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Partos event

Workshop: Dealing with contested civic space and democratic erosion

Do you ever struggle with the following questions?

  • When trying to strengthen local civil society and promote an open civic space, who decides who is ‘civil’ and who is ‘uncivil society’?
  • To what extent will you go against the ruling government in your quest to promote civil rights and freedoms and an open civic space?
  • When the regime of the country you are working in is steadily becoming more autocratic, do you continue working with the government? When local partners are seeking collaboration with autocratic leaders, do you try to stop them?
  • When your programmatic objectives can be realised by collaborating with autocratic or ‘uncivil’ actors, to what extent are you willing to put your democratic values aside?
  • Date and time 28 September 2023, 14:15 - 17:00 CET
  • Where Social Impact Factory, Vredenburg 40, 3511 BD Utrecht
  • For whom Partos members working on issues of civic space

If you are working in a context where civic space for you and/or your Southern partners is being restricted, it is likely that these kind of questions are on your mind. Partos, in collaboration with PhD researcher Yannicke Goris, will organise a workshop to tackle these and related questions and learn from each others’ strategies and experiences.

  • Address: Social Impact Factory, Utrecht, Vredenburg 40, 3511 BD Utrecht
  • Walk-in at 14:15 CET.
  • Start at 14:30 CET.

Please note:

  • This is an in-person event (online participation is not possible) for Partos members.
  • Limited spots are available! (max. 20 participants), so register on time!


Time Activity
14:15 – 14:30 Walk-in, coffee/thee
14.30 –


Introduction & visual exercise

Who is civil society & what is civic space?

14.50 –


Presentation by Yannicke Goris

Questioning core concepts: civil society & civic space in autocratisation

15.10 –


Plenary exchange

New consensus? Can we expand our understanding of civil society & civic space

15.30 – 15.40 BREAK
15.40 –


Presentation by Yannicke Goris

Civil society under autocratisation: contestation over civic space & strategic dilemmas

15.55 – 16.30 Discussion in break-out groups

Dilemmas in autocratic contexts: experiences, strategic choices, and outcomes

16.30 – 17.00 Wrapping up

Key take-aways, questions & knowledge needs, and to-dos


Drinks and bites

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