Documentation of the Copenhagen meeting

2nd Network Meeting on
„Participation and Democracy in Europe“

 

On February 2nd – 5th, 2012 the second Network Meeting on “Participation and Democracy in Europe”, initiated by Citizens for Europe e.V., took place in Copenhagen (Denmark), in the beautiful rooms of the Kvarterhuset.

After a first meeting in Berlin on September 2011, a group of 21 participants coming from all over Europe met again, with the purpose of bringing forward the exchange started in Berlin among practitioners on the topic of “Participation and Democracy in Europe”.

WHO WAS THERE?

Beside a core group of practitioners who were already present at the first meeting in Berlin, new representatives joined the event.

The group formed itself through personal invitation, on the basis of the personal and professional connection of each participant to the topic of the event.

A lot of previous collaborations among the practitioners were present in the room.

4 DAYS AGENDA

The agenda focused on 4 main steps along the 4 days of activities:

1) RECONNECT – after 5 months since the 1st meeting, the group had the possibility to reconnect to each other, to welcome the new entries, to state interests and identities objectives for the upcoming days;

2) SHARE – a good time was dedicated to the group members to present their own activities, ideas and future projects, in order to map resources and identities of the group;

3) OWN IT! – one core objective of the meeting was to raise ownership in the group in the future developments of the identity, goals and structure of the network. The participants discussed and prototyped ideas and solutions to keep nurturing the group and its way of meeting in the future.

4) BRING IT HOME – the last step consisted in creating the basis for future actions and steps for the group to keeping on seeing each other in the future. Roles and responsibilities for making the next meeting happen were discussed.

*** DAY 1 – Reconnect ***

The first activity of the event consisted in a Check In for participants on the question “With all the places I could be, why am I

here today?”.

An interactive dinner created the space for people to greet each other, to get to know new faces, to start grasping the ideas that would have developed in the room in the upcoming days. With rotating tables of 4-5 people, participants have been invited to exchange on the following questions:

What motivates you to do what you do?
What was your dream when you were a child?
Find 5 unusual things that you have in common. The table with the most uncommon characteristics will be the winner.

The ice was broken to start working together!

*** DAY 2 – “Share” ***

The day started with a storytelling from Arianna of Citizens for Europe e.V. on what happened in the last meeting of the group in Berlin, on September 2011.
It was an important moment to bring everybody on the same page, to recall the origin and the purpose of the group and to set the ground to start working.

The power point presentation of the Berlin meeting’s outcomes is attached to this document.

The group entered then on the first content discussion of the day, with a World Café on “New forms of Participation and Democracy in Europe”.

The exchange happened with 3 rounds of discussion, with people rotating at every round, on the following questions:

What are the new forms of participation and democracy that…

1. you see emerging in Europe?

2. you see promoted and implemented in your work/study environment?

3. Which are the tools and strategies that are used at the European level and in your work/study environment? Identify them and draw on the flip chart.

WORLD CAFÉ OUTCOMES

Strategies
– Focus on initiators at the local level
– Create a canalization tool to connect the local to the European level
– Concrete action and evaluation through the identification of daily life concerns
– Go local, go concrete and then up to national & transnational
– Think global, act local
– Education, communication teacher-student
– Let go from role
– Pupils in the center
– Education –> response –> change, actor/agency –> participation
– Trans-partisan mobilization or a-political
– Creating flexible networks: synergies, avoid duplicates
– Exchange best practices: virtual database, actual network meetings

+ How to cope with frustration?

Tools
– Media(social)
– Open space
– World café
– Languages: national+ functional

Resources
– Time
– Infrastructure: clubs, organizations, teams

The day went on with Pair Interviews on “My next projects: Which is the project I would be open for collaboration?”.
Each participant was invited to share with the interview partner strengths and struggles that he/she was encountering in this specific project.

The results of the interviews have been presented in plenary, in order for the group to get updated on the current and future activities of the members of the group. As gallery walk allowed each member to connect to other projects, giving advices or providing support to the highlighted resources.

The last activity of the day, following the topic of the day (“Share”), created a space for participants to share their own projects with the group and, at the same time, by benefiting of the collective knowledge of the group to bring their own ideas forward.
This was made possible with a Pro Action Café on the question “What is boiling in the pent? How can I realize my project within the network?”.

5 topics and questions were discussed:

1) How to make the agenda tool used by our network?
2) Opening Up Culture (project of Katharina). How to set-up a participative project in a cultural context?
3) Research action. How to define “Governance as learning together?”
4) How to efficiently attract target group of our common/ mutual activities? How to make people co-owners of the project? Events, websites, ideas, projects…
5) Participation meeting in public space

The day finished with a speed dots-evaluation, to measure the group feeling on the statements:

I have found concrete opportunities for collaboration
I would like to work further with this group
I want to contribute to have more of these meetings

Here on the picture the results of the evaluation.

*** DAY 3 – “Own it!” ***

 

The third day invited participants to focus on what was really important for them to happen during these days. Therefore, with a Self-hosting Morning on the question “How do we want to keep on meeting each other?”, small group activities on specific themes were organised and self-hosted by the participants themselves.

2 main groups formed on:
1) the visit to the exhibition on “The Europe of Today” (?!?!?)
2) reflection on the identity of the group, its goals and its next steps

SELF-HOSTING MORNING OUTCOMES
Group 1: VISIT …

Group 2: IDENTITY, GOALS AND NEXT STEPS OF THE GROUP
Organization for the Next Meeting:
When? Funding (Grundvig, Leonardo, self-financed travel?, age of the participants for the fundings)
Who to initiate?
Place (public spaces, strategic places, according to the climate?
Host?
Tasks?
How to open up or reinforce core team?
Small groups (task forces), meetings
Connection to our normal activities
Connection to campaigns like ECI

Topics of the Next Meeting:
Manifest/ identity
Grand annual meeting
Concrete action
Expertise from outside
Mapping relations

Why a Next Meeting?
Value added?
Personal contact, keep in touch, follow up/ valorization of the results, enlarge group or not?

Sustainability of network
Virtual communication
Continuity
Series of meeting
Self-commitment of actors
Regularity

Why this Network?
Single actor becoming lobby group?/ task force
Good practice of collaboration
Public sphere
Group activity/project
Manifestation on participation: mission, name, action purpose, common themes

What is the Need?
Synergies
Networking
Contacts/partners
Knowledge production
Input at topics/activities
Growing/expansion
How to develop the network? Structure/purpose/identity

New topics inputs:
Quality of conversation that makes meaning
Migration
Arts
Youth
Education
Work on participation inclusion
Opportunities/ surprises

A Circle Harvesting brought the group together again after the activities of the morning and allowed everyone to get updated on the outcomes and emerging questions of the morning.

The afternoon continued with the creation of 6 Task Forces responding to the question “What do we urgently need to discuss before we leave?”.

1) Vision and Mission
2) Needs
3) Structure and Format
4) Communication between meetings
5) Funding
6) Next Meeting

After 2 rounds of discussions on “What is already there?” and “What is missing?”, each group started to prototype solutions for each topic and presented to the others.

 

 

1) Prototype on VISION AND STATEMENT
Guidelines:
1. We are living participation
2. We create free spaces
3. We are inclusive and diverse
4. We are… to be continued

Outcomes:
Meeting I
Meeting II
Projects
Proposals
Publications
Feelings
Free spaces
Journey

Carpet idea: citizens, responsible, Europe, actions, participation, together

Questions for this prototype:
How to do you explain “we are living participation”
Is this the right name for the external world?

2) Prototype on NEEDS
Goal:
To enhance participation and news practices of democracy in Europe

Objectives:
– Open source for democracy: sharing ideas, methods, expertise
– Take diversity within the network and outside (bring in diverse people and activities be open, inclusive= one vision)

Activities:
a) what are others doing: what is missing= collaborations
b) Produce toolkits (e.g; Jede Stimme, university course
c) Unity, vision statement
d) Creating event “deliberation as learning democracy together”
e) Establishing student consultants “courses Grenoble/ Frankfurt (DAAD, European Association of teacher, Europe School net
f) Action 3: measurability Citizens’projects 100 000 euro. Europe for citizens Programme
g) Monitoring programmes & fundings scholarships

What is the need?

3) Prototype on STRUCTURE AND FORMAT
Format of gathering
3 days, meetings like this,
+ expert inputs from outside
+ public sphere event
With our methods and local leader from the network

Size of the network: open, committed, speaking EN, relay to the topic, guidelines,

Roles and responsibilities
Continuity and stable factors, commitment of whole network / delegation(resources), rotating core groups

Proposal:
Set of criteria to join the network
Format of the gatherings(conferences, events, workshops, partnerships, joint projects
Roles and responsibilities (who does what?)
Size of the network

4) Prototype on COMMUNICATION IN BETWEEN THE MEETINGS
What is the procedure for the external communication? What are the tools that can support it?

Based on email, website,
Website: good for the visibility but very minimalistic. Not good for the public
E-mail: when an update on the website is made people receive on weekly/monthly object. The private part of the website, available only for members
Calendar: traditional events, our network meeting, collaborations
Storage possibilities /exchange of information( fix fundings)
Feedbacks
Collaboration, events between org

5) Prototype on FUNDINGS
Propose a funding plan and sustainable strategy:
How can you create resources within the network?
What are the concrete possibilities/ funds to apply?

Individual contributors
Expertise/knowledge, on how to fundraise, identification of sources
Difference resources between members, voluntary fees, would everybody in the room should pay a part of the costs his/her participation occurs?

EU
Youth in action
Citizens for Europe
Lifelong learning
Grundvig

Foundations
Asko Europa Stiftung
Bertelsmann Stiftung
Allianz Stiftung
Kirbes Stiftung
Ewofound
Edmund Siemens Stiftung

Private companies, municipalities

Action plan:
Define the content: project description, define budget, identity own resources (cash, name responsible persons for funding, identify the host country, use knowledge from the network

6) Prototype on NEXT MEETING
Prototype I
Pure networking body
Twice a year meeting + intense e-communication
Aim: present the projects, knowledge exchange, partnetship, resources sharing
No fixed topics
Keynote on networking tools
Sessions on projects proposals
Funding possibilities
1 expert + current members
Private + accessible spaces

Prototype II
Focus on expertise:
Deeper knowledge in some areas (fews, specific)
Choose topics 1 (themes, method, target group)
Each participant purpose on the topic and share knowledge
Action planning+ division duties
Few of us + many stakeholders
Need based / topic location related
Mostly public

*** DAY 4 – Bring it home ***

The last day of the event focused on setting the ground for the next meeting of the group. In order to identify the necessary next steps, the group answered to the question “What are the things that I like that could make the next meeting happen?”.

The main issues concerned:
Criteria and principles to choose a location for the next meeting
Roles, responsibilities and resources in the group
Communication in-between the meetings
Format of the next meeting

The discussion produced the following outcomes:

Next meeting ideas
Possible Locations:
– Paris (Inga, François, Katharina)
– Barcelona (Kevin)
– Prague (H.S)
– Balkans

Possible Partners/Supporters: European Movement, Goethe Institut, Praxis, European Alternative

Orga team: need to identify a core group of people taking care of the organization of the meeting (content, method, logistic, funding levels)

Possible Contents: immigration, open democracy in Balkans

Vision for the meeting: it should reflect diversity, happen in a place not overloaded by the EU discourse, involve central-eastern Europe

Suggestions for the format:
a network to get to know each other
realization of joint projects during the meeting
have experts inputs from outside
make project together in different countries
focus on one topic

Who invited: open academy+ practioners

Open Questions:
What will be the size of the meeting of the network?
How many people can we logistically host?
How do we guarantee continuity? (ideas: to invite new people on the basis of needs and interests in the topic; to prepare the new entries in advance, before the meeting)

NEXT STEPS

FUNDRAISING TEAM: Katharina, Jakub, Inga, Martin will look for funding possibilities.

ORGANISATION: from now till April 15th the people who identified a possible location for the next meeting will collect information, in order to understand where will the next meeting take place.

On April, 15th there will be a Skype call in order to decide on the final location. The call will be organized and hosted by Inga.

INTERNAL COMMUNICATION: Jakub will investigate new alternatives and create a proposal for the group

VISION STATEMENT: Sebastian will write a statement proposal to be discussed in the next meeting. Arianna will help him.

CORE TEAM: a core team for the whole organization of the next meeting will be formed after April 15th, on the basis of the location decision. This group will be responsible of:
ongoing communication with the other members
supervise the process
take care of funding, logistics, contents and methods for the meeting

To support this process and keep track of the experience made so far, Martin will create a template with all the necessary steps that have been undertaken in order to organize the last 2 events (Berlin and Copenhagen).