"My Soft City: From Flaneur to Entrepreneur" – a job well done!
As we say goodbye to August, we also wrap up our project "My Soft City: From Flaneur to Entrepreneur.
Putting an emphasis on essential components like urban regeneration, employability, social inclusion, and cohesion is necessary for building an active and sustainable community.
Exactly such goals were the focus of the "My Soft City: From Flaneur to Entrepreneur" initiative, an Erasmus Plus project that took a creative, educational, active, open-minded, and intercultural approach to European heritage and culture to get there.
The project was implemented in the lovely cities of Nimes (France), Constanta (Romania), Funchal (Portugal), and Lund (Sweden) over a three-year period beginning in 2020.
Eight organizations, young change-makers, and professionals from a wide range of fields, including mapping, art, entrepreneurship, youth work, and non-formal education, worked together to make it happen.
And, without any modesty, we should say that it was a beautiful and successful journey and experience!
The main goal of this project was to bring together tourists and locals in order to improve the already-mentioned partner cities. The activities of the project mainly aimed to empower people, stimulate creative thinking and innovation, and create a sense of belonging to a community. Through a series of mobilities, study visits and workshops in art, gamification, illustration, and storytelling participants were able to learn about the unique history, challenges, and successes of each city.
One of the biggest accomplishments was the creation of elaborate maps for every partner city. These maps showcase the breathtaking landscapes but also the cultural and artistic locations in the towns. The illustrations of the locations for the final map were made during illustration workshops by young and aspiring artists. So, everyone was included to have their own impact in the creation of the map which now serves as a helpful tool for both tourists and locals to discover even the hidden locations that make these cities stand out.
The project emphasized the influence of storytelling in inspiring change.
We have selected five local businesses, initiatives, and individuals whose stories were worth sharing and conducted exclusive interviews with the people involved. Interviews with these successful young entrepreneurs from all four countries and their stories led to the release of an e-book outlining their journeys.
The stories in this collection highlight how determined individuals may influence society and bring about positive changes. Anyone looking for inspiration to start a startup or just needs a little bit of motivation can use the e-book as a free resource. You can find the stories here:
Creating inclusive and welcoming cities is a complex challenge. That’s why we have created also many workshops that teach gamification and interactive game development. These activities aimed to generate a better understanding of the city's organization and to create a sense of belonging among both residents and visitors. As a result, interesting and educational interactive games were developed that encouraged everyone to learn about the city. Everyone who played the games will agree that they are the best and fun way to learn more about the city you are in!
We had the final exhibition of every illustration included on the map and a few printed versions of the map itself in our Art Center Caravel. The exhibition drew the attention of local authorities, including the mayor, and had a great impact. Due to the response, the town hall decided to help us and print and distribute over 5,000 copies of the maps to ensure wider accessibility and utilization by the community. After the printing, it was distributed in popular places in Funchal, including our Art Center Caravel and Art Food Corner. And the best part: It is free of charge.
Our project "My Soft City: From Flaneur to Entrepreneur" had a really significant role in encouraging positive change and collaboration across different countries.
It impacted the lives of approximately 500-600 people, providing them with new and enriching ways to engage with their own or visiting cities.
We, ARTE.M and Art Center Caravel are determined to initiate further collaborations to promote urban regeneration, employability, and social inclusion for years to come.
This project demonstrated how creative and inclusive approaches to cultural heritage can create positive change within communities. Through workshops, collaborative efforts, and sharing stories of successful entrepreneurship, the project successfully revitalized urban spaces and inspired individuals to be proactive agents of change.
Thank you all!