The Common Ground EU Citizens’ Conference took place on 5th Dec at Coin Street Conference Venue. The conference, hosted by a consortium led by Fondazione Giacomo Brodolini, in partnership with British Future and the3million, was one of the main events in the first year of the project, co-funded by the European Union.
EU citizens, civil society organisations, friends and allies came together to share knowledge and best practice, network and learn from each other, and take inspiration from the wealth of diverse stories that EU citizens weave into UK society.
Over 80 people attended the conference including academics, grassroots organisations, campaigners and policy experts working with EU citizens in the UK, and civil society organisations from the EU.
Barbara De Micheli, Coordinator of Social Justice at Fondazione Giacomo Brodolini, and Andreea Dumitrache, Interim Co-CEO of the3million, opened the conference, introducing the Common Ground project, its aims and values.
Impressions of the day captured by Angela Grabowska
British Future shared their latest research investigating public attitudes towards the future of the UK/EU relationship and the findings were analysed in a panel discussion and through Q&As from the audience.
We heard from EU Citizens living in the UK and their own stories of migration, identity and belonging and how their lived experience is shaping their life and career choices here. Linda Nagy and Carolina Lima Henriques shared their Stories for Change photography exhibition, which aims to better understand the lived experiences of EU citizens living in London and to represent them through objects, places and space.
We reflected on how EU citizens’ stories are told in the media. We heard from a number of journalists who are EU citizens themselves: Dahaba Ali Hussen, Barbara Serra, Claudia Delpero, Alessandro Allocca, Mălina Vîrtejanu, Bruno Manteigas and Alexander Seale who aim to ensure that EU communities in the UK have access to good quality and reputable media sources in their own languages.
The afternoon session was devoted to various ways and aspects of advocacy and campaigning for EU citizens’ rights. Zain Hafeez, Community Fund Manager at Civic Power Fund & Community Organiser at Citizens UK inspired us by talking about the importance of community organising. Daphne Giachero and Kezia Tobin from the3million shared some ideas from the toolkit for campaigning for EU citizens rights developed by the project, and related plans ahead of the next general election
Fizza Qureshi (Migrants Rights Network), Marzena Zukowska (POMOC), Ake Achi (Black Europeans) and Sabrina Janicka (Rom Romeha, Community Renewal) shared their thoughts on the panel on solidarity and intersectionality in campaigning.
The plenary session was followed by workshops in smaller groups where the aim was to identify the most pressing issues experienced by EU citizens in the UK and brainstorm some potential policy proposals and calls to action.
Common Ground is a project delivered in partnership by Fondazione Giacomo Brodolini, the3million and British Future supporting communities of EU citizens in the UK to thrive. Co-funded by the European Union, our mission is to inspire more empowered EU communities in the UK by building connections, celebrating our shared European identity and sharing knowledge, with the aim of building a more positive relationship between the UK and the EU.