This is the documentation from the 3 hour workshop I hosted in Berlin at an event with cultural workers and project leaders in the Mediterranean and MENA region. Some people are part of the Cultural Innovators Network (CIN) funded by Goethe Institute to support social transformation in the Mediterranean region.
How the workshop was promoted:
#OpenVillage: connecting community spaces for living and working together in the post-job economy
How do we build communities which deliver cultural, social and economic value, but care for members’ well-being? OpenVillage is an open project in-the-making by Edgeryders. We design, scout and create together spaces where people can work on their projects by joining their time, money, equipment to produce sustainable work.
Do you have a project using open knowledge and technologies? Are you a member in co-working networks, creative collectives, a squat or any community? Do you want to join one or learn from others? The workshop is organised in three parts: 1) Show & Tell: learning about participants experiences 2) Challenge space: exploring 3 communities, physical or online, and how members collaborate 3) Connecting our projects in a 5 month roadmap, mindful of each participant’s limited time.
We were 16 people from many countries: Egypt (Reem, Omar, Amira, Gehad?), Lebanon, Jordan (Dana, Sabrine), Turkey (Efehan), Serbia (Vladimir), Italy (Lorenzo), Greece (Potiris), Palestine (Maysa), The Netherlands (Helga) (also see rough intros). I was pleased to learn that…
- Amira, one of the founders of Mesaha community space in Cairo is now trying to set up a new space in a rural area called Siwa.
- Lorenzo who is a filmmaker in Florence is also an amateur baker using old types of wheat that has been around in the past but less used now - “grani antichi” is the name in Italian. He has extensive experience hustling and working on cultural projects.
The introduction of OpenVillage:
The reactions and general feel in the room was, in my view, of being overwhelmed, in a good way.
The presentation was a stop & ask kind of delivery because people had SO many questions.
What the group work revealed
(Photo by Lorenzo)
-They dreamed up two openvillage cases: one in Egypt, one in Greece. The one in Egypt, an idea Amira has, seems it’s less of a distant dream.
Helga’s, Vladimir’s,… group:
A group in which none of the member’s work was directly connected to the possibility of living in a house together with others. They only talked about how their projects can progress in collaboration: reach out tactics, mentorship.
“We need to professionalize… especially grassroots groups where there is no sponsors, but communication channels work very well.” (In the context of a self organised film festival)
Lorenzo’s, Maysa’s… group - see Lorenzo’s comment below!
Designed a project considering 5 points: unique differentiator for the project, alternatives around, and what would make it work, ways of funding the project and IP as important for opensource.
Jenin - Maysa’s city in north Palestine: she wants to crowdfund for Jenin, and create a co-working space where people can come to work and it would engage the local community of farmers and people to work the land - i.e. agriculrural and tobacco fields. The space could interest tourists and locals - a hostel and a restaurant, residencies where tourists can coma and stay. The artist side can be a workshop space, cooking together space based on what the farm is producing. All the projects would be licensed cc.