The CitizensLab - a European Network of local actors of change

CitizensLab is a new participatory European Network for local actors of change. The aim is to strengthen and connect active citizens from all sectors that are passionate about their local community. They engage in finding innovative solutions to challenges in their neighborhoods – be it as volunteers or in their jobs.

The project is implemented by MitOst in cooperation with Stiftung Mercator, Robert Bosch Stiftung and the European Cultural Foundation.



Call for Application 2017 – CitizensLab is looking for new members


We are inviting active citizens and practitioners based in Europe, including Turkey to become a member of CitizensLab. If you are active in a local citizens’ initiatives, in the municipality, in a social enterprise, in academia, in a watchdog initiative, or if you are a social campaigner, hacktivist or representative of a marginalised group become part of CitizensLab, the European network for local actors of change!

Find the Call for Application with more information here. Application is open until January 31, 2017.


Project phases

The first CitizensLab meeting took place in June 2016 in Berlin; the second will take place from 8 to 11 March 2017 in Brussels. The kick-off meeting in Berlin laid the foundation of a network where active citizens can come together and connect. They exchanged knowledge and learned from their peers to strengthen the quality and impact of their local work. This European network can also serve to increase the influence on decision-making processes and policies on different levels.

Selection process: Experts from different sectors (practitioners, community artists, activists, social entrepreneurs, political scientists, academics, policy-makers and door openers) selected the first 34 members of the network who met in June 2016 in Berlin. In the beginning of 2017, an additional 15 members will be selected to become part of the network and meet in March 2017.

Network meetings: The kick-off meeting in Berlin took place 23 - 26 June 2016. During intense four days the new project members experimented with the participatory approaches they members also apply in their local work. In self-organised sessions 34 civil society actors, clerks from public administrations, social entrepreneurs and some journalists exchanged about the purpose and the vision of this new laboratory for collaboration. In an online and offline work-in-progress process they will develop the participatory structure of the network further and continue to exchange and discuss about the values that connect them. A second meeting is scheduled in March 2017 in Brussels. (travel costs, accommodation and board will be covered by MitOst.)

Activities: In between the two network meetings, members can engage in different ways to keep the network alive and meaningful:

  • Use mobility grants to visit another member of the network to further foster peer-to-peer learning or to participate in a conference or a forum.
  • Receive small grants to develop creative ideas to implement activities locally in partnership with the network members
  • Get the support and mentoring of the network members as well as from the experts of the Steering Group.


Why a European network of local actors of change?

The European Union has been accompanied and shaped by a critical and constructive civil society from its beginning. Besides organisations and networks acting on a European level and European Think Tanks, there is a strong civil society that does not primarily advocate Europe or the European Union, but is rather engaged in concrete activities on a local level.

Local initiatives have the potential to become social innovations that generate at the same time social change and a transformation of local and national institutional frameworks that can be then disseminated throughout Europe.

This personal involvement led by a sense of responsibility for the common good, increases solidarity among citizens and the sustainability of our society.

CitizensLab is a concrete opportunity to strengthen actors of change as multipliers, to deepen the local impact of their work and to connect them in a European movement.