The European Civic Academy was launched by the European Civic Forum in 2016 to connect and build bridges between civil society and academic agendas, to provide space for civil society actors to discuss with academics and identify priorities and possibilities for collaborations related to the role of CSOs in enhancing civic and democratic spaces in Europe. The objectives of the European Civic Academy are three fold: (1) mapping civil society needs in terms of research priorities; (2) enable civic actors to gain knowledge about existing research, methodology and approaches to inspire a strengthening and a renewal action framework; (3) increase awareness among academic researchers about civil society needs and priorities and identify collaborative opportunities for future research.
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. It allowed exchanges, but not yet the building of a strong linkage between the civic actors and the academic world. The editions to come shall benefit from the cooperation process that has developed between ECF, Civil Society Europe, Solidar and the Collegium Polonicum Foundation.
In the context described above, civil society has to tackle long-standing structural weaknesses as well as emerging challenges in order to put the common good at the centre of the political agenda. We propose for the 2021 edition three working topics to focus the discussion between civic actors and academics. To foster the reflection and build civil society capacities, we will invite leading academics and civic actors to showcase research findings and good practices.
The three sessions brought over 250 participants in 2021. Academics, grassroots activists, researchers, met online and raised key questions for the sector and for future collective mobilisations.