The forum took place over the course of three days in September, gathering as many as 180 delegates from 32 countries, covering all corners of Europe and including representatives of organisations from Morocco and Tunisia.
Between September 22nd and 24th, we had a chance to get to know 10 case studies of various hubs and receive insights into their approaches and operations when it comes to the notions of space, community and business models. Keynote lectures by representatives of some of the leading European forward-thinking education platforms – Hyperisland and Fabrica – were presented at the beautiful Bitef Theater on the opening night, and were also open to local audience.
The program on the following day – central working day of the conference – was held at the multi-functional building of Yugoslav Film Archives that offered all necessary infrastructure for the various program modules. Besides the case study presentations, it offered more inspiring insights and keynotes, valuable one-on-one expert consultations and a chance for the delegates to network, get to know each other and directly exchange valuable experiences. In addition, three closed sessions (workgroups) were moderated and focused on mapping out challenges and opportunities in the context of the three key notions of the forum, with the aim to contribute to policy remarks that will be one of the important outcomes of the ECHN project as a whole.
After a full day’s program, the evening offered a chance to visit the most active hubs in the Serbian capital – ImpactHUB Belgrade, Startit Center and Nova Iskra, who were at the same time the hosts of the forum. As many as 80 people joined the walking tour between the three hubs, ending with an informal get together at Nova Iskra – a perfect way to end the day and prepare for the final sessions on Saturday!
On the next morning, the final session was presented by project partners and representative of Hivos, focusing on the next steps of the project and presentation of the upcoming activities. All of the hubs were invited to join the future network and register on the network’s online platform . This was followed by an interactive action by Paul Bourne, which was equally fun, engaging and insightful. The day was rounded up by an exciting excursion out of town, visiting the two interesting locations of the Macura Museum, where the participants had a chance to decompress, discuss further steps and possible collaborations, enjoying local food while overlooking the Danube.
Keynote lectures by Sam Baron, Jon Barnes, Jovan Čekić and Paul Bourne will soon be integrally published online, while the accompanying How Work Works: An Inventory of Effects publication is already available for free download.