ECF’s Idea Camp is a three-day collaborative working platform organised within the framework of Connected Action for the Commons, a network and action research programme led by ECF together with six cultural organisations from across Europe: Culture 2 Commons  - Alliance Operation CityClubture NetworkRight to the City - (Croatia), Les Tetes de l’Art (France), Krytyka Polityczna (Poland), Oberliht (Moldova), Platoniq - Goteo (Spain), and Subtopia (Sweden).

The Idea Camp is a miniature ‘pop-up city’ in itself, facilitating face-to-face interactions, and enabling the speedy sharing of ideas and contacts. All the ideas came out of the Idea Camp stronger than when they went in, and we were able to help each other.
— 2014 Idea Camp participant and R&D grantee Matthew Fox

The Idea Camp 2017 will take place in Madrid from 1 to 3 March 2017,  co-produced with our Connected Action for the Commons hub Platoniq and the City of Madrid. Find out more about the 2017 R&D grantees.

The Idea Camp 2014 took place in Marseille, France and focused on the topic Connected Action for Public Space. Find out more about the 2014 R&D grantees and check the ECF Labs: Idea Camp 2014 and Public Space.

The Idea Camp 2015 took place in Botkyrka, Sweden under the theme “Build the City”, applying the principles and ethics of the commons. Find out more about the 2015 R&D grantees and check the ECF Labs: Build the City Online Resources.

The Idea Camp is founded on the principles of free and open culture. It provides a safe and inspirational space for the cross-pollination of ideas, allowing projects and partnerships to emerge. The Idea Camp is both a meeting place and a working place, fuelled by workshops and people that will help the selected participants to:

  • investigate and further develop their ideas
  • exchange knowledge and find new collaborations
  • inspire and connect with other practitioners from different sectors
  • who are working with culture and communities
  • explore and challenge new democratic alternatives
Photo by Julio Albarrán.

Photo by Julio Albarrán.

The Idea Camp is an opportunity to highlight some of the most creative and adventurous ideas from across Europe and neighbouring countries and bring them to the attention of key policy makers and opinion formers.  And it supports ECF’s ambition to build a strong community of practice.  The Idea Camp is co-developed with the six hub partners of the Connected Action for the Commons programme and each year is hosted by one of them.

Each year the thematic focus connects to our Connected Action for the Commons programme. The theme for the 2015 Idea Camp is Build the City.

Build the City is about people creating sustainable cities through social cooperation and active participation with culture at its heart. It is about applying the principles and ethics of the commons to the transformation of the city, its communities and its economy.

More than urban environments, ‘The City’ can also refer to a neighbourhood or community where people are working together through cultural activities to shape their environments, improve their common life and develop new social and economic relationships.

Join our dedicated ‘Build the City’ Lab, where you can join in a wider discourse around culture, communities and democracy and the Commons.

Idea Makers at work during the Ideas on Wheels session. Photo by Julio Albarrán.

Idea Makers at work during the Ideas on Wheels session. Photo by Julio Albarrán.

Idea Makers

Each year we launch an open call for the most innovative and daring ideas on a theme related to the overall focus of Connected Action for the Commons. Together with our advisors we select 50 Idea Makers – artists and change-makers working in the area of the the commons, culture and democracy – to attend the Idea Camp and share their daring and exciting ideas on how communities can come together to change Europe through culture.

The Idea Makers animate the Idea Camp with their conversations, collaboration and exchange. They represent a wide range of practices and methodologies: from community gardening to participatory architecture, from open-knowledge platforms to collaborative artworks. See the full list of Idea Makers who have been invited to attend the 2015 Idea Camp and the organisations they represent.

R&D Grants

We support innovation and the development of ideas from an early stage. Following the Idea Camp, the 50 Idea Makers are invited to submit a proposal for up to 10,000 Euros for an R&D project. 25 of these proposals are selected to receive grants. 


The Idea Camp would not be possible without our Connected Action for the Commons programme partners: