/// Reflection

Engaging communities in times of Corona

Revisit to some tumultuous and insightful times.

It has started to feel like a surrealist nightmare, a distant memory, yet it is a mere two years ago, when we were still in the midst of pandemic and busy reorganising our already re-organised work. It is in this shift to the online world that we, in partnership with Circularium, had set up the “Engaging Communities in Times of Corona” online event.



Looking back at it today -as the frustrations have ebbed away- we are diving back into the positives it brought. In an unseen collective resilience, we and many many other public, private and community organisations, had adapted to new ways of engaging communities. And sometimes find ways to maintain the essential face to face: a “sacré” challenge! 

It is useful to reflect how engagement and exchanges have evolved three years on. We see that there have been some considerable efficiencies that have emerged – such as the use of new platforms for collaboration (such as online whiteboards or dynamic polling platforms). Better communication seems also to have emerged since, particularly between public authorities, businesses and communities – which may have been the consequence of a pandemic of miss-information. We have learnt to select when to work apart or together. In retrospect intense moments of focus can be very helpful but some of the spark and spontaneous energy to collaborate has waned. Even if events and meetings are planned, non-physical communication remains important for humans and we see this to be difficult to replace.




Year: 2023

Location: Brussels

Team: Hanne Van Reusel, Toha De Brant

Sector: Public space & community

Services: Vision

The presentations and reflections provide a rather unique and honest insight in practices of community engagement in full turmoil. And, as one of the advantages of online engagement, those precious insights have been recorded and are available.




Offline strategies for community engagement in times of Corona



A physical space for youth by youth to express and take action.

Destin Citoyen /// Céline Bortels



Recup Art: bringing beauty and food into less advantaged homes.

Cultureghem /// Anne Watthee



Citizens coming together to rebuild local communities

Citizen Spring /// Xavier Damman & Leen Schelfthout




Online strategies for community engagement in times of Corona



9 lessons learned.

Endeavour /// Tim Devos



Participatory budget Ixelles: Proximity Belgium.

Municipality of Ixelles, Brussels /// Maud Signy



Double impact by Zuur campagne.

Growfunding /// Frederik Lamote

Further reading

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