The preparation seminar for the 2010 round of exchanges took place in Berlin, from 24th to 27th March. It brought together 20 future exchangees, several staff members of different participating cultural centres, ENCC members and the BECC coordination team.
During the four seminar days there were plenty of opportunities for the individual centres’ presentation, both within the group as well as one on one, during the speed dating session. Practical information for the hosting centres and the visiting professionals was made available and both sides were encouraged to discuss, inquire and share.
The informal reception on the evening of the 24th provided a first platform for introduction and presentation. The group visited ACUD cultural centre, where they found out about the organisational structure, the projects and activities of a community cultural centre struggling with financial and logistical issues. Felix Goldman, the ACUD theatre administrator, showed the group around, explaining how the different individual parts of the centre (theatre, café, exhibition hall) function.
The next day, the core seminar programme started with a presentation by the ENCC Vice-President Søren Søeborg Ohlsen. The session dealt with the definition of a cultural centre, the different categories and their common points.
For the next part of the programme the participants changed the location and moved outside for a dynamic and fun group building activity led by Daniel Pietzsch.
After lunch, a speed dating activity took place. Every representative of the cultural centres present met with five other fellow participants during 15 minute-sessions. The aim was dual: finding a suitable candidate for each centre to host and finding a preferred centre for each participant to visit.
The afternoon ended with an intercultural communication training moderated by Karina Gourevitch. She encouraged the group to brainstorm about communication means, values, their role and their concrete form and the definition of culture.
The evening ended with a visit to an independent cultural centre: Pfefferberg. The group was led through the huge complex, while hearing the history of the place and how it came to be what it is today. The former (empty) beer cellar was one of the highest attraction points, as well as one of the resident plastic artists’ workshops.
The last part of the seminar, on Friday morning, offered the participants practical information about the BECC project in general and the exchanges in particular. Monica Zarna, a former participant in the BECC pilot phase in 2009, presented the project from a cultural worker’s perspective, providing advice on common issues such as communication and logistic arrangements. Juste Kostikovaite, another former participant, talked about her experience and gave valuable tips for the future hosting cultural centres.
A final questions and answers session was moderated by Luis Prada. The participants asked about financial issues and the evaluation seminar in Vienna and they offered feedback on the overall content of the seminar.
On Saturday several informal meetings with the managers of some of the hosting organisations where held to help smoothen the exchange process.