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OPEN SPACES | Culture, Economy, Administration

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Micha Braun

on 26 September 2016

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Transcript of OPEN SPACES | Culture, Economy, Administration

What do I have to do and what do I have to omit as an NGO's worker in the cultural sector to let a cooperating project with the administration or a business partner
The next thing in our minds was to define some measurements for the success of a cooperation
So, let’s right begin
First of all, there were some questions, we thought it would be better to discuss for an opening:
Culture, Economy, Administration
A Project of
Freunde der Borussia Olsztyn/Allenstein e.V., Leipzig

in cooperation with
Robert Bosch Cultural Managers Network
Fundacja Borussia Olsztyn

supported by
Robert Bosch Foundation
Foundation for Polish-German Cooperation

Project coordinator: Yvonne Meyer, Leipzig
Project manager: Ludwig Henne, Elisabeth Desta & Micha Braun, Leipzig
Presentation: Micha Braun, Leipzig

Workshop within the framework of »Structures | Regions | Spaces. European NGO exchange«.
We invited young people actively working in European NGOs that are operational in the cultural field. They work particularly on a regional level and have already established a good regional network. Furthermore, they are revitalizing and adapting unused spaces. Therefore, they take on social and financial responsibilities in their cities. They are interested in cooperating with partners working in the public and private economy sector.
During the first workshop that took place in Leipzig in autumn 2013, twenty participants discussed about several models and examples of best practices that are already established in cultural structures in Bulgaria, Germany, Macedonia, Poland, Slovakia, and Ukraine. From these discussions, one of the most important outcomes was that the cooperation between cultural workers, public actors and private sec-tor are of a high relevance but can also be a source of various problems and misunderstanding.
Based on this knowledge, the second workshop OPEN SPACES iwhich occurred in March 2015 focussed on the possibilities and hindrances that have NGOs in the cultural sector cooperating with the local and regional administration as well as with private business actors. Therefore, European experts working in cross-sectorial fields shared their experience and practical knowledge in order to start cooperating with cultural institutions. The workshop was thence about creating a mutual understanding of the aims and constraints of the opposite side as well as about developing ways for a better communication and re-inforcement of team-work.
A presentation of the outcome of the first workshop is still to be found at:
1. In which situations do cooperation and contacts with the business sector or administrative workers occur?

2. Which of those situations are easy for me to handle or not (as a cultural worker)? What are the most difficult situations to handle in regard to cooperation?

3. What true experience, positive or negative, of a (cross-sectorial) cooperation do I already have? What persistent problems can be identified?
And a last one—out of the box, but quite effective in order to think about ways of doing things:
Here are some answers
to the last question.
Think about them and then find some answers for yourself, before you proceed with our presentation. Just an idea.
Since the workshop was split into two groups working on the subjects of ›culture–business cooperations‹ and ›culture–administration cooperations‹, we will answer it according to the respective situations.
This way for the ones of you, who are going to cooperate with the
administrative sector
This way for all of you who are looking for
business cooperation
Double-click on one of the images
This way—double-click on the line below
Alright, you wanted to know what to do or to omit to successfully fail a cooperation with a business partner.

Let’s see—you could:
Advice on the Prezi: If you have any problems while watching the prezi, you can just double-click on an item or a text bit. It will allow you to stop the auto-play. Use the backward and forward arrow-keys to get back on track with our storyline.
On some occasions, you will be prompted to click on various items. Please do so in order to keep up with our story.
Have the wrong expectations
Fail to respect some basic rules
of behavior
Double-click on the images to read them.
Backward arrow-key will get you back here
In general have a lack of professionalism
Or just be a bad manager
These of course are only a few possibilities
in order to fail
We hope you will find our categories helpful to think about your own negative experience with cooperating projects.

The categories are:
Basic behaviour

We combined those categories—which were found impulsively—with a set of experiences that our workshop’s participants had to cope with in the past.
follow the blue arrow on the right and double-click on it
Double-click on the images to read them.
Backward arrow-key will get you back here
Well, let’s move on ...
(double-click around this text)
Some positive and negative cooperating experiences
So, cooperation is effective, if ...
Double-click on the image to read it.
Let’s, what our participants had to say.
What would you add?
Let’s reverse the question again ...
In your opinion, what would be the biggest
in cooperating with a business partner?
These were the answers
of our participants
Double-click to enlarge
What would you add?
And, while we are changing perspectives, ...
(double-click on the grey field on the right)
But of course, we won’t just give you their answers!
Here is what they replied in order to have good cooperating projects:
This way—double-click on the line below
The question was: How to successfully ruin a project in cooperation with the administration right from the beginning?
Well, here are some suggestions given by our workshop’s participants:
Do not communicate properly and/or do not act accordingly to the plan
Let your own hidden agenda (or a suspected one at your partner's side) get in the way of your coope-rational plans
Do not anticipate the movements of bureaucracy, go straightforwardly for any goal, no compromises.
Under-/overestimate the power relations and com-petencies of your administrative partner—never look out for the person who is really in charge and who has the authority to decide
You see ...
that’s what can happen.
But of course, you will try
to do better,
So, let’s bring some order into this mess ...
Our participants were thinking of the following
to deal successfully with the administration:
Always communicate respectfully and open-minded (with regards to your aims and possible results of the cooperation)
Respect the bureaucratic character of your partner’s work
Have in mind the power relations already in place within the administration and try to use them to achieve your goals
Nonetheless, be more human to yourself and to your administrative partners
Do not hide your agenda, but be always aware of possible institutional agendas that could work against you
Always look out for positive results (which may not be the ones you were looking for, but none-theless can be helpful for a good cooperation)
Well, if you agree with these rules and have in mind the obstacles—what would be possible
of a successful cooperation with the administration?
That’s what our participants came up with.
What would you
Here’s a transcript of the cards:
Hidden Agenda/
Achieving our goals
Continuity after a finished project
Additional values
Cooperation becomes a ›Selbstläufer‹ (it runs for itself)
Achieving public participation
Learning effect from project to project
Positive effects on the community
Facilitating future cooperations
Level of engagement of the administration
Acceptance for the differences of the other side (in language & thinking)
To know whom to talk to
Personal contact
Finding some common ground
Mutual trust/respect
Open mindedness
Long-term partnership
To develop a plan, agree on some milestones and commit to evaluate them
Reflect and evaluate realised projects (for future cooperations)
Good balance between costs and gains
Use the back-arrow key to get back...
Well, let’s change the perspective ...
What are, in your opinion, the
for a successful cooperation with the administration?
double-click on the images to enlarge them then use the backward arrow-key
Because first of all, you have to
Source: „Cross-Sector Partnership Formation“, Partnerships Resource Centre, May 2012
From these preliminary thoughts of our own perception, we found a set of questions to ask to the experts participating, who were a municipal administrative worker from Aveiro, Portugal, and a freelance consultant who co-manages a local network of business godfathers for independant cultural institutions in Leipzig, Germany.
But of course, watch out for
Do you think that working in the administration changes a person or his/her attitude/mentality?
How and to what extent can an individual administrative or business worker share and influence the cooperating process?
Don’t see your counterpart as an opponent—rather look out for a common ground that may even be found beyond the project. Think about your future relations in terms of interdependence.
Always remember that your partner is as professional as you are. This means that he/she might be not only passionate about what he/she is doing, but he/she also has a network or peers to compete and collaborate with. He/she is also interested in innovating as well as in finding stabi-lity in his/her working environment. You may deliver the creative impulses he/she is already looking for!
See your partner not only as a representative of a business/administration, but also as a citizen and good neighbour, a public figure or someone who is responsible for his/her co-workers and/or the organization he/she stands for, a stressed human being, a family man/woman and—not at last—a culture consumer! So, keep being interested in people you work with!
Don’t be afraid to ask if you are uncertain about the status, the working conditions, the compe-tencies and/or the hindrances that characterise your partner’s situation. Most people are willing to help! Ask them not only for money, but for experience.
Never forget to thank your partner for his/her efforts and the successful cooperation!
To turn around again ...
The last task for our participants was to design a poster to present
their own experience and the insights they were able to gain within
the workshop
Here is what they came up with (in four different ways) ...
Double-click on the images to enlarge them, use the backward arrow-key for getting back here or your mouse to navigate and scale, if needed.
Very well, that’s it for the workshop!
Our participants were re-organising their categories of thinking. They are now experiencing the answers in practice.
We would be happy, if you can find some new ideas that might put your cooperational practice onto a new level.
How can we cooperate without becoming dependent of the cooperating system (especially from the NGO-side)?
What are the advantages, a NGO can bring to
a business or administrative partner?
What are your favourite modes of interaction/cooperation with (cultural) partners?
What can we do to avoid the feeling of being only a supplicant or ›moocher‹?
If yes, how much? And is it a rather positive (mind-opening) or negative (restricting) change?
Is it possible to keep a personal and passionate approach?
How clear are the rules and regulatory sets in your working environment? Is there any space for personal decisions?
How much freedom do you have (depending on structures and interests like profit, etc.)? How much will your work be estimated?
Do you/can you—as an administrative or business worker—follow your personal interests? To what level?
Do you consider us as an equal partner?
Scroll in here to read ahead...
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