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Learn how to experiment in a rapidly changing
civic environment

A Vibrant Civic Spaces initiative?

Hivos and the Robert Bosch Stiftung GmbH share an interest to explore the vibrancy of civic spaces in Europe. Beyond concerns around right-wing populism and shrinking civic spaces, we are curious about broader shifts in the landscape of actors, issues and strategies. What constitutes 'virbancy' in 21st century civic spaces? How and why are some actors and coalitions able to expand space for their agenda, while others find their space for expression contracting?

We started the Vibrant Civic Spaces initiative to learn more about these dynamics and to explore the implications for foundations working for open and inclusive societies. We want to create a safe space for reflection, inspiration and collective action.

The first journey to Vienna

“As foundations, we have to build bridges and to find new entry points. We need unexpected collaborations and new ideas for change to happen. And for true co-creation to occur, we need to connect beyond our individual roles.”

Werner Binnenstein-Bachstein, director of
the Community Arts Lab at Porticus Foundation


Learning journeys

Following some initial scoping work, we would like to advance by going local. We are initiating guided learning journeys. We want to immerse ourselves in a specific context, to learn first-hand from citizens and local civic actors, their supporters, adversaries and observers. We want to see social entrepreneurs, artists, activists and NGOs in action, explore issues of need, legitimacy and impact with local residents, learn about the latest ideas and insights from think-tank’s and academics.

Would you like to know more about this initiative? Please contact Evelien van Egmond via