Agents of Change 2016


Agents of Change is a project by The Umbrella Network in collaboration with the Van Abbemuseum focusing on giving center stage to social design, Arte Util and community projects in Eindhoven by organising interactive tours, workshops and various activities to create a social map of the city. 

It means researching “the commons” and connecting local initiatives, individuals and active communities with a critical and analytical position within society. They all believe that change is always possible and that real social transformation begins on a small scale. They are the real Agents of Change.

These dynamic communities, artists, social designers and hands-on citizens are working parallel in different neighbourhoods. They are facing similar challenges and local problems. We invite them to exchange their knowledge, challenges and experiences. It is a starting point for a negotiation process with the art institution to re-think its position within the city and open up different possibilities of support and interaction with these communities. We encourage them to discover how to use the Van Abbemuseum and its resources differently: as a platform to reflect their position, as an agency for action. 

The tours

Five guided tours were organised with small groups of participants through different neighborhoods of Eindhoven (Woensel-West, Stratum, Doornakkers, Woensel-Noord, Strijp). In each tour four projects were visited in one district where the initiators and volunteers introduced us to their activities and organisations. In total, twenty projects were involved in these tours.

Talitha Koffeman is sharing #Awesome in Doornakkers, a second hand clothing exchange and creative workshop run by local volunteers.

During our visit to the Buurtkantoor in Doornakkers, Sebastian is observing the Doornakkers tour map.

Having lunch at Centro Español during an Agents of Change tour in Strijp.

A special set of project postcards and a map for every tour!

Visiting the official opening of the Recyclekastjes (designed and made by Uit de Buurtfabriek) in Tivoli during a tour.

During one of our Agents of Change tours we visited Strijps Hûkske in Drents Dorp, from this beautifully painted container we had a good view of the BMX track.

During our Agents of Change tour in Stratum, we visited Doreen Westphal and learned about her project Botanic Bites and how she harvests mushrooms.


The results of our research into local initiatives were exhibited in the context of the Room 6 at the Van Abbemuseum as part of the exhibition The 80s: today’s beginnings? We designed an interactive map that was still open to adding new locations for the public. After closing the show, there are 73 projects from five areas on the map of Agents of Change.

The black stickers on the map mark a story from the 80’s, while the color stickers mark a social project here and now.

Ron explaining about Agents of Change and the map to visitors of the museum.

5 short videos of people sharing a story from the 80’s in Eindhoven.

Agents of Change being presented in Room 6 as part of The 80’s: Todays beginnings? exhibition.

Interactive Agents of Change map with stickers and project cards.

People viewing Agents of Change in Room 6 at The 80’s: Todays beginnings? exhibition.

Project card where people can fill in the details of their activities in Eindhoven.


In July, we proposed three initiatives to develop their activities with the general public of the Museum. In August three workshops were held at the Van Abbemuseum inviting ten of the initiatives to use the museum as a platform and present their project to the public, the municipality, the museum and other initiatives with the aim to discuss their challenges and together develop solutions for the future. Furthermore, to give them visibility and establish the growing network of Agents of Change.

Workshop “How to use the city” with StadsAkkers Eindhoven, StrijpsHûkske and Het Karregat.

Workshop to make seed bombs led by Prooftuin040 and Beeware040

“Waarachtig weer muziek uit de jaren 80”, concert by 6de Kolonne en Flipside. Foto: Niek Tijsse Klasen

During the workshops, you could give your written ideas to the other projects.

Participant writing some advice for other project

Chalkboard in the exhibition and workshop space: Room 6.

Workshop “Alternative Economies” with Awesome KledingruilAtelier, Lets Eindhoven and Walhallala

Het Ongemakkelijk Diner (Drents Dorp) at the Van Abbemuseum. Foto: Niek Tijsse Klasen