During the Tegenlicht Meet Up, March 9 in Pakhuis De Zwijger, we investigate how the future of our European societies can be shaped: should we look for individual visionaries, or do we need a collective, institutionalized approach?

Documentary: ‘De Man through Europa’ (De Man door Europa).

Europe is changing. We are living in an exciting and inspiring time, in which we see the rise of a social, bottom-up society. The Flemish theatermaker Lucas De Man travelled to 17 European cities to speak with a new generation of creative thinkers and makers. They see the possibility to introduce Europe, a region that places individuals and free thinking at its core, with new ideas and ways of co-living and co-creating. VPRO Tegenlicht spoke with Lucas De Man, about the stories that he collected during his travel ‘In Search of Europe‘.


Please take notice: Lucas De Man will not be present during the Tegenlicht Meet Up, but luckily these inspiring people will be there:

During the Tegenlicht Meet Up we talk with creative makers and visionary thinkers about the future of their (European) societies. Which new ways of co-living and co-creating are taking place in Europe; which roles do these individual visionaries play in the shaping of (European) society; is there even something that could be called ‘an European society’; and should these forces not be combined into a collective effort to shape Europe?

One of these visionary thinkers and makers is Laura Pana, founder of the social initiative Migrationlab. Born and raised in Romania, Laura first started to feel like a migrant when she moved from Eastern to Western Europe. As a result, she started to write about her own migration story, founded Migrationlab and now organizes so-called ‘public living rooms’: places where locals, migrants and refugees come together to talk, share their stories and experiences, and find a better understanding of ‘the other’. During the Meet Up, we will talk with Laura about this initiative, which helps to build bridges between different, polarizing groups in European society.

Laura has participated in the Idea Camp by ECF in 2014. It has as a result a Research Development grant received for her project of ECF & Migrationlab. This is a 1 minute presentation of the migrational: https://youtu.be/CCw9dIACsjE

According to the Italian professor Christian Iaione, we should not leave it to individual thinkers and makers only to shape a society. Instead, we should create a new for of urban governance and a new kind of professionals: experts in the governance of urban commons. Because cities, according to Iaione, should be seen as a commons, where citizens are co-responsible for the shaping of the future of their own city’s social, economic and legal institutions. That’s why he founded LabGov (Labaratory for the Governance of the Commons): an experimental space where social innovators, public authorities, businesses, civil society organizations and knowledge institutions collaborate together to shape the future of their city. As Christian lives in Italy, his contribution during the Tegenlicht Meet Up will take place through Skype. Christian Iaione interviewed for the ECF-publication Build the City: perspectives on commons and culture (free download).

This makes us wonder: in which ways can ideals and visions help to shape a society? Should individual initiatives such as Migrationlab be collectivized on a higher (even institutional) level, as LabGov tries to achieve? Or do we need these individual forces as disruptive powers to work outside of the existing structures? But what about shaping the collective future of Europe: doesn’t Europe need a collective approach, a collective vision? Daan Roovers will shed a philosophical light on these and other matters during the Meet Up.

Finally, we will also talk with Tomas Vanheste, Europe-correspondent for De Correspondent and fellow-traveler during the project ‘In Search of Europe’. We will discuss the travel that he and Lucas De Man embarked on and the people they met and spoke with.  Also, we will discuss the dilemma of how an artist, journalist, thinker and/or maker can step out of its own network of like-minded people, and how one can connect and create stories (through such initiatives and projects) with people that one normally would not meet. Filmmaker Britta Hosman (VPRO Tegenlicht) will also join this discussion.
More information: dezwijger.nl/programma/tegenlicht-67