Citizen Change

The English name for Sager der Samler is “Citizen Change”. It’s a place and a platform for citizen led change, run independently as a community of people who support each other in taking initiative and acting on problems and dreams from their own lifes. The result is courage, agency and initiatives that renew society and democracy on a local scale.
Read about how it works and how you can get involved.

The core of our work is to create an environment where we support each other in creating change through our daily lives. We call ourselves “everyday activists” – and we support a large number of initiatives – or “causes”.

One example is Annbritt and Steffen who, as recipients of social welfare set a focus on a hidden poverty problem in Denmark. There is enough food, but people need money. Now they stand behind the ‘Dumpster Diving Café’ where food waste is a resource that is being used to create new relationships between segregated groups in the city. Recently they have started building their own space at the South Harbour of Aarhus.

Pia and Katrine are another example. As social workers, they explore new ways to support people with learning disabilities, identify their own dreams and internal resources. They have started the social business ‘Vaskeriet’ (The Laundry), which is a practice course for people with learning disabilities who would like to have a job. ‘Vaskeriet’ is using the shared facilities of a housing project alongside with the residents and is now an active player in the development of the neighborhood.

There are many more initiatives. Unfortunately we don’t have translated all the descriptions into English, but take a look anyway (and ask Google Translate for help).

Our idea of change is to create real examples of citizens becoming leaders of initiatives that make a difference in society. Scaling up happens through storytelling and by partnering with established institutions that are experimenting with co-production and bottom up approaches. Current partnerships include companies, municipalities, schools and universities. Our vision is to turn local engagement into a driving force in the transformation to a more human, sustainable and democratic society.

Our place is located at N.J. Fjordsgade 2 in Aarhus, in what used to be a space for after school activities for local kids. In daily life we ​​are 10-15 people who keep the doors open and work to keep the community alive. There are a hundreds of people involved in the initiatives. In our network, there are many more from all parts of the local community – the town’s businesses, the municipality, civil society associations, and ordinary citizens.

You can participate by starting your own initiative or by contributing to someone else’s. You can also become a part of everyday life of our place and help operate and develop the project – either through an internship or by using some of your free or working time to involve yourself in the community.

We hope you’ll get involved. Because we need each other.

Watch our movie about Citizen Change. It tells a story about being an activist in our own lives and being part of a community of mutual support.

Three dogmas

Over time we have created some clear dogmas that help keep us organized in collaboration on many initiatives.

Start in your own reality

We start at home with ourselves. As active citizens and everyday activists, we create change based on our own life situation. If there is something missing in my world, I can help create solutions for the benefit of myself and others.

Engage at eye level

We are not doing something “for someone” – we are doing something together. Maintaining free agency, reciprocity, and eye level engagement are prerequisites in forming a community that can bring about change.

Use your freedom

We start to act where we do not have to ask for permission or ask for money. This is empower- ment and freedom. We are strengthening our responsibility and authority as actors in society. Therefore, we create solutions where we have the greatest influence – through our own lives.

History and vision

Citizen Change started in 2012. Five people were initially behind the project- Paul Natorp, Karen Ingerslev, Brett Patching, Kristin Birkeland and Morten Petersen Daus – and basically the idea was to create a training program. We would gather people “in the gap” to learn to work together to solve community problems.

Then we lost our footing and ‘landed in our own activism’. So instead of creating a training program, we have created a community of action.

We strive to empower each other to take action in our everyday lives – and hence our strength, authority and responsibility as political actors, not only as consumers. Democracy is about having influence on one’s own life, to be heard, and to help create solutions. So we strive also to strengthen democracy by connecting it to our everyday lives.

Citizen Change is a response to two major trends of our time. On the one hand, is the need for more solutions that come from the bottom up. And on the other hand, there is a desire for many to be active co-creators in the development of our society. We are not satisfied with simply casting our votes.

What has driven us all this way is a desire to get more involved in the development of our society. We use our dedication, professionalism and experience – and feel that it matters. And we want to meet people who are different from ourselves – but feel the same way.