Photo: Panos Georgiou
Photo: Panos Georgiou

Why CitizensLab?

The current dominant models of how we organise society and how we interact with each other are not capable to provide solutions to contemporary challenges. A clear sign for that are the multiple crises - economic, ecological, democratic, social, as well as spiritual – we are facing today. Our current ways of life will also make life for future generations more and more difficult. Therefore, this time is the right time to change the system from the root level and not just tweak symptoms of what is not working.

This systemic change is highly complex and cannot be predicted or planned. Instead innovating, experimenting, constant learning and adapting will let the new emerge.

Many local actors of change all over Europe are already not only questioning the status quo, but through their experimental and unconventional practices provide alternative ways to deal with social, political and ecological challenges. In the CitizensLab we co-create conditions for systemic change by connecting those local pioneers to share, experiment and influence on a European level.


CitizensLab is a participatory European network of local actors of change from different sectors and contexts.
Community organisers, curators of spaces for active citizens, artists and performers of new societies, urban public space re-inventors, activists, disturbers, societal innovators, participatory leaders – people who are able to break out of our own bubbles and hierarchies in a non-violent way and who want to create alternative European encounters that speak to all people.

Its members consider themselves a community of practice committed to changing the society in which we live to co-create a more participatory, diverse, transparent, inclusive, democratic and accountable Europe. We collectively explore ‘How our diverse practices can create more meaningful quality of life in Europe‘.

In the CitizensLab active citizens co-create cross-sectoral spaces to share experiences and knowledge, but also to together experiment and prototype in our local contexts. By connecting a wide variety of civil society actors CitizensLab can also become a new system of influence. Seeking eye-to-eye communication with the European institutional ecosystem we foster a more inclusive political participation of citizens in shaping our societies.

CitizensLab is coordinated by a core team and is currently being hosted by CRICAO. In its incipit phase (2016-2018) it was coordinated by MitOst e.V. with the support of Stiftung Mercator, Robert Bosch Stiftung and the European Cultural Foundation.


Our diverse practices will make Europe a better place to live. A place where everybody regardless of their origin and social status has a voice in decision-making. A place where schools turn into homes of community actions that nurture active citizens of tomorrow. A place where art and culture become a catalyst for social change and where everyone is an artist. A place where urban transformation is ecologically and economically sustainable.

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