Urban / Rural Crossovers

Peer to Peer Learning Program 2023

The main objectives of this exchange, as agreed upon at the outset, were:

  • To explore and understand how creative urban projects can be integrated into rural areas to promote development and innovation.
  • To foster a meaningful exchange of ideas and experiences between urban coworking spaces and rural communities.
  • To enhance cross-cultural knowledge exchange, enabling participants to gain insights into different creative approaches and perspectives.

Day 1: 

Morning: Arrival in Split, welcome session, and introduction to Culture Hub Croatia’s facilities and team. 

Afternoon: Workshops on urban creative initiatives presented by Espacio Arroelo, focusing on their successful integration into rural settings. During the afternoon session of our exchange, we utilized the engaging and collaborative methodology known as the "World Café" to facilitate a deep dive into the "Rural Hacking Toolkit" that was developed during the Rural Hacking Workshop hosted by the European Creative Hubs Network. This methodology was particularly effective in encouraging open dialogue and shared learning among participants, fostering a creative and inclusive environment. We divided the participants into three distinct groups, each tasked with exploring one of the three specific aspects of the toolkit: funding, purpose-driven projects, and alliances. This structured approach allowed each group to focus intently on their assigned topic, enabling a thorough analysis and discussion of the strategies and tools relevant to each area.

Funding: This group explored various mechanisms for securing financial support for rural projects, discussing traditional and innovative funding sources as well as strategies to approach potential sponsors and grant-making institutions. They examined case studies from the toolkit that demonstrated successful funding applications and campaigns.

- Purpose-Driven Projects: Participants in this group delved into projects that are designed with a clear social or environmental purpose at their core. They discussed how to define and communicate a project’s purpose effectively to engage community members and stakeholders, ensuring that the project’s goals align with local needs and values.

- Alliances: The third group focused on building and sustaining partnerships. They explored methods for identifying potential partners, nurturing long-term collaborations, and leveraging these relationships to enhance project outcomes. The discussion included examples of successful alliances from the toolkit that have led to robust project implementations.

After the group discussions, each team presented the main conclusions from their dialogues. The presentations began with participants explaining their personal motivations for attending the workshop, which helped to establish a personal connection to the topics discussed and emphasized the diverse perspectives and experiences brought to the table. 

Day 2: 

On day two of our visit, we conducted a brainstorming session in the morning aimed at showcasing potential projects that could be developed in the future, with a particular focus on future collaborations through European programs such as Creative Europe. During this meeting, we specifically concentrated on gaining a deep understanding of the extensive array of projects that Culture Hub Croatia has been involved in, alongside various European partners, over several years. This session provided us with invaluable feedback, recommendations, and ideas from Culture Hub Croatia, enriching our perspective and enhancing our strategic planning for potential joint ventures and collaborative initiatives under the umbrella of European cultural and creative programs. This interactive exchange not only broadened our knowledge but also strengthened our network and potential for future European collaborations.

In the afternoon of our visit, we had the opportunity to explore the historical center of Split accompanied by the founders of Prostor. This tour was not just a sightseeing activity; it served as a dynamic learning experience about the history and evolution of their cultural project within the context of this ancient city. As we walked through the bustling streets and past significant landmarks, the Prostor founders shared insights into how they have strategically built and sustained collaborations with various stakeholders in the city and across the country. Their narrative covered the inception of their project, detailing the challenges they faced and the milestones they achieved along the way. They highlighted specific partnerships with local artisans, businesses, educational institutions, and government bodies, which have been crucial in weaving their cultural initiatives into the fabric of the community. 

Day 3:

Visit to a local village where a Croatian family is developing a dynamic rural project through permaculture and artistic activities. This visit provided practical insights into the integration of sustainable practices and cultural development in rural areas.

Day 4: 

Morning session: Collaborative sessions to draft plans for potential joint projects and initiatives that could be implemented in rural areas of Croatia and Spain.

Afternoon session: Photographic exhibition in Prostor to discover and meet local artists and the vibe of the creative hub.

Day 5:

Concluding sessions with feedback and discussions on future collaborations. Formalization of plans for ongoing partnership and knowledge exchange.

Accomplishments & Linkage with Thematic Interest / Innovation:

Accomplishments: The exchange resulted in the development of actionable plans for rural hubs in Croatia, utilizing the best practices observed in Espacio Arroelo’s projects. Participants gained valuable insights into the sustainability and cultural integration aspects of rural development projects.

Thematic Linkage: The exchange highlighted the theme of sustainable rural development through creative urban projects. It emphasized the potential of creative hubs to act as catalysts for rural innovation and development, thereby aligning with global interests in sustainability and rural revitalization.

Plans for Continuation of Collaboration:

Future Exchanges: Plans were made to host reciprocal visits, allowing members from Espacio Arroelo to visit Culture Hub Croatia and vice versa, to continue the exchange of ideas and strengthen the collaborative relationship.

Joint Participation in Grant Applications: Both hubs plan to co-apply for European funding aimed at creative and rural development projects to expand their collaboration scope through Creative Europe projects. 

This exchange strengthened the partnership between Espacio Arroelo and Culture Hub Croatia and set a framework for future collaborations that could influence broader community and economic development in rural areas through creative and cultural integration.