The Networked Culture Conversation Series


#1

Early concept for a mini project by the Culture Squad and any Edgeryders wishing to get involved. Title is provisional.

What is it?

A curated deep inquiry into the most urgent challenges faced by cultural and art collectives across European cities. It aims to offer hosts and participants a local/global platform for conversation and access to useful information and support which tends to be unavailable or expensive. For six months, one question per month will convene artists, activists, cultural workers to a local meetup (a community space, a cafe, or even a living room) where they will engage in constructive conversation and draw points of action for mutual support and collaboration at the equivalent of 3 hours / person / month. The meetups are synchronized to address complementary issues.
Members of the Edgeryders Culture Squad take turns to produce and document the events, connect the local stories into a bigger narrative, and connect participants with resources from our network of thousands of people doing cultural work.

Conversations Format

An afternoon/evening at a table conversation with 12-15 participants.

  1. Invited guest introduces the inquiry and launches reflection points for the room.
  2. Participants offer their personal experience and asks for help as contribution to the theme.
  3. The group works together to build a set of actions for collaboration that require no more than 3 hours of work and service by each person who wishes to remain connected to the group.
  4. Hosts document the discussion into online posts and commit to connect it to other city events.
  5. *Dinner and drinks

The first season of Networked Culture Conversation culminates with a community event: A Performative Dinner to share key findings and celebrate outcomes as we plan for the future.

Example deep inquiry: What is the secure urban place for an artist to work from?

This relates to material infrastructure i.e. access to urban space and buildings; cost and availability of studios to (co-)work from; how the City and key policies affect the ability to work and perform, and many others to be decided.

Others:
How can “authorship” in the arts marry collaboration?
What is the Edge of collaboration in art and science?
How to expand local work into real international collaborations?

Benefits for participants:

  • Join a process for discovering progressive ways to improve your work in Culture and the Arts!
  • Receive high quality materials about the solutions others have found in their city
  • Your project and plea featured in a global community of 4500+ like-minded and supporting peers working in culture, on https://edgeryders.eu/culture-squad
  • An invitation to join our Performative Dinner in one of the cities, closing the first season of our conversations.
  • Good food, drinks, and dinner talks.

Benefits for hosts and producers:

  • Build a tight community and make it a resource for new work, projects, collaborations
  • Become a cultural network node in your city.
  • Learn about community building using an online platform and digital conversation techniques

Where?

Our very early stage proposed cities to start with would be:

In Brussels: The Reef, CineMaximiliaan
In Berlin: TBC
In Bedford: The Place Theatre community venue
In Timisoara: Ambasada / Faber creative re-converted industrial spaces
In Athens: Technopolis?

How do we start?

A member of the Culture Squad partners up with an embedded, active local group or organisation and asks them to co-host the event. They formulate together the deep inquiry and propose a list of invitees and participants, roll out the invite (with request to register to the Culture Squad - mailing list or signup on edgeryders.eu), meet people and document on edgeryders.eu what comes out of the conversation.

Project lead

The Edgeryders Culture Squad is connecting groups across Europe and beyond to develop shared practices and deploy art and culture for social change. Due to our geographic spread and using an international community platform, we make it cheap for people to connect in new ways and access (funding) resources together.

Our main work: production of co-created community festivals; nurturing a new generation of urban game designers who use play as a tool for social cohesion; training cities and organisations to build thriving communities using online/offline methodologies.


#2

@natalia_skoczylas @alex_levene I think what is key is the local partner to start with, and signal the invitation to join a network from the get go. Walk the talk: it is a collaborative series and platform, so Edgeryders can be a co-host. At least in the beginning when we invite people by going through existing networks.

In Brussels, the partner is arp: - an art production and management organisation led by Katrien Reist who is very much embedded in the artistic community in the city.

If we agree - then the next step is to invite all our co-hosts in a conversation, set the theme(s) and a calendar. Then roll with announcements and invites… Let me know? I’m ready to go whenever you are.


#3

Hi @noemi, this is a topic that I’m interested in. Let me know how I or ICA Yerevan can be a part of this project. x


#4

Which one do you mean?

I think it would be great to have Yerevan in the list of cities! Can you think of a co-producer along with ICA or would you be curating and hosting? For you and Alex who are embedded in a place already, it will be possible to start yourselves. But for me (in Brussels) and Nat (in Berlin) I think it’s good to have a close ally - the equivalents of ICA or The Place in our cities.
The approach is to get started with very low costs - a few hours every month and a venue… and as we discover things about where people are, we will be looking towards concrete opportunities for turning it into funded projects - either the series itself or something which comes out, say new kinds of learning exchanges and residencies - so for ICA Yerevan this would be a pool of accessing new residents or partners for exhibition circuits and so on… You probably know best what the needs are at your end. I’m signing you up for a call where we flesh this out :slight_smile: Hoping in maximum 2 weeks.


#5

@noemi Hi! I’m an artist & artistic director of ENTROPIA Contemporary Performing Arts Company (www.theatre-entropia.gr), based in Athens - GR and working internationally (https://www.linkedin.com/in/marilli-mastrantoni-ab142636/). I like the project idea and wish to get involved. Please let me know more and keep me posted.


#6

This. Yes I can be the curator/host at ICA. Nest(the residency) is only one part of ICA and we have only 3 rooms, so it’s not residents that we need to access, but rather new partnerships and collaborations with similar initiatives, learning and exchanging new methods of working together horizontally, etc

Keep me posted and thanks x


#7

Looking forwards to getting stuck into this once I’m back in the U.K.
Only just back online after the desert trek


#8

I see Athens is on the potential list. I could help you there with contacts if you need them. Is @owen involved?


#9

Very very cool. Up for bringing coffee and arranging chairs! :smile:


#10

I put Athens there because Natalia, Matteo and I are going to be there probably end of October for a bootcamp and mini festival around urban game design in the project Matteo is leading with Goether Institut and Innovathens. So I think I will be fun to set it up… Will let you know, normally we should have some contacts already!

Owen is not involved, I’ll have to talk to him though…


#11

Do you have some actions or types of actions in mind already?


#12

Hey, I’m really interested in this idea @noemi!
I’m living in Berlin now and offer to support Nat (could you tag the right Nat here for me?), would love to chat and come up with some tasks I could help with.
While I’m not very well embedded here yet (have only been living here since September), I’m enmeshed with allies who are; artists, space holders, networkers, activists.
I have capacity for facilitating, communications, coordinating with spaceholders and community building.
(Also to note: I’m part of the steward team for a similar initiative running in Berlin and Oakland with a similar idea to network local hubs around the topic of global distributed democracy and collaboration).

Edit: @natalia_skoczylas I did some light digging (more like dusting) and it appears you would be the right Edgeryder to continue this conversation with, am I right?


#13

that is me, let’s have a coffee soon, will PM you :slight_smile:


#14

It sounds amazing. I am a bit overwhelmed by the positive responses we’ve gotten by the not so many users who are reading this. wow!

Can I ask, out of personal interest and trying to figure out how far and ambitious we can go with this: other than being the right person at a very right time, what makes you want to get involved? Do you see ways in which the series can contribute to your work?
Personally, I want to use it as a platform for discovering new action points and collaboration projects + sustainability models for them. If we stumble upon a solvable problem and have a lot of talent in the room, how do we make a collaboration across borders happen which will be financially supported?


#15

I’d also potentially be interested to contribute to one in Berlin
@noemi - for me, the appeal is that this idea has very concrete, limited requirements, yet offers much scope for a local group to develop its own ideas. So there’s an unusually good ratio of creative activity to admin/planning overhead. Plus, personally, I find that salon-type environments suit me very well.


#16

Wow so good to hear from you Dan… Didn’t know if you’re still in Berlin. Sending you a PM with a call were having next week to get going. Yuhuu


#17

Thanks for the questions Noemi!

There are reasons at all scales; most importantly for me, is that this concept aligns with my own dreams of holding space for conversations which matter, as I’m a geek for the emergence in group intelligence and have been honing my craft of hosting generative conversations as an art form of itself.
My work (in maori ‘mahi’ which also means life mission) is to grow serendipity through thriving networks at the glocal level. I see this series as a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the challenges in working at the local-global intersection.

The chance to step into an Edgeryders project is a benefit in itself; I’ve been looking forward to the right time, which appears to be now :wink:
Building relationships in the community here as well as the community of artists in Berlin is a tangible benefit for me. I’m comfortable enough in the quality of my capabilities to commit to freelance work in this field, and it always helps to be connected.

My worldview asserts that creativity is the lifeforce, and I’ve become deeply interested in the commons as a necessary container for creativity; for artists to feel safe enough to fail and make awkward learning steps. There is a sense of forgiveness that I find lacking from the remains of our utilitarian society.
That’s why this project in itself appeals to me, beyond the desire to find work in the fields I mentioned above.

I look forward to our discussion next Friday, and am meeting with Nat this afternoon to tune in with each other.


#18

Hey @noemi ,
That sounds like a great initiative.
What is the best way to keep up with the advancement of/ help with the project (I’m in Brussels as well)?
Maybe it’s possible to partner-up here with culture meet-up who are organizing similar events.


#19

Hi Guillaume, thanks for your interest, super happy that you wish to join!
Most of us who have replied so enthusiastically to this idea are meeting on Friday morning to discuss our strategy and calendar of events… I’m sending you the calendar invite just now, hope you can make it!
If not, I’ll be in Brussels next week and we can meet face to face,
But it’ll be good for you to get to know others from other parts of the world, so hoping you’ll join on Friday!


First Bedford Culture Squad event
#20

Dear Naomi and Alex,

I currently run a FB group with over a 1000 artists/ maker members.

Can I copy the concept note and put out via the group, the Black Arts Alliance, UK, and British Black and Asian Studies Association, or is it too early?

Also, no mention of events in the UK - not friends anymore? And the Culture Squad link appears to be set to private or a 404 error.

Regards,

Jason