The Laboratory of Civic Participation is a part of the Unit for Social Innovation and Research – Shipyard, established with the support of the Stefan Batory Foundation. The Unit for Social Innovation and Research – Shipyard is an organization created by persons connected with the Polish non-governmental sector with the aim of critical and reliable description of challenges of social life in Poland, as well as of searching and promoting effective, innovative methods of reacting to them based on civic participation. Among the goals of the Shipyard are formation and intellectual development of people from different environments, ready to engage in public affairs, and reinforcement of co-operation between academic researchers and civil activists. Its actions concentrate on the issues of development of local communities, social innovations and civic participation.
The Laboratory of Civic Participation, launched in February 2010, was established to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and experiences between various circles and people involved in participatory activities and to promote the idea and practical tools of civic participation. The goal of running the portal and organizing seminars and meetings is for us to contribute to better communication and mutual learning of actors engaged in the area of civic participation. Reaching this aim requires of course a lot of humility, as well as cooperation and building relations with numerous institutions and organizations, including especially NGOs, academic institutions and government bodies.
We cooperate with various partners (from public administration, NGOs, but also private sector) in designing and leading participatory processes. For a number of years we also provided help and support for the grant recipients of the Stefan Batory Foundation’s programme Democracy in Action, who were active actors of civic participation. Nowadays we still do our best to help and share our expertize with people and organizations that might be interested in entering this area and exchanging experiences.
One of our main goals is sharing the collected knowledge in an accessible way with people who have not yet dealt with participation or are searching for inspiration in their participatory endeavours. This is the idea behind our website www.partycypacjaobywatelska.pl where we publish and make available to all interested parties information and materials about civic participation – some of them to be distributed through the Internet and some also in print. Since 2015 we run the portal together with the Foundation for Social and Economic Initiatives (FISE).
In the News (Aktualności) section we inform about various projects and events that have to do with participation, civic engagement and promotion of greater involvement of citizens in public life.
In the Knowledge Zone (Strefa Wiedzy) section you can find basic information on the idea of civic participation, its forms and general guidelines for organizing the participatory process (subsection ABC of participation), and make yourself acquainted with various methods and techniques that can be used in carrying out participatory actions, with tips on their best applications and necessary outlays (subsection Techniques). There are also numerous accounts of especially interesting cases of civic participation ‚at work’ and specific participatory techniques put into practice (subsection Participatory examples). We are constantly developing this section, adding case studies of participatory processes implemented both in Poland and abroad that could provide inspiration and practical guidelines for future participatory initiatives.
There is also Library subsection where we gather interesting materials, publications and links to websites that deal with civic participation and can be instructive to those interested in the topic. The collection includes publications in Polish and English that can be downloaded from the portal, as well as links to valuable external Internet resources.
In the Practitioners’ Zone (Praktycy Partycypacji) you can find the Participatory practitioners database with profiles and contact details of people specializing in running participatory processes form all over Poland. They are there for anyone seeking advice of a more experienced participation praticioner or looking for an expert to facilitate a process he or she is planning to organize. We also publish there systematically summaries and materials from seminars and other meetings we organize (subsection Seminars), and run a webpage dedicated to the Partcipation Practitioners’ Forum, an annual unconference we organize since 2014.
Continuous improvement of the store of knowledge and broadening horizons are crucial for us. Therefore we are open to all new examples of participatory actions, as well as to important theoretical issues on the matter. We warmly encourage everybody to contact us – we would be grateful for any suggestions!
Laboratory of Civic Participation
Unit for Social Innovation and Research – Shipyard
Plac Zamkowy 10, 00–277 Warsaw, Poland
(+48) 22 100 55 94
The Laboratory’s Team
Foundation for Social and Economic Initatives (FISE)
Oktawiusz Chrzanowski, firstname.lastname@example.org