This year’s Grantmakers East Forum (GEF) event focused on the increasingly closed spaces civil society throughout Europe finds itself in. The conference aimed to create the space for representatives of philanthropy and civil society to learn from each other and to reflect on similar issues they face. Following this, the discussion meant to spark thinking around how we can collectively reclaim civic spaces. Throughout the programme, particular attention was given to the role of arts and culture in responding to the different threats Europe is facing. 

Hosted by the ERSTE Foundation, the meeting took place in a special location, a renovated factory in a new cultural hotspot in Vienna, BROTFABRIK. 

Featuring a number of key speakers presenting their research, and covering a wide range of topics, participants focused on a number of specific thematic areas including; culture production space, education space, public spaces, safe spaces, social entrepreneurship space and technology an digital spaces. You can read the notes of the pre-conference event on philanthropy development providing an overall summary of the event. 

With increasing restrictions making it more difficult for civil society to operate, it has led to a more innovative ways of doing things and this is seeing new types of civil society models evolve in Europe and beyond. As such, next years GEF will focus on the topic of new and emerging types of civil society. A highly topical point if civil society is to continue its work. 

In order to improve, we would also ask you to fill in a short evaluation form to help us ensure that next years event is even better.

To conclude, a special thanks to all involved in creating a successful and highly interesting event!