A Space for Creative Cooperation and Innovative Communities

On the 1st and the 2nd of May I had a great opportunity to help a charity.

I volunteered for the 3space Re:Think Festival at the 3space Blackfriars Hub. If you know 3space you should ask me “which charity”. If not, probably you shall need some explanations.

3spaceentrance3space, as it can be read on its website, is an extremely innovative charity which “unlocks the potential of empty commercial properties by making them available for temporary community use”. Its novelty lies on the business model: the organization makes agreements with landlords and offers to charities and social enterprises temporary free access to properties which otherwise would be empty and not utilized. It generates a virtuous circle: the landlords benefit because they not only increase their reputation, but also keep the property in use, so it doesn’t get old – it remains on the market as well, so they don’t loose potential sales; the charities benefit for a free space to use as their office, or as a base for pop-up projects; finally the community benefits because of the work and the initiatives of the charities.

It is to tell that 3space was included in the list of Britain’s 50 New radicals 2012, and nominated at Smarta100 as well. So it is definitely an organization which has something to teach.

ReTHINK%20880The Re:Think Festival hosted more than 50 charities and social enterprises. For 3 days it has been a place full of great insights, art, social care, civilization initiative…a world of possibilities. Just to name some of the guests – you can find more information on the Re:Think websiteThe Edible Bus Stop, which transforms neglected sites across London’s bus network into valuable community growing spaces: Sustrans, which develops practical, cost-effective initiatives that enable many more people to travel by foot, bike or public transport; The Living Furniture Project, which employs and trains homeless to make beautiful up-cycled – and so sustainable, waste-reducing and uniquefurniture; make: good, which designs community public spaces with the communities, and has an innovative approach from the engaging to the activities it organizes in the places.

As I said I volunteered, but I shall admit that I barely did a few to help the charity: I just had to check that every room of my section had every tool and device on the list, and control the timing in order not to encounter delays during the scheduled activities. Other than this, I actually attended the workshops.

The most uplifting meetings I attended were three: Community space for making items from waste materials, Rethinking Housing, and Pop Up Meet Up.

Remakery-Brixton-image

 

The first workshop I mentioned was headed by The Remakery, an innovative social enterprise which I was happily surprised to find settled in my borough, Brixton. It converted a disused underground car-park into a co-working and educational space for up-cycling items. The staff- all volunteers – renovated the site using a community self-build method. The Remakery offers many services like memberships for co-workers (including the usage of all the materials, not only the space) and for suppliers, service users and sponsors / donors; they will open a remakers store where they will sell affordable re-used materials for DIY, gardening, art, design and crafts; parts of the site would be available to be hired for events and training programmes related to reuse, skills and sustainability; last but not least The Remakery organizes workshops and training courses for the community.

rationalhouse

 During the Rethinking Housing talk my attention was attracted by City House Projects and especially the Rational House. It is a new family city residence in Hammersmith which match quality with sustainability, comparing different house models from different parts of the world, contextualizing them, considering the urban character and the density of population within the area. The design of the Rational House is made to be flexible and scalable, in order to be a family house, a flat, a block of offices or workshops, or spaces for commercial uses.

marylebonegardens

 At the Pop Up Meet Up I discovered two interesting and clever projects, Theatre Delicatessen and The Shop Revolution. The first one is a charity which transforms disused buildings into creative hubs that provide a live space for artists; secondly it supports emerging theatre artists by providing space for them to develop ideas and share new work, offering them advice, mentoring and assistance in realising their productions. As an example, they brought to a new life the former offices of BBC London at 35 Marylebone High Street, and transformed them into their current – and wonderful – location, Marylebone Gardens.

loveurlook

 Similarly to 3space, The Shop Revolution offers to landlords an opportunity of short-term leases of their properties which prevent the places to get old between tenants, but instead of being given to charities and social enterprises, they are transformed into pop up businesses and organizations. The project has been tested through three 4 weeks – shops during the 2012 Christmas period in the areas of Sydenham, Kirkdale, and Forest Hill, then seven between January and May 2013.

I do believe that all those projects are examples of disrupting businesses because they are a great efficient mix of:

  • Sharing knowledge, capabilities, properties, ideas, collaborations;
  • Local communities – driven projects, from the design to the realization, from the usage to the training and to the activities made by and for the community itself;
  • Reuse and transformation of empty buildings and waste materials;
  • Economic and Environmental Sustainability;
  • Scalability.

 Many thanks should be told to 3space: other than responding to all those characteristics, it is an aggregator of brilliant organizations as well: it generates an echo which I hope will continue to reverberate for long.

Advertisements

The Eve of New Year’s Eve (It seems to be OT. And it is)

Tomorrow I will do the double shift at work. As I would like to write my last post of the year, I have to write it today, on the eve of New Year’s Eve.

2012 was for me a year of change.

On the New Year day, during the morning after the party, in a cultural club which doesn’t exist anymore, I met the man of my life, while singing together songs of The Queen and of Elio e le Storie Tese. And I already knew that I had to move in London after less than a month.

On the 23rd of January I came in London. I lived in Acton for 5 months.

d&g

During that period I learned how to live just on my own, by managing with the few money I was earning – I was working as a sale assistant for David & Goliath in Carnaby Street, and I had a minimum salary contract. I learned to be humble, to do not trust the public transport in London, to save time and money by preparing at home my lunch of the next day.

I learned to work and study in another language. I took the IELTS exam.

I learned to live with friends, which everybody think it should be easy, but sometimes it is not. But it’s always worth it.

I learned that it was not so “vital” to go out every night and have fun, but to be focused on what I really wanted was, indeed.

I learned to be loved, and I started to learn to love, actually.

I learned how much my town and my people are important to me.

whatsupI twisted my ankle, I lost 2 weeks of salary, I was evicted. I learned to hack it, on my own. I learned that being loved could save me.

I luckily found friends, I was hosted, I found a new place to live, new persons to share a London life with.

I was forced to quit my job, which I liked, because I was swindled by a recruitment agency, Seyner Benson.

I experienced unemployment.

paris_montmartre

I went to a wedding. I went back to my town, to my love, to my air. 

I went to Paris with my love.

I came back in London, and my love joined me.

We found our place. We found our love for cooking. We found upcycling. We found we were a creative incitement for each other.

My sister got married, and I was her best woman. I was really proud of her.

333827_230588850401811_945544208_o

I found a job in a restaurant, Franco Manca Northcote. I learned lot there. I learned how to work in a team, how to coordinate between each other, how to be focused on customers and communication.


mace12badgeI was accepted as a student at Kingston University, I started my MA in Creative Economy. I found  creative people like me who wanted to learn how to manage with their creativity, how to use it in the best way. 

I learned how to work and study at the same time, how to save money, how to organize everything.

I opened a Blog, this blog, and I found that it was a great opportunity to research, to learn and to share knowledge.

QBLOGO1

I started a Business with my MA Team, QB – Quanto Basta. I found that my insights really creative, even if I never realized that before.

But I missed something. I missed my love, my friends, my health. Because I was too excited of what I was learning, and of the new people I was meeting, and I missed all the rest.

I suffered. I cried. I felt angry. I felt guilty. I ate 1, 2, 3 cakes all by myself. I got drunk alone at home with cheap horrible white cider.

But then I found my love again. Through a video, The Power of Words. My love told me that the woman at the end reminded him of me.

The power of words. The power of communication. It is the same power of the Web 2.0, isn’t it? The world of conversations. 

Hence, the biggest lesson for 2012 is: keep attention on the words you are using. They could change everything, either in a positive or negative way.

We live in the time of words. In the time of conversations. In the time of Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter, Skype. In the time when sometimes it is better to write than to speak. In the time when sometimes it should be better to speak than to write, especially if we could choose.

So my aim for the 2013 will be learning to speak again.