The UP Grants programme, open to all socio-cultural centres throughout Europe, awards micro-grants to exemplary initiatives for their implementation or further development, and offers them visibility at the European level.
Up Grants practices and ideas are grouped in four thematic areas, such as education and awareness-raising; arts and sustainability; event organisation; management of a socio-cultural centre. The eight projects we are about to tell you about were selected during the 2022 UP Grants contest, through a combination of public voting and a jury of experts, organised by the European Network of Cultural Centres.
We've gathered all our resources and conclusions on these exemplary initiatives of UP Grants 2022 aiming to provide visibility and inspiration to all. The benefits of networking puts small-scale initiatives in a wider perspective and helps disseminate them towards the international level.
As the projects have come to an end, here are a few insights on how cultural organisations can be advocates of sustainability on the local level.
If you’d like to apply, the next round of UP Grants will open in autumn 2023.
Education & Awareness Raising
Rifiò – Educadora ONLUS Cecchi Point, Italy
The Rifiò project aimed at reducing food waste by collecting discarded or 'past-due-date" vegetables that were no longer suitable for human consumption. These were then used to regenerate plants. Once these plants flowered, they then provided food for pollinators. Thanks to these regenerated plants Rifiò created a pollinators' garden in Cecchi Point Multicultural Hub courtyard and distributed plants in reused plastic boxes to the people of the neighbourhood. Rifiò added a further step, by raising awareness about pollinators' biodiversity, the role of pollinators in the ecosystem and in agriculture, and the importance of reducing food waste.
The estimated impact through the use of proper quantitative and qualitative indicators would be; 1 pollinators' garden created will involve around 30 young people/kids and trained around 800 people during the project. This includes open-air market customers and vendors, associations members, citizens that will adopt pollinator-friendly plant boxes and pots.
Materia – La Capagrossa, Italy
Materia, a project aimed at re-use of plastic bottle caps during various workshops. Materia continued the collection of the plastic caps from the local shops of Ruvo di Puglia. Each shop has been provided with a small container and gathered all the caps from the bottles used during the week. Every Monday the materials were collected, which were then divided by type and colour and then shredded to be reused during the workshops.
During these months La Capagrossa had the possibility to implement the prototype of the gadget that became the symbol of Materia: “Rosoni – La nuova pasta di Puglia”, is a cutter for the fresh pasta that can at the same time cut the pasta and imprint the silhouette of the rose window of the Ruvo di Puglia Cathedral (our city) on it. The design of the object was one of the major challenges: the aim was to obtain a gadget for citizens and tourists that had to be appealing, but also comfortable at the same time. “Rosoni” has been coated with a proper graphic design and a catchy and elegant packaging. The design was made in order to open the possibility of producing more pasta cutters, depicting rose windows of other cities of Apulia.
Arts & Sustainability
Le Jardin (The Garden) - La Station - Collectif MU - France
Le Jardin combines composting and gardening spaces, and works for an urban (agri)culture, creative and productive of social links. La Station - Gare des Mines site is 3,000m2 of outdoor space and offers a field of "doing" and "caring", and experimentation in the desartificialisation of soil, and revegetation (“greening”). It aims at reducing the bio-waste of the site and the neighbours, to transform it into compost, to enrich the soil of the site, and to carry out in parallel the development of an experimental garden associating art practices.
The composters provided by the City of Paris were built and inaugurated on 16 February 2022 in the presence of the master composter of the City of Paris, Damien Houbron, and the workers, residents of the Station, and beneficiaries of Air de Repos. It has since been used daily by these pioneers of the project. Since the resumption of the activity and with the spring, the sites of the Station can welcome up to a hundred people per day, all activities included (day care, restaurant, workshops, residence, work, etc.).
Le Jardin puts forward a circular economy and places cultural encounters at the centre of its practice and its concerns. Collectif MU aims to reduce waste during events, as well as raising awareness about circularity, overproduction of waste, and composting.
Here you can find out more about La Station - Gare des Mines here
Also watch a video of their activities at La Station - Gare des Mines here
Esseri Reciproci – Banda Larga APS, Italy
A contemporary discussion around the ecological crisis proposes a multidisciplinary approach. “Esseri Reciproci” is an educational path consisting of workshops, public talks, music performances, and art installations held across the city of Turin. The main actor behind the organisation of the event was Banda Larga - the cultural association responsible for the cultural activities of Imbarchino - that coordinated the project management activities and co-designed the program of the event with PAV and the cultural association Better Places. These meetings, workshops, artistic performances, interactive walks, and inspirational talks with cultural operators, climate activists, contemporary artists, and local policymakers of this project bring together the experiences of different European cultural centres and young activists.
A series of podcasts, from the interviews and talks, will be released on Radio Banda Larga website, accessible anytime and to anyone. These talks and podcasts will reach a heterogeneous audience (younger generations, families, workers, and students) and make scientific data more accessible to non-scientists.
Spreading the culture of sustainability and enhancing the role of environmental awareness in influencing people’s behaviour, promoting positive change through a series of initiatives and actions by using quantitative and qualitative indicators are at the core of this project.
You can listen to a series of podcasts, interviews and talks, on Radio Banda Larga here
Stage-to-Table - Il Laboratorio C.T.M. A.P.S. - Italy
The Stage-to-Table project, following the same principle of Farm-to-Table food, aims to act locally, raising cultural, civic and food awareness by merging the performative arts, a shared meals and collective reflections. Designed with the aim of employing art and culture to implement a pattern change, to raise awareness and influence behaviours in order to promote sustainability and plant seeds for ecological thinking, Stage-To-Table involved around 250 people in the peripheral area of Mirafiori Sud.
The project, as its nature implies, had been flexible and had few changes to meet the constantly mutating needs of the population it refers to. This implied the remodelling of the originally prototype event composed by a food laboratorial moment and an artistic performance, which was supposed to involve part of the target during the whole day: our sin has been not considering from the start the shade of sustainability that regards time.
The public who was interested, happy and available to attend the performance, often wasn’t available to attend the earlier cooking workshop and vice versa because of different priorities and really small slots of time and energy left to “feed the soul”. Although the schedule was varied, those changes mainly positively influenced the path, giving more temporal and physical space and spaces to STT initiatives, allowing a smoother distribution during the eligible time frame.
You can see more on the performances here
Organising an Event
Slowfest in New Aquitaine - France
Slowfest is a project that tackles environmental issues through culture and tourism, by taking into account the economic aspects, as well as the well-being of the participants. With the objective of “green mobility” and reducing the environmental impact in the cultural sector through concrete and collective action and transfer of know-how for the changes in practice of the people working in the cultural sector. Together with seven cultural centres in New Aquitaine, from La Rochelle to Bordeaux, Slowfest aims to design and implement an experimental low-carbon tour (by bike, or by train), in order to inspire the organisation of future eco-designed touring events.
Between June 2022 and August 2023, several shows and events will be organised with local and international partners in order to prepare for the different issues raised: energy, logistics, financing, accommodation, and health. Also, provide concrete solutions on how to organise ecological events. The tour will last 1 month with seven or eight stages between the cities of La Rochelle and Bordeaux. Mixing musical and dance proposals, with eco-designed shows, but also slow food and slow accommodation, and mediation to raise awareness of environmental issues. Main objectives are: the promotion of green mobility and energy autonomy in good production conditions, reducing the environmental impact in the cultural sector through concrete and collective action, transferring know-how, and aid change in the practice of the people working in the cultural sector.
The Slowfest team will take the time with the inhabitants to draw the eco-responsible, collective and artistic practices. Organisation of a 12 days artistic and experimental low carbon touring project in New Aquitaine from La Rochelle to Angoulême. The final project, now called « les Furtives » , is shorter and less long than the initial one (One month from La Rochelle to Bordeaux).
Watch the video here
You can find our more about Slowfest here
Managing a Socio-Cultural Centre
Peri Viou Socio-Cultural Centre - Eco-friendly Lighting, Greece
Peri Viou socio-cultural centre is located in a small Greek rural city of Thessaly. Since it opened its doors in 2017, Periviou operates at least three times per week with projects, events and all socio-cultural activities which offer local society a different point of view.
As a non-profit organisation with all volunteering membership, Periviou manages the centre and its activities with direct democratic -open to all- assembly once a month. Located in a 700m² garden, Periviou has the opportunity to host several community activities such as social gardening and live events. Providing the community with events that can take place in the evenings and are accessible to all, the need for an aesthetic upgrade and sufficient lighting of the garden seemed essential.
This -open to all- garden is home to many new projects and events. Especially during the summer months when the heat is at its height, a welcoming, well-lit outside space to welcome the community is a necessity. Accordingly, this change increased the number of new members and the participation level at each event. The eco-friendly lighting system, with solar panels, enables Peri Viou to hold night events around four days a month. Around a 50-person increase at each event, equal to 200 visitors per month. Making this socio-cultural centre very accessible to all.
Soluzioni Artistiche APS | l'ARTeficiO APS, Italy
Sant’Eligio CONNECTION aims to reappropriate public space - work to recover the shared perception of public space, its identity recognition and belonging. While permanently engaging the community and stakeholder. Sant’Eligio CONNECTION implemented a Green purchasing strategy in particular with regard to the supply of consumables necessary for the performance of the activities of the Cultural Centre and the choice of electricity suppliers that would ensure the highest level of use of renewable energy sources. They have dedicated this activity to a part of the work of our collaborator, Alberto Corrado.
Sant’Eligio CONNECTION involved an environmental engineer in a study to improve the energy efficiency of the building in a cultural centre and its activities. Alberto Corrado was also involved in the activities of communication and dissemination of results aimed at the Members of the Cultural Centre. They have dedicated a specific action to coordinate the activities of the Cultural Centre partners aimed at reducing the environmental footprint and, in particular, reducing waste production.
Contribute to guide social and urban public choices, such as temporary pedestrian areas, and an artist’s residence. This residence will welcome 8 international visual arts artists with the aim of creating works and installations that concern the various areas (buildings, square, garden) and based on themes that emerged from the public consultation.
In the scope of this project Sant’Eligio CONNECTION also held performative workshops, artistic craftsmanship workshops, multi-material creative processing workshops, Urban photography project, storytelling through images returned as a public exhibition, and participatory design.
l’ARTeficIO’s experience is part of the process of active participation in progress for over a decade that has accompanied the birth and development of those "New Cultural Centres": multipurpose spaces and live performances aimed at cultural production and youth leadership.
You can find out more here and check out their gallery