By Brecht Van der Schueren

During the first EUTOPIA-N weDISCOVERweek (29.03-02.04), the VUB-CERL-team was asked to facilitate two coaching sessions, by our amazing colleagues Lynn and Ian, coordianting EUTOPIA’s wockpackage on placemaking.

Around 25 students from the EUTOPIA alliance – Barcelona, Parijs, Warwick, Göthenburg, Ljubljana and Brussels – gathered together online for 3 days. Each of them had been working on a societal challenge in their own local context, belonging to one of the following categories: PLANET / PEOPLE / PROSPERITY / PARTNERSHIP.

During our first workshop we guided them to translate their different local challenges into one global challenge. Using Rich Pictures and Problems Trees, the students discussed, questioned and exchanged to gain a deep multi-layered understanding of their own glocal challenges.

This led to statements such as:

“The concept of prosperity should be redefined from a degrowth perspective by changing the way of measuring it .”

“We are committed to develop an inclusive community, we believe in a safe learning environment and a voice for everyone, we welcome diverse perspectives as a way to promote empathy and generate a positive change in our society.”

The day afterwards, after having followed an expert session, we challenged them to develop a fine-grained argumentation about why their global challenge is relevant to be taken seriously.  Consequently, the students were asked to explore hidden perspectives and oppressed voices in their understanding of the global challenges.  Enriched with these new insights, each of the four groups of students pitched their co-creations for a diverse expert-panel.

As such, we hope we have inspired a new generation of critical change makers to build bridges across national, cultural and disciplinary boundaries!

Looking for creative, engaged methodologies to explore wicked societal problems? The CERL-Team is there for all of you!