Citizen participation masterplan for Esch 2022 municipalities

stakeholders mapped

reports on citizen participation in culture consulted

mayors, culture and municipalities' representatives interviewed

municipalities involved

Citizen participation is at the very core of the Esch 2022 strategy, as reflected in everything from the project’s objectives, to impact indicators, call for project evaluation criteria and the thematic focus itself. Nevertheless, the participatory aspect of Esch 2022 and the overall citizen engagement in culture on municipality level during and beyond the Esch 2022 project are challenging for the municipalities. Citizen participation is a very complex topic and there is a need for a systematic strategic approach, a Masterplan, to support the involved municipalities before, during and after Esch 2022.

Guided by The Impact Lab Method(TM), we will analyse the current situation and ambitions regarding citizen participation in a cultural context, identify existing national, regional and local strategies aiming at social cohesion, inclusion and participation, learn from other ECoCs in this respect, and then to develop general guidelines for citizen participation as well as detailed strategies based on different personas, project types and levels of participation. For different approaches, a practical toolbox will be developed to equip the municipalities with concrete ideas. Our approach will be general enough to be applied in different municipal contexts but will be tailor-made to measure through on-demand consulting and training sessions to ensure effective implementation of the masterplan by specific municipalities.

The project is in progress, but so far we have mapped more than 360 cultural stakeholders in the region, mapped and analysed local and national strategies aiming at social cohesion, held interviews with mayors and/or cultural representatives of all the involved communities in Luxembourg, analysed in-depth dozens of good practices in citizen participation from selected European Capitals of Culture, and analysed close to 50 reports and publications on cultural participation of citizens.

The toolbox includes 27 detailed and practical approaches to citizen participation in culture. Examples include engagement of specific groups such as children and youth, seniors, migrants, disabled people etc., focusing on specific locations e.g. ‘forgotten’ neighbourhoods, as well as more cross-cutting approaches such as participatory budgeting, audience-as-artist, or blurring the boundaries among different roles, to name just a few examples. Each tool is mapped to a type of citizen participation in culture in a research-based taxonomy, covering the cultural activities and the cultural governance, as well as to the most relevant personas, types of project owner, as well as categorised when it comes to the degree of complexity and duration. Each tool is a mix of theory and practice, with hands-on examples and inspirations from other ECoCs or municipalities in the region, along with a hands-on ‘how to’ section listing the concrete steps to take, along with tips and more resources for reference. A pandemic-proof version of the toolbox has been developed because of the exceptional COVID-19 social distancing restrictions. As citizen engagement is strongly linked to the topic of integration and social cohesion, we have also mapped out the relevant integration stakeholders, programmes and projects in Luxembourg. Besides online training sessions, individual online consulting sessions with municipality representatives guided Masterplan’s implementation.