Moving Cities – Workshop

Future on my Mind – Communication and Participation in the Local Community – Workshop

2 July 2016 (Saturday), 9.30-12.30
Institute of Sociology, 52 Grodzka St

Number of places: 15 (first-come, first-served)
Time: 4 hours

Workshop Leaders:

Aleksandra Wagner, Maria Świątkiewicz-Mośny & Wit Hubert (Institute of Sociology, JU)
Anna Strzebońska, Dariusz Szklarczyk (Foundation for the Development of Social Research – FuRBS)


The future exists in our minds. It is like a horizon taken into account in our actions. It is also the projection of our hopes and fears. It can be open, imagined as many possible scenarios with unlimited space for the unknown and uncertainties. On the other hand, the future is often limited to one, most probable or most wanted scenario. We have to cope with the contingency, the unknown and the uncertain. We usually transform uncertainty into a risk, use strategic planning, statistics, and quantification of chances; we delay making a decision, and ignore unpredictable or use wishful thinking. Politicians and social leaders use visions of the future to legitimise decisions and – as a rhetorical tool – to make their language more persuasive and engaging.

Part 1 (2 hours)

One of the main reasons for engaging people in local governance is sharing responsibility for the common community: direction of development, goals and actions. We want them to believe they can make their future. Social change often needs resources coming from outside the existing system: new actors, new ideas, new values.

This is why it is so important to enable people to increase their openness to the future. It is important to see many ways and many possibilities before choosing one of them. We want to help people to go beyond the limitations of the current state of affairs and think creatively about their needs and desires.

The aim of the first part of our workshop is to discuss the methods and techniques of working with a group of citizens to make them think creatively about their common future. We want them to start thinking about ways to shape their future and convince them that it can be shaped by their actions. The outcome of the group work will be a guide for a participation workshop for citizens involved in strategy making for local development. We will try to find a balance between freethinking and implementation opportunities.

Part 2 (2 hours)

Conscious and accountable planning of future changes should involve an assessment of the anticipated results of actions. The change starts with its leaders and then expands into the local community. Thus, such an assessment may concern changes in the attitudes of workshop participants, as well as the expected impact of the proposed solutions on the life of the local community. Frequently, individuals who lead participatory workshops acquire this kind of knowledge from their own observations or, basically, talking with participants.

In the second part of the workshop, you will learn how to supplement these “natural” ways of measuring the impact of participatory projects through the introduction of standardisation in the measurement of their effects (planned and unplanned). We will present basic evaluation approaches and tools that will allow participants to produce a valuable documentation of such events in the course of participatory workshops. We will show how participatory workshops can be used to build a knowledge base that allows social leaders not only to improve the quality of future work and events, but also to safeguard against duplication of mistakes.