As 5 exemplary sustainability projects from ENCC members and others, created in cooperation with the network, come to an end, we gather some inspirational lessons and resources.
In 2020, the ENCC launched a pilot programme about culture and sustainability called Seeds of Sustainability (SOS). In a first phase, we launched a call for sustainability projects in cultural centres, collecting examples and practices from 45 organisations throughout Europe. We decided to collaborate with a few of them as inspiring examples for local-to-international upscaling.
The five exemplary projects were selected through a combination of public voting and a jury of experts. As they come to an end, they provide a few insights on how cultural organisations can act for sustainability on the local level, and how networking can put small-scale initiatives in a wider perspective and disseminate them towards the international level.
Centrala Cycles : Sustainable Mobility with Centrala Space (UK)
This map of little-used bike paths along Birmingham canals, designed by ENCC member Centrala Space, is the result of a project combining sustainable mobility, social inclusiveness and valorization of local natural and industrial heritage. It shows how a small-scale project can address multiple challenges and issues such as breaking the isolation of migrants living outside inner cities, introducing them to the topic of sustainable mobility, fighting car congestion created on the peripheries of clear air zones, creating new communities of users and building local partnerships - here between a cultural centre and a cooperative bike repair space that offered free workshops for participants of the project.
Cas*Aupa : Plasticart Week : Environmental Sustainability with Cas*Aupa (Italy)
The reuse of plastic is a key to changing our relationship to production and waste. This project by ENCC member Cas*Aupa, a cultural centre and youth creativity space in Udine, gives recycled plastic a new life as raw artistic material. Structured around a residency and an exhibition where artists collaborated with local artisans to create pieces made out of recycled plastic, it offered many workshops for the local community with a special focus on young participants. ENCC Board member and sustainability expert Vittorio Bianco participated in the process, which is an example of how to engage multiple target groups, how artistic practices can be involved in innovative laboratories and how a project can mix local and international elements for potential replicability.
MOCI : Ethical Digitalization with 7 Arte (Kosovo)
In the age of the ‘data tsunami’, we need to start questioning digital tools seriously. The ethical digitalisation strand of the ENCC SOS programme looks at their carbon footprint, but also at moving away from Big Tech platforms and towards open source and web democracy. The MOCI project, initiated by 7-Arte in collaboration with Tek Bunkeri and Munja, is a participative process connecting 22 rural and social actors in Kosovo and throughout the Balkans, to co-create an open source, free, educational platform. We’re supporting and promoting this project to show that participatory processes on ethical digitalisation are possible and need to be encouraged, and that alternatives to mainstream tools exist.
Wildflower Weekend : Circular Economy with The Duncairn (UK)
ENCC member The Duncairn initiated this project to raise awareness about environmental issues in North Belfast, one of the most socially and economically deprived areas of the city, with very limited recycling. The goal was to empower neighbouring communities to make environmentally-friendly decisions by giving them a better understanding of the life cycle of plastic, promoting re-use, repair and upcycling, and greening the urban environment. The project put a strong focus on dissemination, with creative workshops, repair sessions, short videos by local environmental activists, and 165 environmental kits (including a comic co-produced with children) that were distributed to schoolchildren. A good example of the cross-cutting-and-pollinating nature of sustainability work, and the capacity of cultural organisations to engage with it.
The House of Klajn : Social Sustainability with The House Collective (Croatia)
Equality, diversity, deep participation and cultural democracy are crucial ingredients for our societies’ resilience in times of multiple crisis. This particular project by The House Collective in Klanjec tackles social sustainability by asking how a cultural house initiated by a few can become a home for many - and then lets the community give the answers. During a four-day intensive workshop, young architects and urban planners worked with local citizens to explore the past identities of the building, its importance in the community, and its future operating models. Part of the exemplary quality of this project is that it involves the community in the co-creation of the space as well as the artistic program.
- Read the project report to find out more about its methodology and results