Networked Conversations - notes from team call 15/03

This is a wiki topic, edit as you please if I missed something!

In attendance the lovelies @iriedawta @Marilli_M @natalia_skoczylas @Phoresced @danohu @alex_levene and myself.

Anna: art curator in Yerevan. Interested in the topics that this new 1 year project is putting forward: - (art and citizenship, fair governance, value of the social fabric, transnationality). Mostly interested in fair governance models, and solidarity funding - discussing and finding solutions
To offer to the Conversations: We have the Institute of Contemporary Art in Yerevan, a venue and place for gatherings in Armenia, and Anna’s network;

Marili: performer and artistic director of Entropia; based in Athens and does a lot of international projects. Mainly interested in co-productions and collaborations - explore sociopolitical issues, the urban environment, ecologies. Knows ER at the intersection of art and activism.

Dan: on the edge of edgeryders for a few years; doing some technical work on OpenEthnographer; not very embedded in existing cultural institutions and activities; the appeal for me is to have more conversations - sees the potential to spark collaborations that were not planned in advance.

Naomi: from Wellington; learned about ER last year in Stockholm; has been scheming about a global community which could take care of the developing needs of local communities distributed in a global fashion; did some work in India, then went to Stockholm, has a Dutch passport. A social permaculturist, has been struggling to support herself and have the freedom to get involved in more. Develops the Open Value Network in Berlin. “We’ve been looking at organisational structures, and commons”. Works with collaboration incubator, conference weaving. Now training in facilitation
Self identifies as artist, but doesn’t have a specific practice.

“Life as a creative opportunity. The entry point is: we have something catalyzing in each of us. What structures do we need to support that?”

Alex - creative producer, theatre maker, also a poet, strategist based in the UK, at The Place Theatre offering a program of mixed media (theatre, music etc), combo of professionals and local community.
Attached to edgeryders since 2014 - worked on big scale events, working with Natalia and Noemi to see what the next steps are in the culture work, push it forward as an agenda within the wider ER work; drawn to connected culture - has been to spoken conversational events before (technically distributed international conversational networks PechaKucha, Fuckup Nights), and has been disappointed that the conversation doesn’t go further. Key value in Edgeryders: foregrounding documentation; that there is always a next step after an event
His interest is in figuring out:

How does the local conversation connect to the international, wider, distributed series of conversation?

Natalia - wants concrete actions. Saw this upcoming Festival in building outside Berlin - we can potentially work with the organisers - one off event on a site that will soon be demolished.

Noemi - Not an arts person, but a social scientist. Community manager and board member. Part of the bigger effort to push the growth of the wider company and organisation. Keeping an eye on the connections as we grow. Building Units within the network. Overlap with what Hugi is doing at Blivande (in Stockholm). How can the ER network be useful within this sphere? Wants to see sustainable collaboration happening and people making a living out of the work that they/we can do. Moving beyond the project-to-project cycle? Build a platform that figures out ways to grow distributed and through partnership. Reputation building. Connecting the dots. We want to build that online conversation part to see where that goes next.

The Networked Conversations should build a business card and over time help us figure out a business model for the Culture Squad.

Questions asked, answered and lingering

  • Marili: Wants to understand exactly how we have proceeded so far. Is it a project/ a platform? Do we intend to apply for funding?

It’s a platform that is meant to create new and sustainable collaborations and projects between participants, and for edgeryders. i.e. people supporting each other, writing applications together, organising events and what not. We do it for a season of 6 months like a project - and then reflect on learnings to see if it can continue, and with what changes/ additions to the format…

  • Dan: How we see the interrelations between the local and international level?

From organisers: focus on finding a format which works there. low investment, not overstretch or add to existing workload!
From ER: tasked with connecting layers, helping with community management, support for documentation.
Wider connecting question/topic & local specifics.

  • Marili: What is covering the costs of events? What are our target participants?

We can find venues easily, and ER will cover costs of food/ drinks. We will make sure to cover the cost of the performative dinner at the end.
The most expensive is the time of those who organise - which is why it needs to be very simple AND it needs to add value to work which we already do, questions we already have - see process below.

Process for organisers

Presented by Alex -LINK TO PROCESS coming up!

Alex: Find a wider topic we want to address and then drilling down into a specific question which we aim to talk in detail about - so that the conversation moves forward.

  • The formal depends on your personal preference: panels, workshop, just chatting.
  • How is it best to promote the event? open/ closed?
  • How important is it that you involve people from outside your circle?

Dan: How important is it that you have the same people at each event?
The work between the sessions: documentation - I found very appealing; the 2-3 hrs commitment can be documentation work; it’s exciting because it gets people to do something else other than talking

Naomi: Space to have intimate conversations vs something larger than the city
Between each conversations to facilitate the online space - have events in between; sending it out there, regrouping into your local context; “we are a local component part of a larger group”

Noemi: it would be great if local teams will take this on, but for me it’s important that we dont over-commit. Hosting the events+ good documentation is a good point to start with, then if people want to take it further it will be very useful!


Website for the Culture Squad featuring the Conversations front page - work-in-progress, will be up by 1st of April

Can you all revise the proposed calendar and let me know dates we can lock in

9 April | Brussels
2 May | Brussels
8 May | Bedford
9 May | Berlin
25 June | Brussels
7 August | Bedford
14 September | Brussels
20 September | Berlin
31 October | Athens
XXX | Yerevan??
15 November | PERFORMATIVE DINNER (can also be later?)


I forgot to ask you all about the name: do we need a simpler one?

The web is full of names like Edge Talks, Art Talks, Art Conversations, Culture Hub and so on.
I think what we bring new is the idea of connecting conversations around culture - so if our name can show that even better.

Another way to go is with a very simple name which can become a brand: Virtual Studio 42, Virtual Culture 15 kind of names (numbers are random just to exemplify :-))

@danohu @Phoresced - Would you be up for moving the first meeting somewhere between 9-11 of May? (most probably I will be on a caravan at the end of April and then we host a meetup at Republica with Noemi, so it would be ideal afterward, she should be in town as well)

The advantage is that the break between these two won’t be so long as well - better I think.

@danohu, do you think your space might be interested in hosting it?

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Sorry for dropping out from the team call, internet got shut down in Armenia for almost an hour (blame it on Mercury Retrograde :smiley: )

I like Art Talks and Edge Talks.

When do we schedule the meetup at ICA Yerevan?

I am hosting a permaculture berlin meetup on the 11th but fine for 9-10 currently.

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Naming things is just the worst. I’m not sure if there really is an easy descriptor of what we’re trying to achieve that will work across all cultures and locations. For that reason it feels like the generic simple brand might work best:
I was wondering about ‘culture culture’
(noun)the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively, (verb) maintain (tissue cells, bacteria, etc.) in conditions suitable for growth.


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Whatever name we choose i will put the following after my event to explain it to people in Bedford:
A networked conversation about cultural growth and development


Haha culture culture sounds great!

@iriedawta I was trying to say rather that we need something to distinguish us from the Edge Talks etc. Those are taken and not so great, a bit passé if you ask me. So I was asking about other names…

Well, you tell us. If you would like to host it, then you should be the one deciding… Yerevan is not close to just come over for a couple of days so at least for the first meetups, I for one will not be able to join.
So what is a good date for you?

9 is better for me :wink:

And 20th September, does that stay @natalia_skoczylas? For now?

@alex_levene can you put the process for local organisers up as a new topic so we have it as reference? thaaaanks :DD

Yes, let’s keep it TBC as in September this festival in an abandoned site is happening and I am at this point thinking of doing something there. Maybe that can be a practical task for some of the divisions coming out of the talk, preparation of a small segment of an art festival.

Yes yes for the name! something HOT! But let me think, I haven’t had a good idea yet, one word that’s metaphoric and rich and fun at the same time.

oops, just reread your post…of course those names must be already taken. What about STATE OF THE ART :smiley:

Are the mentioned meetup dates for the first local meetings and what’s the logic behind (i might have missed that part during the call)? Shouldn’t the local meetups rather happen simultaneously so that we can coordinate our further actions accordingly?

I am now deciding on the dates of the next edition of artsakhfest, either late august or early october, the final meetup can happen right after it, so I’d say beginning of September or second part of October…

Noted, let’s see what other people say.

For some reason, I like Culture culture that Alex mentioned… :-)) it’s a good pun.

The logic is that each local meetup should happen to meet the organisers needs and reflect a question that is relevant locally, but connected to the global one -for now the global one is around spaces. You can see Alex’s event in Bedford asks something very similar to what I proposed as global:
Global: What is a safe space for an artist to work from?
Bedford: How can arts and culture create a secure environment for artists and citizens to lead the ongoing renovation and redefinition of civic spaces?

The conversation is global, and the local meetups should all feed into that, no matter when they are hosted. It’s just too much work to sync them… Look at how hard it is for us to pick our own local dates :-)) But if you have the standard process/ steps on how to organise it, it will be easy/ Plus we will all have time to support your event however we can, because we wont be busy organising our own.

Makes sense?

Also, for reference, here are couple of projects my friends are doing that really resonate with my interests in the Conversations.
Transitory White

So the scheduled dates are for the first local meetups? My impression was that it’s supposed to be a series of meetings, rather than one, since it’s impossible to tackle the proposed questions during one meeting…also, we do want to have access to the documentation from each local meeting to be able to provide feedback and continue the conversations, right? When is the final event supposed to take place?

Is there a link to @alex_levene’s event in Bedford?

Seems like this topic implies the physical spaces only?

I wouldn’t narrow it down too much, and open the inquiry to questions and challenges you find most relevant in your context, or even better, each context - I guess if you meet 10 people and discuss their challenges, you will have various takes on that.


I second that.

Ok, I booked the venue for the 9th of May - it will be in Neukolln, in a bio-art lab. my friend who co-runs the space will be a co-host, right now she is installing an exhibition in Hong Kong, so we’re back to rolling the ball early April. But at least that’s secure now.


I agree with Natalia. Also, an “artist space” can mean différént things.

And yes, ideally there is more than 1meeting per city - if you look at Brussels, Berlin, Bedford we already pin multiple dates. Can you do the same for Yerevan? This is to allow us to move forward, announce the calendar and then plan towards those dates.