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09 Jan

Social Entrepreneurship in Luxembourg- study visit

In Blog by Magdalena Jakubowska / January 9, 2020 / 0 Comments

December was a busy month at Art Square ASBL, but the highlight, of course, was hosting the partners from the SEYW project on “The added value of social entrepreneurship in youth work” funded by the Erasmus+ Porgamme of the European Union here in Luxembourg! We organized a jampacked two-days study tour on December 8thto 11thwhere representatives from the partner organizations from France, Italy, Estonia, Greece and Bulgaria got to experience the best of Luxembourg’s social economic sector.

 

Kicking off the tour at Art Square Lab’s office in the Artrooms on 48, Avenue de la Liberty, we had the privilege of having a member of 4motion ASBL come to speak to us about education initiatives designed by their organization aimed at social change particularly for young people. Next, Art Square Luxembourg ASBL gave a presentation on their work targeted youth and social practices and then the night was closed by a visit to the enchanting Luxembourg Christmas markets!

 

Our first visit on Monday started at the MeSiS building on Cote d’Eich, or Maison de l’économie sociale et de l’innovation sociale. Welcomed by 6zero1 SA SIS and Compellio SA, we had a very informative session about what it means to become a “SIS” in Luxembourg, how the accreditation is achieved, what are some of the legalities around it, and why very few businesses actually choose to go the SIS route. 6zero1 is often regarded as the pioneer of the social business model in Luxembourg, and has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs in Luxembourg intertwine their social ambitions into their business plans, while Compellio has assisted big companies like Adem, PWC or the University of Luxembourg stay ahead of the curve through initiatives solutions focusing on tools such as digitalization.

 Visit in MESIS and 6zero1

The second stop on the agenda was a short but inspiring one. Digital Inclusion ASBL, a project that gives technological opportunities to people that would not otherwise be able to afford or access computers, gave us a tour of their small, but compact space, near the Gare. Supporting the circular economy, Digital Inclusion reuses and refurbishes second hand private and public computer and mobile phone donations, and finally passes them on to eligible people for the program. Courses are also offered in eleven languages for up-leveling digital literacy as well as earning recognized accreditation for computer skills.

 

Time for lunch anyone? Eugenio Curiel (SIS) was kind enough to accommodate our group and provide us with a delicious homemade Italian meal. With a hidden Italian library upstairs, Curiel has been a meeting point for Italian emigrants to discuss political and social ideas since its birth in 1971, and continues to function as an association supporting the Italian community in Luxembourg.

 

Bellies full, we headed over to IMS Luxembourg ASBL in the PWC building in the south of Luxembourg city. For over 10 years IMS has been at the forefront of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in Luxembourg, and connects many large companies like Auchan, Foyer, Post and PWC through a network focusing on social and sustainable alternatives practices that can be introduced in the workplace to benefit people and the planet.

 

One of the many OUNI cooperative members was kind enough to fit us in for an evening tour of the Gare shop (soon to be a Dudelange location). Luxembourg’s first packaging-free organic grocery store, OUNI is a cooperative with a big social impact not only in terms of its environmental and ecological footprint, but also its social model. In fact, it is owned and operated entirely by its members which have grown to over a thousand people, and in this way, the decision-making of the company rests in the hands of all its stakeholders, who have equal possibility to have their voices heard despite the size of their share.

 Visit in OUNI

Finally, we finished our night off at Chiche! Chiche! is a chic Lebanese restaurant employing over forty refugees—helping many more than that with accommodation and residence papers over the few years it has been running—located in Limpertsberg, serving fantastic middle eastern delights like fresh falafel and hummus. We opted for the family style menu, and were able to try almost everything on the menu which was complimented by the history of Chiche! delivered by one of the owners whose passion to assist migrants in Luxembourg radiated on her face durning her explanation of Chiche’s story.

 

Day 2 and the SEYW group was up bright and early to visit BENU Village Esch ASBL. Greeted by Georges, a Luxembourgish man wearing head to toe Benu-made recycled fashion, we were given the low down about Luxembourg as the second most wasteful country in the world next to Qatar. Blown away by this fact, he went on to tell us about what people throw out in this country and how BENU upcycles clothing, furniture and even food about to spoil. BENU Village will expand from their current headquarters in a container building, constructed entirely of second hand materials, across the street into a sustainable, natural restaurant.

Benu Village 

Kulturfabrik ASBL, our second visit of the day, was an old slaughter house turned art/dance/music hub for creatives to come and practice or showcase their talents. With events happening every week, Kulturfabrik is busy setting up stages and soundchecks in their music halls, screening alternative movies in their theater on old film rolls, having after work drinks in their bar open to the public and putting on workshops like the annual Flamenco days.

KulturFabrik

 

Lucky to have reserved a table at Mesa – Transition Minett, we enjoyed a nutritious bio-local meal over chats about the “REconomy” and what Mesa’s current contributions are regarding this theme. A new building is under construction down the road that will house the office for Transition Minett employees to work on their new projects for the Esch region, such as the transition of public walking spaces to be more user friendly. We got to walk through the large space after our lunch and envision the terrace which will be used for the eco café in the plans for 2020.

 

We finished our day at the Fab Lab in Limpertsberg Lycée des Arts et Métiers. As the only Fab Lan in Luxembourg connected to the global network of Fab Labs, we saw state of the art machines designed for 3D printing, laser cutting, CNC sessions and 3D modelling that are available for use not only by students but to the public who has an interest in creating, using an array of materials from wood to plastic. The membership fees are incredibly low, especially compared to Belgium, to encourage people with ideas to bring their projects to life without having to purchase expensive machinery.

 

By the end of day two the SEYW group was completely exhausted from running around the small country, but at the same time they left inspired to share the best practices they saw from Luxembourg in their home countries. Although the social solidarity economy might be small in Luxembourg, the general feeling from the organizations that we visited was that the interest in going social or sustainable is growing, and they are optimistic about a more clean, green and social Luxembourg in the future!

 

#seyw #erasmusplus #youth #socialentrepreneurship #sustainability

02 Dec

Local initiatives in Luxembourg- Transition Bonnevoie

In Blog by Magdalena Jakubowska / December 2, 2019 / 0 Comments

 

Luxembourg: a country of communes (102 to be exact!), a country of mixed nationalities. Today we had the pleasure of speaking with Olivier Baume from Transition Bonnevoie—a social enterprise which was established in 2014 as a two-man show with Oliver and Luis Santiago—about some exciting new projects happening in the Bonnevoie neighbourhood, a neighbourhood home to a wealth of nationalities and personalities.

 

Olivier Baume, Transition Bonnevoie

Olivier Baume, Transition Bonnevoie

Starting with the idea of a “gift box”, Transition Bonnevoie’s main venture has been to transform the Bonnevoie neighbourhood into a place where people not only share a space, but also a willingness to converse and really get to know each other, beyond a quick “hello” on the street. The gift box concept, a box where anything from clothes, toys and books are stored for people to take freely, spurred the idea to create a weekend market as a way to link the diverse communities living in Bonnevoie. With a vision to showcase food, products, crafts and whatever else might reveal the pride of one’s homeland, the market would serve as a place to connect people through culture (which Luxembourg has no shortage of!), a place to buy affordable items, and a place that brings life to the Bonnevoie neighbourhood, especially on the sleepy weekends.

 

Oliver informed us that some of the biggest obstacles faced when setting up projects of this nature are always safety and security of the citizens. The commune has been supportive of the idea but steps to ensure the protection of citizens always slows down the process, and of course there are concerns about the environment that must be addressed as well. A Bonnevoie market has received positive feedback so far, however, with just four people working on the project it may take some time to be achieved.

 

In the past, Transition Bonnevoie was granted 200,000 euro to redesign Place du Parc, which it held a café citoyen style workshop where support and input from the local community was shown by giving suggestions as to what improvements could be made to make Bonnevoie more lively. More recently, a questionnaire was circulated on 16 October to find out what Bonnevoie dwellers would like to see at a weekend market and we are truly excited to see social initiatives like this popping up around the city!

 

Article was written by Kelsey Todter in the frame of the project ” The added value of social entrepreneurship in youth work” supported Erasmus Plus Programme. 

#seyw #ka2 #strategicpartnership #socialentrepreneurship

01 Dec

Study visit in Bordeaux in the frame of SEYW project!

In Blog by Magdalena Jakubowska / December 1, 2019 / 0 Comments

Art Square ASBL travelled to Bordeaux this week for a study visit regarding the SEYW Erasmus+ project on “The added value of social entrepreneurship in youth work” in six different European Countries—France, Italy, Greece, Estonia, Bulgaria and Luxembourg.

 

Bordeaux—more than the home of good wine and canelé, a city full of hidden secrets in the social and sustainable sector. The greater Aquitaine region which stretches three hours north and three hours south Bordeaux is a particularly important part of France for social solidarity because it is the only region in France with a special government department dedicated to the social economy. On 31 July 2014, Minister Hamon established a law on the social economy defining what the social economy is in France and included in its structure were different types of organizations having a general mission towards common interest including associations, cooperatives, mutual and small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

 

We had the great privilege to be shown around Bordeaux by our fantastic host organization Co-Action. Co-Action is a place where a network of around 80 to 90 entrepreneurs come to receive financial support and trainings for their projects. Co-Action works closely with many organizations across Bordeaux like La Cress who is the main association responsible for raising awareness for youth work inclusion through communication, animation, a lab for statistics and a national forum held every two years.

Representative from Co-Action explaining the organizational structure of La Cress.

Representative from Co-Action explaining the organizational structure of association La Cress.

 

The next stop on our list: Sew & Laine. A fab lab started in 2011 tucked away in an old neighbourhood factory, Sew & Laine’s three-week program allows ten young people aged 18 to 37 from different social backgrounds to create and ideate an individual project using textiles, such as designing clothes or screen printing bags. The focus at Sew & Laine is to repair, reuse and recycle materials and at the same time empower every entrepreneur who goes through the three-week la residence program with the skills and tools to enter the design industry in a socially conscious way.

 

Getting a closer look at the machines that the young entrepreneurs use during their three-week residency at Sew & Laine.

Getting a closer look at the machines that the young entrepreneurs use during their three-week residency at Sew & Laine.

As if we hadn’t seen enough beautiful creations for one day, we went on to enjoy an incredible meal at Entr-Autres. Using local, seasonal and organic products as much as possible, Entr-Autres is an association that caters approximately ten office lunches around Bordeaux per month, with a one-month in advance booking system. At times, the chefs are even given produce about to go to waste by farmers which they then turn into something delicious—we sure couldn’t tell difference, everything was fresh and full of flavor! The other neat service they offer is an orange juice bike; young people with little work experience, poor social skills or disabilities have the chance to partake in a 3 to 10 day program whereby they cruise around Bordeaux on a bicycle making juice, connecting with people, and building the self-confidence they need to enter the labour market! The whole idea is to promote youth inclusion among 16 to 25 year-olds and give them a route to obtain recognized work experience for their CVs.

Outside Entr-Autres with the orange juice bike after our amazing local, seasonal and organic meal!

Outside Entr-Autres with the orange juice bike after our amazing local, seasonal and organic meal!

 

We finished the day with a visit to La Ruche, a co-working space and incubator dedicated to social business, circularity and connection. Addressing the fact that only 30% of entrepreneurs in France are female, La Ruche runs a nine-month program for women where they go from idea to creation on their own personal projects, and in parallel, La Ruche also supports fourteen other projects throughout incubation and gives opportunities to two volunteers. Given La Ruche’s limited space, only fourteen projects are selected out of a total of ninety-two submitted to share a thoughtfully laid-out working area, lounging area and cooking/eating area that are designed to promote connectivity and the sharing of ideas. With over 60 different profiles under one roof, one of La Ruche’s priorities is to not only create a sense of community among its members by hosting events and parties, but to exchange skill sets and also bring outside skills in using a box where people write down what they have to offer and also what they are looking for—a super idea for networking and get the conversation started!

 

Thoughtful design that promotes connectivity at co-sharing space La Ruche.

Thoughtful design that promotes connectivity at co-sharing space La Ruche.

On day two we ventured outside of Bordeaux, two hours outside to be exact, until we reached a rural village called Rion-Des-Landes. What were we doing in Rion-Des-Landes? Well, we were visiting Ecolieu, or “eco place, Jeanot! This old reconverted farm house situated on a beautiful green property—plenty of bio fruits and veggies growing—is a place where artists, youngsters, woofers, local farmers and socially conscious people gather to participate in activities like organic gardening, speaking on the web radio, setting up galleries and food tastings, a weekly market for local producers, educational workshops and larger music events. Jeanot, established in 2005, was first created by a group of 15 to 17 year-olds with the intention to support inter-cooperation with Peru and to hold a festival for international solidarity with Africa by using the proceeds from the collective garden, which initially belonged to a senior man by the name ‘Jeanot’. In 2010, Ecolieu Jeanot refocused its activities towards providing opportunities in the local community that teach youth entrepreneurial skills and give them more prospective than working as a cashier or in the local paper factory, which at the same time address the outward flows of people leaving the rural region in search of work in bigger cities like Bordeaux. The three overarching goals of Ecolieu Jeanot is to raise awareness and educate, to provide a space to incubate social entrepreneurial ideas and finally, to mutualize cooperation in the social sector.

 

In the onsite live radio station at Eco-lieu Jeanot.

In the onsite live radio station at Eco-lieu Jeanot.

Wandering further off the beaten track, we stopped for lunch at Café Associatif La Smalah, a small café where the entire town gathers to sip a warm coffee in the winter and a fresh daily menu. This café, only a few kilometers from the beach, was created as a way to keep the community-like feel during the winter months when the population declines considerably, compared to the summer months when tourism is booming. The café also functions as a space for artists and musicians to showcase their work, as well as a place where cultural events and workshops occur.

 

Leaving full and happy from a lunch at La Smalah, an association supporting local food, artists and events all year round.

Leaving full and happy from a lunch at La Smalah, an association supporting local food, artists and events all year round.

Coming to an end, our tour finished at a place called Le Granier de Mézos. Running since 2003, Le Granier has operated as a self-funded warehouse run by nine employees and volunteers in the nearby area. Full of donated books, clothes, furniture and many other treasures, Le Granier is both a shop for people to buy affordable second-and goods and also a workshop where old goods are refurbished and redesigned into something new! If an item has been sitting for a long time, it is taken to the back where local inhabitants can come to exercise their creativity and give it a makeover!

Some recycles treasures at Le Grenier de Mézos, a volunteer-run operation refurbishing second-hand goods.

Some recycled treasures at Le Grenier de Mézos, a volunteer-run operation refurbishing second-hand goods.

 

Overall, our trip to Bordeaux was enriching and insightful! Some of the best practices we witnessed in France could indeed be beneficial for fostering youth work and social enterprises in Luxembourg, such as finding more places to recycle exchange used goods, as well as encouraging restaurants or cafes to make use of food that will soon expire in creative, tasty ways!

Many thanks to Co-Actions for hosting and organising this inspirational visit!

#seyw #erasmusplus #ka2 #strategicpartnership #bestpractices

08 Oct

The EREK International Conference: What is the circular economy anyways?

In Blog by Magdalena Jakubowska / October 8, 2019 / 0 Comments

Tossing the old ‘linear’ way of viewing the economy, the circular economyis a concept that seeks to maximize the value and use of products, material and resources within the economy for minimal generation of waste. This is done by encouraging the circulation of secondary raw materials for uptake by both businesses and consumers to honor the life of goods and their longevity on this planet.

The EREK International Conference Make it happen with Resource Efficiency! highlighted a number of different innovative models used by businesses and industries geared towards more resource efficient solutions, including those that focus on digitalisation and strengthening the circular and social economy.

With 33 countries and 253 participants on the attendance list ranging from the European Commission’s DG GROW and the United Nations Environment Programme to CEOs from Avaesen and university professors, it is unsurprising that some interesting ideas ‘circulated’ the room. A few themes put on the table for further debate included:

  • Boosting resource efficiency in the real economy
  • What does Game of Thrones, Tomorrowland and Carnival have in common? A waste management challenge
  • Social businesses and resource efficiency
  • Digitalisation and Industry 4.0.

 

 

Erek Conference 092019

Tackling the ‘throwaway’ culture mentality, Art Square Luxembourg ASBL participated in the session on social businesses & resource efficiency to help identify ways that actors within the social economy (cooperatives, associations, foundations and social enterprises) in sectors as far and wide as agriculture, manufacturing, social services and banking can improve resource efficiency. Supporting social enterprises to create strategies in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and bringing stakeholders together to orient policies towards sustainable production and consumption were some of the main takeaways.

Erek Conference 092019

​​So, who is behind the real dirty work on cleaning up the environment and contributing to a European Green Deal and climate-neutral continent? Support and partnerships between national and regional environmental agencies, European industry clusters working on environmental technologies, business support services providers, SMEs, academics, students, officials from the European Commission are the backbone of ensuring a cleaner future for Europe!

If you are interested in the topic of Social Economy and youth work, do not hesitate to contact us artsquare@gmail.com

Article was written by Kelsey Todter in the frame of the project ” The added value of social entrepreneurship in youth work” supported Erasmus Plus Programme. 

LOGO ANG European Commission

 

 

 

 

08 Aug

Book Review: Make Space

In Blog by Bianca Bressy / August 8, 2019 / 0 Comments

Book review of "Make Space"

Book review: Make Space

Demographics

Publisher: Wiley
Year: 2012
Pages: 271

Personality

Jam-packed · resourceful · hands-on

Bio

SCOTT DORLEY is the Creative Director at d.school and focuses on the intersection between physical context and digital media. SCOTT WITTHOFT is an engineer and teacher of human-centered design at Stanford University.

Goals (what’s inside)

Based on the d-school’s experience, this guidebook shows how changing your surroundings can spark creativity and innovation. There are tools – how to build furniture or treat walls – but also ready-made layouts for specific situations, insights, case studies, and a breakdown of how properties of a place can inspire new actions and attitudes. Because this book is about “creative spaces,” but ultimately it’s also about “creating spaces” for everyone’s inner innovator.

Values (why we love it)

Much like a cookbook, you can look for what you need – and the references at the end of each page guide you to what else can help you. Moreover, the book also teaches you how to build specific stuff for your space.

Needs (read if you…)

  • … want to understand how space interacts with your activities
  • … want quick ideas to change your environment and improve your work