The past decade has witnessed a surge in “artistic activism,” both in practice and its study. Whether it actually works, however, is still a matter of faith more than fact. What has not been done is an evidence-based, empirical comparative study of the variable impact of creative versus more conventional forms of activism on a public audience in terms of ideas, ideals and actions. Until now.

Over the course of three days in May of 2018, Stephen Duncombe, Silas Harrebye and their research team mounted activist interventions on a popular and well-traveled bridge in the middle of Copenhagen, Denmark. Each day we paired a conventional activist intervention — public speaking, petitioning, flyering — with a creative way of accomplishing the same task, in a classic A/B experimental model.

After a year of analysis of 108 interviews, 30 observation sheets, petition and pamphlet tallies, hours of film footage of the events, and 25 follow-up survey responses, we are pleased to present our findings. You can read and download the full report, or a short 2 page summary below.

Download the Journal Article: The Copenhagen Experiment: Testing the effectiveness of creative vs. conventional forms of activism

Download Summary: The Copenhagen Experiment (Summary)

Download Full Version: The Copenhagen Experiment

Contact the authors of this report

Watch the video

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Right now the world needs the vision, the creativity, and the empathy of arts and culture to drive and motivate real change. Negative predictions come easily and the world has enough bitterness. That’s why the Center for Artistic Activism provides free resources, webinars, trainings, does field research, and supports on-the-ground efforts so fighters for change are as effective as possible at moving us forward. Give today because your donation will support artists, activists, and changemakers from across the country and around the world.

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