Décroissance (degrowth) was born with the publication of a special issue of S!lence in February 2002. Built on old ideas and concepts, like critiques of development, conviviality, autonomy or ecofeminism, it brought together the physical limits to growth and the cultural aspirations to diverse flourishing. Springing from activist groups the movement quickly expanded and the main notions were soon taken up into other Latin languages.
In 2008, the first international conference was organised in Paris. The term 'décroissance' was translated into English, and Degrowth became a flourishing field of research, debates and publications.
It turned out, that these large conferences, bringing together academics with activists, politicians with artists, practitioners with citizens are very effective in promoting degrowth and providing a platform for debate, creating great synergies and dynamics around degrowth actors, implementing dialogue and convergence with a large diversity of green, emancipatory and solidarity movements.
After Paris, we gathered in person in Barcelona (2010), in Montreal and Venice (2012), in Leipzig (2014) Budapest (2016) and in Malmö, Mexico City and in Brussels at the European Parliament in 2018. To attend such a conference is a unique human experience, full a great memories, meetings and experiences. To organise such an open, inclusive and impactful event is not only a great human and convivial adventure, it is also a challenging journey. How to bring together the right people, meaningfully address the key issues for degrowth, secure a budget or experiment with deliberative governance, build an event based on degrowth principles? To help, support and ensure the continuity of such conferences, and the quality of them, we decided to create a collective constituted by representatives of all the former degrowth conference organising committees: the support group (SG).
The SG is, of course, first focusing on the conferences. But it is also responsible for all the degrowth network's common tools which have been implemented and are needed for the success of conferences as a movement's physical home like communication tools, academic exchange, conference management platform, good knowledge and understanding of degrowth, its history, its actors and its challenges and also of its partners.
In 2020 three large events were planned: a regional and thematic one in Vienna, the second edition of the EU conference in Brussels, and a joint international conference with the International Society of Ecological Economics in Manchester. Because of Covid, the first finally happened online, the second was cancelled and finally postponed to 2023, and the third one postponed to 2021. Hence, in 2021 we ended up with two international degrowth conferences, Manchester, online, and The Hague, partly online and face to face.
In the meantime degrowth flourished, great and successful books have been published, degrowth entered into mainstream debates and media, but the lack of face to face gatherings has also proven detrimental to the degrowth networks. So, as the SG, we have been trying to fulfill our first goal: the continuity of the conferences and we are glad to announce for this year two large gatherings:
- Participation in the organisation of the Beyond Growth conference at the EU Parliament (13-15 May, 2023), run by MEPs and Brussels-based NGOs and partners.
- The 9th International Degrowth Conference in Zagreb (29 August-3 September, 2023).
If you'd like to contribute to the future reinforcement of the international degrowth network infrastructure, we also warmly invite you to join the 4th International Assembly of The Degrowth Movement which will be hosted in Zagreb the day before the opening of the conference.
Also, in cooperation with the European Society of Ecological Economics, we are already happy to invite you to 10th International Degrowth Conference in Pontevedra in Spain, to be held in June 2024.
Also, in times of uncertainties, we launched a call for a conference inviting creativity around a large diversity of regional / thematic formats for 2022 and 2023. The call will still be running and renewed for 2024-2025. Please, if you want to organise an event, feel free to contact us.
The support group is composed of (in order of conference series):
François Schneider (Paris), Brototi Roy and Federico Demaria (Barcelona), Yves-Marie Abraham, Bob Thomson (Montreal), Jean-Louis Aillon, Silvio Cristiano, Mario Sassi (Venice), Gualter Baptista (Leipzig), Vincent Liegey, Alexandra Koves, Mladen Domazet (Budapest), Ekaterina Chertkovskaya, Chaïm De Mulder, Muriel Cote, Viktoriya Kulikova (Malmö), (Mexico City), Max Holweg (Vienna), Mark Burton (Manchester).