Living and experiencing participation - passing on attitude and enthusiasm for participation projects 


Initial situation 

The Vorarlberg University of Applied Sciences (FHV) and the Eastern Switzerland University of Applied Sciences (OST) are carrying out a project as part of the "Social Cohesion" programme with a focus on "Dialogue and Dispute (Culture) in Times of Controversial Debates and Polarization Trends" of the Science Network Four-Country Region Lake Constance (formerly IBH), which aims to investigate and promote participation projects and projects with a high level of civic engagement.

Partizipation (er-)leben – Haltung und Begeisterung für Partizipationsprojekte weitergeben  | © pexels, Andrea Piacquadio

Objectives and procedure 

In the earlier project "Resilient Communities", the project partners investigated the success factors and challenges of participation projects in the Lake Constance region. The present project follows on from this and aims to  

  • the preliminary phase of participation projects, which is crucial for project success, as well as 
  • investigate the psychosocial effects, attitudes and  emotions resulting from the personal experiences of participation in the aftermath of participatory processes 

This is based on the hypothesis that involvement in successful participation projects can lead to a wealth of positive experiences and influences on attitudes towards participation and involvement in social design processes. However, negative experiences can also lead to discouragement and resignation with regard to democratic co-determination. 

In order to investigate these issues and prepare them for transfer within practice, we want to identify participatory processes that have already been carried out as "learning projects" and work through the above-mentioned topics with the participants in group or individual interviews.

In a subsequent transfer workshop, project teams just starting a participatory process and the interested wider public (e.g. municipalities, associations, professional facilitators of participatory processes, etc.) should have the opportunity to benefit from the findings and experiences from the learning projects and to engage in an exchange with them and with long-standing project facilitators and jointly reflect on challenges that arise in their projects. This should enable a knowledge transfer of experienced and new participation projects and encourage reciprocal learning


Project name

BePart - living and experiencing participation - attitude and enthusiasm

Passing on enthusiasm for participation projects

Project manager FHV

Fabian A. Rebitzer

Project team

Fabian A. Rebitzer, Thomas Zabrodsky, Angelika Felder (FHV),

Lineo Devecchi, Ellen Hazeleger (FH OST)

Project duration September 2023 to December 2024 
Funding body

Science network of the four-country region of Lake Constance