There will be two conferences organised by the Democrat consortium over the course of the project. Information about these as well a relevant partner events are published here.

Strengthening Democracy Through Education: Conceptual and Practical Perspectives

Conference in Tallinn on 27-28 February 2024

Registration is now open

The conference will focus on the opportunities to strengthen contemporary responsible democratic citizenship through education. We view democratic citizenship as the capacity of citizens to act as autonomous democratic agents in a responsible way. This has become an increasingly urgent need due to several recent and ongoing crises in Europe. The challenges such as mediatization, technocratization, disenchantment, radicalization, populism, securitization, digitalization, illiberalism and others put pressures both on the democratic system and citizens. Strengthening Education for Democracy is one means of responding to these challenges.

During the conference, conceptual and practical perspectives, including innovative ideas, techniques, initiatives or interventions supporting responsible democratic citizenship through education for democracy will be discussed. These can include curriculum, formal and non-formal education, basic and further education for teachers, schools collaborating with communities, youth work, learning design for citizen engagement, digital tools and many other aspects of learning / education for democracy. Both content and process-related aspects can support the development of citizens as reflexive, autonomous, and constructive democratic agents and address the challenges outlined above.

Final agenda

27 February

9.00Registration and refreshments
9.30Welcoming session:
Leif Kalev – welcome on behalf of the conference organisers
● Tõnu Viik – TLU rector’s welcome
● Daniel Montolio – about the DEMOCRAT project
● Speech by Francisco de la Torre, Deputy Head of Unit of DG
RTD, European Commission
● Leif Kalev, Maarja Hallik – a short outline of the conference and
practical information about the next 2 days
SESSION 1: The Relevance of education for democracy today  
Chair: Leif Kalev, Professor of Political Science, Tallinn University
10.00Keynote speech: “Democratic Citizenship in Context”
Gerry Stoker, Professor and Chair of Governance,
University of Southampton
10.40Can Democracy be learnt and if so, why should we? The conceptual
approach(es) of the DEMOCRAT project

Beatriz Toscano, PhD, Düsseldorf University of Applied Sciences &
Georgios Kostakos, Co-founder and Executive Director of FOGGS
11.00Coffee Break (30 min)
SESSION 2: Education for Democracy in EU-countries – state of play
Chair: DCU
11.30hSocioeconomic background, citizenship values and political
participation: statistical results of the European Social Survey

Dr. Maria Caprile, research director, NOTUS
ICCS Data Contribution to Strengthening Democracy Through

Dr. Paulína Koršňáková, senior research and liaison adviser to the IEA
The voices of young people in the crisis of democracy: Estonian

Dr. Meril Ümarik, Associate Professor, School of Educational Sciences,
A comparative perspective on democratic competence in six
European countries

Dr. Benjamin Mallon, Assistant Professor, Institute of Education, Dublin
City University
13hLunch (1h)
SESSION 3: Open session based on submitted proposals
Chairs/moderators: Diana Trevino, Judit Horgas, Karsten Krueger, Eszter Salamon
14h00Presentations about both practical and conceptual approaches to
education for democracy in 4 parallel sessions (3-4 presentations in
each). The detailed list will be published soon.
15h30Coffee Break (30 min)
SESSION 4: Presentation of projects of the same call & networking  
Chair: Daniel Montolio
16h00AECED: Transforming Education for Democracy through Aesthetic and
Embodied Learning, Responsive Pedagogies and
Democracy-as-becoming. Presentation by coordinating Finnish partner
and lead representative Prof. Dr. Susan Merileinen.
Critical Change Lab: Democracy Meets Arts: Critical Change Labs for
Building Democratic Cultures through Creative and Narrative Practices,
presented by Marianne Kinnula, an Associate Professor in
human-centred design and digitalization at University of Oulu.
INCITE-DEM: Inclusive Citizenship in a World in Transformation:
Co-Designing for Democracy, David Lamas – WP coordinator, presented
by David Lamas, Professor of Human-Computer Interaction at Tallinn
NPiY: New Power in Youth – supporting youth participation in
democratic life and non-formal and formal sector collaboration, presented
by Veronica Stefan, expert from Erasmus+ Estonian National Agency,
Education and Youth Authority (HARNO).
SMOOTH: Educational commons and active social inclusion, presented
by Charlie Moreno-Romero, PI of the project, former head of Suvemäe
Democratic School.
Followed by networking & end of day reflections in the Mare atrium
17.30Closure first Day

28 February

9.00Welcome & today’s goals
9:05Balancing agency and responsibility in contemporary citizenship

Leif Kalev, Professor of Political Science, Tallinn University
SESSION 5: What are the challenges and opportunities for democratic citizenship education?
Moderator: Maarja Tinn
9.20The panel will feature 4 speakers:
Mike Osborne, University of Glasgow, expert in education, big data
management and learning cities, risks of digitalisation of democracy,
disinformation experience
Mare Oja, Ministry of Education (Estonia), teacher preparation and
curricular changes for social sciences
Veerle Vandeweerd, senior advisor to the Digital With Purpose (DWP)
Summit and COVIDEA initiator
Charlie Moreno-Romero, founder of Estonia’s first democratic school
10:45Coffee Break (20 min)
SESSION 6: What needs to change in democratic citizenship education? Where to
focus? Gathering input for the DEMOCRAT pilots

Moderator: Maarja Hallik
11:10In this session, we will gather input to the pilots that will take place in the
DEMOCRAT project. In a World Café format, we will try to find answers to
questions, such as ‘What should the experiments/pilots focus on?”, “What
kind of preparation do teachers need (but are not getting at the
moment)?”, “How to evaluate the pilots?”, “Which existing practices
should be scaled up and how?” and others. The aim is to also make
further connections with other participants and find ways to collaborate
going forward
SESSION 7:  Concluding remarks  
Chair: Leif Kalev
13:15  ● Concluding remarks from Mike Osborne, project advisor
● Words of thanks to everyone who contributed to the conference
● Final words from the organisers
13:30Lunch (1h)
14:00 – 15:00DEMOCRAT internal meeting for team members only
15.30Tallinn medieval tour (optional)

Download the Preliminary Agenda

The discussions and presentations will be based on, but not limited to, the EU Horizon Europe DEMOCRAT project that aims to strengthen liberal democracy in the European Union by supporting its embedding and sustainability through participatory redesign and implementation of innovative and context-sensitive Education for Responsible Democratic Citizenship curricula and learning methods.

We invite academics, practitioners, representatives of other EU projects, policy makers and anyone else for the 2 days of dialogue, inspiring connections and sharing of ideas and information in Tallinn on 27-28th February. Participation at the conference is free of charge.

Registration for the conference is now open:

Venue: Tallinn University, Uus-Sadama 5 / Narva mnt. 29, Tallinn, Estonia online map link

Information about travel and accommodation advice:

The event is co-sponsored by the Tallinn City Government