In a world of radicalizing polarities, the “urgent change our system needs”, has become the new routine in any perspective, a random everyday “urgency”. In EMPATHEAST 2019 we create space for the untold to be told, experienced, shared. And for everyone to become a peace navigator in time of chaos and disillusion. The experience will change the idea of radicalization -  we need a radical good. Radical transparency. Radical stand behind the values that are threatened. Radical art. Radical love.

Previous years of change-making

To understand and answer to growing number of social needs and deficits in Europe we believe that the resources do already exist and we only need to connect, inspire and start working towards human-centered, intuitive but also efficient answers that encompass both solution but also process-oriented approaches. This is how we are accumulating positive social change in governance, media, civil society and business locally, nationally and internationally. Social deficits can be filled if we create the space for that – a space of participation, engagement, know-how exchange and inclusiveness. This is why Ideas Factorycr eated EMPATHEAST: forum for empathy-driven social change in Eastern Europe. The main objective of EMPATHEAST is to create the playground where social innovations get born and thus to put Bulgaria and the Balkans firmly on the world map of social innovation. As a region which deals with a dysfunctional political, economic and social system on a daily basis, the Balkans are an unique ground to explore opportunities of avantguard ideas turned into realities.

EMPATHEAST 2016: THIS>CONNECTS took place in Vratsa as the city is amongst the most rapidly depopulating in Europe and in the poorest region of EU. At the same time it is a city full of opportunities for authentic change and eager to change the situation people of all ages and backgrounds. This is why we decided to explore together the rich potential for change in the city and turn the tendencies upside-down. Through both local and international examples EMPATHEAST 2016 demonstrated how the concept of social good can be linked to sustainable models possessing the real potential to reduce poverty and cultural isolation. In bringing together empathy, efficiency and quality social impact they have the power to transform our societies in time of urgency. In a non-conference format and variety of forms as lectures, workshops, interactive discussions, installations, games, concerts and art performances, EMPATHEAST 2016 focused on the topic of CONNECTEDNESS and social change – between different sectors, ideas, disciplines and among us as people, searching for potentials in the interconnectedness of economics, politics, education, art and culture, IT and tech, traditions and national identity to present real solutions to real problems.

In November 2015 the second edition of EMPATHEAST was in Sofia and explored the topic of COMMUNITY-LED INNOVATIONS. Leading Bulgarian and international speakers and practitioners in the field of social change shared their experience, creating a space where we learned from each other through lectures, workshops, performances, games, site-specific challenges and discussions. The background of all these was one highly specific and vulnerable region in Sofia where people from different nations and religion share their dailyhood.

In 2014 EMPATHEAST was focused on OPEN EDUCATION IN EASTERN EUROPE and gathered together more than 350 people from 14 countries in the city of Plovdiv which became the setting where poorly known social problems were transformed into inspiring and accessible starting points for interaction and communication.