Festival 2024 > Agenda


Festival 2024 > Agenda

Banner of the 5th Festival


Each day of the Festival will be a deep dive into a different aspect of engaging citizens in addressing environmental issues. The sessions will engage with policy context, bring insights from experts on the recent insights and trends, offer opportunities to participate in hands-on showcases of tools and methods, present accounts of case studies, get out of the box with through participatory performances and try to make sense of all this through group discussions. 

Read on to find out about focus areas for each of the days.

Day 1 | 12 June 2024

How can citizen engagement help the green transition?   

The past five decades have seen the development of a set of national, multilateral and global initiatives to tackle environmental problems. At the same time, polarisation and identity politics around these policies is growing. During this session, we will explore how citizen engagement and deliberation is addressing some of these challenges, and affecting change in environmental science, policy and wider society, and what lessons from citizen engagement we can use to inform the green transition.

Welcome breakfast
Festival opening

The Festival will begin with a high-level conversation reflecting on the vision for implementing the European Green Deal with citizens.

Speakers: Bernard Magenhann (acting Director-General, DG JRC), Dana Spinant (Director-General, DG COMM) [tbc], Patrick Child (Deputy Director-General, DG ENV) [tbc]

How can citizen engagement help the green transition and other environmental policies?

Panelists: Charlotte Denise-Adam (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), Jane Suiter (Dublin City University), Laura Maanavilja (DG CLIMA), Rich Wilson (ISWE Foundation)

Moderator: Anthony Zacharzewski (Democratic Society)

Coffee break
Parallel workshops: What’s new with citizen engagement in environmental governance? 

Workshop 1: The interplay between deliberative and representative democracy in climate governance

Facilitation: Mark Hessellund Beanland (DEMOCRACY X)

Workshop 2: Building capacity for learning and cross-institutional coordination of citizen participation in local and regional policymaking 

With: Matej Miklian and Alexandra Suchalová (Office of the Plenipotentiary of the Government of the Slovak Republic for the Development of Civil Society, Ministry of the Interior of the Slovak Republic), Silke Toenshoff (CoR)

Facilitation: Elisa Vecchione (DG JRC)

Workshop 3: Integrating citizen participation in local and regional policymaking for climate neutrality 

With: Marzia Mazzonetto (Stickydot) and Adriana O'Phellan (Democratic Society), Francesco Amodeo (DG REGIO) 

Facilitation: Ventseslav Kozarev (DG JRC)

Plenary discussion about Citizens’ Panels and Citizens’ Engagement Platform

With: Gaëtane Ricard-Nihoul (DG COMM)

Poetic closing

With: Lev Avitan (philosopher, performer & spoken word artist)

Networking lunch
Making energy green and fair: A Peer Parliament discussion

How can we ensure an inclusive green energy transition? Which solutions can address energy poverty while switching to cleaner energy sources? Join the European Climate Pact and the Earth Society in the Peer Parliament discussion: Making the energy transition green and fair! Be part of the discussion, share your ideas and vote for your preferred solutions to make the transition fair. As energy plays a crucial role in the green transition and affects everyone, it is essential to make citizens voices heard in the policymaking process to meet energy and climate goals. Energy experts, Pact Community and policymakers will be invited to join the discussion, facilitate learning and foster participative democracy in energy decisions. 

This session is a side event that will take place at Rue de la Loi 107. You can read more about the event here and register directly through this form.

Lament: Addressing environmental trauma through art

The recent years have seen an increase in violent wildfires, destroying natural areas and taking human lives, often leading to trauma among the individuals and communities who suffer through them. Lament, a performance and installation developed as part of the JRC SciArt Project’s NaturArchy exhibition, explores death from a more-than-human perspective. By stepping back from data-driven responses related to restoration and monitoring, the artwork embraces overlooked stories of transformation in post-wildfire environments. Extending the project to vulnerable communities offers those affected by wildfires a way to develop resilience, voice environmental grief, mourn for the loss and eventually make space for regrowth. The session will begin with the performance, followed by a presentation of a participatory artwork developed by the artist together with inhabitants of Portuguese community of Santa Comba Dão who faced a megafire in 2017. We will conclude with an informal conversation between the audience, the artist and the community representatives.  

With: Margherita Pevere (artist & researcher) & representatives from the Santa Comba Dão (Portugal) community

The session is a side event that will take place in iMAL Art Center for Digital Cultures & Technology. Register directly on iMAL's website.


Day 2 | 13 June 2024 

Can democracy survive without public spaces?

If 2020 risked marking the ‘end’ of received notions of public space and the suspension of public life due to restrictions for Covid-19 outbreaks, the early months of 2024 are marked by recurrent protests in Europe and all over the world, with various demands across the political spectrum. Young climate activists, local inhabitants of many European capitals, elders and farmers, all have claims and stakes over the environment and land. Their claims, at times, become highly visible in public spaces.   

The public sphere is, by definition, made by these and many other different publics and counter-publics. A democratic public sphere needs both such diversity of publics to co-exist and mechanisms to ensure respectful political engagement. Space, in this sense, is a basic material infrastructure of democracy, empowerment and societal participation, while dialogue is its fundamental means to enable understanding, agreement as well as disagreement. The second day of the Festival will explore, from different perspectives, democratic living and politics, by looking at contemporary challenges, through the lens of public spaces and by exploring ways to engage with matters of concerns, through arts and prototypes.    

Spoiler alert: democracies cannot survive without public spaces!

“Walking democracy”: A guided tour of public spaces in the city of Brussels

Join us for a scientific walking tour through selected iconic public spaces in Brussels with urban specialists that will offer an interdisciplinary view of the city. 

This session is a side event developed in collaboration with CityTools. Places are limited to 40 people. The tour will last about 3 hours, and the meeting point will be communicated to participants after registration.

Welcome coffee
Democracy is for everyday life, not just at election times?

The high-level panel will examine current participatory innovations in democracy, and will discuss challenges and opportunities when connecting to everyday bottom-up democratic practices in public spaces.

Panelists: Dubravka Šuica (Vice-President of the European Commission for Democracy and Demography), Hendrik Van de Velde (Belgium Ambassador, Coordinator Belgian EU Council Presidency 2024), Dominik Hierlemann (Bertelsmann Foundation), two participants of the European Citizen Panel on Tackling hatred in society [names tbc]
Moderator: Jolita Butkeviciene (Director, Innovation in Science and Policymaking, DG JRC)

Why are public spaces important for democracies and social cohesion?

The expert panel will explore the different 'wheres' of democracy, whether physical, digital or hybrid, and the key importance public spaces have for political engagement, accountability of power and social cohesion. The session will also explore issues of inclusiveness, ownership and enablers to the 'right to public space'.

Panelists: Arya-Marie Ba Trung (DG HOME), Mathieu Berger (UCLouvain), Deniz Devrim (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), Marleen Stikker (Waag society)
Moderator: Anna Paola Quaglia (DG JRC)

Parallel workshops

Workshop 1: Artefacts to support meaningful conversations between different publics on matters of care

During this workshop participants will have the opportunity to discuss - and experience - how working with prototypes and material objects can support deliberative and co-creation processes in the context of material deliberation as well as arts-inspired methodologies. The showcase will include contributions from the JRC Makers-in-Residence programme.

Facilitation: Paulo Rosa (DG JRC) and Denisa Kera (D&O Future Design & Policy Lab)

Workshop 2: Futures Garden 

Futures Garden is a pioneering project by the European Commission's Policy Lab, where speculative design meets policy-making. Our platform invites EU citizens and policymakers to collaboratively envision and sculpt the future of Europe by turning emerging global trends into dynamic, interactive scenarios that we can discuss together. In this session we will explore together the topic of ' extending the human perception' and will think about cognitively diverse policymaking.  Through this creative and inclusive process, we aim to inspire policy innovation and foster a future that is resilient, sustainable, and reflective of our collective aspirations. The project is developed at the EU Policy Lab.

Facilitation: Erica Bol (DG JRC) and Elahe Rajabiani (DG JRC)

Poetic closing

With: Lev Avitan (philosopher, performer & spoken word artist)

I/We/They: Rhythm and Ritual for public space

A participatory performance.

With: Jemma Woolmore (media artist)

Networking apertif


Day 3 | 14 June 2024

Whose knowledge matters? Local, traditional and indigenous knowledge as evidence in decision-making. 

Different ways of knowing coexist. They reflect our values and the relations we seek, care for or afford, with other humans and non-humans. Environmental issues display the complexity of these relations. To many of these issues, scientific and technological solutions can be sought to fix the consequences. However, this is not always the case. Neither those solutions work for everybody and everywhere. It has become evident that the environmental complexities of our times will need to be addressed through mobilising diverse (situated, local, traditional, indigenous) forms of knowledge and knowledge-holders, in other words – different epistemologies – especially when stakes are high, values in dispute, uncertainty of many sorts and decisions are urgent.  

Climate change and the decline of biodiversity are such problems, not least because they affect differently humankind and ecosystems. The Arctic region is especially susceptible to a changing environment and new geo-political interests. It is also a region that houses Europe’s only recognised indigenous peoples, who have been living and governing their environment through what is commonly designated as traditional ways of knowing (and indigenous knowledge). There is ample recognition of processes of silencing and colonisation of local, traditional and indigenous knowledge. With these processes, we are also eradicating cultures and rights, research and governing processes. The Arctic region represents an arena where different knowledges continuously meet and interact on environmental issues, and so, the purpose of the third day’s sessions is to bring an understanding of the value of working across different knowledge production systems and different types of knowledge, in both research as well as in decision-making processes. We will be looking in particular at the concept of co-creation in dealing with matters of care. 

Welcome breakfast
Opening conversation: Indigenous and traditional knowledge in environmental issues

Speakers: Salla Saastamoinen (Deputy Director-General, DG JRC), John Bell (Director, Healthy Planet, DG RTD)

How can co-creation advance indigenous livelihoods, and environmental science and policymaking?

Panelists: Felicia Afriyie (University of St.Gallen), Britt Kramvig (UiT, Arctic Univ. of Norway), 
Moderator: [tbc]

Epistemologies of the North. Why do we need to work across different ways of knowing in the Arctic?

The session will begin with a music and visual performance by Elle Márjá Eira and Morten Hyld Pettersen. The performance and the subsequent panel conversation will engage with the question: What does it take to bring notions of care and cognitive justice into policymaking?

Panelists: Elle Márjá Eira (artist, composer, filmmaker), Tamara Metze (University of Delft), Morten Hyld Pettersen (composer and producer)
Moderator: Ângela Guimarães Pereira (DG JRC)

Poetic closing

With: Lev Avitan (philosopher, performer & spoken word artist)

Closing session and wrap-up

Speaker: Jolita Butkeviciene (Director, Innovation in Science and Policymaking, DG JRC)

Networking lunch
Oceans: A common good? A pop-up Citizens' Assembly

Based on the methodology used for the Global Citizens’ Assembly on the Ocean, this interactive session will be a simulation of a deliberation where participants bring not just their own perspectives and experiences, but also aim to speak for - and from the perspective of - the living systems (like the ocean) and future generations. This approached, termed ‘Three-Thirds Method’, strives to bring into deliberation a wider range of voices, this way contributing to a more holistic and just addressing of environmental issues.

Facilitation: Missions Publiques

Invisible Seeds: Understanding indigenous knowledge through art

Based on the skin patters of anaconda, the Kené designs of the of the Shipibo-Conibo people inhabiting the Peruvian Amazon have a deep symbolic meaning representing the geography of the forest and expressing beliefs about the connections between material and immaterial world. During this workshop, facilitated by indigenous artist Metsá Rama, the participants will have the opportunity to learn about Shipibo-Conibo worldview, art as well as culture and agricultural science through hands-on experimentation with the different Kené designs and the techniques for their production (from drawing the patterns to painting the Kené). The workshop will include a guided tour of the NaturArchy exhibition.

Facilitation: Gala Berger (visual artist & independent curator) and Metsá Rama (Shipibo artist, educator & translator).

The session is a side event that will take place in iMAL Art Center for Digital Cultures & Technology. Register directly on iMAL's website.