European Democracy Lab
Physics teach us that friction creates energy. We at the European Democracy Lab (EDL) believe this is also true for society and democracy: we want critics and advocates of Europe to meet and discuss, to turn energies from frictions into tangible, joint actions. The current political frictions must not drift further apart.
The Road Works Sessions are a common ground and space to re-connect meaningfully across cities, countries- and political camps.
Berlin-Paris-Warschau-Rome-Athens | Danemark - Portugal - Slovenia
Populism and the threat of re-nationalisation in Europe, hand in hand with the loss of real debates and open exchange.
Both ends of the political spectrum claim moral superiority for itself, the political sphere is marked by polarisation, refusal to accept differing opinions, and withdrawal. We all observe a widening gap in society, fear of one another, short-sighted actions on both the national and European level. We need to close this gap and must get in touch, reach out, listen, and learn.
Breaking up the one-way-street perception populism: We want to bring together (young) proponents and opponents of how to change Europe. We want them to talk to each other not about one another. And we want an audience to be there and engage, too. To enable real debates and confrontations. Ultimately, to make political frictions, social exclusion, and cultural tensions visible, touchable and – most importantly – solvable.
Each session brings together 1 or 2 representatives from a EU-critical and a pro-European (youth) organisation and focuses on a different country (France), region (Ruhr area) or city (Athens).
All sessions last 2h, include identical questions (When and why did you start to engage? What society do you want to live in? What is your biggest success so far? What role does media play in your engagement?), are structured along 4 topics (personal insights, belonging, migration, hopes), are moderated, and tracked with chess clock time keeping.
The sessions are public, advertised online/ via email distribution list, and accompanied by twitter discussions with #RWS-Frictions. A report per session and an overall summary will be published online (includes videos) and in print (includes photographs)
For Europe and for the people living in it. For the future of both of them.
We believe a better understanding of one another requires to experience and interact with each other. Even though we live in times of fundamental questions and increased friction, the only way to reconnect is to feel and see beating hearts to understand the reasons and prospects.
In a way, we are doing this for us, for you, and potentially everybody who is upset or passionate about Europe.
This is a daring idea, born from the realisation of the Lab’s everyday confrontations. Passionately advocating pro-European ideas triggers aggression and creates societal stress in times of fundamental insecurity and re-orientation. We want to seize and synergise those energies in new ways: by observing frictions of political positions and opposing camps, we seek to better understand the crucial issues and want to share this experience and knowledge- both in short and long term.
Funding requested from Advocate Europe
Moderator, Writer, Photographer, Camera, Venue (13.600€); Speaker Travel expenses (9.600€); Publication, Website (6.000€); Project Manager, Project Assistant (11.600€)
The project builds on the community already built by the previous Road Works Sessions. It will make use, reinforce and widen the established network of European activists, political and societal actors. We aim to promote the idea that we can all together shape Europe - even if we disagree with one another- and that through connecting opponents an inclusive, passionate, respectful, fruitful and courageous debate can ultimately form a community, a polis, a res publica.