Members of organized an “Apéro Votations” on September 3, 2017, in the frame of the participatory festival La Dérivée. This third event of at La Dérivée aimed at providing an innovative space for the public to get informed and actively discuss about two issues put to the popular vote of September 24, 2017. “Experts” provided the information; the “Apéro” format provided the relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

Origin of the project

The concept of this event emerged from discussions between the two project leaders, Alice el-Wakil and Vasco Gamboni. The original idea, which was to organize a dinner to discuss one or more popular vote issues in a friendly and open-minded atmosphere, developed into the proposal to host a larger-scale Apéro after Ici-La Dérivée contacted As such an event has to our knowledge never been organized before in Switzerland, the support and encouragement of La Dérivée convinced us to take this opportunity to make a first experiment of “Apéro Votations” on the topics of the popular vote of September 24, 2017.
The aspects most important to us were the following:

  • Explain issues put to the popular vote of September 24, 2017, properly (i.e. with as little bias as possible) so as to enable members of the audience to start building an informed opinion about them
  • Make an event as accessible and inclusive as possible
  • Provide a way for the audience to become active, and exchange on the issues put to the vote

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The research workshop “Citizenship and Democracy,” organized by and the Doctoral Program Democracy Studies (DPDS), took place at the University of Zurich on September 11-12.

It enabled all 17 participants to engage in interdisciplinary academic discussions with other DPDS students, members of the association, and other researchers working in the field of democracy studies.

Three panels

The academic discussions were structured in three panels: Citizenship in (Non-)Democracies, Patterns of democratic participation, and Challenges to democracy. The 7 papers presented offered a variety of approaches and focused on different issues regarding citizenship and democracy. Each speaker received detailed and constructive feedback from their discussants and from all the participants to the workshop, who engaged in insightful discussions.

Working sessions

Next to the panels, all participants were invited to adopt an active role and to start thinking about projects and collaborations they would like to develop with or without the association The working sessions aimed at fostering collaboration and team-work among researchers by exchanging ideas, creating a network of researchers in the field, and sharing knowledge. The second working session was specifically devoted to developing new projects.


Hans Asenbaum (University of Westminster, London), Palmo Brunner (University of Zurich), Alice el-Wakil (University of Zurich, ZDA), Lea Heyne (University of Zurich, ZDA), Deborah Kalte (ZDA), Matteo Laruffa (LUISS Guido Carli University, Rome), Spencer McKay (University of British Columbia, Vancouver), Henri-Pierre Mottironi (University of Lausanne), Masakazu Ogami (University of Zurich), Koray Özdil (University of Zurich), Sarah Perry (University of Mannheim), Lukas Peter (University of Zurich), Marco Radojevic (University of Zurich), Martha Sandoval (University of Zurich, ZDA), Michael Strebel (University of Zurich), Jinyu Sun (University College London), Rebecca Welge (University of Zurich)

Full report, with abstracts of the presentations

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