Festival 2024 > About


Festival 2024 > About

Banner of the 5th Festival


The Festival 

The Citizen Participation and Deliberative Democracy Festival brings together people who are interested in the engagement of citizens through deliberative and other participatory formats in science and policymaking, with participants from the EU and national public institutions, politicians, representatives of civil society organisations, researchers, practitioners, artists and ordinary citizens.    

Organised by European Commission’s Competence Centre on Participatory and Deliberative Democracy (CC-DEMOS), the Festival is also the main networking event of its Community of Practice. The programme features a variety of activities, including expert panels, conversations, workshops, artwork presentations, exhibitions of participatory projects and hands-on presentations of methods and tools. We aim to shed light on the opportunities and challenges that the engagement of citizens in science and policymaking is facing. 

When & where

This year, we will meet in Brussels, on 12-14 June. The main part of the programme will take place in the CDMA building (21 Rue du Champ De Mars, 1050 Ixelles, Brussels), with side events across the city. The sessions organised together with the JRC SciArt Project on Wednesday and Friday evenings will take place at the iMAL Art Center for Digital Cultures & Technology (30 Quai des Charbonnages, Koolmijnenkaai, 1080 Brussels). On Thursday morning we invite you to take part in a guided tour that will take us across Brussels, to discover its public spaces and their role in the political and social life of the city. Find out more in the Agenda!

2024 theme

The theme for the 5th Festival will be the engagement of citizens in addressing environmental issues. This includes, for instance, transversal concerns related to climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution, environmental health, land use, oceans , as well as regional and local issues such as climate-neutrality of cities and energy transition.. Over the last few years, and in response to these issues, we have seen a growing number of participatory processes, such as citizen assemblies, focusing on biodiversity and climate change across Europe – and the world – convened both by public and non-governmental bodies at local, regional, national and global levels, as well as many other non-invited formats of citizen engagement. It is important that we bring our research, practitioner and policymaker communities together to discuss these initiatives and reflect on how to use these tools to help strengthen our democracies and give citizens a meaningful say in policies that concern them.   

The theme also engages directly with the European Green Deal, one of Commission’s priorities, with its goals of climate neutrality by 2050 and those set in the biodiversity strategy for 2030. To make the green transition just, fit-for-purpose and sustainable in the long term, the involvement of citizens is paramount. In this context, in 2023 the Commission ran a European Citizen Panel on food waste, and in 2024 another one focused on energy efficiency.  

And yet, the relation between environmental action and democracy, or even more so citizen engagement, is by no means obvious, as a recent survey in European countries illustrates: ‘53% of young Europeans place more confidence in authoritarian states than democracies when it comes to addressing the climate crisis’.   

Between political tensions, the legal and institutional frameworks in place and the alarming calls from scientists about deteriorating environmental conditions – How much power do citizens actually have to influence decision making processes? Can co-creation processes, including with the most vulnerable or affected by the issue of concern help avoid the negative consequences not only of climate change, but also of so-called green policies? Have the processes to date helped address the political divisions in this area or support systemic transformation? What role for different ways of engaging and spaces of participation to navigate such uncharted waters? How are participatory processes being integrated with the established governance mechanisms from local to the international levels? These are some of the questions we will address over the three days of the Festival.   

Meet the Festival Team

Photo of Ângela Guimarães Pereira
Ângela Guimarães Pereira, MSc. Ph.D

Ângela has been at the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre since 1992. She leads the Competence Centre on Participatory and Deliberative Democracy, contributing to mainstream citizen engagement practices across the EU policy cycle and science. She has been involved in many European projects focusing on environmental and technology governance, future-oriented activities and public engagement institutionalisation. Post-normal science inspires her work on governance of and dialogues about policy, science and technology.

Photo Paulo Rosa
Paulo Rosa, Ph.D.

Paulo is a policy analyst at the European Commission's Joint Research Centre. He provides advice and support to the various activities of the Competence Centre on Participatory and Deliberative Democracy. His current work focus is the Conference on the Future of Europe.

Photo of Tessa Dunlop
Tessa Dunlop, Ph.D.

Tessa has worked at the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre since 2017. She works on the Community of Practice for the Competence Centre on Participatory and Deliberative Democracy. Tessa completed a Masters degree in ecological economics and sustainability at the Institute for Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA) at the Autonomous University of Barcelona and is now completing her PhD on political science at the same institution. Prior to this work, Tessa was a television journalist at Reuters in Hong Kong before working as a Communication Expert at the European Forest Institute in Barcelona.

Photo of Mateusz Tokarski
Mateusz Tokarski, Ph.D.

Mateusz works as a policy analyst at the JRC, supporting the work of the Competence Centre on Participatory and Deliberative Democracy. He has a background in media studies and environmental studies, with particular focus on environmental ethics. He currently coordinates projects on the engagement of citizens in the protection of biodiversity. Previously, he worked as a researchers as well as scientific and literary editor.

Photo of Anna Paola Quaglia
Anna Paola Quaglia, Ph.D.

Anna Paola works as a Policy Analyst at the Joint Research Centre, European Commission.  She has an interdisciplinary background rooted in economic and political geography, food studies and critical theory. Her work currently focuses on participatory governance of environmental issues and public spaces for citizen engagement. 

Photo of Ventseslav Kozarev
Ventseslav Kozarev

Ventseslav is a Policy Analyst at the European Commission and is part of the team behind the CC-DEMOS. Ventseslav works on the elaboration of practical guidelines for the evaluation of citizen engagement processes, and contributes content on practices and methods of citizen engagement to the training offer of the CC-DEMOS.

Photo of Elisa Vecchione
Elisa Vecchione, Ph.D.

Elisa is policy analyst at the JRC and contributes to the work of the Competence Centre on Participatory and Deliberative Democracy in the field of evaluation of citizen engagement processes, training and capacity building, as well as in specific policy files such as pollinators’ protection through the STING project.

Photo of Francesco Moratelli
Francesco Moratelli

Francesco works as knowledge management assistant at the JRC, providing support to the Competence Centre on Participatory and Deliberative Democracy. Previously, he worked at the European Commission as policy assistant in the fields of union citizenship, consular protection and free movement as well as development and promotion of the external dimension of the EU's employment and social policies.

Photo of Viktoria Henkemeier
Viktoria Henkemeier

Viktoria is supporting the work of the Competence Centre on Participatory and Deliberative Democracy as a trainee at the JRC. She has an interdisciplinary background in Equality Studies and English and Spanish Philology, with focus areas on socioeconomic injustices, intersectional research paradigms and literature. She has previously worked on the intersections of human and environmental rights and international cooperation.