This is an update probably relevant for @anique.yael and her upcoming events which could use parts of this work.
In spring 2016, after Edgeryders Living on the Edge 5 event, with @natalia_skoczylas and @alex_levene we started a Culture Squad - a bit like the research team in Edgeryders kicking off now, but focused on working in culture and drawing on the experience working with European Capitals of Culture - 2 winning cities (Matera 2019, Galway 2020) and 1 shortlisted (Bucharest 2019).
We developed a pitch for our own understanding of the offer to cities.
What did we learn, if anything?
We tried to make contact with new cities running for the title in upcoming years (in the UK or Luxembourg), and the highest potential ones were where there was a strong relationship with someone working there. The more senior or central, the better. Even with a contact and a supporter inside, like in the case of Leeuwarden 2018 (@jort_klarenbeek) things stalled.
Making contact over email or phone will not get us far i.e. so as to schedule meetings in person, be invited to travel and do an event, public pitching etc.
The timelines between a public administration and ER are not aligned. Even after our contracts ended with the winning cities and there was more work in the pipeline - Edgeryders being a partner in some of the projects in the bidbooks + more consultancy work - we found that the timeline in which cities operate is not compatible with our pace. We expect things to happen faster, but we are talking windows of 6 months minimum. With Matera, you can get an idea: the time between our contract in 2014 when they won and August/Sept 2017 when we partnered up again, is… well, very long
Writing random funding applications doesnt work. Another front was applying for European funding with a grassroots cultural residency modeled on unMonastery and the work in Bucharest - we called it Futurespotters Lab - but we didnt win any - neither the click based competitions nor the proposals with, it needs to be said, rushed and cosmetic partnerships.
Where are we now?
Our most important development is that we have changed the approach and are aiming for across-city services.
building an international network of grassroots cultural projects which can deliver projects to cities and be each other’s partners- cities would be buying in to be part of it, so to speak. The change is as follows: at the core, we would not fundraise from the cities themselves, but from transnational organisations type ECF.
will be deliver a community building training of 2 days in Matera in December, within the new contractual work, and there will be more cities attending. We will present the training as a product for any city wishing to build better community processes and collaboration.
[not official yet] we are preparing a webinar with community building content to be delivered to an international cultural network. the sales process was that I went to an event where I hosted a workshop around something else - they liked Edgeryders, recognised expertise and it happens that they want to learn from us.
we are partnering up with community members who are already doing work in culture! I.e. with Matteo - for a European funding application around urban games in various cities - in this case, Edgeryders can be an impact partner due to our global network. More details are available if you need them.
This is it for now. Me and Alberto I guess are still pursuing this but organically. We might have been more strategic about it, but other things got prioritised… Also worth noting: the Culture Squad team work was funded with 2K initially from Edgeryders Lbg, with no real results. It is not funded anymore but we keep a live interest.
Hope this helps,
Would appreciate connections with people you meet who are doing work in culture