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PLUS Change General Assembly in Brussels

The PLUS Change project held its first General Assembly in Brussels, Belgium, from May 27th to 29th, 2024. Hosted by the Vlaamse Landmaatschappij, the assembly brought together all 23 project partners for a series of productive discussions and collaborative sessions.

As the first year of the project concludes, the General Assembly provided an excellent opportunity for partners to meet in person and engage in meaningful discussions about the project’s progress and our vision for its continuation over the next three years.

On the first day, Practice case representatives participated in a full day workshop, discussing ongoing workshops, stakeholder engagement, and shared experiences.  

The full Assembly began the following day, with the arrival of participants at the Graaf de Ferraris building in Brussels, and a warm welcome by project coordinator, Julia Leventon, of CzechGlobe. In her presentation, Julia shared highlights from the past year, including: 

  • Launch of the project in our 12 Practice Cases, which are co-creative sites to explore sustainable land use and decision-making processes. So far, each Practice Case has held Workshop 1, gathering relevant stakeholders to introduce the project and initiate discussions on key land use challenges in their respective areas. 
  • Kickoff of the Possible Landscapes sessions, our creative outreach programme led by Biobased Creations. 
  • Recruitment of the 4 advisory board members: Marjan van Herwijnen, a senior project expert specialised in territorial analysis at the ESPON Programme; Sarah Velten, an environmental scientist working on agricultural policy at adelphi; Siddharth Sareen, an interdisciplinary social scientist who specialises in the governance of energy transitions; and Tibor Hartel, an associate professor from Romania who specialises in sustainability, social-ecological systems and cultural landscapes. 
  • Selection of our 15 project ambassadors, which bring under-represented communities and voices into the project.  

Additionally, she discussed the formation of transdisciplinary research plans focused on exploring historical, current, and future land use, and how we can co-create sustainable futures and democratic, equitable decision-making processes that achieve climate, biodiversity, and well-being outcomes. 

After the introduction, we had a presentation from our CINEA project officer, and then a brief presentation from the ISOCARP Institute about Communication & Dissemination activities in the project, and the importance of sharing project results with key target audiences. This was followed by a co-creative session, led by the Baltic Studies Centre, during which we explored the question: ‘What is sustainable land use, and what does it mean for the way we work in our project?’. Day 1 concluded with an interactive session on the role of transdisciplinary research in the project, led by KLI, a presentation on project tools and outputs, and collaborative planning across different tasks and work packages.  

The second day of the assembly began with a presentation on Circuville, a drawing and audiostory created by Biobased Creations that envisions a circular & sustainable society and is designed to spark conversations about possible future land use scenarios. This was followed by a presentation on the Toolkit compilation by P4All, which provided valuable insights and led to discussions on key project outputs. The conversation then shifted to the project’s scenario harmonization and integration, and how to showcase land use storylines across Europe, led by our partners from the University of Ljubljana. Next, Purple presented on interactions with the Practice Cases and strategies for better collaboration with the research partners. The day concluded with co-creative breakout sessions for WP 2, 3, and 4, where WP leaders engaged practice case representatives and other task members in discussions on collaboration strategies and gathered input for future work. 

All in all, it was a successful and productive General Assembly, and we look forward to what these next three years bring!