Democracy NOW – an example of Amateo co-operation

In the spring of 2018 The Joint Council of Amateur Arts Associations in Denmark (AKKS), interviewed all it’s 19 national music organisations. One of the themes mentioned throughout all the interviews was the difficulty the organisations were experiencing, attracting young members to take part in the management of the organisations. As this is both an organisational and democratic challenge for the survival of the voluntary based organisations, something needed to be done…

Luckily help was near. In 2015, at the annual Amateo conference in Helsinki, the Swedish Amateur Arts Association (Ax), presented a project, Democracy NOW, they had developed in order to open their amateur arts associations to the competences of young people in management. The key assumption being, that the young are a resource for the associations in exactly the same way as the older, and that the organisational development of the associations is dependent on finding ways to deal with the needs and wishes of the younger generation.

In 2018 AKKS in Denmark therefore contacted Ax in Sweden and with their help they developed a version of the project, that will now take place in Denmark. The Danish project is called Democracy NOW DK and consists of two facilitated pilot processes with two of AKKS’ music organisations and a big inspirational fair. The aim is ultimately to develop one or more models that can be used by both national and local associations, who wants to open their organisations for youth influence.

AKKS (Denmark) and Ax (Sweden) in Stockholm

The inspirational fair will take place in November 2019 and focus on sharing experiences on youth influence among a broader group of civil society organisations facing similar challenges, including the fields of adult education and professional art. Alongside the experiences of the two facilitated processes in Democracy NOW DK, the fair will also present and share experiences of youth influence from initiatives like youth councils, youth advisory boards, mentor-models etc.

Democracy NOW DK has been met with a lot of interest and is supported by The Danish Adult Education Organisation (DFS), The Danish Ministry of Culture, The Tuborg Foundation and mobility funding from Nordic Culture Point.

The latter made it possible for the Danish coordinators, Susan Fazakerley and Mette Dahl Trudslev from AKKS, to go to Stockholm in February and meet up with the two women behind the Swedish project: Anna Rydborg and Erika Lindqvist and with some of the organisations who had been through the processes in Sweden like The Swedish Amateur Theater (ATR) and the organisation for young musicians (RUM). During a couple of intense and inspirational days, they shared their experiences from the Swedish project, so they now form the back bone of the Danish project.

If you are interested in more information about the project or in sharing your own experiences of youth influence, feel free to contact Susan Fazakerley on akks@akks.dk