Yesterday I had a pleasure to attend the celebration of CEE Bankwatch http://bankwatch.org awards for innovative social projects. General idea was to select the most interesting new ideas for European funds support. While none of FreeLab originated projects was awarded, I got an inspiration, which is almost as good as moneyy. I realised that:
There were 59 projects submitted, out of which 25 were shortlisted, 16 of which were presented publicly yesterday.
The competition was run in several CEE countries at the same time. I could not obtain figures re: other countries.
While awarded projects will be presented in Brussels (February, I guess), there are probably well over hundred projects (and people behind them!) that are now likely to be abandoned.
I have initially talked to the Bankwatch team here in Poland and they are keen to spread a message through their network.
My suggestion is that we should invite all project groups - be them awarded, shortlisted or just submitted - to contact the nearest Edgeryder and to start interacting with other likeminded people, with all support Edgeryders can provide.
Note, that such a pool of ideas, even if some of them werer makeshifted just to grab some EU money, is the real seed for all our activities - unMonasteries among them.
What do you think about it? I believe it is a good issue to discuss in Brussels, but it is still couple days ahead and I would like to get your initial feedback ASAP. I will then pass the signal to Bankwatch people and hopefully the show will roll ahead.
Petros, I think it is a great idea. In this I am trusting your judgement that these guys are mainly good, solid, interesting people - I don’t know you well, but I think you have probably a high standard on all those accounts.
What I mean by that is: when you are somehow identified as part of a reasonably sexy, honest project like Edgeryders you receive a lot of proposals to collaborate. Most of them are just formal: some sort of link exchange, with no real community mingling, and not really worth your attention. However, when you meet inspiring people - well, those are exactly the things that are worth of your attention. So I say “bring it on”.
Alberto, you flatterer!
It is tempting to see myself such an augur you pictured. But not. I am an average guy who lost his lifetime material achievements, I am bankrupt, jobless and homeless - I just happened to become activist instead. So who TF am I to judge others?
However, my proposal is based on two considerations:
- I am talking about people who at least TRIED to do something - and this is already outstanding. Speaking of those who I met at the gala. One of them is working with Gypsy kids, painting grafitti at the social houses’ walls “Poland for everyone”. Another is a countryside housewife, making rainwater harvest systems due to local water problems. A handful of hipsters formed a food cooperative and now they are promoting Community Supported Agriculture around Warsaw. Etc. Etc. There is a lot of others who I would not meet, because they never get shortlisted - who knows why. And even if they are not people I would personally work with - just because I am old, grumpy and short-fused - they at least TRY. And to me - it is enough to try, too.
2. I can hardly wait for our community discussion, to see if the ‘telegraphist’ model will be accepted. Someone coined the telegraph metaphore while discussing the software platform needs and I like it. We are in the position to become nodes of a social backbone, linking thousands of street-wise activists who are too busy doing real job. We can support them with the networked knowlede of others, and help them to gain strenght from the net.
One of the most amusing workshops I am usually running on various gatherings is “Social solving of technical problems”. It is a freestyle mix of formal braistorming and circle driven, goal oriented consensus decision making. Give me a handful of random people, a shared problem to be solved and you will see miracles at work. We can try this in Bru - for a small group it needs less than 2 hrs.
Anyway, this is a sort of synergy I hope we may bring to activists throughout Europe. And that is why we need them linked.
Not the point!
My friend, if there is one thing I have learned from the Edgeryders community is this: you might be jobless and homeless and broke, but that need not be the point at all. Guess what? Most of us fall into at least one of these categories. And yet, the ER crowd includes some of the smartest, most interesting people I know. Indeed, I suspect that you don’t need to be jobless or broke to be truly cutting edge, but it helps.
I am definitely signing up for your session.
And the person who came up with the telegraph metaphor - that was me. BTW, that metaphor implies that people who act as interface between the telegraph network at large and their local context are brokers: they wield some kind of power, because if they withdraw they disconnect the local people from the superlocal context. With great power comes great responsibility.