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Advancing Research on Democracy and Participation with the EUARENAS Community of Practice

On May 16th, 2023, the EUARENAS project organised the second Knowledge Exchange Workshop in Berlin, bringing together citizens, academics, city representatives, NGOs, and other practitioners being active in participatory and deliberative democracy fields. The event provided a lively platform for sharing innovative democratic practices and collecting feedback on on ongoing research in EUARENAS.

Central to this endeavor was the involvement of the EUARENAS Community of Practice members, who brought their diverse expertise in participatory and deliberative democracy to enrich the discussions and contribute towards a shared vision of democracy in Europe.

Latest Agendas in Research and Practice

The workshop featured enlightening rapid-fire presentations by:

  • Mikko Rask, a University Researcher at the Centre for Consumer Society Research, University of Helsinki, , who delved addressed into the questions why cities aim to foster citizen participation and what they  the expectations from such these initiatives.

  • Katarzyna Dyzio, Director of Urban Activity at the City of Łódź, shared their current endeavours in citizen participation as part of the City Strategy co-creation process, highlighting her transition from urban activism to the public sector.

  • Brett Hennig, Director of the Sortition Foundation, gave an insightful presentation on their Democratic Lottery Selection & Stratification services, aimed at ensuring broad representation in citizen assemblies and mini-publics.

These presentations are accessible for further viewing here.

Feedback on Ongoing Research

This section of the workshop focused on refining key project outputs through collective insights, particularly for the EUARENAS Handbook and analysis of piloting activities.

  • The EUARENAS Handbook for Successful Deliberation, presented by Wojciech Ufel from SWPS University, serves as a comprehensive guide aiming to bridge the gap between theoretical concepts of participatory and deliberative governance and their application in real-world contexts. Feedback from the workshop emphasised the roles of leaders (both formal and informal) in the deliberative process, suggesting a structure that begins with narratives and stories before delving into more detailed theoretical findings​​.

  • The Pilot Evaluation and Monitoring Report, led by Krisztina Keresztely from the Comparative Research Network, aims to document the methodologies, tools, and results of three piloted deliberative and participatory processes in Reggio Emilia, Voru, and Gdansk, facilitating a cross-case analysis to refine future practices. The feedback highlighted the need for a clearer presentation of the complex and innovative nature of these activities, and called for an incorporation of insights from other work packages to enhance the analytical framework​​.

A comprehensive overview of the progress made, and the collective insights gained, during the event were synthesised in EUARENAS Knowledge Exchange Report 2.


Democracy Action Day

The workshop’s collaborate spirit continued into the Democracy Action Day, which aimed to co-create visions for participatory democracy's future in Europe. Participants engaged in exploratory activities, reflecting on diverse local visions, and working together to conceptualise participatory spaces that embody ideals of community engagement and environmental stewardship.


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