Idea Camp 2015: Meet the 25 R&D Grantees and their ideas

Following ECF’s second Idea Camp which took place from 23 to 25 September 2015 in Botkyrka (Sweden), the 50 participants – the Idea Makers  - were invited to further develop their ideas on this year's theme  “Build the City” and submit a proposal for a Research and Development (R&D) Grant. “Build the City” is about applying the principles and ethics of the commons to the transformation of the city, its communities and its economy. It is about people creating more sustainable cities through social cooperation and active participation with culture at its heart. Below is a list of the  25 proposals which have each been awarded an R&D grant of up to 10.000 EUR.

To read the individual biographies of each grantee, check the Idea Camp 2015 Booklet presenting the 50 participants to the Idea Camp.

    Merve Bedir, Land+Civilization Compositions, Netherlands

    Bostan: A Garden for All
    Merve's idea is about empowering refugees - together with locals, through culture, collective action and solidarity. The aim is to develop a kitchen and orchard made by refugees and locals, in South East Turkey. This will ultimately create a vocational education environment and socio-economical value for refugees.   

    Sophie Bloemen,  Commons Network, Germany

    Principles for Urban Commons

    Throughout Europe we are witnessing a blossoming of the practice of commoning in the urban environment: transformations of urban space through temporary and permanent civic interventions. Sophie aims to develop set strategies and legal tools to protect the social value created by commoning projects, focussing her research particularly on Amsterdam and Berlin. 

    Federico Brivio, Collectif Transbordeur, France

    QX1 - Migrant community docking pilot

    Frederic believes that experience sharing and collective action will help migrants facing the helplessness and confusion generated by a heavy and complex bureaucracy. His idea is to create a participative information-sharing platform, in multiple languages, based on migrants needs and experiences.

    Viviana Checchia,  Centre for Contemporary Arts - Glasgow (CCA), UK   

    Botanic Concrete

    Botanic Concrete' (BC) will provide a learning platform where people will be able to 'Build the city' by producing a new urban knowledge, one based on the heterogenous profiles, skills and imaginations of the participants.

    Nicolai Chirnev, Moldova

    Summer Cinema in Open Air  

    Nicolai will be working on the re-development of an unused open air cinema in Chisinau which will act as a hub where local citizens, especially young people, can come together to discuss the future and talk about issues that affect the community. The aim is to strengthen the spirit of the community and engage more citizens in local activism and building their city together.

    Paul Currion, Ko Gradi Grad, Serbia

    Access to affordable public housing poses a huge challenge in Belgrade. Traditional financial mechanisms do not meet the needs of a wide section of the urban population to finance their homes. This research will explore how proven approaches such as community bonds and local exchange schemes can combine with new cryptocurrencies to support community housing.

    Ana Gonçalves, Estoril Higher Institute for Tourism and Hotel Studies (ESHTE) and TERRiTUR, Centre for Geographical Studies, IGOT-UL, Portugal

    The Ageless City: Intergenerational Spaces for Culturally Diverse Neighbourhoods in Europe

    Taking Lefebvre's idea of lived space as its starting point, this proposal aims at bringing together younger and senior residents of ethnically diverse communities in two European cities - Mouraria in Lisbon and Butetown in Cardiff. They will be invited into communities of practice and learning where they can use their 'multiple intelligences' to reflect on ways to improve the appropriation of public space and the preservation of cultural heritage. 

    Ale González, Arquitecturas Colectivas GRRR Working Group, Spain


    Grrr is a strategy that connects supply ad demand between self-managed urban projects and public and private companies and institutions for the management and re-use of physical resources such as consturction materials. The project will take the form of a set of protocols, agreements, and manuals, and a digital tool that will visualise supply and demand, manage and monitor resources and calculate the resulting environmental impact.

    Dzmitry Herylovich, Ecohome, Belarus

    Rolling Knowledge

    ‘Rolling knowledge’ is a mobile school/laboratory of applied skills for life, art, handcraft and management for people of every age and education level living in rural areas. Dzmitry will bring people together in workshops and cultural activities that they will organise themselves so they can develop local communities and protect local cultural traditions in pottery/ceramics, knitting, folk-singing and so on.

    Tamar Janashia, Culture and Management Lab, Georgia

    New Life of Old Buildings

    Tamar's idea aims to expand the cultural centre of the city to the marginalised parts, which have many unused spaces and abandoned buildings. She wants to transform these buildings into cultural spaces that will contribute to the sustainable development of the community and diversify the life of the neighbourhoods.

    Reem Khedr, Mahatat for contemporary art, Egypt

    City Castles/Invisible Shadows

    This idea is based on the need for new spaces for young artists and creatives together with the number of abandoned/unused buildings in Port Said, Egypt. The project aims to explore the possibilities of revitalising these unused buildings through artistic and cultural activities.

    Juan López-Aranguren, Autobarrios (self-made neighbourhoods), Spain

    Young curators to heal a neighbourhood

    The idea is to empower local young people by helping them to become curators of cultural events in their own neighbourhoods. Juan will undertake research, learning from a range of other international projects, to develop a toolkit and guidance so that the 'autobarrios' methodology an be adopted in other European cities.

    Miguel Magalhaes, EDA, Portugal

    PlataForma: power to the makers

    With the belief that citizens need non-institutional spaces to gather and breed new models for alternative solutions, Plataforma proposes to convert Trafaria's old abandoned prison into a lab for European creative communities.

    Wojtek Matejko, Otwarty Jazdów Partnership, Poland

    Civic Managed Areas

    Public infrastructure can be used more effectively when there is a vision and social capital involved. Wojtek's research will study existing 'community managed areas' (CMA) and develop a model to help these projects unleash their full potential.

    Silvia Nanclares, Spain

    Caring IN the city  

    Silvia's project aims to redefine and re-invent the neighbourhood to make it more welcoming and child-friendly, a place where a community-based upbringing can be a reality. It also aims to create a learning community that will be in charge of carrying out the research and the creative process.

    Laura M.Pana, migrationlab, Netherlands

    Welcome to The Living Room!

    Laura's idea is to allow migrants and refugees to tell their stories in improvised public 'living rooms', using a mix of artistic and narrative forms, so that local audiences can hear about their experiences and learn more about the problems they face. This cultural exchange is designed to increase cohesion and reduce mistrust and alienation in communities where refugees and migrants are settled.

    Irina Paraschivoiu, The Creative Room, Romania

    Permanent space, temporary city

    Insight City is a pilot project for crowdsourcing ideas from local citizens for the improvement of their local communities in Romania. Irina aims to show through this prototype that this method of working directly with citizens can solve local problems effectively.

    Laura Popplow, IBG e.V./University of the Arts Linz, Germany

    Design Build/Refugeecamp "Alte Ziegelei" Mainz

    The refugee crisis has put great pressure on housing, and led to the construction of many ad-hoc and temporary camps. Laura's idea will explore the opportunities for communities to develop affordable, sustainable housing solutions through collective work and sharing or knowledge and resources.

    Ylva Rancken-Lutz, Ekenäs Story Caravan working group, Finland

    The Ekenäs Story Caravan

    The Story Caravan is a mobile studio which will tell the stories of local citizens in a variety of formats, including audio and video. It is a place-making project designed to deepen local engagement, place identity and develop alternative methods for democratic dialogue between community members. Ylva will collect the stories, edit them and into podcasts and publish them online with an interactive map.

    Mohab Saber, ElMadina for Performing and Digital Arts, Egypt


    Mohab's R&D work will map abandoned spaces in Alexandria, help local young people to become guides and offer 'Culture Walks' to visitors, and in the longer term equip women in the community with the skills to manage these spaces as local cultural venues.

    Frederic Sultan, Remix the Commons, France

    Atlas of Urban Commons Charters

    Frederic's idea is to map the legal charters and frameworks that underpin many of the urban commons initiatives across Southern Europe and develop a catalog of tools and methods to co-produce and support practices of governance of urban commons.

    Zuzana Tabackova, SKRZ, Germany

    Network the school!

    Zuzana's idea is to make the (often unused) resources of local schools available to citizens outside teaching hours and to allow residents to use their skills and abilities to improve the neighbourhood. The project aims to be a model for education professionals interested in making their institutions play a more active role within their local communities. 

    Steve Threlfall, We Make Places CIC, UK

    Changing the delivery mechanism for physical regeneration is vital in fostering long term resilience in communities. Steve's project - The Urban Workbench - will be a hub for communities looking to do repairs and self build projects. Citizens will learn building skills and lost crafts and assist one another in takingg control of building their neighbourhoods.

    Bea Varnai, urbaMonde, France

    Social Production of Habitat: Towards a European platform

    The quantitative and qualitative housing crisis in Europe is an urgent problem, not only in fast-growing cities, but also in shrinking cities with depleted housing stock. Bea will build a map of community housing intiatives across Europe and facilitate knowledge exchange between them by developing a Digital Social Platform.

    Gokçe Su Yoğurtçuoğlu, MODE Istanbul, Turkey

    Yemek Hikaye

    Through this R&D process, Su will create a resource space for stories about collective urban gardening projects in a variety of formats (e.g. text, video, photo, infographics), under various themes (e.g. self-sustenance, clean soil, food safety), highlighting various emergencies. The resource space will be fed and disseminated via a range of online and offline activities.