How can we make a living through the crisis?

4 min readDec 1, 2023

When we organised festivals as European Alternatives, people really wanted to understand and visualize why the economic crisis had happened and reassess why we need the institutions that run the economy, such as banks. They wanted to know what they could do about the systematic nature of the crisis — and how they could reclaim their power from these institutions. This included how they could reclaim their money or even create new forms of currency and investment and reinventing the role of jobcentres and internships.

People acknowledged that the crisis goes deeper than the financial system and so we need to look at the role of other cultural paradigms. What is the role of progress and in particular education? Is our advanced knowledge in science and technology not helping reinforce unemployment? Is our lack of understanding in economics making us more likely to get into debt? Are these the skills the “lost generation” has actually lost? Given that university education has played to these paradigms and symbolizes them given its increasing costs and marketised model, is it time we reinvent education?

What is the role of displacement in not being able to belong anywhere?What impact did this have on the riots? What can we learn from young migrants who’ve often demonstrated their capacity to develop strategies of economic participation within structural constrains and less favourable conditions?

The biggest paradigm of all surrounding our relationship with the economy is our dependence on consumption. How can we better consume experiences rather than products? Should we learn from the methods of those who sell us consumption and put our prejudices for sale?

People also wanted to go back to what really mattered — like valuing where we live and what we make. People wanted to explore ways to value the places we live in — whether it’s encouraging people to recycle, grow community gardens, replant playgrounds or host craft markets. Could food could be at the heart of linking up people from different cultures and cities in Europe? Should we teach children to fix and make things rather than spend to buy?

The main keywords people annotated included lost generation, university, consumption and fixing followed by banks, currency, being in debt and the big society.

How did we going to develop the issue?

We developed an event on active economic citizenship to showcase and share the ideas and outputs generated during the Co-creating social and economic Europe project

This will showcase the visualisations and communications outputs produced during the previous meetings. Ideas could include

  • Produce a satirical magazine to exaggerate national stereotypes
  • Get people to produce people’s adverts for a different future
  • Get people to draw posters of the role models for an alternative economy or democracy
  • Get creatives & entrepreneurs to develop creative outputs visualising how “occupy” principles could be used in everyday life
  • Explain their issues through getting people to perform and role play

It will also present the dossier of interviews produced during the project. We will ask an artist to produce artwork that has been inspired from these outputs.

We will use local meetings and transnational planning meetings to

  • Organise a roundtable involve the participants to explore and develop transition paths for young people out of work into careers developing new forms of active economic citizenship, such as co-production, co-operatives, mutual and social enterprises.
  • Organise a tour of creative community projects in London to inspire the young people on how co-production can be used to develop co-ops, mutual and social enterprises.
  • Organise a workshop where people will visualise how complex issues can be explored creatively to stimulate ideas among young people for building active citizenship within and between the participating cities
  • Organise a festival camp to enable the young people to develop the ideas into activities & communications outputs to come up with how they want to organise the showcase organise an event as part of the Transeuropa Festival

The most popular festival techniques suggested for activities around alternatives to austerity measures were learning new skills, flashmobs, followed by developing campaign activities and setting up stalls in gardens.

The main types of activities put forward were discussions, installations and workshops, followed by performances, visuals and vernissages. For ways of involving people, people were interested in learning new skills and taking part in flashmobs. To develop the activities, they wanted to create materials for them and develop campaigns.

They were keen on involving partners through getting a selection of similar people to perform and campaigners and creatives were the most popular types of speakers. They most wanted activities that enable people to organise community-based activities that foreshadow alternatives, share their different cultures by organising fun activities and use their experience to develop proposals with others with similar skills.




Head of Policy Design, Scrutiny & Partnerships @newhamlondon #localgov Co-founder of #systemschange & #servicedesign progs. inspired by @cescaalbanese