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With and for Praga: Creative skills, passion and business

Background

The third in the series of Future City Games ‘With and for Praga’ played in cooperation with the authorities of Praga Północ district took place on September 14, 2010 at Miotła club.

Objectives

The streets, courtyards and old tenement houses of Praga are a magnet for representatives of the creative sector. From one side - post-industrial buildings, old tenement houses - an atmosphere of streets filled with people; on the other - the possibility of quite cheap studios or offices. Praga also has a superb location close to the city centre. The popularity of the district among representatives of the creative sector lasted since the end of the 90s. The clubs, galleries and studios present here for a long time influence its current attractiveness.

During the third Future City Game, the participants sought answers to the following questions: how to combine the development of the creative sector in Praga with the creative development of district’s space? How can residents, clerks, activists, artists and entrepreneurs cooperate within this process? Which particular places of Praga have the power to stimulate the district’s development? Where to seek common ground for the local community’s cooperation? How to make better use of commercial premises, giving easier access to people willing to rent them to work, organise meetings, create, act? Which particular places in Praga have the potential to become lively public spaces?

Winning idea

Praga’s know-how and opening to creativity by inspiring to act
The project aims at activating Praga’s local community within the framework of programmes supporting the development of creativity and talent. What is necessary for this idea is to improve the information flow, monitoring of the cultural offer, and a better system of providing the residents with such information. The group thought of establishing an institution of a coordinator cooperating with local leaders, active residents, activists and entrepreneurs. ‘Local coordinator’ is also the name of a contest promoting individuals working actively for and with Praga. An idea to promote acquiring creative skills and their fast use would be establishing ‘Praska Szkoła Inicjatyw’ (‘Praga’s School for Initiatives’), in partnership with a self-governing institution, e.g. culture centre and entrepreneurs and NGOs.

Praska Szkoła Inicjatyw would offer two programmes: Resident Artists and Praska Szkoła Filmowa (Praga’s Film School). Resident Artists would be based on inviting foreign artists to spend a few months in Praga and work with children and youth on workshops on changing the local public space and improving the aesthetics of the neighbourhood, educating the young, presenting good practices and examples and motivating. Praska Szkoła Filmowa is based on the idea of making a film involving the local community of Praga as volunteers in each stage of this process. There would be a need for a strategic partner – a professional film producer that would support both content-related and technical matters.

Winning ideas from the other teams

Partnership -  the third sector connected with NGOs
Many problems of supporting education and animation result from the model of the functioning of the third sector in Poland. Grant contests make long-term strategic planning of actions with and for the local community impossible. The answer to this is supporting partnerships between NGOs and business. Such bodies as e.g. United Way already exist in Praga, but more are needed. For NGOs, those common initiatives are a chance to gain necessary know-how, and for business – to implement the CSR postulates and make a positive change in Praga. NGOs can bid for grants within many varied programmes which are unavailable for business; this is also a benefit for entrepreneurs. Such cooperation should be connected with promoting socially active entrepreneurs by the city authorities. This cooperation would make the district evolve into a more business-friendly environment.

Special Purpose Fund
This project is oriented to systematically supporting non-governmental initiatives focussed on education and culture in Praga. It would be reasonable to establish a special-purpose grant for educational activities which run out of other financial resources before the end of the financial year - in such situations, the results of all their actions might be wasted because of a long wait for the next grant. The fund would be come from 1% of tax paid by businesses in Praga and governed by the local authorities.

The Centre for competence, trust and information for partnership
Another idea addressing the need for networking the initiatives, providing space for exchanging experience and cooperation. Activating a ‘neighbourly movement’ and local initiatives, promoting know-how from the field of the coordinating activities of foundations, organisations and local entities.