European Democracy Lab
Open Knowledge Foundation Deutschland
More partners are to be acquired in the initial stages of the project. The goal is to create a pan-European discourse through the involvement of a variety of organisations throughout Europe.
Tax scandals have become a recurring feature in the EU. The Paradise Papers revealed that some member states are attractive tax havens for multinationals. The cases provoked a sense of injustice among European citizens, but little political consequences. If politics fail, culture steps in! We want to restore democratic power relations, one theatre night at a time. Cases of tax avoidance will be judged by the audience – mobilising policy makers and the public to advocate tax justice in Europe.
Berlin, Essen, Thessaloniki, Dublin.
Citizens living in western democracies are increasingly feeling disenchanted with the democratic promise. They are becoming strangers in their own political systems, as the increasing level of complexity of global challenges keeps widening the gap between the policy-making level and the citizen. In theatre, we address that feeling of alienation and reconnect people to the political act. The audience can experience the impact of its decisions right away as it judges the tax cases we put on stage. It takes on its democratic power and thereby changes its self-conception as a political subject also in daily public live. We will invite multipliers and produce a video to spread the material and scale. We also want to produce a public tax tribunal kit, so that it can be used as a role play game.
The European Tax Tribunal sparks critical debates on the current tax system in Europe. The project brings an abstract topic to life and empowers the audience to make a call on the justice of the European tax systems. The projects vitalises the debate on tax justice in the run-up of the European elections 2019. It contributes to a reframing of the debate on taxes in Europe and raises questions of justice, which are often pushed aside by technocratic arguments.
By its participatory approach, the play creates an engaged and informed audience, that will further help place the topic on the public and political agenda in the run-up of the European Elections. One year from now, we want there to be a loud debate on the issue, and that debate shall lead to real political decisions.
1. The project kicks off with an expert-workshop, where the diverse participants - activists, citizens, tax experts, investigative journalists, theatre makers and students - develop cases and the play itself in an open and participatory process (Oct '18).
2. The play is collaboratively developed by the student-theatre group and the director in weekly rehearsals (Nov '18 - Mar '19).
3. Staging the tribunals 4 cities, launch large social media campaign and a performance at the 5 year anniversary of the European democracy lab will be the projects’ highlight (Mar - May '19).
4. Policy pieces and tax tribunal kit are developed for advocacy and roll out in theatres over Europe, based on the play, its cases, the videos, encounters and reflection spaces following the performances (Jun '19).
Businesses exploit the freedoms of the single market to avoid taxation while Member States lose billions in fiscal revenues that fund basic services like health or education. Fair taxation policies are necessary to realize democracy in Europe!
We are passionate about political theatre that reaches out to the public and opens up new productive fields between the arts and politics. Theatre is cultural production: Social, political and cultural spheres are no longer represented in the arts, they are actively being shaped and therefore take on an important role in democracy! Now is the time to chose such creative approaches to tackle the challenges democracy faces.
Our participatory approach defies the difference between audience and maker. The play has many authors: students, experts, activists, policy-makers, citizens and journalists. Those who we do it “with” thereby represent who we do it “for”, giving the whole project a representative character that is running parallel to the idea of democracy. Our target group comprises all European citizens; everyone has to pay taxes. The outreach will focus on getting people to engage with this ‘unbeloved’ topic. We specifically invite policy makers, influencers and thought leaders to shape the public debate, and create multiplier effects.
The theatre audience is limited, so the tribunal format will be adapted to a variety of places and audiences. It can be held in theatres, schools, and public spaces.
We put taxes on stage! What may be a complex topic will be presented in a way that engages people. What kind of Europe would we be living in, if there was tax justice? We want to open up the imagination of the audience, showing that a different Europe is necessary and possible, a Europe, in which citizens of different member states do not only stand in a relationship of competition, but feel a sense of belonging – through a shared tax system. This is a unique narrative in the world of both, political and cultural activism. Europe needs solutions now and they can be found through co-creative, experimental formats. What makes our project unique is also the interdisciplinary collaboration: we bring together perspectives from theatre, taxation, research, journalism, policy-making and advocacy.
Funding requested from Advocate Europe
office expenses 270.00 € travel and accommodation costs 10,000.00 € event costs 4,500.00 € fees and honoraries 4,800.00 € public relations 6,000.00 € personnel costs 23,400.00 € Unforeseen 1,000.00 €
Which tax scandal made you the most angry over the last years?