"De vella a bella"

program for membersHubs Alliance Mobility 2023

Arroelo @ Cru Creative Hub

My name’s Ana Ma Santos Solla, I’m 63, and I’m a retired Physical Education teacher. In

2020, when I retired, I began working at Arroelo, a coworking space. I created a blog called “devellabella,” (from aging to personal enhancement).

“De vella a bella” (From aged to beautiful) is an initiative that arose to discover the gap that people who reach their 60s experience—a transition into active aging, yes, active aging. Approximately 80% of the studies on older individuals focus on loneliness, illness, and isolation, while only 20% address quality of life, travel, and happiness. This project aims to encompass that 20% and echo all kinds of activities offered by various organizations, associations, companies, etc., for people aged 60 and above. The goal is to maintain an active quality of life and transform aging into enhancement.

Our objectives are:

1. Promote cultural activities in our city.

2. Create engaging content for individuals aged 60 and above.

3. Facilitate workshops and suitable courses for older adults.

4. Explore new models of associations related to the elderly.

Details of the Creative Accommodation Center

CRU is an independent creative hub located in the heart of Porto’s artistic neighborhood

Miguel Bombarda. It all began in 2012, stemming from a bold dream and an innovative

collaborative model. CRU was envisioned as a hub for talented and motivated individuals,

whose daily interaction would enhance an energetic and creative community. It was also a

space where creatives from all backgrounds could work (cowork), exhibit (gallery), and sell (store) their work. CRU evolved into a launchpad and support platform for independent brands and authors, as well as a haven for those seeking an environment of creative immersion. Adjacent to the coworking space, CRU comprises a gallery, store, photography and audio recording studio, design store, and café open to the public, complemented by meeting spaces. Integrated into the city’s creative ecosystem, CRU positions itself as a producer and transmitter of knowledge. Through its cultural and educational programming and its commitment to raising awareness about artistic creation, CRU aims to address the primary needs and aspirations of the creative class, with a corresponding social impact.

Objectives set at the beginning: Our initial objectives were:

 Understand the working system of another coworking space.

 Promote our project within the CRU community.

 Discover other associations working with older individuals.


Details of the activities during the exchange period

Apart from the daily hours I dedicated to updating our blog with the latest updates from social media, we organized a sharing session for the CRU community to learn about our work and role in our city. We had a lunch gathering with coworkers at CRU, allowing us to firsthand understand the type of creative activities they were involved in. We discovered the Bombarda neighborhood, revitalized by local artists, fostering creativity and hosting numerous cultural activities every week. We were invited to a film exhibition by students who were part of an artistic residency in Vila do Conde, and one of the documentary directors, Manuel Vitorino, a retired journalist, is a contributor to the blog.

Summary of my stay in Porto https://youtu.be/MgQYE7Cc6io

Monday 11 de September

We left Pontevedra by bus at 10:00 AM, arriving in Porto at 12:00 PM. After dropping off our luggage at Selina hostel, we headed to Coworking CRU to introduce ourselves. Since Tânia was in a meeting, we agreed to come back later. We went for lunch and in the afternoon had the opportunity to explore the space and its various rooms. Tânia and Miguel shared with us the beginnings of their adventure with CRU, which stands for raw, natural, unprocessed. In 2012, they heard about a new way of community-based work in Lisbon, where people shared spaces and socialized. They liked the idea so much that they decided to start a similar venture in Porto with the same philosophy. They continue to rent out spaces for sales, coffee, and multipurpose rooms. The coworking space has a capacity for 30 workspaces. After the guided tour, we were shown our workspace and the rules to follow for good coexistence and respect.

Summary Monday 11. https://youtu.be/Opiddr9cmfQ

Tuesday 12 September

We arrived at CRU at 10:00 AM, which is the opening time. On our table, we found some

welcome gifts. I started uploading content to the blog, and at 12:00 PM, we took a coffee

break. On Tuesdays, a coworker named Sophie prepares vegan food for those who want to share. We signed up the day before, and for 10 Euros, we had lunch with the members of CRU in the garden. In the afternoon, we continued working until 5:00 PM, when we went out to explore the Bombarda neighborhood, known for being a creative district. We visited some exhibitions.

Summary Tuesday 12 https://youtu.be/XO5_UTrfd_0

Wednesday 13 September

Morning of work at CRU, uploading content, and preparing our exhibition. Every Wednesday, they have a guest at “Sobre a mesa” where the guest brings dessert and shares their project. That’s what Isa and I did during our stay. For half an hour, we presented our project, followed by a question-and-answer session. I was pleased to learn that there are two associations in Porto working with older individuals, and I will be reaching out to them.


Since part of our experience is to explore different places and taste local cuisine, today we went to a family-owned establishment in Bombarda, which was a private house converted into a restaurant. In the afternoon, we continued working. After finishing, we went to visit an art gallery and several incredibly unique creative shops.

Summary Wednesday 13 https://youtu.be/MlEHly0xPoM

Thursday 14 September

In the morning, we went to explore the city of Porto, the riverside, and the most touristic areas. After returning, we stayed at CRU and enjoyed the specialty coffee they prepare there. The coffee culture in Portugal can only be compared to that of Italy. At CRU, they have a coffee roaster and an exceptional quality coffee brought from Colombia. Diogo is responsible for grinding it daily and it is exported throughout Portugal. In the afternoon, we were on a terrace chatting with locals and socializing, discussing our project.

Summary Thursday 14, https://youtu.be/Po554bfUwc0

Friday 15 September

Our last day of work at CRU was dedicated to gathering information about what happened

during these days and creating some videos and photos of the installation. Every day, we

posted to provide an account of our stay there. In the evening, we went to Vila do Conde, a town 40 minutes away from Porto by train, invited to a film and photography exhibition of an artistic residency where one of our collaborators, a retired journalist, presented his documentary “Imigrantes do mar”.

Summary Friday 15 https://youtu.be/V13XDkpG8yE

Tuesday 19 September

Promotional day at our Arroelo space, where it was our turn to explain our stay in Porto and the benefits this experience we brought. For half an hour, we explained what we had done and learned, showcasing photos from our time in Portuguese lands. An unforgettable experience.

Summary Promotion. https://youtu.be/IxKW3xzYZPo

Wednesday 27 September

Radio program on Onda Cero to share my international experience in a coworking space in another country and the benefits of being in contact with a different creative community and space.


Audio Link. https://www.ondacero.es/emisoras/galicia/pontevedra/audios-podcast/espazos-coworking-que-promoven-intercambio-actividades-persoas-60_202309276514229498383a0001a1ddbd.html