation. Based on these results we subsequently try to create and realise artistic expressions that originate in or deal with public space.

The last part of the project is analysing the experiences and optimising the manual. Afterwards the promoters of Art of Democracy will publish it (in hardcopy form and online) and provide it to all participants. All partners should present and use the outcome in their organisations. The greater aim is to popularise the manual and develop new projects out of the experiences made together. It should allow as many people as possible to experience democratic participation together in order to establish a working society.


Project themes

  • Art as a critical medium for democratic participation and political expression
  • Art as a tool to assign someones place in society
  • Art as a form to take part in democractic decisions and solutions
  • Artistic expressions as a tool for young people to form their environment and enable them to think and talk about it