Step 1: Partnerships and eco-coalitions

Identify your own resources and get to know your neighbourhood
The first step in establishing a potential cooperation or partnership is to identify the resources of your own organisation and define the potential of the local environment at the social, cultural, natural, architectural, institutional and entrepreneurial levels. It is important to pay attention to the resources of the local area. It is customary to think about residents because they are our potential audience. But it is worth looking for partners among NGOs operating in the local area, informal and activist groups, other local institutions (such as kindergartens, libraries, children’s playgrounds), entities managing green areas, housing cooperatives, as well as local businesses. It is a good idea to begin with creating a map of the area and on that basis, find common points of interest and potential goals. The goals of neighbouring organisations may coincide, e.g. they may be united by their care of the area. When preparing a map of your neighbours and shared goals, make sure you create a map of your own resources as well. Investigate your institution’s usefulness to local ecosystems. Local cultural workers or activists can help with the diagnosis process. Mapping your own resources and the resources of your neighbourhood is a popular tool in community development.

Creating a map of our neighbours: institutional, commercial (shops, restaurants, services), human and non-human inhabitants (flora and fauna) will allow us to see many dimensions of the space in which we operate. It is a space for living, the daily commute between work and home, recreational walks, it is a work space, a space for management, as well as a habitat for an uncountable number of non-human organisms. As a team working at a cultural institution, we can actively become involved with all aspects of this space. In this way, we become co-responsible for a specific area and enter into relationships that shape this space. These values are important for pro-environmental thinking. Perhaps there already exists some network in our vicinity or sector which we can join. If not, we can initiate it. Advice on how to establish and develop relations of good neighbourliness is included in the section on GOOD NEIGHBOURLINESS.
A lot of institutions and organisations cooperate together informally to promote local identity, e.g. the ‘Recipe for Muranów’ partnership co-created by the POLIN Museum. The Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, on the other hand, initiated ‘Ujazdów Neighbourhood’ which operated between 2015-2016 and which aimed to promote the green areas of the Jazdów district. By working together we can get to know each other better and learn how to cooperate.

Working groups
Create working groups inside the institution (such a function can be performed by the GREEN TEAM) as well as outside. Find out if such a network already exists in your city, if not – set it up. Take a look at eco-themed projects, both big ones, such as exhibitions connected with this topic, and smaller ones, such as workshops on building pollinator houses or sowing wildflower meadows. Contact the people who carried out these initiatives in your area. Perhaps you will find common goals and needs and share your experience and knowledge. Such support networks are organised by institutions, for example, in connection with audience development (e.g. ADESTE operating in Warsaw). Urban initiatives and movements also create their networks for sharing experiences. A networking event, e.g. a forum, may be a good place for meeting up, discussing challenges and setting up a working group. One example of an urban networking initiative was Residents’ Forum City Common Cause organised by an NGO –  Towarzystwo Inicjatyw Twórczych ‘ę’.
A working group may serve in exchanging experiences and offering support but also for deepening one’s knowledge. You can invite experts, naturalists, activists, representatives of ecological and climate-related movements to your meetings. Such a working group may become a basis of a wider coalition. 

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