A project to build two apiaries on the roof of Mathellen Oslo, a food court in the Norwegian capital’s Vulkan neighbourhood, proves that urban beekeeping is not only feasible, but an effective way of raising awareness of the plight of bees and their important role in the natural ecosystem.
The initiative is being funded by the DNB Savings Bank Foundation. “The project has generated far more attention among the media and general public than we had ever imagined,” explains Marcus Christensen, grant advisor at the DNB Savings Bank Foundation.
Part of its success is due to the strong visual appeal of the beehives used. Each housing around 160,000 bees, the hexagonal birch wood hives, designed by Oslo’s best known architectural design studio Snøhetta, are a far cry from the standard commercial boxes normally used by beekeepers.
The beehives, which were built in 2014, produced some 80 kg of honey in their first year, with the bees travelling distances of up to 3 kilometres to collect nectar from flowers and trees. Du Rietz collects data on the humidity, temperature and quantity of honey but says that he was surprised by the results of laboratory tests run to test the quality of the honey.
“It contained no traces of pollution, it was as clean as the honey I collect on my farm in the countryside,” he observed
Through the Emporio project – founded in July 2010 – a marketplace has been set up in the
centre of Parma, a city in northern Italy, to provide food to disadvantaged people at discount
prices or at no cost.
Since its launch, Emporio has helped 2,250 families and created 6,500 meals and 3,200 breakfasts. Late last year, 890 families were regularly calling on assistance from Emporio; those families had an average annual income of just €2,000. There were also more than 20 new requests for housing per week. Emporio was born through a partnership between Fondazione Cariparma, Forum Solidarietà, the Northeast consumers Coop and the local government of Parma. The shelves of the physical market are filled with donations from companies, in the form of staple ingredients including rice, oil, sugar, flour and grains, while other items are sourced from individuals.
In 2014, the value of goods distributed was €1.1 million. Yet tangible goods are just one part of the scheme. Emporio is also about assisting disadvantaged people with their search for work, with network expansion and with general volunteer work. Donors can adopt a family, adopt a worker or donate items to the market to help the relatively poor regain confidence and security. Emporio also offers guidance to families in how to gain access to the public and private social services that they require.
Romani Designis a social enterprise and a fashion label that reinterprets traditional Romani motifs with a modern “twist” for women who like unique brands and socially responsible products. It aims to create a dialogue between Roma and non-Roma population as well as jobs for Roma women.
The label takes up Roma traditions and shows courage for colours and patterns: Fashion, jewellery and accessories by Romani Design are very much inspired by traditional Roma clothing. Traditional fabrics and patterns come upon innovative shapes and cuts, the combinations are as daring as well-made. And that’s not all: the Hungarian designer and jeweller Erika Varga not only designs fashion and jewellery, but aims to convey a message with her creations: “My designs are influenced and inspired by traditional Roma clothing and appeal to Roma and non-Roma alike, thus enabling a cultural exchange.”
Romani Design is also a learning centre for disadvantaged young people, for unemployed Roma and non-Roma and is supported within the ERSTE Foundation Roma Partnership. This informal alliance was created in 2012, together with the foundation’s partner NGOs that are dedicated to improving the life of Roma people in different communities across central and south-eastern Europe. As well as receiving financial assistance, members of the ERSTE Foundation Roma Partnership are supported by a range of experts and consultants on their journey to becoming more sustainable, more marketable, more successful and more independent in today’s complex world.
The Understanding Scottish Places platform was commissioned by the Scottish Government and was launched in April 2015. It offers a mechanism for understanding the similarity of places across Scotland. Deliberately designed to avoid a simplistic ranking of places as better or worse, USP focuses on the shared characteristics of towns.
The platform is formed of three parts. The first two elements have been created using national data sets – a new typology of Scottish towns, and an assessment of towns’ inter-relationships. The third part of the platform is the USP Town Audit, which is designed to help users gather local information which complements the national data available through USP.
Understanding Scottish Places has been developed by a consortium of organisations commissioned by the Scottish Government and led by the Carnegie UK Trust.
The consortium includes Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP), the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES), and the University of Stirling.
The Understanding Scottish Places platform is also presented in the European Foundation Publication “City Funders: Case Studies on Philanthropic Engagement in Urban Contexts”. You can access the publication here
The Reading Agency works to inspire people to read more. It believes that confident and skilled readers have greater aspirations and opportunities, and that reading brings enjoyment and increases wellbeing.
As part of their 25th Anniversary gifts, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation supported the agency with funding of £1m in July 2013. The gift was to expand and develop The Reading Agency’s digital capacity and its Reading Activists programme, which enables young people to volunteer through their local libraries to encourage other young people to read more.
The Reading Agency is in the process of developing a new digital strategy and improving the content and capacity of its websites to engage with readers for its Summer Reading and Six Book Challenges. In partnership with libraries, the Summer Reading Challenge helps to motivate primary-school-age children to read for pleasure during the summer, helping to prevent the summer dip in literacy skills noted by teachers.
The Six Book Challenge aims to build the reading confidence and motivation of adults who struggle with reading. The Reading Activists programme uses reading and libraries as a springboard for community activism. The Reading Agency supports young people (aged 11–24) from deprived communities to set up reading and writing groups. The aim is to build an enjoyment of reading among people of all ages, through organising creative events and participating in social action. Through volunteering, the Activists develop their own skills, confidence and employability. In 2013/14, our funding enabled The Reading Agency to research and design a new Reading Activists Challenge and specific website to increase its engagement with young people.
SREBRENICA TODAY was initiated on the occasion of the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide and the signing of the Dayton Agreement. SREBRENICA TODAY is a visual portrait of the town and its residents showing moments of everyday life in the town of Srebrenica and its surroundings. The exhibition is comprised of eight posters. Each of them features photo-portraits of the residents, their everyday life or professional activities. These portraits are combined with photo stories, short textual descriptions explaining the photographs, as well as commissioned texts by persons from the fields of politics and art/culture: Boris Buden, Erhard Busek, Slavenka Drakulić, Doraja Eberle, Haris Pašović, Wolfgang Petritsch, Bojana Pejić, Jasmila Žbanić were asked to contribute texts to this project. Each author tells his/her own story about how they see SREBRENICA TODAY, how it developed in the last 20 years, where it is now and what its future is or could be.
Despite continuing problems, hopes for the future are starting to spread.
The posters and texts are compiled in a free publication.
Circuit is a four-year national programme connecting 15-25 year olds to the arts in galleries and museums working in partnership with the youth and cultural sector. Led by Tate and funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, it provides opportunities for young people to steer their own learning and create cultural activity across art disciplines.
The project is built on Tate’s long-term work with young people, often in vulnerable situations. It recognises that a successful programme, one that has real impact on young people’s lives, offers: varied entry points, differing levels of support and progression, the ability to influence the arts organisation in a visible and tangible way, the role of visual art as a catalyst to expression and production across art disciplines and a co-learning environment nurtured by participating artists and gallery staff.
Circuit is designed with and for young people at each gallery, through four main delivery strands:
Festival – a large scale event to attract a wide and diverse new audience
Partnerships – with our colleagues in the youth sector to support those with least access to the arts
Peer – led – artistic programme delivered by and for young people
Digital – creating new work and sharing our learning
ColtivAzioni Sociali was a three year project that aimed to improve community living and foster a culture of sharing in Dergano, a district of Milan . The project used food as its main tool to reinforce social inclusion and further cultural exchange. The objective was to promote the active participation of children and their families, whether Italians or non-Italians or new or old inhabitants of the district. It helped to create a network of micro services for common use.
One element of the project was the way it offered workshops on urban gardening and agriculture, through interacting with gardeners and farmers. Those involved learnt from each other and exchanged recipes and techniques of food preparation from all over Italy and the world.
Through this engagement and dialogue there are now many ideas in the pipeline for the neighbourhood, for example sharing snacks in public spaces and ”open kitchens” where together people prepare and share traditional recipes. They are even hoping to produce their own neighbourhood bear and implement an experimental service for grocery delivery.
The project was co-financed by Fondazione Cariplo and promoted by the ICEI together with the association ABG (associazione di genitori), ASNADA onlus), associazione De.de.p and L’amico Charly onlus in collaboration with INDACO, Politecnico di Milano and the institute Bodio Guicciardi plus other local associations.
“Blickwechsel” is a term that cannot be directly translated and which contains a double meaning: it stands both for eye-contact and for a change in perspective. The aim of Stiftung Mercator’s project is to contribute to a dialogue across national borders, disciplines, and both the academic sphere and the non-academic public.
The interdisciplinary framework programme ”Blickwechsel. Contemporary Turkey Studies” explores in five scientific projects on different aspects of current Turkish society, economy, and politics. The work is carried out together by researchers at German and Turkish universities.
The exchange of knowledge and insight aims to create a new perspective on Turkey and, at the same time, on Germany, as it is only through the interplay of both perspectives that a comprehensive picture can be realised.
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Within the three-year framework programme, Stiftung Mercator is funding the academic examination of Turkey in Germany and, simultaneously, the interconnectedness of both countries in the areas of research and teaching. The public may also benefit from the virtues of the academic approach: science observes, compares, and analyses – it combines old knowledge with new ideas, explains correlations, and conceptualises scenarios for the future. In doing so, clichés are broken down and stereotypes are called into question, a process both valuable and necessary for German-Turkish relations, which has had a long history of prejudices. The projects thus share their insights with the non-academic public in various formats.
The Art of Change is a yearlong initiative from the Ford Foundation exploring the interplay of art and social justice in the world today. The goal is to engage in a meaningful dialogue with artists, cultural leaders, scholars, activists and social justice leaders to think about important questions and opportunities that lie at the intersection of art, culture and social justice. Through these conversations, the foundation hopes to gain and contribute to a better understanding of how expression and creativity can shape a more just and equitable future for all.
The Art of Change initiative includes:
Thirteen Visiting Fellows pursuing independent study on diverse issues related to art and social justice.
Convenings exploring the relationship of culture to themes of identity, meaning, diversity and freedom.
A curated website hosting conversations and content about the connection of art and culture to social justice