Partnerships and coalitions may be built around cultural activities but they can also be made with non-institutional neighbours, residents, informal movements. We can learn a lot from each other, including diverse approaches to problem-solving. Together we can co-manage a site or a social.cultural project. Finally, we can simply share material resources – lend and borrow multimedia equipment or elements of flexible architecture.
You can initiate a transition towards the co-management formula, e.g. of a site used by several stakeholders. Osiedle Jazdów estate in Warsaw is a very motivating example of long-time work for a specific area. This initiative began as a defence of a Finnish wooden house estate, and over the years has transformed into the creation of a multi-stakeholder consortium which strives to develop and implement a model of co-managing this site. The initiative came from the residents of the estate, who found support among activists, informal groups and NGOs. Using participatory tools provided by the City Hall, such as the local initiative programme or the civic budget, it was possible not only to defend the estate from demolition, but also retain the democratic formula of work. Currently, the estate has many equal hosts: families living in the houses, NGOs renting the houses to run their activities, informal groups, a branch of a cultural centre, a formal site manager, and municipal authorities. Numerous texts, recommendations and the history of this place can be found on the jazdow.pl website.
Co-management can be a good tool to create a group of local hosts of, for example, city squares surrounded by cultural institutions. On the website of the Place Warszawy project you will find recommendations as well as texts discussing this topic.
It is a tool offering a permanent formula and a certain status of substantive cooperation, which involves as many entities operating in a given area as possible. Substantive decisions of a multi-member formation are taken by the council, not by one institution. This gives more insight into the needs of the local community and more perspectives and goals that intersect in the area. At the same time, council members become ambassadors of the themes present in the institution’s programme. The scope of the council’s activities may relate to the area shared by many entities, but it may also be the initiative of one institution which wants to involve representatives of various groups from its neighbourhood and its audience in the conceptual work on its programme.
An example of the above is the Programme Council of the Bródno Sculpture Park, which consists of representatives of an art institution (Museum of Modern Art), local authority (representatives of the Culture and Promotion Department of the Targówek District Authority and councillors), local institutions (Ogród Jordanowski children’s playground, Czytelnia Naukowa reading room), head of the District Commission for Social Matters representing the point of view of NGOs and initiator of the Park – artist Paweł Althamer. A multi-member Council as the actual governor of the Sculpture Park takes decisions on artistic projects to be undertaken. An ideal programme council should also include local activists and people representing the world of nature.