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“Life is about making a difference” – Successful start of Frankfurter Buchmesse’s CREATE YOUR REVOLUTION campaign

October 18, 2019 in Company Events

CREATE YOUR REVOLUTION Talks inspires the audience with stories of revolution, activism and positive change

While the UK is planning its withdrawal from the European Union, Germany is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The 71st Frankfurter Buchmesse (16-20 October 2019) is taking place against the background of global political and social upheavals worldwide. What role does culture play in dynamic times like these? And why is culture more important than ever, given the current situation of global warming and unstable world politics? These are the core topics of CREATE YOUR REVOLUTION (CYR), the campaign by Frankfurter Buchmesse in cooperation with the United Nations (UN), ARTE, the German Publishers & Booksellers Association, THE ARTS+/B3 and Spreadshop. These topics were also the focus of the CYR Talks taking place at Frankfurter Buchmesse on October 16th.

Spreadshirt CEO Philip Roooke at the Create Your Revolution Talks


Spreadshirt CEO Philip Rooke talked about empowering activists to express themselves with Spreadshop.

“The CREATE YOUR REVOLUTION Talks was a fantastic evening with extraordinary talks from around the world”, is John Kampfner’s summary. The former Chief Executive of the Creative Industries Federation and TV-Journalist Nazan Gökdemir moderated the event which celebrated freedom of expression, creative change and a better world. During the three-hour event, cultural activists from all over the world inspired the audience with personal stories and ideas for the future of democracy and culture. Phyllis Omido, Environmental activist and Founder of The Center for Justice, Governance, and Environmental Action, called on the audience for worldwide support for one another: “We share a planet and whatever happens in Africa has an impact in Europe – let’s support each other.” But the evening not solely presented outstanding fighters for worldwide change passionately discussing their ideas, the event also included expressive performances. Corey Scott-Gilbert showed an extract of Sasha Waltz’ dance performance “Creature”. A summary of the highlights of the event will be available from 23 October in the ARTE Mediathek (

What’s next? The commitment of the CYR partners

The CYR campaign is supported by the United Nations (UN), ARTE, the German Publishers & Booksellers Association, THE ARTS+/B3 and Spreadshop.

For the United Nations, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are at the heart of their commitment. Melissa Fleming, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Global Communications, said about the role of culture related to the SDGs: “Culture can be so much more than entertainment; it can be a force for good. Art and literature can change attitudes, stimulate imagination and inspire positive change.” The UN offers a special programme at THE ARTS+ Stage (Hall 4.1) on Saturday, 19 October 2019, from 10 am to 12 pm: the SDG Media Zone giving a stage to the people driving change, progress and debate on the most pressing issues of our time. Memory Banda, Head of Malawi’s Girls Empowerment Network (GENET), will speak about “Equality for Girls in Malawi”. Memory Banda is an advocate, a feminist, and a fierce campaigner on education and against child marriages. Further guests include Diane Drubay, Founder of We Are Museums, Dr Peter Kurz, Mayor of Mannheim and Chairman of the Global Parliament of Mayors, and Marcin Krupa, Mayor of Katowice. The SDG Media Zone will be moderated by Sherri Aldis, Chief of United Nations Publications, and Arne Molfenter, Head of Liason Office, UN Regional Information Centre for Western Europe.

In preparation for Frankfurter Buchmesse, broadcasting station ARTE already brought together people who want to make a difference. Personalities from culture and politics who have recognised that their creative actions can change the world for the better. In video parleys (available here:, climate activist Luisa Neubauer and pianist Igor Levit, as well as artist Ai Weiwei talk about how and why they became active and share their ideas about current world affairs. For Ai Weiwei one thing is certain: “Life is about making a difference”. In the video clip he talks about the power of culture and the importance of art in times of change.

The German Publishers & Booksellers Association is also involved in CREATE YOUR REVOLUTION. Its Managing Director Alexander Skipis says: “Writers and artists can make a significant contribution to politics and society. It is the industry’s responsibility to raise our voices when politics ignore violations of human rights to achieve economic or political advantages. We must interfere more, especially in a time of ‘simple truths’! At the beginning of October, the event ‘Who cares about values? The relevance of culture in political decisions’ with writer Jagoda Marinić took place. On 17 October 2019 at 1.30 pm, the Börsenverein and partners are organising a vigil for freedom of expression on the fairground, at the Agora. With this event, we call for solidarity with the Swedish Hong Kong author, publisher and bookseller Gui Minhai, who has been imprisoned since 2015, and for a sign of freedom of expression in Hong Kong and worldwide – with open umbrellas, the symbol of the Hong Kong freedom movement.”

Spreadshop supports the campaign by making it possible for people who change the world to also show visually what they stand for. With Spreadshirt’s online shop system, activists can show what moves them – on clothing and accessories with individual prints. Spreadshop has already equipped the CYR team with merchandise products, helped setting up the official CYR-Spreadshop ( and will print T-Shirts live at the Frankfurter Buchmesse (in Hall 4.1) in order to make the creative revolution visible and to express it on-person. “There are thousands and thousands of activists, writers and thought leaders with great ideas that readers, followers or fans love. We want to encourage them to take those ideas into the physical world and allow their followers to express their love of those ideas on-person with merchandising”, says Philip Rooke, CEO of Spreadshirt, explaining the company’s support of the CYR campaign.

THE ARTS+/B3 is connected with the CREATE YOUR REVOLUTION campaign via the “Future of Culture” issue. The festival has not only promoted the campaign in a communicative way, but central events of the campaign are taking place in the THE ARTS+/B3 area in Hall 4.1.

CREATE YOUR REVOLUTION – INITIATIVE FOR THE FUTURE OF CULTURE will also be continued after the Frankfurter Buchmesse 2019. ARTE will broadcast further CYR video clips: Milo Rau and Andrea Venzon as well as Lady Bitch Ray and Hanns Zischler will come together for further video recordings. And there will be events and collaborations on topics such as activism, language, living with machines, trust, the future, identity, sustainability and education. Further information at #CREATEYOURREVOLUTION

About Frankfurter Buchmesse

Frankfurter Buchmesse is the international publishing industry’s biggest trade fair – with over 7,500 exhibitors from 109 countries, around 285,000 visitors, over 4,000 events and some 10,000 accredited journalists and bloggers in attendance. It is the most important international marketplace for content – from novels and children’s books to academic databases and stories for films, games and virtual reality experiences. Publishing professionals from around the world meet here with partners from the technology sector and from related creative and cultural industries, sparking new partnerships and business models. A strong conference programme ensures that Frankfurter Buchmesse is a major source of inspiration for content experts from around the world. Since 1976, the book fair has featured an annual Guest of Honour country, which showcases its book market, literature and culture to attendees in a variety of ways. Frankfurter Buchmesse organises the participation of German publishers at around 20 international book fairs and hosts trade events throughout the year in major international markets. Frankfurter Buchmesse is a subsidiary of the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels (German Publishers & Booksellers Association).

About the Sustainable Development Goals

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a call for action by all countries – poor, rich and middle-income – to promote prosperity while protecting the planet. They recognize that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies that build economic growth and address a range of social needs, including education, health, social protection, and job opportunities, while tackling climate change and environmental protection.

About ARTE

In 1992, the European TV channel ARTE went on air with the mission of promoting understanding and rapprochement between Europeans through a programme reflecting Europe’s cultural richness and diversity. It was launched in two languages, German and French. Today, thanks to its consistent digital strategy, the ARTE programme is available in six languages. 70% of Europeans receive ARTE in their native language. 85% of the programme is co-produced in Europe.
As a public service broadcaster, ARTE is financed by the broadcasting contribution in Germany and France. There is no advertising, but through sponsoring for example, the station also has its own revenues.

About Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels

Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels (the German Publishers and Booksellers Association) represents the interests of Germany’s book industry in the political and public spheres. It was founded in Leipzig in 1825 and currently has roughly 4,500 members, which include booksellers, publishers, wholesalers and other media companies. As both a trade association and a cultural organisation, the Börsenverein works to promote books and reading whilst also fostering fair copyright laws and the preservation of Germany’s policy of fixed book prices. It also seeks to promote cultural diversity and uphold the right to freedom of expression. Börsenverein runs the annual Frankfurt Book Fair and awards the annual Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, the German Book Prize and the German Non-Fiction Prize. The association also supports its members in the development of innovation and new business models.

About Spreadshop


Spreadshop is a leading global online shop system powered by Spreadshirt. Shop Owners can create and sell their own merchandise to a worldwide audience with a hassle-free, risk free online Shop. Every Shop has its own URL and can be customized to fit their brand. While the users focus on spreading their message through 130+ customizable products, each sale earns them a commission. Spreadshop does the heavy lifting: from on-demand production and worldwide shipping to customer service in 12 languages. Spreadshop’s professional support team offers personal assistance, video tutorials and marketing hacks. Spreadshirt’s founders had a vision in 2002: Free online shops for everybody! Today, more than 45,000 brands, activists, and designers run successful merch businesses through Spreadshop.


About THE ARTS+/B3

THE ARTS+ Future of Culture Festival, which takes place every year as part of Frankfurter Buchmesse, revolves around the future of the creative and cultural industry: An international showroom of the future, it brings together creative minds and pioneers of the digital ecosystem, with inspiring keynotes by national and international speakers as well as exceptional performances. In 2019, THE ARTS+ entered into a unique partnership with the B3 Biennale des bewegten Bildes (B3 Biennial of the Moving Image), an event organized by the Hochschule für Gestaltung Offenbach (Offenbach University of Art and Design). Significant parts of the B3 programme dovetail with the successful festival and, amongst other things, the biennial will present its renowned flagship exhibition in the middle of THE ARTS+ area in Hall 4.1. In addition, the area is the heart of CREATE YOUR REVOLUTION, this year’s Frankfurter Buchmesse campaign dedicated to the importance and future of culture.



Mayra Koziollek

Mayra Koziollek

Senior PR Manager