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Project Workshop in Helsinki

by University of Eastern Finland

Earlier in November 2021, we were thrilled to finally welcome the EUARENAS partners to the project’s first face-to-face meeting in Helsinki.

The three-day workshop was a welcome occasion for the consortium to convene, reflect on progress, and brainstorm about future activities.

As the project is implemented by different research institutes from across Europe and in a multi-disciplinary context, the theoretical and methodological foundations are of paramount importance. On the first day of the meeting, the consortium sat down to revise previous knowledge on deliberation and elaborate on the systemic turn in deliberative theory with regard to four EUARENAS case studies (Barcelona, Copenhagen, Reggio Emillia, and Wigan). With regard to methodology, the consortium discussed urban experimentalism and existing applied methods of stakeholder representation within public consultation and deliberation processes. In addition, the participations mapped out actors under the Quintuple Helix model and modified the “Ethical and Deliberative Co-Governance Cycle”.

The meeting also provided a good opportunity to take stock of current progress with regard to empirical work. Desk-based research of 13 case studies has been completed, and crucial questions were raised and discussed concerning the fieldwork phase of case-study research.

Piloting will begin in December. The four pilot cities of EUARENAS – Budapest (District VIII.), Võru, Reggio Emilia, and Gdansk – were present, officially introducing us to their regions and the current state of deliberation and participation. The city of Helsinki, one of the case studies, was also present, sharing with us the Helsinki Model of Participation, including participatory budgeting and citizen inclusion.

As Community reporting will be an important method in the Case studies and Piloting, the partners learned the importance of lived experiences, practiced responsible storytelling, curation and revision. Workshops on Storytelling and Future thinking will be provided to the four pilot cities with the aim to use lived experience stories to identify and explore signals about the future of deliberative and participatory democracies.

Between trainings, group work and direct discussions among WP leaders and piloting representatives, the meeting gave our project a chance to put pen to practice, address uncertainties and doubts and strengthen cooperation for the next 2.5 years.

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