Decolonial Encounters

Check the publication Places in the Sun – Post-Colonial dialogues in Europe and beyond, published under Europe Lab’s 2021 topic of Decolonial Encounters!

Every year, the platform Europe Lab brings together young people from over 30 European countries, unlocking opportunities for dialogue and common learning. Participants work on cross-sector topics, share best practices, network, develop partnerships and start common international initiatives. Over the last five years, our community has grown to include young activists, cultural practitioners, researchers, artists, NGO and media representatives, (social) entrepreneurs and representatives of many more sectors. 

In keeping with our focus on historical memory, Europe Lab has been focused on the topic of Decolonial Encounters since 2020, with three international teams already working on concrete projects around (de)colonial history, theory and practice. Under the heading of decolonial encounters, we understand reflections in art, science and (civil) society on colonial entanglement in the present and past. Together, we want to find creative solutions to overcome eurocentrism, racism and to foster spaces for dialogue and equal rights. 

During the kick-off on July 15th 2021, 25 participants from various European regions and backgrounds got the chance to gain knowledge on coloniality and decoloniality as key terms in the current social and political debates. What processes does colonialism historically refer to and where are colonial relations still visible in the present? The keynote speeches were delivered by Kathleen Ferrier, Chair Dutch UNESCO Commission and Madina Tlostanova, a distinguished scholar in the field of Post-Soviet epistemologies, Art History and Decolonial Feminisms. 

After this topical introduction and discussion, Europe Lab participants worked in smaller groups on further thematic lines such as gender and colonisation; colonial traces in the urban space; Post-Soviet countries and decolonial perspectives; cultural symbols. There was also room for practical tasks “off the screen”. 

In August and September participants will get the opportunity to develop international projects and initiatives as a spin-off of the Lab. In Summer 2022, participants will present the outcomes of this year’s online sessions at a physical Europe Lab held in Amsterdam and Assen (Netherlands).

What are we doing?

For its sixth edition, “Europe Lab” has adapted its format in order to provide all participants equal opportunities to engage, discuss and organise. 

The first step of Europe Lab #6 was an online Kick-Off Day on July 15th, 2021. This first gathering allowed participants to learn from speakers and experts about the continued relevance of decoloniality in the broad European context. Participants also had the opportunity to meet one another and start discussing important topics in tandems, in preparation for a two-months mentoring period (in August and September) to develop their own initiatives. 

Europe Lab participants will be offered mini-grants in Autumn 2021 in order to implement their projects, and will have the opportunity to present their results to all participants during the in-person Lab that will take place in summer 2022 in Assen and Amsterdam, in the Netherlands. 


  • Introducing Europe Lab #6 – Informal Gathering for Participants (online): 9 July, 16:00 CEST
  • Decolonial Encounters – Kick-Off Day (online): 15 July, 9.30 – 17.00 CEST
  • Project mentoring period (online): August-September 2021
  • Project pitches (online): September 2021
  • Mini-grants attributions: Autumn 2021
  • Project implementation and continued mentoring: Autumn 2021 – July 2022
  • Europe Lab in the Netherlands (offline): Late Spring/Summer 2022


As we all know, we cannot predict the evolution of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Therefore, we cannot as of yet exclude the possibility of changing the format of the offline events planned for the coming year. The Europe Lab team will try its best to ensure all participants a fulfilling experience, regardless of the circumstances. 



Europe Lab #6 is organised by the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum in cooperation with Dialogue in Progress (Assen), the Institute for a Greater Europe, HÆSHTÆG, the Bodies Unbound collective and Stichting CAAT Projects. It is funded by the European Union and the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.