Dēmos is een team nomadische kenniswerkers. We volgen maatschappelijke ontwikkelingen die de cultuur-, jeugdwerk- en sportsector vormgeven en werken aan gelijkheid en participatie. We staan voor cultuur, jeugdwerk en sport die maatschappelijke veranderingen aansturen en bouwt aan een meer open, inclusieve en democratische samenleving.
Dēmos is a non-partisan public research and advocacy organization established in 2008. We focus on social and policy developments in culture, youth work and sports. We publish books and a magazine, organise symposia, work shops, cafés and other gatherings. We do research and advise organisations and governments. We contribute to the development of policy and practices that focus mainly on groups and practices that are under-represented and underexposed in our society.
How we work
As a knowledge centre, Dēmos does research on how social and policy developments shape culture, youth work and sports - our working areas. Dēmos is an independent non-profit organisation, funded by the Flemish government.
Flanders and the world is our habitat. Our efforts are not in vain. We aim to provoke and inspire through discussions, creativity, best practices and research. Our world, country and cities are in constant transition. Everything changes, so are the organisations and people we work for. Dēmos is looking to boost practices and policies that strengthen our society in being a more vibrant and inclusive democracy.
Dēmos is slowly growing into a platform - a diverse community that frequently gathers in network events, lectures, discussions and workshops - that has a common goal: acknowledging changes in society and orientating culture, youth work and sports in a direction that accommodates those changes for the better. Professionals, practitioners, local councils and governments are joining. We instigate dialogue between different professional groups, fields of expertise and government levels to connect them with the voice of the people concerned. The resulting discussions and unexpected cross pollination help shape visions and practices
Dēmos does not limit itself to discussion forums or educational work. Twice a year we publish the magazine "Momenten" and regularly we publish research results and practice readers. We choose long term research programs that are set up and carried out in a participatory way - in partnership and debate. Every two years we organise the symposium L!NT and the art festival Enter.
Dēmos has its origins in "Kunst en Democratie", an action and thought platform founded by artist, cultural professionals and academics after the first black Sunday (1991). The founders noticed that the gap between civilians and politicians, between people and their 'democratic institutions' was widening in cultural environments as well. A great number of lives remained undocumented, audiences remained familiar and little attention was paid to socio-economic and other break lines in society. As bicommunity movement "Kunst en Democratie" animated the debate about the democratic role of culture houses and cultural policy. In those movement years an experiment started that later proved to be the seed of social art work in Flanders, the cultural chapters in 'The General Report on Poverty' (1994), the attention on community and crowd work and projects with social and well-being actors and the local networks free time participation.
Dēmos' role has been embedded in the wider cultural field of Flanders by the Participation Decree since 2008. As one of three participation institutions Dēmos is active as knowledge centre. We strive for renewal and widening of the participation of risk groups in culture, youth and sports. We emphasize on research and gaining and dispersing knowledge in these areas. We investigate how developments in society and policy shape our working field. Therefore we always start from the perspectives of risk groups and strive for an opener, more including and more democratic society.
Thanks to its tasks stated by decree and research Dēmos keeps on feeding the debate in society. The movement work of the early days is continued in the organisation's baseline: for participation and democracy. In its analysis Dēmos categorizes exclusion and recognition, identity and citizenship, participation and exclusion in society, democratic institutions and free (civil) initiative.