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 too 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. A second meeting is scheduled in March 2017 in Brussels.
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