Webinar series: Citizen collectives in times of crisis

What can we learn from citizen collectives in shaping the post-corona society?

On a monthly basis, the FOCI hub will organize a webinar series wherein several examples will be presented of how the current Covid-19 pandemic provided opportunities for citizen collectives. The main questions are: 

How have citizen collectives gained ground during the corona crisis? And what can we learn from citizen collectives in shaping the post-corona society? 

Revival of collective action

From collective rounds of applause from individual balconies, to teddy bear hunts, and people doing groceries for infected neighbors: during the months where people were asked to socially distance themselves, social involvement and a sense of community were stronger than ever. These small initiatives are part of a revival of collective action that has been steadily growing in many European countries for a few decades already, but which may have been further spurred by the consequences of the pandemic.

Within a matter of weeks, the Covid-19 crisis laid bare several problems of our current society related to globalization, (economic) vulnerability, privatization, and weakened community bonds. All of a sudden, worries arose about the capacity of our health care system, which has been severely reduced over the past decade as hospitals had to start making profit. As a direct result of international dependencies and lack of local production lines, there was a shortage of face masks, medicines, and other supplies. In the midst of this crisis, most countries faced so many internal problems that calls for international solidarity and cooperation often disappeared in the void. In short, the boundaries of globalization and international solidarity became apparent.

Doing it together: the importance of citizen's initiatives

To solve pressing needs, short chains between demand and supply had to be reinvented. From one day to the next, the responsible and fraternal citizen became the role model, and public officials, experts, and commentators all started stressing the importance of ‘doing it together’. The huge increase of citizens that - through actions as ‘support your locals’ suddenly discovered new communities, local products, and a common interest in taking matters into their own hands - has shown the enormous potential for further growth of citizen collectives.

Discussing best practices

On a monthly basis, the FOCI hub will organize webinars wherein several examples will be presented of how the pandemic provided opportunities for citizen collectives. For each webinar, we invite a representative of a citizen collective to present how they reacted to the corona crisis. Afterwards, the digital floor will be given to a UU researcher to describe how this example fits within broader societal developments. 

Are you interested in participating in one or more of the webinars? Then have a look at the programme of the series below. 


All webinars will be held through Microsoft Teams. FOCI hub members will receive calendar invitations, other interested parties can sign up via foci-hub@uu.nl. The webinars will be recorded and will be made available via YouTube afterwards.

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