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According to the author of this article, the “dissemination and exploitation of results” seems to be the Achilles heel of socio-cultural projects. How can great initiatives become more visible – and thus accessible – to a wider public?

An article by Magdalena Lapshin
Photos by Costanze Flamme, Magdalena Lapshin, Hawila and Head4Arts

Thanks to a shadow visit lottery for MitOst members I was recently able to attend the final meeting of Tandem Europe in Athens, at the end of January 2017. For those who do not know: Tandem programmes bring together cultural managers from different countries (sometimes very distant from each other), who, over the period of one year, invent and implement a joint socio-cultural project. Two days of my visit were devoted solely to presentations of these projects, so I had the chance to learn about quite a few ideas that I dare to call amazing.

When I came home, I wanted to find out more about some initiatives that drew my particular attention. I was quite disappointed to discover than most of them had very weak internet presence – the research did not bring a lot. I should have not been surprised, however: I myself run a non-governmental organisation and writing and publishing about what we do has always been our Achilles’ heel*. In fact, the so called “dissemination and exploitation of results” in European projects seems to be a widespread weakness among activists.

I’m not talking about taking good pictures or publishing impressions from what was done
… but about making the outcomes of the projects, the methods and techniques accessible, so that others can get inspired or maybe even use a ready product instead of reinventing the wheel.

What if there was a giant database of all the great ideas and projects that exist all around the world? Would that make the work any easier and the world any better? And could we make a proper use of it? How many people actually search for ideas in the databases already available before they launch their own initiatives? I do not, but maybe I’ll start now. Just learned about this website which claims to provide a complete list of projects funded in the frame of Erasmus+ and its previous programmes.

The interactive game ShipShape on globalisation and its environmental effects
In order to bridge a certain gap, I would like to report here about one of the Tandem Europe projects which – as I understand – is still in a development phase. ShipShape is a cooperation between Gabriele Sutera from the Danish organisation Hawila, which is concerned with restoring an 80 year-old sailing ship, and Kate Strudwick from Head4Arts, a cultural company delivering community arts in Wales. Together they developed something that could be called a collaborative learning experience. The participants are invited to physically step on a world map where they are taken on a journey with either a cargo sailing ship or a modern container ship. Through a combination of on- and offline activities, the learners can find out about how goods are moved through the world and how this effects the environment (did you know that 95 per cent of the world’s trade is delivered by large container ships?) – so it is about global education and sustainability, but also about history, marine life and more.

I’ll follow ShipShape, hoping that one day the results of this project will be shared with the world and this exciting learning space will become accessible also to people from outside Copenhagen.

Hawila and Head4Arts, the NGOs of the two ShipShape creators

*Achilles turns up here just to remind you that I actually visited Greece with MitOst. Check out the shadow visit lottery for members!


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