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The first expedition to Vienna

Safe spaces

Hivos and the Robert Bosch Stiftung have set out to start an exciting, thought-provoking and solution-testing lab that explores how foundations can promote vibrant civic spaces in tomorrow’s Europe. 

Our lab revolves around a series of learning expeditions that enable foundation staff and their partners to study the landscape of civic action in specific local contexts. However, as the Vibrant Civic Spaces initiative is a joint initiative and collective learning journey, we encourage others to participate and share ideas at any stage.

Learnings from Vienna 

For our first expedition, we teamed up with Porticus’ Community Arts Lab at the Ankerbrot Fabrik in Vienna’s 10th district: Kreta. The diverse social challenges and civic initiatives in the surrounding neighbourhood offered a fertile ground for learning and exploration about civic vibrancy.

We toured the neighbourhood to explore local challenges and particular civic initiatives. There we also interacted with residents, entrepreneurs and academics, as we pool our learning to consider where and how foundation support can enhance civic vibrancy.

After this exploratory journey in Vienna, we learned:

1 - Artist and entrepreneurs, left- and right-wingers, people with no or various migrant backgrounds barely meet and interact. In the Virbant Civic Spaces initiative we aim to explore how we can “de-silo” spaces

2 - A vibrant civic space implies a diverse civic space with different actors from different backgrounds, views and opinions. Our aim is to explore how civic spaces look like when there is trust and safety to disagree

3 - Everyone is part of the civic space, but nobody has the right to hijack it. Can we, as foundations, create a common understandig in Europe how such spaces look like?

Also, watch the video above to get an impression of the learning journey in Vienna. 

Continue the journey  

In the upcoming gathering in Europe in summer 2019, we would like to offer:

1 - Space to test ideas and experiment with design-thinking on how foundations can support vibrant civic spaces in their context

2 - A safe network of people working in or with foundations to exchange and learn from each other’s experiences

3 - Future orientation on how to move forward in regards to civic space in Europe

When representatives of foundations experience other needs in their working environment when it comes to civic space in Europe, the organizational team is very keen to meet those needs.

Interested to join? 

Connect with us to explore how you could be involved by sending an email to Evelien van Egmond via