Open Sessions

Open Sessions

October 22, 2015, 7:49 am

Beyond the Obvious 2015

Culture Action Europe – in the context of Beyond the Obvious 2015 – invites the citizens of Gothenburg to take part of new ideas of how to build our future.

October 15
6.00 pm – 7.00 pm
Malmstensalen, Handelshögskolan
A story of a marvellous victory? Past, present and future of the Icelandic constitutional endeavour
A three-act interactive chat open to public
with Katrín Oddsdóttir
Human Rights Lawyer and Elected Member of the Icelandic Constitutional Council

Winter 2008. Iceland sank into an economic deep crisis which lead to the collapse of all three major banks. The whole system shook, generating political, economic and emotional turmoil, and impacting the Icelanders’ lives. As a reaction, new civil awareness arose: a different social system based on new values and principles was urgently needed and in order to attain this, citizens’ direct participation was vital.
This reaction triggered a process of rethinking and rewriting the Icelandic Constitution. To start with, around 1000 citizens, chosen at random from the national registry, gathered to discuss the core values on which Icelandic constitution should be based. Subsequently, a specialist committee diagnosed the findings issuing an extensive report. After that the Constitutional Council – composed of 25 delegates elected by direct personal election – was established on these principles. A new Constitution was written in four months through an open and crowd-sourced process. Then the system reacted.
In 2012, the new draft of the Constitution was approved by the majority of Icelandic voters in a non binding referendum. Despite the approval the chart has been put on ice by a new parliamentary majority. Since then, a new process started: the creation of civilians’ initiatives aiming at promoting the potential coming from the people to improve society and to informing the political system through the citizens’ concerns, proposals and initiatives. And… it is still in the making.

This 60-minute conversation will be based on stories, footage and pictures of the Icelandic process – from the “Pot and Pan Revolution” to the referendum vote. Through challenging questions regarding this process, it will spotlight those elements that allow (or impede) the creation of new civil constituencies; it will also provoke new questions about the meaning and extent of the common sphere and the citizens’ new responsibilities.

October 17
3.00 pm – 4.00 pm
Recombining the threads: Sensemaking of two-day Conference “Beyond the Obvious 2015”
with Alexandros Mistriotis (Artist, Greece), Niels Righolt (The Danish Centre for Arts and Interculture), Walter Zampieri (European Commission), Luca Bergamo (Culture Action Europe)

4.00 pm – 4.30 pm
Understand the world we live in by using photos as data
with Anna Rosling Rönnlund
Co-founder of Gapminder Foundation, the organisation that developed Trendalyzer, a software that converts international statistics into moving, interactive and comprehensible graphics. After Google bought Trendalyzer, Gapminder shifted its focus towards improving students’ understanding of the world, via projects such as Dollar Street, where photo and data are combined in order to make people’s everyday life all around the world easier to understand.

4.30 pm – 6.00 pm
Movie-screening: Blueberry soup
with director Eileen Jerrett

An extraordinary documentary about the constitutional change in Iceland following the financial crisis of 2008. This not-well-known-story of grassroots constitutionalism, should be an inspiration to the rest of the world. The movie is by American director Eileen Jerrett (who will be present during the screening) and has been praised by critics for being a pioneer in a new mode of documentary filmmaking.


Blueberry Soup Trailer from Wilma’s Wish Productions on Vimeo.


These sessions are part of Culture Action Europe 2015 Conference “Beyond the Obvious” (organised in partnership with Vastra Gotaland Region) and will be open to the public.


Beyond the Obvious