STUDY VISIT IX: ‘KLUNKER KRANICH’

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“We are a platform of ideas trying to be idealised.” – Klunker Kranich

Our last Study Visit was our beloved rooftop restaurant/club, Klunker Kranich! This particular organisation started first as a cultural cellar with a club, a scene for poetry slams and further cultural events. It got so successful and popular that eventually they decided to change its locale. Currently, it is housed on the roof of a mall in Neukölln and commands a gorgeous view of its surrounding city.

Klunker Kranich is separated into two parts: the Garden and the Restaurant/Bar/Club. The Garden is tended to by different groups and there is no fee when one wishes to visit it, the main Bar on the other hand is reachable only after paying a small entry fee. The whole operation is a constant work in progress with no end date manned by them and any volunteers that wish to assist them. They believe though that in about 2 years they will be finished with the infrastructure.

And this visit brought us to a lovely close of a lovely day. We hung around, we drank, we enjoyed the view and we fooled around!

by Artemis Nikolaidou-Vichou

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STUDY VISIT VIII: ‘AGORA’

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Agora started four and a half years ago as a secret bar. Since then it has blossomed into a collective that promotes the Arts and Circular Economy, with Circular Economy being a model to create more value out of existing things leading to a sustainable business. A telling example of their investment in Circular Economy is the Agora Kitchen; everyday waste from Bio supermarkets is collected and the chefs need to improvise a menu with whatever they have available.

Admittedly, the collective is a bubble of well-educated people in the midst of a poor and badly educated area, but the team of Agora knows this and is trying to change that by offering internships and having a number of events that are available to the public. As a small recognition of their services Agora was voted ‘Best co-working space’ more than once in 2015.

As the collective has been very successful over the years they are currently expanding their grounds by adding a part of what used to be the old Kindl Brewery in Neukölln. Here again they are careful to apply the principles of Circular Economy by trying to reuse any material found on spot. To bring though their project to fruition they utilised multi-source funding as a means to finance themselves and are currently looking to officially open the gates of their new space on the 9th of June 2016, during their ‘OC days’.

by Artemis Nikolaidou-Vichou

STUDY VISIT VII: ‘coopolis’

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“Unused land or building cost money. Unused talent too.” – coopolis

coopolis is a town development office located in Berlin, Neukölln and our first study visit while in the German capital. With an aim to develop a sustainable culture of the use of space, it instigated ‘Temporary Use’ as a method of cooperation between owners and space seekers.

Neukölln is a low-income, industrial housing area. In order to raise the living level of the area they started by doing a vacancy mapping with a description of their environment plus qualitative rating. They then subdivided everything into micro-sites and started communicating their vision through www.quartier-beleben.de Parallel to this they set out educating the land owners on the economic and social situation of the neighbourhood, on what could be considered realistic rent expectations, on what their potential new users could look like and on the fact that Property equals Responsibility. After the project started taking off, they also started organising moderated tours of potential spaces to rent and mediated the assigning of new tenants.

For coopolis though, ‘Temporary Use’ is merely a marketing tool. Their real goal was to inspire people to come and invest in this poor area, to create favourable starting conditions for start-ups, culture clubs etc. and to stabilise new creative industries on location. In succeeding with their long term goals they succeeded in raising the living level of the whole neighbourhood and one can see their efforts baring fruits at the Kreativnetz Neukölln site: www.KNNL.de

by Artemis Nikolaidou-Vichou

STUDY VISIT VI: ‘ROSENWERK KONGLOMERAT’

After touring old factories, our way took us to Rosenwerk Konglomerat, a not for profit, artists co-working space. Its memberships are separated into two possibilities: 24/7 access or 5 days a week access. They currently had 50 members that paid through their memberships for a large part of the expenses while the organisation is further assisted financially by donations and an Anstiftung.

What each membership gets one is access to all workshops, their equipment and materials, with the sole exception that sometimes one would have to pay for materials. Speaking of workshops, what they offer in their premises is: a repair-café for electronics, computer lab with varying sizes of printers, 3D printers, a laser workshop, a silk-screen printing workshop, a wood workshop plus graffiti experimentation grounds! They even do trainings on occasion for various topics such stitching, silk-screen printing etc.

For those interested in management issues and coordinating of space, they use Google Calendar for managing their room and machine bookings.

by Artemis Nikolaidou-Vichou

STUDY VISIT V: ‘K52’

Our first visit on the fourth day of the training took us to K52, a grass-roots organisation of about 40 people named after Kemnitzerstraße 52, the address of the bar where they used to meet and initially organised this group initiative.

The starting point of K52 is the harsh reality that there are no cheap rooms available to the creative industry in Dresden, yet still there are a lot of empty and abandoned factories in and around Dresden. Thus, the idea was born that evolved into the GMbH that K52 is; first fix old industrial buildings and then revive them. Still, so far they are only a virtual organisation that expects to see the outcomes of their plans coming to fruition probably by 2018.

As we toured one of said abandoned factories, aside of the building’s particular history we were informed of the multitude of issues that arise when such an endeavour as a large scale renovation is to be undertaken. Due to the buildings being listed, at least some of their parts need to be preserved leading to such circumstances as historically accurate window renovations which can cost up to 3,000€ or more. Furthermore, due the scale of the project, it is nigh impossible for them to rent out small spaces, thus needing to aim for focused investors and tenants. All of this leads to great insecurity on their part thus the project is so far progressing slowly and carefully. Even so, it was for us an illuminating and thrilling tour!

by Artemis Nikolaidou-Vichou

STUDY VISIT IV: ‘CITY TREE’ by GREEN SOLUTIONS

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A City Tree is… well… what you can see in the photo. It is made of Plants and Moss that have a high level air purification ability making them really effective in cities, as 1 City Tree equals 275 normal trees in urban areas! A City Tree can furthermore cool the area around it and has a self-contained solar panel on top to provide for its power. Furthermore, it has a water collection tank for rain thus allowing it to self-water its ‘cells’.

Each ‘cell’ of the City Tree contains only moss and plants; no soil whatsoever. But not just any moss! It is special moss that helps taking care of fine dust concentration and then uses said dust as means to give minerals to the plants, negating the need for plant fertilisers. For every climate/country/region/city, there are different plants and moss that need be used in order to reach optimum productivity with the City Tree and while so far that was not such a great problem now that there are people interested from other countries about the City Tree, serious research is in order.

With a team of four –an Architect, a Mechanical Engineer, an I.T. and a Horticulturist– the company was created in 2014 and had three years of difficulties as it was really hard to impress the market. It is only now that they have started getting more widely known and are receiving commissions.

Aside from all these incredible facts about the City Tree, here are some further interesting facts about them:

  • Most of the material used in making each City Tree comes from the Region of Saxony.
  • The QR Code on each City Tree can be used for marketing or educational purposes.
  • It has two benches!

by Artemis Nikolaidou-Vichou

STUDY VISIT III: ‘COLLAB&COUCH’

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“It’s great to have all sort of disciplines together and to see how they interact on the same projects.” – Collab&Couch Founders

Colab&Couch is a Co-working space in Dresden where Start-ups and Freelancers rent a desk and thus own an affordable office. It is open 24/7 and has been active for about a year. It offers two opportunities for people interested to rent a desk: Flex and Fix.

With Flex, one doesn’t rent the desk, just its usage. It operates on a first come, first serve basis and one can’t leave one’s stuff on the desks overnight. Fix demands a somewhat higher price for a fixed desk and higher internet speed. The Fixed places cover the general expenses of the space and any extra money gets reinvested in the space with personal financing happening only through private projects.

Speaking of re-investment, they have commandeered the ‘Feedback board’ method: Everyone is allowed to post what they perceive as ‘Correction Points’-things that can/need be improved upon. These ‘Correction Points’ get to be voted on by everyone and thus the highest priority (of things to be fixed or improved) is clear.

Aside from all that, they offer ‘Masterminds’. Masterminds is an open event where anyone can bring in an idea and everyone tells them what they think about it or how they would approach it. Furthermore, they offer some educational events and also Office Yoga every week to their members!

When asked about their advertising campaign, they replied simply with “Mouse-to-Mouse advertisements”. …It apparently can be that easy on occasion!

If you want to find more about them, check their website: www.collabandcouch.de

by Artemis Nikolaidou-Vichou

STUDY VISIT II: ‘GRÜNDER GARTEN’

Gründer Garten, our second Study Visit, is housed in the same building as our first Study Visit, ‘Was hab’ ich?’ It is a student initiative with about 50 members. It is a place where one can pursue one’s own ideas through Workshops, Start-ups’ tours and Networking events.

Their plans for the future include growing bigger, getting more (active) members and thus becoming self-sustainable and they hope that in the future they will flourish to be the ‘Go-To’ place for students for advice on their own projects and further. So far they have instead been facing problems with the fact that students come and go and thus not remain active and also with the fact that students have to sit exams, limiting them in the time they wish to invest to such a venture.

Their advertising is done so far mainly through social media such as Facebook and Twitter, they have a Newsletter and they always introduce themselves at the beginning of each Semester through short lectures.

For more information, feel free to check their website: www.gruendergarten.de

by Artemis Nikolaidou-Vichou

ERASMUS+ EVALUATION AND GOODBYES

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The last day of the training course started with beautiful sunshine, high spirits and a presentation about ‘Erasmus+’ and its possibilities by our very own Myrto Helena Pertsinidi of Jugend- & Kulturprojekt e.V. She talked about the Europa 2020 strategy, the possibilities of Formal and Non-Formal Education available as well as about the Eligibility Criteria of said topics.

To conclude this joyous week and before everyone went their merry way exploring the city of Berlin, there was still the Evaluation of the Study Visits to be made. Everyone had to take six little pieces of paper –two blue, two orange and two green. The blue was for the things the liked, orange for the weaknesses they spotted and green was for suggestions for the next Study Visits.

As we all know that we were all amazing, I shall move forward to the important part of Weaknesses and Suggestions.

Suggestions:

  • Artists’ Associations
  • Design Companies
  • Social projects
  • More time with artists
  • Investors? Crowd-funding?
  • Business angel associations
  • Successful business models
  • On-line platforms
  • Engagement hubs (on- + off-line)
  • Socio-economic impact?
  • Maybe only two in depth Study Visits
  • Performing Arts? Live Arts? Interventions?
  • More time for feedback
  • Sectors?
    • Design
    • Art
    • Investors
    • Incubators
    • Social communities
    • Social education
    • ICT: apps, devices…

And now Ladies and Gentlemen, Damen und Herren, Mesdames et Messieurs, Señoras y Señores, Κυρίες και Κύριοι and any other language I lack knowledge of, it is time to say Goodbye, Aufwiedersehen, Au Revoir, Hasta la Proxima Vez, Εις το Επανιδείν and so on and so forth. Next stop: Thessaloniki, Greece!

by Artemis Nikolaidou-Vichou

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STUDY VISITS! STUDY VISITS EVERYWHERE!!

If you thought a normal entry is in order, you are mistaken. Our first day in Berlin was exclusively taken by Study Visits so be sure to check the designated chapter for them!

BUT!! One should not forget the incredible end of the day where we ate at the lovely Indian Restaurant. Laughter, eagerness and food were readily shared amongst all!

by Artemis Nikolaidou-Vichou