Cultural and Creative Spaces and Cities is a policy project co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union. The project brings together a consortium of ten organisations led by Trans Europe Halles, the European network of non-governmental cultural centres. The European Cultural Foundation is one of those ten organisations.
With this project, we aim to prove that creativity, arts and culture can transform public spaces and cities. During two and a half years we connect cultural and creative spaces with local policy-makers through participatory processes. Together, we will tackle some of the most pressing urban challenges. We will develop, test and validate methods for local governments to engage their stakeholders in co-design of policies. As a result, civil society and public authorities will develop new policies to improve our cities.
A conference in April 2019 was the launching event of this experimental project involving cultural and creative spaces and policymakers. Since then, the Urban Labs are at the core of this project. These gather cultural organisations, local authorities, cultural and creative spaces to explore complex urban challenges in collaboration with other stakeholders. Together, they commit to develop innovative solutions.
Seven organisations are responsible for leading and organising seven Urban Labs in partnership with a number of selected organisations, the so-called Handshake Partners. In total, 37 organisations in 21 European countries are part of the Urban Labs. What they all have in common is: they are already exploring new and groundbreaking methodologies of co-creation and policy development, and they are ready to override hierarchical organisational structures in favour of horizontal and collaborative approaches.
One of the workshops in the Urban Labs series took place in Lund, Sweden, last month. Our policy officer Violante Torre attended. She reports: “The aim is to test, explore and develop methodologies for key stakeholders who are engaged in supporting and working with young creative semi-professionals. It is not always common to leave work-processes open, but as that is one of the means of realizing this project the workshop centered on tips and tricks for organizations to organize their work in a self-managed way, more collaborative and less hierarchical.”
The workshop was facilitated by Natalia Lombardo, from the consulting and training enterprise The Hum. “She challenged the 30+ participants to invest in “out of the box” ways to foster more collaborative decision-making processes. The workshop also helped participants to rethink the conventional ways in which we interpret “engagement” in decision-making processes.” Unlearning seems to be a great deal of the job. “Yes, because the CSCC policy project focuses on participatory governance to deepen citizen engagement in governmental decision-making, regular policy institutions as ours need to offer space to third parties. So, this workshop truly provided tools for the next CCSC partners’ meeting in Kosice, end of September. There researchers and Urban Labs will be updating each other on their progress, and plan cooperation on the next steps in the project.” The CCSC facebook page will update you too.