Sassari 25-27/06/2020

11th international EFRJ Conference Sassari 2020

Restorative connections through space and language

Sassari, Italy 25-27 June 2020

The 11th international EFRJ conference takes place in the island of Sardinia. The choice of the location is not coincidental. The Mediterranean sea has always been a place of encounters, exchange, and hospitality, but also of conflict, clashes, and confrontation. The sea, apparently infinite and without borders, enabled human beings to travel towards places where they encountered natural, social and political borders.

It is the liminal metaphors of borders, boundaries, and frontiers that will inspire and challenge us throughout our 3-day event. Our main focus is understanding together the way in which restorative approaches can contribute towards undoing suffering and injustices that are experienced by people because of physical, economic, cultural, political and social borders. Only by getting closer to limits, can we re-examine identities, transcend constructed barriers and discover new ways to embrace diversity and live together at peace.

Also, 2020 marks the 20th anniversary of the EFRJ. Restorative justice itself has come of age and it is part of a larger eco-system. In the light of modern global challenges, we want to understand also the way in which the restorative justice community challenges its own borders, discover new spaces and forms of practice and overcome language and cultural barriers.


For the EFRJ Conference in Sassari, we invited internationally renowned keynote speakers on the above-mentioned topics. Below, the confirmed speakers:

  • Dominic Barter – International consultant on Nonviolent Communication and Restorative Practices, Brazil
  • Albert Dzur – Distinguished Research Professor at Bowling Green State University, USA
  • Wendy Drewery – Co-Director of the PB4L-RP programme at University of Waikato, New Zealand
  • Giovanni Grandi – Associate Professor at University of Padua, Italy
  • Nataša Kandić – Human rights activist, director of the Humanitarian Law Center, Serbia
  • Marta Buesa Rodríguez – Fundación Fernando Buesa Fundazioa, Basque Country – Spain
  • Fergus McNeill – Professor of Criminology and Social Work at the University of Glasgow, Scotland UK
  • Jo Collison Scott – Reader in Music at the University of the West of Scotland, UK
  • Marie Keenan – Lecturer at the School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice, University College Dublin, Ireland

Dowload here the speakers’ biographies plenaries.

Call for papers

The call opened in September 2019. Download here the printable concept note and themes and share the flyer within your network.


1. Space and time

This theme focuses on space and time, either literally or figuratively conceived. We invite presentations that tackle these themes from various angles. Some examples could be:

  • Restorative justice and closed institutions: How can restorative justice be conceived and done in prisons, centres for undocumented migrants, psychiatric hospitals, drug rehabilitation units, etc.? How can we create restorative spaces in oppressive spaces? How can restorative justice contribute to make the bridge with the outside world?
  • Restorative approaches in urban contexts: How can we create and sustain restorative cities? How to stage restorative justice in unusual settings? How can buildings and borders reflect restorative values to shape people’s relationships?
  • Restorative approaches in educational settings: How does a school become a restorative space? How does a school find time for building restorative relationships?
    Restorative justice and relational borders: How can restorative processes tackle class, gender, generational, religious, national, and racial differences, acknowledge them and transform relations of oppression?
  • Boundaries in restorative processes: When are boundaries appropriate between stakeholders, and between practitioners and stakeholders? How to make of a restorative justice an ordinary day to day practice?
  • Restorative justice and time: How can we conceive of the notion of restoring the future by generating new meanings or memories of the past? How can we engage in intergenerational or historical forms of conflict?
  • Restorative justice and criminal justice: How can we create distance and proximity with the criminal justice system? How can different uses of “time” be adjusted in both systems? How can we align spaces? How to use restorative justice in cases of cross border crimes?

2. Language and narratives

This theme focuses on language and narratives. We invite presentations that tackle these themes from various angles. Some examples could be:

  • Restorative justice across languages: How does the word “restorative” translate in different languages and does it retain the same meaning in all cultures? What is the meaning of this word and its roots? Why do English speaking countries refer to restorative justice while so many other countries stick with penal mediation?
  • Restorative justice beyond language: Do all participants understand words in the same way? What of people with different verbal and cognitive abilities? How can they be supported to participate actively in a process dominated by verbal communication?
  • Restorative justice across borders: How do key restorative justice values and principles travel across cultural and relational borders?
  • Restorative language and narratives: What are words that polarise (e.g. victim-offender labels), and which words restorative justice should cultivate?
  • Restorative justice practices: Is the “script” really restorative? How can restorative justice be integrated and complement other practices (e.g. therapy)?
  • Beyond restorative justice practices: What innovative non-verbal communication practices are emerging to engage people in dialogue (rituals, song writing, storytelling, drawing, movement, painting, gift making, diaries, letters)? How to connect with practices sharing the same restorative justice goals and values but not necessarily following the “restorative justice rules”?


In order to plan your trip accordingly, please find below a draft agenda of the 3 day conference (incl. Annual General Meeting of the EFRJ membership). As usual, the EFRJ conference includes plenary sessions and about 10 parallel workshop sessions, as well as social moments and local field trips. A more detailed programme will be published in January 2020.

Tue 23/6 Wed 24/6 Thu 25/6 Fri 26/6 Sat 27/6
9.30-18.00 Preconference training* 9.30-13.00 Preconference training*

15.30-17.30 KINTSUGI seminar**

18-20 AGM

20-21 Reception

9-17 Conference

19-20 Reception & RJ award

9-17 Conference

20-22 Social dinner

9-14 Conference

14-18 Field trips***

*After the success of the pre-conference training course organised for the first time for our previous conference in Tirana, the EFRJ team decided to repeat the experience. The focus of the training will be on methods to support restorative justice practitioners in engaging into dialogue with children and other groups, for a justice beyond language borders. More information will come soon on the EFRJ website. For now, save the dates: 23-24 June 2020 in Sassari. An additional fee will be asked to attend this event.

**The partners of the Erasmus+ project KINTSUGI will organise a 2 hrs seminar on training and practice models in restorative justice. One hour will be dedicated to the experiences from Ulster University (Northern Ireland), Sponde (Sicily, Italy) and Mediante (Wallonia, Belgium). The second hour will focus on the findings and training models developed by the EFRJ Working Group on Training and finally compare practices in the 3 countries. The event is free of charge.

***As usual, the programme of the EFRJ conference includes some optional field trips planned in the afternoon of Saturday 27 June, most probably in the restorative city of Tempio Pausania, the prison of Nuchis, the juvenile institution in Sassari and in the RJ centre of Nuoro. We looked also at some more ambitious field trips, which cannot fit within the schedule of the event (because of the distance) but you may want to organise yourself a trip to these places before or after the conference:
1) the island of Asinara, reachable by bus and boat in 2,5 hours, hosted for almost 30 years the high security prison where many Mafia members, including the boss Totò Riina, were detained;
2) the murals in the village of Orgosolo, 2 hours drive from Sassari, drawn as a communication and protest tool in the second half of the 20th century.
We are just sharing some good tips as you may plan to extend your stay in Sardinia! Below, the moment of inspiration will provide an additional tip!


The conference will be mostly hosted in the Conservatorio di Musica Luigi Canepa (address: Piazzale Cappuccini 1), the music conservatory at the University of Sassari in Sardinia- Italy. Some workshop sessions will be hosted in some rooms from the Cappuccini in the Parrocchia San Francesco d’Assisi, while others (if the authorization allows) in public spaces as the square Piazza Tola.

Organisers and sponsors

The EFRJ traditionally co-organizes its conferences with its local members. In Italy, we have the chance to work with EFRJ members from the Uniss Team delle Pratiche di Giustizia Riparativa, Tempio Pausania Città Riparativa and PsicoIus Scuola romana di psicologia giuridica. The core team is composed by Prof. Patrizia Patrizi (EFRJ Board), Ernesto Lodi and Gian Luigi Lepri, and it actively cooperates with several other active EFRJ members in Italy.

Our conference is financially supported by the Justice Programme of the European Commission and we are delighted to get additional financial or in kind support, or bursaries for experts to attend the conference (e.g. UNISS, ERSU, UNINT).


Registrations will open in January 2020: click here to know more about the fees. As usual, EFRJ members are entitled to a special discount for attending our events. If you are not a member yet and you wish to register at the reduced rate, you are invited to join our EFRJ community now!

The EFRJ will grant about 5 (full/ partial) waivers to participants for whom it is financially difficult to attend the conference. Applicants must be members of the EFRJ since at least 2019. Full waivers cover the full registration fee; partial waivers will cover about half registration fee. Transports and accommodation are not covered by the waivers. Waiver applications will open in January 2020.


Hotel: Sassari offers a variety of different accommodation options (see, Here you find a list of hotels, as proposed by our local organising team.

Travel: The nearest airport is Alghero, but you can fly to Olbia and Cagliari too, or get a ferry to Porto Torres (as some EFRJ members are planning to do!). More information here.