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Home / Resources / News / BORDERS TO CROSS: Open call!


How green is (y)our grass?

Deadline for applications: 14th June

Learn how civic initiatives and other innovations are reshaping the practice of democracy within and across borders.
Borders to Cross is an inter national conference that will bring together civil servants, citizens, social entrepreneurs, and scientists to reflect on the innovative ways in which democracy is being practiced and civil society, market and gover nment are working together to address shared problems in Europe.
Don’t miss the opportunity to draw insights and inspiration from the work of colleagues from over 20 countries.

29-31 OCTOBER 2013

Why: Transition
Europe is bursting with examples of democratic innovation.
Citizens are taking public matters into their own hands and driving change through efforts to improve the neighborhoods and cities in which they live. Public officials are experimenting with new forms of practical deliberation and conflict resolution that remake relationships with citizens and other stakeholders. These new forms of cooperation and co-creation challenge us to make sense of how roles and responsibilities are changing. As they rework the relationship between bottom-up and top-down patterns of organization, these practical experiments push public, civic, and market organizations to rethink the ways they relate to each other. Their experiences pose important questions. How can we support and facilitate grass-root initiatives and safeguard public concerns? How can we respond to demands for action when the rules of the game are themselves shifting?
Citizens and civic professionals often work pragmatically in these settings —seeking to learn as they act. Their stories contain a wealth of insights that can become the working knowledge that binds a community of practitioners across political and institutional borders. Our ambition is to create an international learning community, whose members can learn together about shifting roles, responsibilities, and opportunities for linking society and democracy.

What: Action Learning Community
The Dutch ministry of Interior and Kingdom Relations (BZK), the ministry of Health, Welfare & Sport (VWS), the ministry of Infrastructure & Environment (I&M), the ministry of Economic Affairs (EZ), the City of Amsterdam, the Universities of Amsterdam and Leuven, Netwerk Democratie, European Alternatives and G1000 have joined forces to create a conference in which participants can explore challenging responses to societal problems across (and beyond) Europe.
Borders to Cross will provide a setting for reflecting on experiences, dilemmas, and designs at the boundary of change. We envision a laboratory for active learning to help participants develop insights that they can bring into play in their own work. Researchers will work as partners in the living labs in order to capture the significance of new relationships and innovations in practical deliberation and problemsolving. The conference aims to bring together 40 inspiring initiatives and projects that cover diverse themes: new forms of ownership and joint decision-making, inclusive participation, and the role of entrepreneurship in the public domain.

How: Borders to Cross
The conference will have an accessible and flexible nature that allows for personal interaction and group reflection that contributes to action learning and the development of a durable learning community. The conference will begin in the afternoon of Tuesday 29 October and end around lunchtime on 31 October. During these 48 hours there will be opportunities to:
— Attend workshops about cutting edge participatory methods;
— Reflect with scientists about practical insights and innovative theories;
— Listen to leading figures in the field of civic driven change;
— Enlarge your vision and learn from initiatives and projects by visiting the marketplace;
— Visit civic driven change initiatives in neighborhoods in Amsterdam;
— Talk with peers about the daily challenges you face and the borders you have to cross In connection with this conference Amsterdam will subsequently host the granting of the prestigious ErasmusPrize to Jurgen Habermas on November 5th.

Expected results
The conference provides you with:
— a new perspective on the transitions that are underway in democratic practice and the shifting roles for government, markets and civil society actors that this implies
— practical strategies that you can implement in your own work.
— a renewed network of civic professionals and citizens who are engaged with related challenges.

The conference will provide the opportunity to address your questions and think together  with international colleagues about new approaches that are suitable for your local societal challenges. The reach of the conference will extend beyond those actually present. The conference activities will be made available through social media, audio and video clips. More practically, participants will share innovative approaches and stories in their home country.

Open Call
There is an open call to collect interesting initiatives and projects that we can learn from. The Open Call for Innovative Practice and Dilemma’s will gather the most striking examples of efforts in which citizens, civil society actors, and public officials have redefined their roles and modes of interaction.
Examples may range from the G1000 in Belgium to a social pharmacy in Greece or a social procurement procedure in Sweden. The cases will be linked by the common effort to reinvent democratic relationships through practical initiatives.
Representatives of the projects that are selected will be invited to present and discuss their successes and their frustrations and to bring home innovative approaches to pressing societal problems.

Participants & Costs
Up to 200 civic professionals will participate in the Borders to Cross conference. Their diversity will create opportunities for surprising encounters and innovations that challenge our thinking. Our goal is a balanced group of government, civil society, and market actors together with researchers. Approximately 20% of the participants in the conference will originate from the Netherlands. The conference is free of charge and does not include travel and lodging expenses. Scholarships for travel andaccommodation expenses can be requested. Funding decisions will be made by the conference organizers on the basis of the contribution an initiative or project can make to shared learning about the themes described in the open call.

Questions about the open call?
Or do you want to know more about the open call,
how to enter or nominate initiatives or projects?
Send an email to: Jonmar van Vlijmen

Can’t wait to start exchanging?!
Get in touch now with fellow civic professionals on the
Borders to Cross Linked In group:

Dutch ministry of Interior and Kingdom Relations (BZK)
ministry of Health, Welfare & Sport (VWS)
ministry of Infrastructure & Environment (I&M),
ministry of Economic Affairs (EZ),
City of Amsterdam,
Universities of Amsterdam and Leuven,
Netwerk Democratie,
European Alternatives