Implementing Cooperation Projects

In most educational and professional training frameworks, we are asked to precisely identify and formulate the skills the programs aim to develop. We acknowledge the need for technical skills, but also, above all, advocate for the need to focus on ideological and politized foundations that are closely linked to skills of critical observation and reflection. We must pay more attention to the aim of social transformation in the cultural sector and become more attentive to questions of marginalized/underrepresented knowledge.

Within SHAKIN, we designed an International Project Exercise for our students from different universities and countries. The aim of the exercise was to create international groups of students, working together from October to March, to develop an artistic/cultural project, but moreover to learn from each other, open up to different forms of knowledge, and experiment with research and production methods. Each group was supported by two mentors.

Here is a list of different guides to implement a cooperation project with students or with partners, being especially attentive to its social relevance, methods of collecting data and subaltern voices, and reflexivity.

The expected outcomes for participants of the projects should be :

  • To be aware of others / develop cooperative skills
  • To experiment with alternative methodologies
  • To develop action research and critical analysis
  • To learn a non-hierarchical model of managing cultural projects and spaces
  • To produce and promote subaltern knowledges
  • To advocate for subaltern knowledge in cultural policy-making
  • To focus on their own intercultural way of working (by expliciting their professional and civic ethos)

These guidelines start from designing the instructions of the project format itself to the evaluation of the project by participants.

Explore the implementation guides

Dive into the previous student projects!

Within our Shakin project

During the Shakin project, we implemented a cooperation project exercise with groups of students and young professionals in Serbia, Germany, and France. During the design process of the exercise’s instructions, we gathered feedback from all partners and we highlighted key elements for implementing the project.
First, we identified four issues that could define a fair cooperation project:

  • Seeing structures (seeking dominant structures)
  • Emancipate from structures
  • Cooperation
  • Project management

For each issue, we highlighted 3 different types of knowledges and skills that might be activated by participants:

  • Knowledges
  • Skills: know-how, competencies
  • Attitudes: know how to be, abilities

Here is what we discovered

Issue 1: Seeing Structures

Knowledges Attitudes
  • To understand how knowledge is produced
  • To understand that there are dominant structures, dominant ways of seeing the world, learning, and teaching in academic fields & cultural fields
  • Critical theories (feminism, postcolonialism, disability studies, animal studies, etc.)
  • Cultural policy and management: Global Perspective
  • Curatorial practice
  • Cultural memory studies
  • Being sensitive to different ways of discrimination

Issue 2: Emancipate From Structures

Knowledges Skills Attitudes
  • Cultural understanding, sharing references and context from different countries and perspectives
  • Ethics of cultural management
  • Archiving (how to search in the archives and how to archive)
  • New ways of find, evaluate information
  • New ways of learning (to be open to learn from each other)
  • Research skills
  • Observation context
  • Ethnographic observation
  • Interpretation of different narratives
  • Ability to go into an unknown context
  • To accept some discomfort, irritation
  • Accept the difference
  • While working in different contexts, awareness of different backgrounds;
  • Tolerance of different values/thinking / views

Issue 3: Cooperation

Skills Attitudes
  • Communicate in a foreign language
  • Shared leadership
  • How can we guide without being dominant
  • Self-organisation
  • Horizontal organization and decision-making
  • Collaborative skills with international networks
  • Searching for ecological/ethical ways of working together at a distance
  • Awareness of own ‘situatedness’ and sensibility for other perspectives
  • Collective experience
  • Understand the others
  • Trust/Confidence to yourself and to others

Issue 4: Emancipate from Structures

Knowledges Attitudes
  • Management of international projects
  • Intercultural dialogue
  • International PR and fundraising
  • Searching for other partners and sharing resources
  • Work division
  • Reliability
  • Project writing
  • Explaining/defending a project idea
  • Use of digital tools (online conferences, exhibitions, etc.)
  • Project evaluation
  • Interpretation post
  • Reflexivity
  • Archiving
  • Digital archiving