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Archiving the Citizen Driven Icelandic Constitution
190 backers pledged $13,736 to help bring this project to life.

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$13,736

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  "Time is of the essence, we need to make sure we don't lose any more information. It is crucial to citizens all over the world that we not lose sight of what happened."

The biggest movement you’ve never heard of, is at risk of disappearing into the night.

This matters. It matters to you as a free thinking human being. It matters to world governments as an evolution of democracy, that can affect policy around the globe.

Illustrations by Michael An
Illustrations by Michael An

So what is it? Back in 2008 Iceland underwent a catastrophic financial collapse that left the country reeling and its people questioning how things could have gotten so bad.

In response to the mismanagement of governance, the people rallied in protest, sparking a monumental and historical movement. What followed was a gathering of 1,200 randomly selected citizens, ultimately resulting in the first crowdsourced constitutiona document literally by the people, for the people.  

This effort inspired participatory democracy, a theme that has since taken root in other societies around the world. It reshaped the dialogue on how a population can work with available technology, consensus building, and civic engagement while reinventing the governmental processes in supporting the needs of their constituents. 

How was the process unique? The Icelandic citizens were able to share their voices and participate in creating change.  

Input was collected from social media, handwritten letters, emails, chats, live feed videos, etc. Then it was assembled by an elected council of 25 people and their staff. All this content and deliberation was utilized when writing the constitution. 

Eight years later the effort is still alive. Yet there’s a threat that this historically relevant process will fade into the great nothing. 

Bits and pieces of this whole process have been kept in a variety of formats and locations. With proper documentation, this process can be a valuable resource for generations to come.

Much of what went into making this proposed constitution a remarkable process and relevant document, can be preserved and made readily available to everyone. Because it was the first crowdsourced national constitution in history, there hasn’t been a blueprint on how it should be cataloged…until now. 

This is an effort to organize, maintain, and make available, all the many factors leading to this historic document. 

The archive (named KRIA) will serve as a centralized host for the heart and soul of the Icelandic constitutional reform movement. 

As exciting examples of creative reform using available technologies are popping up around the world, this archive could offer a template for future movements. Just a few of the regions that have already referenced the Icelandic constitutional reform include;

Hawaii, S. Korea, Scotland, Catalonia, Australia, California, Italy, Georgia, Greenland, Canada, Thailand, Cuba, Ecuador, and the Netherlands.  

 1) Through an interactive website (see sample below).

Qu: Why is a website important?

Ans: The site will make it simple and free to learn what lead up to the constitutional process, how it was carried out, and where it is today. The content experience will be customized to fit the user's interest. We are working with Icelandic and American web engagement specialists to ensure a fluid, fun, safe and clear experience for all that visit.  In honor of the participatory elements of the Icelandic constitutional process, the site will also have engagement features, bringing the visitor into a dynamic space to share ideas with others also interested. 

2) Massive searchable database. 

Qu: Why is a searchable database that important?

Ans: Even though this story has reached all corners of the earth, it's still very difficult to find thorough information on. This database will make it simple to search keywords, leading the seeker to loads of content in their interest. This will serve those looking to dive deeper into the material. 

Background on us:  In 2014 KRIA's Creative Director, Eileen Jerrett released the documentary Blueberry Soup. The film followed the Icelandic Constitutional Reform process closely.

We as a community then took this film on a massive global outreach tour, to talk about the Icelandic Constitutional reform process and what that could inspire for civic engagement beyond Iceland. It was a bigger success than any of us could have predicted.  People from far and wide took inspiration from what happened in Iceland and are now using that to advance participation in their own towns/cities/countries!

 The Collaborators / Institutions

  • University of Iceland
  • University of Washington
  • Build Up
  • Icelandic Constitutional Society 
  • Icelandic National Archives 

Kria (Arctic Tern) is a unique animal both unyieldingly devoted to its community and remarkably resilient to the intense environmental conditions, despite its small size. Throughout the development of this project, we kept seeing this bird as a guardian of the constitutional process, the citizens that worked openly to manifest it, and those diligently keeping it alive. This bird nests in Iceland and then embarks on a migratory route, farther than most any other animal. 

I feel that giving it this name will help us be strong when challenges occur, prevail in honor of that which we are preserving, and remember that despite our size (and Iceland's size) we are committed to the community and this incredible journey. 

We invite you to become part of the story. Those who donate will receive one of a kind gifts by Icelandic artists, that symbolize the beauty and power of this incredible moment in history.

30cm x 30cm Painting by Sara Oskarsson "New Beginning"
30cm x 30cm Painting by Sara Oskarsson "New Beginning"
Rósa Sigrún Jónsdóttir
Rósa Sigrún Jónsdóttir
Shadow box reward with hand sewn healing plants
Shadow box reward with hand sewn healing plants
Yarn based Sculpture by Rósa Sigrún Jónsdóttir and Sewing Club
Yarn based Sculpture by Rósa Sigrún Jónsdóttir and Sewing Club
Knit Beanie - Navy Blue with KRIA Logo
Knit Beanie - Navy Blue with KRIA Logo

Links to press on project, film, and outreach

  • In Spring of 2019 we will set out on a collections expedition throughout Iceland. Here, we will collaborate with citizens in shaping the tone of this archive. Many of the pieces of this archival puzzle live in shoe boxes, forgotten usb drives, and old phones/computers.  With joy, determination, and a true desire to make sure this doesn't disappear, we are hitting the road. 
  • In Fall 2020 we will launch the official app and website. In this living archive, people can engage with other world changers, learn more about the Icelandic process that started this wave, and submit material to the archive. The site will be filled with videos, interviews, photos, structural documents, personal thoughts from those that authored the constitution and so much more.

THANK YOU !!!

Risks and challenges

Our projects greatest challenge is collecting the content on the constitution while it still exists. We have started the collection process but there is still so much to go. These funds make it possible for us to do this work NOW and not miss anything else. Too much has been lost already, please join us in ensuring its preservation.

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    Dedication

    A special thanks to you or a loved one on social media.

    Would you rather dedicate it to someone else? No problem, just note their name in the notes at checkout.

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    Thank you Postcard

    Everyone loves mail!! Receive a hand written thank you on a postcard! Postcard is a beautiful painting inspired by a speech presented in Iceland from Lawrence Lessig. http://bit.ly/lessiginiceland

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    • Dedication to you on Social Media
    • Blueberry Soup digital download code
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    Poetic Constitution Tote bag

    Not your ordinary satchel. Sport the poetic preamble to the citizen drafted constitution in both Icelandic and English.

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    • Blueberry Soup digital download code
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    KRIA Necklace

    Antique Silver Kria necklace. We put a lot of thought into the perfect wearable symbol of this project. It needed to be in flight and close to the heart. I'm particularly excited about this reward.

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    • Dedication to you on Social Media
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    KRIA Knit Beanie

    Knit navy blue beanie (hat/touque) with embroidered Kria logo. Warm head warm heart <3

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    • Blueberry Soup digital download code
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    Shadow Box Handmade Healing Flowers

    1 framed yarn sculpture. Icelandic textile artist Rósa Sigrún Jónsdóttir using the symbolic "Forget Me Not" flower, has created a series of yarn based sculptures that have been placed in shadow boxes. The design is pulled from the mother project Grös / Grasses, which was a collaboration with a local Sewing Club. Rósa has designed this piece to embrace the healing properties of the flower along with other Icelandic healing flora. Dedicated it to a nation trying to lessen its divide and heal from its fracturing.

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    Sara Oskarsson Print

    Beautiful 11x14 print of original painting by Icelandic artist, Sara Oskarsson. Can't afford to buy the original? No problem! Display this incredible piece in your home, office, or most meditative space.

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    Public Film Screening Package

    Share the story of the Icelandic Constitutional Reform with your library or students. This is a public viewing copy of the film on DVD and Digital Download.

    Includes:
    • Box of Instant Blueberry Soup (2, 1 liter packets)
    • Blueberry Soup digital download code
    • Dedication to you on Social Media
    • Optional Skype Q+A with Director, Eileen Jerrett
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    Icelandic Poetry and Democracy Tour

    Private Poetry and Democracy Walking Tour throughout Reykjavik with Icelandic poet and former Presidential candidate, Andri Snær Magnason. Planning to visit Iceland? Once in a lifetime chance to learn of the nations most inspiring stories, historical crossroads, and how that all relates to the current state of the country. This is a journey you cannot find in tour books.You can choose your group size from 1-25. Great for class trip, gift for someone you know visiting Iceland, experience for writers, artists, democracy enthusiasts and the downright curious.
    *Availability will depend on matching up yours and Andri Snær Magnason's schedule

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    One of a Kind Painting by Sara Oskarsson

    Inspired by her passion for the Icelandic Citizen Drafted Constitution; Icelandic artist and Politician, Sara Oskarsson has created a masterful painting on canvas 20 inches x 28 inches (50cm x 70cm) just for KRIA! Oskarsson's paintings are based on the unique and awe inspiring Icelandic nature. Her work has been shown around the world and we are deeply humbled to include such an extraordinary work in this project.

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Funding period

- (26 days)