Project Citizens’ Assembly is the most recent addition to the program In Search of Democracy, in which we investigate the challenges and solutions for the future of democracy. The project consists of a live experience performance, a democratic fitness training and a ‘roadmap’ for anyone who wants to set-up a citizen assembly. 

Over the past years, citizens’ assemblies have surged in popularity among European countries, and has given rise to a new trend in our democracy: to increase the participation of citizens in the political decision-making process, also known as deliberative democracy. A citizens’ assembly can be seen as a ‘tool’ for pursuing a deliberative democracy, and is best understood as a social process where citizens use dialogue and exchange arguments to build consensus, in order to make conscious decisions that contribute to the public good.

Although the structure of a citizens’ assembly is not set in stone – they vary vastly in size, mandate and topic – they all share one common objective: to tap into the art of public deliberation in order to resolve some of the most complex policy-issues of our time. Think of topics such as climate change, migration, and even the housing crisis. But how original is this concept, and is it actually effective? What does a citizens’ council look like? And how exactly does a citizens’ assembly help resolve the pressing issues our society faces today? 

Live experience performance
In the form of a ‘live experience performance’, launching in spring 2025, we invite you over to experience the different dynamics that citizens’ assemblies bring to the table. We use storytelling, music and animation to highlight how “public deliberation” is not a democratic innovation, but has been part of our daily lives for centuries, and home to a variety of cultures worldwide. Our live experience will help you understand the complex interplay between deliberation, decision-making and democratic innovation in an accessible way, in order to get a good grip of not only an assemblies’ strengths, but also its weaknesses. Are you ready to take part in the democracy of the future?

Created by New Heroes, in collaboration with Bureau Burgerberaad and the Tolhuistuin

Concept: Lucas de Man and Isil Vos
Project lead: Isil Vos
Creative producer: Noah Hajji

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