What is life like without democracy? What does democracy mean to different people? What is our role as citizens in upholding our democracy?


The Changing Democracies project aims to provoke questions, encourage reflection, and foster discussions about democracy and our experiences with it. To achieve this, it has brought together 12 partners from various countries to explore these topics collaboratively.

This project is built on the foundation of collecting stories from 10 different countries—Netherlands, Belgium, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Romania, and Croatia. Our partner projects gathered interviews about personal experiences and perspectives from individuals who lived under totalitarian regimes and witnessed the transition to democracy. (For more information about the project, click here)

After gathering these interviews from 10 different countries, Changing Democracies designed a Travelling Workshop entitled ”Is My Democracy Your Democracy?” which is set to be displayed in cities across the participating countries.

The initiative began with a launch event in Antwerp, Belgium, on May 15, where the Evens Foundation, the leading partner of the project, is based. All the partners arrived a day early to finalise preparations and, most importantly, to meet in person after months of monthly Zoom meetings. The official launch occurred at the Permeke Library in Antwerp, featuring an exhibition. However, the event spanned the entire day of May 15th and included various activities and artistic features:

Travelling Exhibition at Permeke:

The exhibition showcased numerous posters in both English and Dutch, featuring selected quotes from the collection of stories from the 10 participating countries.The consortium chose quotes with a controversial tone to stimulate discussion among the exhibition attendees. Each poster also displayed a photograph of the interviewee, along with their name and the country where the interview was conducted.

Another interesting feature was the floor design, which included a carpet with many colourful arrows. These arrows guided people to encounter one another, encouraging them to exchange opinions about what democracy means to them or to share their thoughts after reading the quotes.

At the exhibition, attendees had the opportunity to create their own posters, similar to those featuring the testimonies. Using a screen, visitors could take pictures of themselves and add their personal quotes about democracy or specific aspects of it.

The travelling exhibition at the Permeke Library provided an excellent opportunity for reflection and discussion about democracy. At the same time, it brought great satisfaction to the partners involved in the project.

Music Box on Astridplein: 

The launch event of Changing Democracies aimed to incorporate an artistic element to convey its message. Consequently, a Music Box was placed on Astridplein, the square in front of Antwerp Central Station, where people could participate in personal musical workshops or performances with the assistance of musicians from Fameus.

The Music Box also served as a valuable outreach tool for project members, attracting the attention of passersby. This allowed us to engage with them in conversations about their views on democracy and to invite them to our official launch event in the evening. Many of us had the chance to meet interesting individuals who were eager to share their personal stories and perspectives on democracy in Europe.

Dance with Leon:

Another instance of uniting people through art occurred during the workshop held in the afternoon, close to Permeke Library, featuring professional dancers and a choreographer from Leon.

The dancers from Leon skillfully encouraged everyone to join in the dance, starting with simple movements and gradually building up to more expressive ones as participants grew more confident. The workshop, held in a public square, attracted not only those attending but also passersby and onlookers.

Some individuals became emotional during this experience, moved by the profound meaning behind the dance—its inclusivity, the ability to empathise with others, and the opportunity to understand one another on a deeper level.


The Rope experience marked the culmination of our artistic journey during the Changing Democracies launch event. Rope, serving as a social sculpture, aimed to unite imagination and people. During our event, it successfully achieved its objective as people came together to carry it from outside into the library. Additionally, it transformed into a communal space where attendees could sit and enjoy dinner during the evening launch event.

Dinner and official launch of the event:

At 7:30 PM, all partners and participants who wished to attend gathered at the Permeke Library. Our colleagues Marjolein Delvou and Hannah Zielisnka from the Evens Foundation, officially inaugurated the Travelling Experience with a heartfelt welcome. The launch event concluded with a dinner and an opportunity for newcomers to explore the exhibitions.

The Changing Democracies Launch event proved to be a success for both the consortium members, who had the opportunity to collaborate and enjoy quality time with colleagues, and for all participants who engaged in the various artistic experiences.

Moving forward, Changing Democracies will continue with its travelling experiences, bringing our exhibition to 10 different countries. The goal is to facilitate discussions that transcend national, cultural, and generational boundaries. Through this initiative, we aim to amplify the voices of those often marginalised from traditional centres of power.