At the retreat I mentioned that we would be opening a new house for participatory culture and art in Stockholm in 2019, and that I would be looking to bring this venture together with Edgeryders. Well, it’s happening, and it will be called Det Blivande Huset – meaning “the Becoming House” or “the House of Becoming”.
In this post I explain what it is, and at the end I explain how it’s a location for Edgeryders and also ask for some money for it.
How Blivande came to be(come)
This house will be run by a company started by me and three friends of mine. This idea to start a company came about as the contract for the Node, a quite radical community space that I’m on the board of and started the foundation for, will run out early 2019 as the building it’s in is coming down. However, the Node being an idealistic non-profit project, could not bear the costs of renting a space large enough to continue as before. Our old contract was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that came about from some very fortunate circumstances. Our choice was between either going much smaller at the next Node, making the Node more professional, or to create a holding shell around it with in which multiple entities could use the space.
We also knew that even with a low rent, the Node project has always been reliant on a small group of people putting in extreme amounts of unpaid work, and that this would not be sustainable in the long run. This has been especially true for my friend Hampus Lindblad, who founded the Node and has worked countless unpaid hours for it, sometimes paying for it out of his own pocket for us to make ends meet. It’s been somewhat of a personal mission of mine for the last few years to figure out how to pay him some nominal sum per month before he burns through his savings completely.
Building a company which could actually run a large space with enough of a surplus to pay some people part time for servicing and maintaining the house would build resilience. That’s the route we opted for with Blivande, and though we won’t be able to pay anyone in the first year, it should be possible in the second year as we build liquidity and start taking in more events, seminars and conferences to the space. Working for Blivande probably won’t pay me anything in 2019, but neither does the Borderland or the Node. My work for Blivande is to lay out a strategy to make sure we can make ends meet for the first three years.
What will happen at Blivande
In the presentation, we go through in some detail what will happen in the house.
Studio Tau is the art studio, workshop and makerspace of βlivande, equipped for artists and makers. Membership based at different tiers.
Project of the Node association funded by a 1 million SEK art grant which will own equipment and tools at Tau and hold courses in arts and crafts. This also pays some salary for Hampus Lindblad during 2019. Transforma is a separate entity from Blivande and it’s Studio Tau, and rents space to hold hackathon and courses at Tau.
Co-working space on the second floor for up to 25 people, and the membership to also gives access to Studio Tau. We’re aiming to be as selective as our cash flow allows us to be in choosing who we bring in to Studio Beta to create a community of peers with synergies between each others work, rather than an office. People that are actually likely to use their access to Studio Tau and go to workshops at the Node in the evening are given priority.
Biggest single tenant of Blivande, and pays about 25% of the total rent while holding 45% of the space between 18:00 and midnight on weekdays and every other weekend. At other times, Blivande uses the space.
We aim to create a unique space for events. We’ve seen at the Node that there is demand for spaces that feel creative and different. We’re aiming to host everything from daytime conferences and seminars to all night parties (we have a permit with our landlord to even host small club events until 5 AM in the morning if we want to) in the Node space, which we can use for the Blivande company during daytime and every other weekend.
Renting the space out for events arranged by others has been a steady source of income at the Node, and we think it will be at Blivande too. We’ve had the Node rented for everything from theatre performances and concerts to birthday parties and large dinners.
I want to bring Edgeryders in
Det Blivande Huset is where I’ll be spending a lot of my time in 2019, working on things like Particip.io and anything else I might start with Edgeryders Nordic, as well as any work I might to for the POPREBEL or NGI projects. We have also talked about hosting the next LOTE in Stockholm and there could also be an opportunity to use the house for events relating to NGI.
I would like to ask weather Edgeryders could invest renting space in the house for the Edgeryders Nordic branch in Stockholm, much like is done for the Reef in Brussels. What I’m proposing more specifically is this:
Edgeryders would have an arrangement with Blivande to have access to office space for up to three people at Studio Beta, and Blivande will supply office equipment (including monitors for up to two people and printer access) and maintenance. Essentially, this means that Edgeryders pays for the equivalent of a fixed desk at the house, which I will be using, with room for two others whenever necessary.
Edgeryders will also be entitled to 5 full days per year to run its own events in the Blivande Event space on the 1st floor, including technical and event production work from Blivande (meaning that Hampus or someone else would be there to help out with AV, decorations and cleaning afterwards). Further events would be arranged at a discounted rate.
I’m asking for Edgeryders to sign a contract with Blivande for one year, for a total of 100.000 SEK, starting January 2019. This is equivalent to three seats (3000 SEK per month per seat) at Studio Beta. These are open to any Edgeryder working on ER stuff (as long as I’m given some heads up with a ping on the platform or the Riot), which is usually not the case as memberships are personal. Standard full day event rates with support will be at about 15.000 SEK, which means that 5 days would be worth 75.000. This could go towards LOTE or anything else we would like to do at the house. This location would be to Edgeryders Nordic what the Reef is to Edgeryders in Brussels. And incidentally, this amount is also smaller than what Edgeryders Nordic will generate in for the overhead account through the Particip.io project. As Edgeryders moves into having physical locations and branches, it’s probably wise to have it as a rule of thumb that a branch should bear its own overhead cost in normal circumstances.
Finally, I’m really excited about this, and I would like everyone to come visit once we have it in January. Ping @nadia, @alex_levene, @noemi, @mariacoenen, @bob, @natalia_skoczylas, @alberto, @johncoate and others that have been asking me how this is coming along or otherwise shown interest.