Our first book

As our first project, AoA independently published the co-edited book ‘Agents of Alternatives – Re-designing Our Realities’ in 2015; an open book exploring the visions, actions, tools and impacts of change agents, thinkers and ‘happeners’ (those who make things happen!). It shows the creative processes and tools for designing positive societal transitions. These transitions are revealed by showing the new hybrid relationships being forged between alternative approaches to learning, living, making, socialising, thinking and working.

Agents of Alternatives enables professionals, amateurs and citizens to understand the rich possibilities of creating and designing together in open, participatory and imaginative ways. It provides an integrated and systemic collection of case studies, essays and interviews from well-known international contributors and local activists, collated by an international team of editors.


– challenge and refresh existing world views
– celebrate the diverse agents designing alternatives such as organizers, artists, designers, volunteers, activists, entrepreneurs and many more
– encourage actions by providing tools and know-how in highly visual ways
– analyse and link up all content to provide more holistic views
– give food for thought and energy for action!


You will find Agents of Alternatives an essential reference for EVERYONE who wishes to become part of positive societal change. It is especially relevant if you are a social change agent wanting to apply new design and creative processes, or if you are a designer, artist or architect seeking to lever social change. Teachers, students, activists, alternative life-stylers, citizens and anyone who wishes to create more meaningful ways of living, working and playing, will find stimulation and practical tools in the pages of this book.


An amazing diversity of over 50 international and local contributors, coordinated by an editing team. Here a preview of our contributors:

Interviews with:

Francesca Weber-Newth & Isolde Nagel on the Community Lover’s Guide to Berlin;
Cecilia Palmer on the DIY-fashion workshop initiative Fashion Reloaded;
Elisa Garrote-Gasch on Repair Café Kreuzberg, Berlin;
Amber Hickey on the book A Guidebook of Alternative Nows;
Maya Indira Ganesh and Gaby Sobliye on the information advocacy organization Tactical Technology Collective;
Frauke Hehl & Antonia Schui on the workstation ideenwerkstatt e.V.;
Cordula Andrä on the intentional community ZEGG, Centre of Experimental Cultural and Social Design;
Caleb Waldorf, Fotini Lazaridou-Hatzigoga and Fiona Gueß on the self-organized learning project Public School;
Daphne Büllesbach & Luisa Maria Schweizer on the civil society organization European Alternatives e.V.;
Diana Krabbendam on the design agency The Beach;
Tiina-Kaisa Laakso-Liukkonen on the project Design Driven City, Helsinki;
Marcin Jakubowski, Open Source Ecology & Global Village Construction Set;
and Corinna Fuchs and David Griedelbach on the slow-working space Thinkfarm.

Case studies:

Aalto Lab MexicoAnselmaYear of Open SourceBring Your Own BiennaleNeighbourhood Labs; Open Green MapsInstitute of Design Research ViennaKonzeptwerk Neue ÖkonomieKuutioMake{able}Open WearPixelache and Women’s rights campaigning Info Activism Toolkit.

Essays by:

Frigga Haug, philosopher and sociologist on new visions of work;
Valerie A. Brown & John Harris on the role of aesthetic thinking in the collective mind;
Martin Parker, co-author of the book Dictionary of Alternatives;
David Bollier, author of the book Think Like a Commoner;
Michel Bauwens, founder of the peer-to-peer initiative P2P-Foundation;
Otto von Busch, fashion hacker and activist on his fashion project >Self_Passage<;
Benjamin Becker, Stefanie Gernert, Bernd Kniess, Ben Pohl and Anna Richter of the 5-year-experiment University of the Neighbourhoods;
Cindy Kohtala, doctoral researcher of the Maker movement;
and the contributing editors – Alastair Fuad-Luke on design activism and design for social innovation; Anja-Lisa Hirscher on participation in making; and Katharina Moebus on mutual learning.

For more info on our contributors and case studies, please check out their short biographies here.

The editing team:
It is assembled by a team of international contributing editors from art and design education, practice and activism – Alastair Fuad-Luke, Anja-Lisa Hirscher and Katharina Moebus. The editors have previous published works including Design Activism and The Eco-design Handbook and chapters in a range of books including: Helsinki Beyond Dreams; Sustainable Fashion; The Sustainable Design Handbook; Longer Lasting Products;  and Designers, Visionaries and Other Stories and all taught and researched at Aalto University’s Department of Design. The co-editors are all active in contributing to and co-organising diverse projects and blogs – see Make{able}Mode UncutTrade School Berlin and Window874.


– written by over 50 international contributors and contributions by the sponsors
– co-edited by Alastair Fuad-Luke, Anja-Lisa Hirscher & Katharina Moebus
– the first SPECIAL edition of 500 copies with unique numbering
– published by Agents of Alternatives e.V., Berlin, Germany under a Creative Commons licence
– 480 pages, full colour, 24 x 17 cm
– includes essays, interviews and case studies
– language: English

You can read and download the book for free here.

We ran a crowdfunding campaign on Sponsume throughout April and May 2014 to pre-fund the production of this book. A HUGE thank you to all of our Sponsume sponsors!

Other supporters and partners:

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