The Elephant in the Room


Who is behind this?

Ann-Kristin Rothe



Idea Sketch | Proposal


Idea pitch

Do you know the elephant who failed to break free from the chain that bound him to a tiny stake in the ground because he believed escape was impossible following his failure as a baby elephant? We often suffer in similar ways, accepting situations because we forget we can question them.

Where will your idea take place?

Rome, Italy, Tbd

Why does Europe need your idea?

In a world that is radically changing through technological revolution, ever faster, more globalised and interconnected, it becomes increasingly important to re-establish a sense of belonging, trust and community. Our trust might be shattered by socio-economic and environmental crises but does our real crisis not go deeper, touching old, ingrained belief systems and paradigms which are defended in the interest of a minority and at the expense of wider society? One of our colleagues poignantly asked: “Is Europe a society of consumers or citizens?” Answering this question requires an increased awareness and being vigilant. We would like stop for a moment and reflect together with Europe’s citizens by asking ourselves “Where do we want to see ourselves and Europe in the future”?

What is your impact?

We would be delighted if the results (of our inquiry, participatory photography projects and exhibitions, public debates) inspire people and provoke new ideas towards rethinking development in Europe. We also would like to create a documentary and develop a website to give people the chance to respond to the stories we collect and interact with each other. Success would be if these stories will help to catalyse change – if individuals find new ways to make better lifestyle decisions, if policy makers gain a better understanding of what people really value and behave differently as a result. Success would be if the stories can help a new, more equal and sustainable kind of economy to emerge. Ultimately, we wish to foster a sense of connection, increase understanding and empathy.

How do you get there?

• Designing a set of semi-structured questions to inquire European’s vision of their lifestyles and development in a survey (including in the Ruhr region of Germany);
• Compile a report based on the survey that can be brought to decision makers;
• Produce a documentary that follows the journey of the project to its outcome;
• Participatory photography with survey participants and project in a migrant camp near Rome, Italy;
• Present the project results in photo and mixed-media exhibitions in 8 European countries and have an interactive webspace to share individual stories and photos

What is your story?


Who are you doing it for?


What makes your idea stand apart?


€ 43000,-

Funding requested from Advocate Europe

€ 43000,-

Total budget

Major expenses


What do you need from the Advocate Europe community?

We are grateful to receive advice on how to design and evaluate our survey, and to learn from organizations with experience on participatory photography; film- and documentary-makers; web designers and programmers for creating an interactive, engaging web space.


Ann-Kristin Rothe

Idea created on April 13, 2015
Last edit on Oct. 30, 2017

Write comment