Earlier this week I was pleased to meet the first potential members of the Team21 online community, a new and shiny platform created by Edgeryders with a local group in Timisoara, Romania (context). I met people from cultural organisations, artists, journalists & amp; watchdogs, programmers, people running to raise funds, people who are passionate about urban resilience and disaster management.
In introducing the evening, I highlighted the interactive ways in which the online platform can be used: (1) for Project Collection and connecting people and projects (2) as Workspace and coordination (3) Knowledge base: focus on documentation - not just the what, but how we do what we do, how we learn.
I was surprised that I did not encounter the resistance I am used to: “Who will come here to write when there’s Facebook?”, “The digital excludes many people”, “The platform is not user friendly,” and so on. Instead, I did notice a general shyness, a sense of decency that can be reticence, or…?
Collective trauma: Timisoara European Capital of Culture project
Those who were at the meeting are not collectively aligned in how to deal with the tabu subject of Timisoara European Capital of Culture in 2021; they are deeply disappointed about how things (don’t) happen in the association leading the implementation of the bid. Those who had been involved in the candidacy are still trying to overcome distress, and others are skeptical at a new mobilization effort - because it could fail? because it would mean turning their backs and letting politics win? Many subjects surrounding the bid have to do with political hijacking and control of resources, public money down the drain etc. I’m not clear yet. But what is obvious is that there is collective trauma and people need group therapy. May TeaM2021 help recovery, even symbolically.
The positioning of TeaM21 is as an “independent and non-combatant” project. That means if the roads of the two will cross, very well. There are still chances for collaboration. If not, at least people will have lived the experience of 2021 by capitalizing on the huge opportunity the city has. It is not too late to win, to nurture more civic and cultural activism, alongside healthy monitoring of what’s going on with the City. It’s not a zero-sum game: if we do X, we do not do Y, if X wins, Y loses.
How can Edgeryders be involved further?
This is a precious relationship for me personally, but also an opportunity for us to refine our work in a local-global setting. The breakthrough in our small collaboration so far has been that Edgeryders are service providers directly to a community of people embedded locally who want to activate online existing relationships. The jury is still out there as to how they are going to do it.
Consultancy to build community is expensive, and with @Val.Muresan and @simona.fit we wish to learn from each other by running a project match-making program around relevant topics (ex: in community arts). This will be tied to and culminating in an event we do together - preferably at the launch of the Faber space where they will do industrial reconversion with other local creatives. I would like Edgeryders to be part of the launch (fall 2019 tbc). Can we do a (mini) festival there, and connect Timisoara folks with expertise from our network in the runup, to boost local activity? We would need to fundraise together, and quickly.
Any thoughts? what would be good models for this? or any other ideas for how to make the most of it!
For the Romanian (adapted) version of this post go to TeaM21 and meet the local community builders :-).