Tools for Action foundation

Tools for Action and Tools for Action foundation

Tools for Action explores the intersection between art and activism. Tools for Action acts as a platform for collaboration between artists, educators and activists. The group uses the production of inflatable sculptures as a community-building element and as a means for intervention. Tools for Action aims to practice alternative forms of social engagement and resistance and open the way for experimentation.

Tools for Action is founded in 2012 by the artist Artúr van Balen. In 2017, Tools for Action received the Award for Cultural Education of the Federal Ministry of Culture and the Media for the project Mirror Barricade together with Schauspiel Dortmund.

Stichting Tools for Action Foundation was founded in September 2019 in order to support the collaborative activities of Tools for Action artist group.


Tools for Action is directed by

Artúr van Balen (artistic director)


Collaborations with Tools for Action and Tools for Action Foundation

From its inception Tools for Action has collaborated with hundreds of individuals, groups and organisations. Our work is collaborative and participatory in each step. Our gratitude goes out to the many people who have supported and participated in our interventions and other activities, including Tomás Espinosa, Kathrin Ball, Sarah Drain, Malcolm Kratz, Shailoh Phillips, Tilly Gifford, Freya Schmidt, Veronica Komarova.

Long term collaborations under Tools for Action were with artist, educator and activist Shailoh Phillips (NL-USA)(2019-2020). We thank her especially in her advice in founding the Tools for Action Foundation.

Long term collaborations under Tools for Action were with artist Tomás Espinosa (COL) (2015-2019); projects Transinflable I in collaboration with Red Communitaria Trans (Bogotá, 2018), Transinflable II in collaboration with Red Communitaria Trans (Bogotá, 2019), Signals, Resonating Revolutions (Berlin, 2018), Signals 1.0 (Logrono, 2019), Signals 3.0 (Dresden, 2019).

Long term collaborations with artist Katherine Ball (USA) (2014-2017); projects include: Peoples Climate March, (New York, 2014); Red Lines Are Not For Crossing (Paris, 2015), Mirror Barricade (Dortmund, 2016), Workshops for inflatable Disobedience in collaboration with Malcolm Kratz (Vienna, 2017)

Tools for Action was formerly operating under the name Eclectic Electric Collective in collaboration with Jakub Simcik (20010-2012). Joint projects with Jakub Simcik were The Hammer (Berlin-Mexico 2010), the publication El Martillo (2011), published at minor Compositions, ISBN 978-1-57027-250-9.


Collaboration with organizations:

Tools for Action has collaborated in the past with the following organizations:

Partizaning (RU), Zasto ne?(BiH), Queersports (CRO), (US), Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination (UK-FR), Milla – One Million for Freedom of Press (HU), Wiener Festwochen (AU), Theater of Dortmund (DE), Schools without Racism – Schools with Courage (DE), Kulturprojekte Berlin GmbH (DE), Heinrich Böll Foundation (DE), Rosa Luxemburg Foundation (DE), West Den Haag – Cybernetic Advertising Agency Summer School (NL), Kunsthaus Dresden (DE), Montagscafé – Staatschauspiel Dresden (DE), Hellerau – Europäisches Zentrum der Künste (DE), FIBER festival (NL).


Research Agenda Tools for Action foundation

The current activities of Tools for Action foudation focus on generating space for rethinking our relationship to the past and the future. We are interested in tapping into historical narratives of resistance and contestation and finding ways of collective remembering and commemorating that do not fixate on a single dominant perspective. We focus on exploring and intervening in memory cultures, forgotten places and histories that need to be revisited, by creating site-specific interventions in contested urban space, such as squares, monuments, shrines. The research activities of Tools for Action  foundation will work in generating a deeper contextual understanding of such sites of contestation and reopening and activating layers of shared meaning connected to these places.



In the coming year, Tools For Action will work on evaluating past projects as we move forward. We will look at the following aspects of past interventions:

  • CONTEXT: what was the cultural and site-specific context, issues and fields of tension? Which histories and contested narratives were addressed? Who were the partners and participants and how did they relate to this context?
  • IMPACT: What was the residu, the aftermath, the effects on the short and long term of interventions? How did interventions circulate in public imagination, media and visual culture? Did any kind of shift occur in the participants or cultural discourse?
  • ACTION: what happened during the intervention? How were things choreographed and planned in spontaneous ways?
  • PREPARATION: what steps were taken in order to prepare? How were decisions made? How did the collaboration, training and negotiation of action in public space materialize? What parts were planned and how did the intentions turn out?


The aim of this preparation is to generate a clearer pedagogical, artistic and collaborative vision of how to prepare for collective action, to make the working process more transparent and to share the tools for action that we have developed in previous projects.


Tools for Action Foundation

The Stichting Tools for Action Foundation was founded in September 2019 in order to support the collaborative activities of Tools for Action artist group. The foundation is governed by a voluntary board, consisting of: Dr. Willem Flinterman (chair), Daniella Hefter (secretary), Christine Kappé (administration). They receive no financial compensation for their work.



Louis Pregerkade 72

3071 AZ Rotterdam.

info (at)



The aims of Tools for Action Foundation are:

  1. EXPERIMENT: developing, researching and sharing new forms of critical and socially engaged art;
  2. COLLABORATION: providing a platform for interdisciplinary and/or international collaboration, between artists, educators, researchers, cultural institutions and citizens, etc;
  3. ENGAGEMENT: inviting people to join in alternative forms of social engagement, active citizenship and/or participation;
  4. ACTIVATE: generating space in public, sparking collective imagination and collective agency;
  5. DISCUSSION: generating media attention and stimulating public debate concerning social justice and ecological challenges.
  6. QUESTIONING : questioning social norms, exclusion processes and power structures from a intersectional and queer perspective
  7. SHARING KNOWLEDGE: research, gathering and exchanging  knowledge and insights, creating public availability.

The foundation works to reach these goals through activities including:

  1. Making and deploying spatial and artistic ‘tools’, including pneumatic objects during demonstrations or interventions;
  2. presentation, exhibitions, symposia;
  3. performances, manifestations and intervention;
  4. publications, online and offline communication and tools voor knowledge exchange;
  5. educational activities, participatory workshops, toolkits, open source manuals en construction kits;
  6. Providing and facilitating residencies and exchange;
  7. Documenting and publishing workflows.

Chamber of Commerce registration number: 75837072 uittreksel_handelsregister_75837072

STATUTEN: Scan afschrift oprichting Stichting Tools for Action Foundation

2 thoughts on “Tools for Action foundation

  1. Hi Tools for Action,

    I am a student at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. At the moment, most of the students in the country are protesting against steep fee increases for next year. Our government is one of the most corrupt in the world and they are taking the money that should go towards educating the youth of the country. The protests are for the most part peaceful, however students are now being attacked and arrested by police officers. Protestors are also extremely angry and are damaging private and public property in their desperation. My university had been shut down and final examinations postponed. I tried to look up a tutorial on how to make one of your inflatable cobblestones, hoping it would make a difference to the atmosphere of the protests. However I am having difficulty finding one. Is there any way you can help us with ideas or guidance on how to achieve change with minimal violence?

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