European Civic Academy 2022 – Capturing the winds of change

06 October 2022 | Capacity-building

The European Civic Academy returns for its fifth edition on 10-11 November in Firenze! Organised in cooperation with the Centre on Social Movement Studies (Cosmos) and Civil Society Europe, it will bring together laureates from past editions of the Civic Pride Awards, civic actors, and academics to discuss how to conceive of “victories”, what lessons can be learned from past successes, and how to stay resilient in the face of defeat.

The European Civic Academy (ECA) is back and will take place in-person for the first time since 2019! ECA was launched by the European Civic Forum in 2016 to build bridges between civil society and academia. It provides a space for exchange and to identify priorities and possibilities for strengthening efforts to enhance civic and democratic spaces in Europe. Four editions have been organised so far: in 2016 in La Rochelle (France); in 2017 in Brussels; in 2019 in Slubice (Poland) and finally in 2021, online.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

Capturing the winds of change

The theme of ECA 2022 is “Capturing the winds of change: How can democratic civil society drive systemic change?”

Large-scale crises have repeatedly affected Europe and the world in recent decades, with the Covid-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the energy crisis the most recent examples. These multifaceted crises showcase the systemic nature of the challenges we face today: climate change and the related natural and humanitarian disasters, social injustice and rising inequalities, and the long-term consequences of conflicts.

How can we sustain mobilisations when democracy and the urgency of the issues at stake seem to be following different timeframes? How can we be resilient when we experience many defeats? What are the factors that can support the creation of progressive change in society and in policy-making? What lessons can we learn from civil society’s successes? How can we conceive of “victories” in a way that takes into account the non-linear path of progressive change? These questions will be at the heart of discussions at ECA 2022.


When and where is the European Civic Academy 2022 taking place

ECA 2022 will take place on 10-11 November in Firenze, Italy. Organised in cooperation with the Centre on Social Movement Studies (COSMOS) of the Scuola Normale Superiore, the sessions will take place in the heart of the city, at the Palazzo Strozzi.

This year’s event is also taking place in the framework of 2022Firenze, an event marking the 20th anniversary of the first European Social Forum in Florence. 2022Firenze aims at keeping alive the memory of that first forum, to help us to move toward the future. The first two days of the forum are dedicated to a variety of self-organised activities, like the European Civic Academy. Then, on 12-13 November, all participants will gather in a large and common European meeting.


What is in the programme?

The event will consist of keynote speeches alongside plenary and small group discussions. Topics include:

  • Resistance and cultural hegemony: What are the factors to create power and agency to shape the collective imagination in a progressive direction?
  • To make or not to make the electoral jump? What can we learn from the experience of those who decided (or not) to join the electoral political competition?
  • How to oppose an illiberal government
  • …and many more!

Read the full programme!

We hope you can join us in Firenze for this exciting event!