ECF communicates our programmes’ inspiring initiatives to public audiences and policy-makers in order to influence policy change.
We bridge people and democratic institutions by connecting local cultural change-makers and communities across Europe because we firmly believe that Europe is powered by culture.
Connected Action for the Commons
In 2015, the six hubs of the Connected Action for the Commons network – Les Têtes de l’Art (France); Culture 2 Commons (Croatia); Krytyka Polityczna (Poland); Subtopia (Sweden); Platoniq (Spain) and Oberliht (Moldova) – engaged in a collaborative action research project on culture and the commons.
Throughout 2015, the hubs have been exchanging knowledge and scaling up their practices and impact, exploring models to ensure their sustainability and impact.
Build the City: Perspectives on Commons and Culture
An example of this collaborative spirit was a special publication of the Connected Action for the Commons programme, which was jointly published with Krytyka Polityczna (see Knowledge Management for more information).
Visit www.culturalfoundation.eu/connected-action for more details.
The Idea Camp is the biggest initiative within the framework of the Connected Action for the Commons programme – developed by ECF in collaboration with the six programme hubs. The goal is to become a catalyst for developing and co-creating selected ideas – providing a safe space of trust, sharing and connecting with others. Through our Idea Camps, ECF is in the unique position of being able to award grants to help develop some of the most innovative ideas in the European cultural sector.
The second edition of the Idea Camp – with the theme Build the City – took place at Subtopia’s premises in Alby (Stockholm, Botkyrka) in September 2015. We received more than 400 applications through an open call for ideas and chose 50 ideas from 23 countries.
The idea makers were joined by key policy-makers, journalists, foundation representatives and members from the local community to allow room for a broader dialogue.
Following the 2015 Idea Camp, 25 Research & Development (R&D) grants were awarded to help develop the most innovative ideas drawing on the principles and ethics of the commons to transform cities.
ECF also continued to monitor the progress of each R&D grant awarded after the first Idea Camp in 2014 and helped grantees to promote their work.
Visit www.culturalfoundation.eu/idea-camp-2015 for more details.
“The fight for the commons in cities is essentially a fight to reclaim democracy – and to re-imagine how city life is organised.”
‘The Commons, Political Transformation and Cities’ (from Build the City)
ECF is a learning organisation – connecting knowledge and people across Europe. Knowledge Management is a transversal approach that runs across our organisation.
ECF connects spheres of knowledge both internally and externally. Understanding these connections – as well as the strengths and gaps in our knowledge – allows staff and partners to share knowledge more effectively. Knowledge Management is also about how we leverage the knowledge of our partners and our staff.
- For example, through the publication Build The City: Perspectives on Commons and Culture, ECF brought together compelling content and conversations from the ECF Labs community and other sources. This was a starting point to seek connections, build networks and knowledge, as well as communicating to a wider audience. Picked up by numerous platforms, Build the City was reprinted within five months.
- Highlighting the expertise of our partners in the Connected Action for the Commons network is the motivation behind ECF’s ‘hub correspondents’. This group of editors, journalists and researchers from the hub countries is assigned to bring back stories about the hubs’ local environments. Starting their research in 2015, they will deliver texts and publications in 2016.
- ECF supported the Stichting Nieuwe Helden for a performance and documentary with theatre maker Lucas de Man called In Search of Europe, exploring the relationship between communities, new movements in Europe and the commons.
ECF Labs is a digital interactive space and key source for community knowledge that invites people to take part in an open conversation about Europe, culture and democracy.
Launched in 2014, it connects ECF with partners, stakeholders and the broader public across Europe. The platform attracts a community that is growing organically around thematic spaces for debate and knowledge sharing. It is a place to mine for knowledge, spot trends and potentially engage a wide community across borders in campaigning, events and research.
ECF Labs plays a central role in the development of ECF’s digital agenda and ambition, with the goal of facilitating and supporting strong online connections and knowledge sharing on topics that are key to ECF: culture, communities and democracy across Europe and beyond.
Achievements in 2015:
- The platform has become an integrated tool for research, reflection and debate among ECF staff and partners, attracting and connecting individuals and organisations related to all our programmes.
- The ECF Labs open community continued to grow – with 13,000 registered, verified members at the end of 2015 who are interested in online debate, sharing knowledge and community engagement.
- The open source community shares more than 50 public rooms – or ‘Labs’ – 20 of which were opened by members themselves in 2015. Subjects range from Craftism to Crowdfunding.
- The Labs technology has developed into a state of the art and innovative European online tool, further consolidated by the beta-release of the ECF Labs web app. Scalable and flexible, fast and user friendly, it has been welcomed positively and co-developed by members of the ECF Labs community.
Visit ECF Labs at http://ecflabs.org/app.
“It’s so refreshing to hear in the creative/arts sector some dissenting and questioning voices – something the Labs do really well.”
Moderator of the Artistic Entrepreneurship Project Lab
ECF has a long publishing history – producing a range of stand-alone publications as well as publishing jointly with our partners. In the last 10 years alone, ECF has published or co-produced more than 60 books and many more essays, research papers and reports.
We frequently share programme outcomes, methodological approaches and reflections via in-house publications and books, which are produced in many different languages, often in cooperation with local project partners and specialised publishing houses. In 2015, we started to make more of our rich publishing history available online and will expand this throughout 2016. Our publications provide a platform for sharing and encouraging in-depth reflections in a sustainable, measurable and tangible way.
Highlights in 2015:
- Another Europe: 15 Years of Capacity Building with Cultural Initiatives in the EU Neighbourhood provides an overview of the concepts and experiences that have emerged from collaborating with cultural initiatives in the EU Neighbourhood countries since the late 1990s.
- Developing Cultural Industries: Learning from the Palimpsest of Practice focuses on cultural and creative industries in developing countries. Author Christiaan De Beukelaer was awarded the 2012 Cultural Policy Research Award (CPRA), leading to this publication.
- Build the City: Perspectives on Commons and Culture provides an invaluable resource and theoretical background for the Idea Camp, and also offers a wider opportunity for practitioners and thinkers from different sectors to connect and engage in a continuing conversation.
ECF also supported the following publications, which were published in 2015:
- Europe: Closed Doors or Open Arms? Culture and Migration. Published by ifa in May 2015, an English version was supported by ECF through a partnership grant in 2014.
- No Culture, No Europe was launched just before the PMA ceremony in BOZAR, Brussels. Edited by Professor Pascal Gielen and published by Valiz, this book is a co-production with Research Institute Arts in Society, Groningen University, Fontys School for Fine and Performing Arts Tilburg, BOZAR Brussels and ECF (also supported through a 2014 grant).
ECF’s publications can be found in the ECF Library at
“At a time when both democracy and the market are challenged both inside and outside Europe, it is endeavours such as
those discussed in Another Europe that give us hope that we can make a difference.”
Chairman of the Centre for Liberal Strategies in Sofia, Bulgaria, and Permanent Fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna, Austria