The CitizensLab was initiated as a new participatory European Network for local change actors. Its aim is to strengthen and connect active citizens from all sectors of society who are passionate about their local communities. They engage in finding innovative solutions to challenges in their neighbourhoods – be it as volunteers or in their jobs. CitizensLab offers exchange and support within a network of like-minded civil society actors. After two and a half years, CitizensLab is now at a crucial threshold of having achieved the creation of a community of practice and wishing to continue on its journey to become a system of influence by scaling the work that has been achieved to date. CitizensLab is now leaving the safety of MitOst to find a new home at CRICAO – one of its participating organisations – for 2019. The CitizensLab community developed ideas and pathways forward to continue their common work and exchange. A care group of different stakeholders will continue and will manage self-organised working circles, network meetings, community online meetings, prototyping and research. We are curious and excited about this journey! Find more news on

The programme was implemented by MitOst in cooperation Robert Bosch Stiftung. During its pilot phae it was also supported by Stiftung Mercator and the European Cultural Foundation.

Become member of the CitizensLab!

The Call for Applications for MitOst members to participate in the 4th Forum Meeting and become part of the CitizensLab is open until 11 February.


Project phases

Concept development
The kick-off meeting in Berlin laid the foundation of a network where active citizens can connect and learn from each other. They exchange knowledge and learn 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 February 2017, an additional number of 22 members was selected to become part of the network.

Kick-off meeting in Berlin and continued networking:
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 the 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 process they will develop the participatory structure of the network further and continue to exchange and discuss about the values that connect them. 

Capacity building and experimenting during a 2nd network event
New and old members meet in Brussels from 8 to 11 March at a second CitizensLab network meeting in order to deepen their relations, to build trust and cohesion within the network, to learn from each other’s experiences and develop concrete actions. In a bazaar of initiatives they will get to know each other’s activities through showcasing and storytelling. In DialogueLabs, interactive discussions with experts from think tanks and the European Parliament as well as journalists, the members will engage in conversations on EU policy making, civil society’s and media’s changing roles, civil society’s involvement in and advocacy of policy-making on the local, national and supranational level. Moreover, members will develop translocal experiments and transformative interventions to take place all over Europe within the frame of CitizensLab’s main thematic areas (democracy, inclusion, urban transformation, culture&art, education). With those activities the members will work towards the long-term goal of co-creating together participatory, diverse societies in Europe. 

Connecting and learning:

The CitizensLab is using a Lab approach to co-create more participatory, diverse, transparent, inclusive, democratic and accountable societies in Europe. The CitizensLab includes:  

  • Forum Meetings when members come together in person to exchange, discuss and co-create, 
  • Mobility Exchanges where members can visit each other and create translocal initiatives, 
  • Prototypes where members can experiment ideas and approaches for the new system to emerge,
  • an Online Platform that is used for information exchange, dialogue and decision-making. The online connections also includes webinars and conference calls and
  • a Website that shares information and stories about the CitizensLab.  

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 innovators which initiate social change as well as the 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.


Alice Priori
Programme Coordinator
T +49 (0)30/ 31 51 74 87

CitizensLab Website

CitizensLab Facebook page

Who is who in CitizensLab
List of members 2016/2017

Application Form
for the 4th Forum Meeting
12 -15 April, 2018
in Italy, Romania or Slovenia
Deadline to apply 11 February, 2018

Information about CitizensLab partners:


Partners during pilot phase