The ambition of the European Union (EU) to be climate neutral by 2050 is an important element of the EU’s climate policy and contribution to achieving the Paris Agreement. Yet across Europe there are varying levels of awareness and understanding of climate neutrality. To help fill this gap, the BEACON project has created the Vision Workshop Toolbox for Inspired Collaboration on Climate Neutrality. The vision workshop concept is an interactive workshop format to make the topic of climate neutrality more tangible for pupils and other citizens across Europe. The toolbox contains an explanation of the Vision Workshop concept and lays out all the tools and methods required to implement it.
Why a Vision Workshop?
Every individual has their own ideas about the future, especially regarding everyday life and one’s own personal environment. In the Vision Workshop, these are surveyed and then connected with the long-term transformation to carbon neutrality. Through this participatory approach, the participants gain insight into their own priorities and those of others regarding questions such as: How do we want to live in the future? How is this conceivable in the context of climate change? The Vision Workshop can thereby also help in reaching common goals, providing positive outlooks for the future, and fostering creative thinking and commitment.
About Vision Workshops
Vision workshops bring together representatives of different groups (the general public, city administration, and/or schools) in their local context to make the concept of climate neutrality accessible and to develop a shared vision for a climate neutral future. Based on this, city or school representatives can learn where emphasis needs to be placed and participants learn how they can contribute to the great transformation on a personal level.
Although geared towards local citizens and pupils, the Vision Workshop concept and toolbox can be used by anyone and implemented in a variety of settings. The interactive workshop format allows the organisers of a Vision Workshop to bring about the development of innovative, locally rooted visions for climate neutrality based on a bespoke mix of methods and materials.
The Vision Workshop follows a predetermined sequence of six modules, which addresses various sensory levels and thereby reflects the workshop’s creative approach (see Image 1).
For each module, the Vision Workshop Toolbox suggests up to five options for interactive methods from which organisers can choose based on the local context and specific needs and capabilities of the target group. To make it easier to select elements that are aligned on the specific context if desired, the methods are categorised based on the primary senses they address (see Image 2).
Methods range from preparatory sensory walks that allow participants to start thinking about climate neutrality and how it relates to their personal life and environment, to role plays that invite participants to design a vision of a climate neutral city while taking into consideration several and sometimes contradictory perspectives. The Toolbox also suggests several methods for sharing the results of the Vision Workshop with the interested public. It contains a total of 27 method profiles that make it easy for organisers to decide which methods are best suited for their own workshop (see Image 3).
Training of Trainers
To introduce the Vision Workshop concept to local BEACON stakeholders, the BEACON Team has developed a virtual format to train teachers and municipal representatives/multipliers in how to conduct a local vision workshop in their schools and cities.
Together with the local BEACON partners NTEF in Bulgaria and SNRB in Romania, UfU and Guidehouse implemented two two-day workshops in September and October that introduced the Vision Workshop Toolbox and gave participating teachers the opportunity to become familiar with the concept. The training allowed teachers to pass through the six modules and slip into the role of students to test some of the suggested methods. Participating teachers reported to the group that the format of the Vision Workshop would speak to students and could be integrated into their lessons. The first local Vision Workshop was held on October 21st in the 7th Highschool of Sofia.
Similarly, the virtual training for municipalities in Poland was held on October 15 and 16 with 17 representatives from Jasło, Sztum, Zamość, Bielawa and Cieszyn. adelphi, Guidehouse and the Polish partner PNEC presented how to apply the Vision Workshop concept to the context of municipalities. A mix of input presentations by the team and exercises that were done in smaller groups allowed the participants to practice some of the suggested methods and start planning their own locally embedded Vision Workshop. If pandemic-related restrictions allow, the city of Sztum will conduct a local vision workshop with citizens on 8-11 December.
In the coming months, two additional trainings are planned for municipalities in Romania and Greece. Ultimately the BEACON team hopes to spread the Vision Workshop concept beyond the project’s stakeholders so as many people as possible can create their vision for a climate neutral future.
Enjoy reading and testing the toolbox (links above) and consider planning your own Vision Workshop for Inspired Collaboration on Climate Neutrality.
Responsible for the content of this page is Linda Beyschlag / Guidehouse