|The first six partner organisations (hubs) of ECF’s new initiative called the Networked Programme came together in Amsterdam from Croatia, France, Moldova, Poland, Spain and Sweden in May 2014. The partners of the Networked Programme are working on establishing and advocating for a new set of democratic best practices in Europe for cultural organisations to engage with communities and culture. Together with the hubs, ECF wants to illuminate these alternative democratic models on a European level.|
MEET THE HUBS!*
Published on 03/03/2015 - Ideacamp
*Contains information originally published in the European Cultural Foundation dedicated website.
Culture 2 Commons (Croatia), with Miljenka Buljević
Tell us about your organisation: what do you do, who are you? Culture 2 Commons (C2C) is composed of three Zagreb-based civil society organisations: Clubture, a national collaborative platform of independent cultural organisations; Operation City, an alliance of independent cultural and youth organisations focused on advocating change within the institutional framework for these sectors; and Right to the City, an activist platform initiated by cultural, youth and environmental organisations connecting culture with broader issues of spatial justice and the commons. These organisations serve as the structural pillars of a larger ecosystem, connecting over 100 civil society organisations from Croatia, but also from the surrounding region of ex-Yugoslavia.
How does your organisation/collective promote and incorporate new notions of public space? C2C is concerned with with the public domain, social transition, hybrid institutional models of public-civil partnerships, changes in the cultural system, etc. We use different methods to tackle these issues such as activism, civil association, advocacy and the transfer of technological practices into the cultural domain. It can be said that C2C has managed to broaden the cultural domain by defining it not as arts and heritage, the dominant approach in Europe and Croatia, but rather as the domain of direct interaction between social, technological and artistic levels. Thus C2C helps to create the potential for culture to reassume its proactive, dynamic and critical function in society.
How do you connect/work with your local communities (you can give a recent example of your work or of an event you organised)? The leading principle of C2C is the development of intensive collaborative platforms, i.e. tactical networks, a new form of emerging socio-cultural practice with the purpose of expanding the definition of cultural action and developing new collaborative practices and models.
A campaign against the privatisation of public space in Zagreb was carried out in the period 2006-2010 triggered by the usurping of public space for private interests. It included highly visible actions that attracted the public’s attention and raised the issue to the level of political debate; collecting 54,000 signatures and gathering thousands of citizens in rallies protesting against the privatisation of public space.
What do you think the Idea Camp will bring? C2C expects the Idea Camp to bring together organisations and individuals from all over Europe to discuss, share and exchange innovative and engaging ways of reflecting, intervening, protecting and enriching public space and the public domain, thus pointing to the relevance of culture as an agent of socio-political transformation in the European cultural and social context.
Krytyka Polityczna (Poland), with Agnieszka Wiśniewska, Anna Cieplak and Joanna Tokarz-Haertig
Tellus about your organisation: what do you do, who are you? Krytyka Polityczna has been operating since 2002. We are active in three main fields: education, culture and politics. We believe these three are connected by the influence and impact they have on how society is shaped. Our aim is to fight exclusion; increase civic participation and social awareness in public life; find diagnoses and solutions to the current breakdown in social bonds and social imagination. We work through a network of more than 20 local activist groups, four cultural centres (Warsaw, Cieszyn, Gdansk, Łódź), a publishing house, online Daily Opinion (www.krytykapolityczna.pl) and the Institute for Advanced Study conducting academic research and seminar
How does your organisation/collective promote and incorporate new notions of public space? Krytyka Polityczna aims to create open and diverse public debate. We want to open the channels for topics, groups and points of view that are excluded from the main discourse, as well as empowering those who can represent their needs and perspectives. We strive to help remove the barriers between science, arts and politics. We try to persuade artists to think in political terms and public figures, politicians and local authorities to treat culture as a legitimate tool for social change. We involve social activists, animators, journalists and politicians in our work, as well as encouraging writers, intellectuals and artists to discuss current political and cultural issues in our daily lives.
How do you connect/work with your local communities (you can give a recent example of your work or of an event you organised)? The main idea of the KP network is to stay close to the problems of communities. Local groups are formed by urban and social activists, community leaders engaged in the public life of their cities. Activities include initiatives around public policies and spatial solutions in the cities, long-term strategies and development goals, dealing with narratives about local identities, history, economic transformation, as well as cultural animation or creative artistic work. At the same time, we try to transfer and describe locally important and specific issues in a broader perspective and develop common goals.
What do you think the Idea Camp will bring? Most of us encounter a crisis of social imagination. Despite the widespread criticism of the social, political and economic status quo, it is harder to imagine an alternative world other than the end of the world. Opportunities like the Idea Camp let people freely present and question different solutions, combine various experiences and knowledge, risk and fail or succeed for the joy of trying to make a change and, most importantly, bring together people that care.
Oberliht Young Artists Association, Moldova, with Vitalie Sprinceana and Vladimir Us
Tell us about your organisation: what do you do, who are you? Founded in 2000 and based on a rich working experience as an independent cultural actor, “Oberliht” Young Artists Association aims to interconnect dispersed artistic scenes and build an artistic community making use of public spaces. Our goal is to provide support and contribute to the professional development of young artists, but also architects, scientists and activists, giving them tools to change the societal context they live in. We develop and maintain interdisciplinary platforms and projects aiming to connect the local and international contemporary art initiatives and advocate for a strong and independent cultural sector in Moldova and in the region.
How does your organisation/collective promote and incorporate new notions of public space? Since 2006, Oberliht has been striving to democratise public space. Using various means (art, science, activism) and activities (workshops, seminars, public discussions, exhibitions, artistic performances), we try to eliminate the different exclusions and barriers – both formal (laws, policies) and informal (class or social status restrictions, religious, gender, age) that prevent citizens from accessing and using the public space for their own needs.
Issues related to the built environment are often present in our projects due to the role that urban planning and architecture have in projecting public space, and thus fostering or diminishing social cohesion or increasing/decreasing opportunities for people.
How do you connect/work with your local communities (you can give a recent example of your work or of an event you organised)? We use various tools to connect with the community. We try to integrate the use of formal instruments: surveys, focus groups, questionnaires along with the use of informal ways to contact people and establish links with the community: picnics, art performances, workshops for children and/or for the entire family. In our communication with local communities we are trying not only to develop an equal and trusting relationship but also to empower them, to help them acquire a sense of ownership towards their living environment and to develop greater responsibility towards the common interest, through collective actions for the common good.
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