How can we inspire engaged practitioners? And how can we create a sense of commonality for those keen on public engagement?

With these questions in the back of their minds Julie Bertone, Linde Moriau, Brecht Van der Schueren and Minne Huysmans (VUB) developed an interactive and thought-provoking workshop, specifically designed to immerse engaged practitioners in different future perspectives on public engagement in their area of expertise.

NCCPE Engage Festival

The workshop took place at an online edition of the Engage Festival 2020 organized by the National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE).

At the NCCPE engage festival 2020, concepts such as engagement, innovation and change shouldn’t surprise you. The goal of this conference is to inspire and support everyone who has developed a keen interest in public engagement.

“Thank you for a really interesting workshop _ I really appreciated the way you engaged us in different ways throughout and the fact that you made this a longer, slower paced workshop with time to think; [rather] than try to squeeze it into an hour.” (anonymous, from participant)

The workshop

During the workshop all 18 participants were invited to share ideas, thoughts and reflections on public engagement based on different future scenario’s. With the help of well-written podcast scenario’s, thought-provoking padlet boards and comfortable small size discussions, participants were immersed in future perspectives and corresponding vibrant discussions.

If anything, the workshop shows that though today’s pandemic context might be challenging it does not stop them from developing expertise, sharing thoughts and experiences and, in general, facing today’s challenges with openness and eagerness to learn from each other.

“Engagement is always a collaborative endeavor. It’s about shaping creative connections, encountering otherness, shaping safe spaces where commonality can emerge, being inclusive, a good listener, prepared to deal with discomfort, willing to engage in difficult conversations and learn from failures and mistakes. Let’s create our own engagement pandemic ; )…” (From Linde Moriau, one of the lecturers)

Get a glimpse of the experience

Curious of how it all looked? Come and have a look at the different formats that reflect the variety of thoughts and give you a sense of what the workshop was like.

CHECK-IN: “When I think about the future, I feel…”




Hopes: flexibility, freedom,  work-life balance, inclusive standards & practices, investing in human connections, being creative, global opportunities, upheaval of western & disciplinary supremacies

Fears: market/industry-driven education & research, competition-oriented / marketization of HE, elitist & introspective academia, disconnection & isolation

Ambitions: giving voice to the unheard & invisible, valuing diversity & complexity, being value/ethics-driven, stressing the importance of human rights, dignity, solidarity, equality, shaping spaces for commonality, working towards shared ownership, democratizing knowledge, valuing diverse forms of knowledge, creating place-based connections, engaging in future-oriented dialogues

CHECK-OUT: “What I will do – as from tomorrow – in order to work towards desirable futures…”