Labour and democracy: Ghent and Europe

December 13, 2019 @ 7:30 pm – 11:00 pm
Universiteit Gent
Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 35
9000 Gent

This is not just the usual symposium but one that promotes independent, out-of-the-box, long-term thinking about work and democracy. Different because it places an international perspective next to a local perspective (Ghent), different because the speakers want to actively engage the participants to formulate alternatives, different because in addition to just learning, it will result in an input for local policy, different because it does not stop at the end of the symposium. The output of the symposium is a starting point for next steps.

The symposium is a joint effort of Crescendo-S, TSG ‘t Zal Wel Gaan, Diem25, Ghent University and the City of Ghent. It takes place on the 13th and 14th of December 2019.

On Friday December 13, 2019 at 19:30 pm, stimulating dialogues between speakers in the UFO (Ghent University, Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 33, Ghent):

1. An economic perspective with Prof. Dr. Yanis Varoufakis (Greek ex-finance minister, Diem25 co-founder, Member of Greek parliament), Prof. Dr. Koen Schoors (UGent) and Prof. Dr. Petra De Sutter (UGent, EU parliament).

2. A rights and identity perspective with Prof. Dr. Olivier De Schutter (UCL, Columbia University, UN), Prof. dr. Em. Rik Pinxten (UGent) and Prof. Dr. An Jacobs (VUB).

3. A progressive city perspective with Jordi Ayala Roquetta (Managing Director of the City of Barcelona), Daniel Termont (Ghent, Eurocities) and Kathleen Van Brempt (EU parliament).

The event is moderated by Anna Luyten. International (EU) and local (cities) perspective and a Green New Deal will be part of the dialogues. The language is English.

The evening is free of charge, but registering in advance is required (see link below).

On Saturday December 14, 2019, participative workshops are organised at the Zebrastraat (Ghent), followed by a syntheses in a plenum session and feedback from the panel speakers (see Friday evening). You get expert input and can develop your policy suggestions on the topics you discuss.

Every workshop has a morning and afternoon session with the option to choose 2 different workshop sessions. Each workshop session holds a maximum of 40 participants (4 tables). Experts guide the session and give input, helping you to formulate innovative (policy) ideas. A session lasts 2.5 hours. The spoken languages ​​are Dutch and English. Representatives from the Ghent city administration will be present. The workshops:

1. Defining new ways of democracy at work. Guided by Prof. Dr. Humblet (UG social law) and representatives of the social partners.

2. Defining new ways of democracy at the market & society level. Guided by Prof. Deschacht (labor economics, KUL), Rudy De Leeuw (international trade union).

3. Developing inclusive and complementary ways of defining and valuing work, including commons and “social economy”. Guided by Prof. Dr. Stijn Oosterlinck (urban sociology, social innovation, UA), Rudy Coddens (OCMW Ghent), representatives of social workshops.

4. Developing new, sustainable and inclusive business models and practices at city level. Guided by Daan Schalck (CEO of the Ghent-Vlissingen port) and Koen Schoors (economy UGent).

5. How to turn IT, internet, robotics and AI into a utopia and not a dystopia. Guided by Prof. Belpaeme (robotics UGent) and Joren de Wachter (Diem25 – Technological Sovereignty).

To participate in the workshops, registration is required. Bear in mind that there is a limit of 200 places.

You can register for Friday evening and Saturday via the following link (UGent):

Those who register for a workshop will receive more details about it before the start of the symposium.

You can help us make the symposium a success, by letting us know your concerns regarding work and democracy in one word. These words will be processed by a Greek artist into a work of art that will be shown during the symposium. Go to and write down your word.