CitizensLab is an opportunity for local actors of change to create a new European network. The aim is to strengthen and connect active citizens from all sectors that are passionate about their local community. They engage in finding innovative solutions to challenges in their neighborhoods – be it as volunteers or in their jobs.
Core areas of activity of CitizensLab are Democracy/ Active Citizenship, Social Cohesion/ Inclusion and closing diversity gaps, Urban Transformation, Culture and Art and Education.
The European Union has been accompanied and shaped by a critical and constructive civil society from its beginning. Besides organisations and networks acting on a European level and European Think Tanks, there is a strong civil society that does not primarily advocate Europe or the European Union, but is rather engaged in concrete activities on a local level.
Local initiatives have the potential to become social innovations that generate at the same time social change and a transformation of local and national institutional frameworks that can be then disseminated throughout Europe.
This personal involvement led by a sense of responsibility for the common good, increases solidarity among citizens and the sustainability of our society. CitizensLab is a concrete opportunity to strengthen actors of change as multipliers, to deepen the local impact of their work and to connect them in a European movement.
The kick-off meeting in Berlin took place in June 2016. During intense four days the new project members experimented with the participatory approaches they also apply in their local work. In self organized sessions 34 civil society actors, clerks from public administrations, social entrepreneurs and some journalists exchanged about the purpose and the vision of this new laboratory for collaboration. In an online and offline work-in-progress process they will develop the participatory values that connect them.
Route map for the development of CitizensLab to become a community of practice and to create a system of influence which gives a voice to the citizens of Europe
The second network meeting in Brussels took place in March 2017. Read more in our Blog entry about the network meeting or download the full report provided by the team of MitOst.
CitizensLab is on its way from the pilot stage to becoming a community of practice. The members of CitizensLab have discussed their vision for Europe in 2030 and have formed working groups who are working together to develop prototypes. Right now there are four project teams with members from different European countries who are preparing cross-sectoral prototypes. The issues which are addressed are education, democracy, social inclusion, urban transformation and art and culture.
The vision of CitizensLab for education in 2030 - the school of tomorrow is connected to the community and are incubators of what society needs now and in the future
School of Tomorrow is a prototype which aims to engage children actively with their local community using practices, methods and tools developed by actors of civil society. The idea of commoning in the sense of "to come together, to take part in decision making processes and to become active by co-creating and co-producing the world" is used to explore the local community the children live in, its heritage and collective memory and to become co-authors of local narratives and co-creators of urban space.
Meet the project team of School of Tomorrow and learn more about their organizations: Angeliki Tseliou from Greece (Kalliga Square Citizens Association) Pavlina Petrova from Bulgaria (Vibrant Village Foundation), Ed Sandmann from The Netherlands (Chances and Changes), Ildiko Simon from Hungary (Cromo Alapitvany) and Lilian Jüchtern from Germany (EFFE/ Freie Comenius Schule Darmstadt).
CitizensLab vision for democracy - in 2030 governance structures in Europe are accountable, transparent and open and democracy means active citizenship
Transparent Local Budget is a prototype which will provide an online tool which allows the local government to publish their budgets in an understandable and citizen-oriented way. The project wants to broaden the ways citizens can interact with their municipalities or cities.
Meet the project team of Transparent Local Budget and learn more about their organizations: Ale Gonzales from Italy (wwb.cc), Iva Cucik from Serbia (Ministarstvo Prostora), Francesco Saija from Italy (Parliament Watch Italy), Sandor Lederer from Hungary (K-Monitor), Serban Oncescu from Romania (Civicus Romania), Argyro Barata from Greece (FEAST Greece) and Ildiko Simon from Hungary (Cromo Alapitvany) .
CitizensLab vision for urban transformation - in 2030 urban transformation focuses on ecological sustainability, housing and economic sustainability
Network Navigator is a collaborative effort to map out who are the local, citizens-led actors for change in Europe and how they are connected through existing networks on the transnational, regional and local level. The main objective for local actors for change is to get an understanding on how to use networks to develop cooperations, to build capacities, to learn from each other and to transfer knowledge and to improve the dialogue between with decision makers in order to achieve sustainable change.
Meet the project team of Network Navigator and learn more about their organizations: David Juarez from Spain (straddle3/ Arquitecturas Colectivas), Levente Polyak from Italy (Eutropian), Louise Armstrong from U.K. (Peckham Coal Line/ Forum for the Future), Martin Pairet from Germany/ France (European Alternatives) and Chiara Organtini from Italy (CAOS).
Co-Conception, counseling and challenging inputs:Mateja Softie from Slovenia (ISKRIVA), Marou Chatzopoulou from Greece (COMM'ON) and Dmytro Khutkyy from Ukraine (Center for Innovations Development at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy).
CitizensLab vision for inclusion - in 2030 minority groups and marginalized groups have a voice and participate in decisions that affect them
Skill Up! is a co-working space and platform to jump-start collaboration, empowerment and skill strengthening among migrants, refugees and local communities. The approach is based on horizontal relations, co-design and acceleration of local actions for change.
Meet the project team of Skill Up! and learn more about their organizations: Margherita Mugnai from Italy (SocioLab), Stephen Ogbonna from Italy (Mama Africa), Laura M. Pana from Romania/ The Netherlands (MigrationLab) and Andrea Rossi from Italy (Cherimus).
CitizensLab vision for art - in 2030 art will be a transformational tool for society which is open for everyone and has gone beyond commercial gain and entertainment
Get to know more about activities of CitizensLab at CitizensLab Stories.
After a quick and quiet train journey from Frankfurt Fernbahnhof to Brussels I walked from Gare du Nord in Brussels to the hotel. Serban (Asociatia Cicivus Romania) from Romania was the first person I met after checking in. He was waiting for his room to get ready. Francesco (Parliament Watch Italia) from Sicily (as he insisted on saying) was second, after him Marou (COMM'ON) from Greece whom I only knew from the conference call we did before the meeting. After that the lobby of the hotel quickly filled up with people. I knew about 30 of them from the kick-off meeting in Berlin and 20 newcomers were expected to join us in Brussels at the CitizensLab meeting.
As a member of CitizensLab my interest is to find out how teachers can make more use of the learning opportunities which are available in the neighbourhood of schools. I believe that civil society organizations have developed approaches and methods which can be useful for teachers and that they can provide resources for learning outside of the classroom.
European Forum for Freedom in Education
Europäisches Forum für Freiheit im Bildungswesen
Le Forum Européen pour la Liberté dans l´Education