2012 began with a glorious achievement for the Ideas Factory – we opened our Ideas HUB to host civic groups, active and creative people, and grassroots communities, seeking and creating changes for a more sympathetic world. Since then “the nest” was extended to allow for the alighting of more public events, screenings, presentations, performances, meetings and other active formal and non-formal organizations. This is the place where we work and the place which we are happy to share – contact us to find out how! All this was made possible thanks to our invaluable friends from АСЕМ (Association for Building With Natural Materials) and their inspiration for natural materials – the walls in the Ideas HUB are made of clay and corncobs, sand and flour.
TEAM: Evgeni Monov, a pack of friends and 15 pairs of hands smeared with clay
WHEN: the beginning of 2012 and ongoing
WHERE: 1142 Sofia, 12 Professor Nikola Mihailov Street, La Casa Azzurra!
DONOR: Charles Stewartt Mott Foundation
At the initiative of Nikola Venkov (one of the first “fabricators” that came from the factory’s conveyor and who studies the market for his dissertation in cultural anthropology) dozens of us are already involved in various initiatives related to changing the market’s image and people’s stereotypes about it, and also aiming to “empower” those of its people that remain unheard. We believe this is a place that brings together “the various” and the challenges to the city and to our country, and that it is a great blank canvas ready to be filled with new solutions. We would like this painting to be painted with the participation of the people from the market.
We started working with 13th School situated near the market and with the children at the end of 2011 and our first initiative was held on 22.12.2011 when over 20 volunteers, 80 children, clowns, jugglers, a monocycle, face painting, old games like gunny sack race, relay races and movie screenings turned the school into something different from the institution that the children were familiar with. Before the closing of the school in the summer of 2012 by the Sofia’s Capital Inspectorate, more than 12 volunteers regularly attended the lessons with non-formal and fun education in order to attract children in class.
Now, after it has become clear that our favorite spot will be reconstructed without broad public discussion, the project continues with new strength through the regular meetings and work of interdisciplinary group of sociologists, cultural anthropologists, architects, urban planners, journalists and others. In this process they build on each other’s ideas and solutions to the market challenges.
We are recruiting more volunteers and funds for our future activities there. If you are willing to help through human or monetary resources, please contact us.
WHEN: From 12.2011 onwards
WHERE: Women’s Market, 13th School, Sofia
TEAM: Nikola Venkov and “Women’s Market” group
Through innovative approaches, including installations (Utopia box, Tree of Ideas ), tools and events (Meet for Change, Creative Drink), Ideas Factory is looking for new ways to create a shared vision on issues that are of importance to local communities.
Ideas Factory’s main motivation to do what it does comes from the persuasion that any challenge to our shared life and any decision-making has its answer among the people – all people, everywhere – they are the best experts on … the quality of their lives and the sole sovereign of governments. This way we support shared dreaming, and we also create opportunities for solutions in cross-sectoral environment and aid the steps towards their implementation. That’s how we encourage innovations and the facilitation of citizen participation in the processes of decision making. (Crowd-sourced decision-making)
The International Training Course “Sustainable tools” – part of EuroMed’s “Youth in Action” program, was held from 11th till 17th June, 2010 along the banks of Shiroka Polyana Dam. The purpose of the project was to provide people working with youths from the Mediterranean region with means, tools and methods for work on issues related to sustainable development, responsible consumption, biodiversity, fair trade, environmental ethics, etc.
The training course was attended by 22 people from 11 European and Mediterranean countries (Bulgaria, Turkey, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Lithuania, Israel, Egypt, Tunisia, Lebanon and Jordan). The training encouraged youth workers to spread the results of the project in their community and among their “students”. As part of the training program a feeder for cloven-hoofed animals was built in hunting reserve “Shiroka Polyana” with the help of all participants and a model of an open lesson on the topic of sustainable development was developed in cooperation with school’s nature lovers club in Velingrad. As a result over 40% of the participants have taken part or have initiated projects or activities inspired by the training.
PURPOSE: To provide youth leaders with tools and methods for work on issues related to sustainable development in the context of learning through experience: – responsible consumption, biodiversity, fair trade, environmental ethics.
TEAM: Sasha Vitanova, Zhelyazko Mechkov, Ioannina Taneva, Evgeni Monov;
WHEN: 11 – 17 June 2010
WHERE: Shiroka Polyana Dam.
The training and the people from “Creativity for Social Change” were the beginning of the true mass fabrication of fabricators – quality, long-term committed and inspired people who work within a network to change the world around them for the better. This is also the historic predecessor of Changemakers Academy, more focused on spontaneity and creativity and in a more intensive and short format.
To create the format of „Creativity for Social Change” we started with a question – What would happen if people with enthusiasm for change and a strong value system have the opportunity get more systematical acquainted with the techniques for filtration of quality ideas, with the practical skills for leading social processes, with the methods for increasing the effectiveness of their work and most of all – with others like them?
So we started building a network of “fabricators” with genius ideas and great qualities, who support each other while making the world more colorful, adequate to the challenges it faces and more empathic. We found that human potential is the only infinite resource on this planet. The unique methodology developed for the series “Creativity for Social Change” has become a trademark and a face of “Ideas Factory”. The numerous subsequent projects, that directly resulted from the training, proved that the cocktail of promoting the personal development of the “agents of change”, facilitating the interaction between them and the mentoring program that aids the projects initiated as a result, is actually a combination – a catalyst and a process that leads to real change.
If the people, who are motivated to change the world, find tools to unleash their imagination, to call forth their spontaneity and to allow themselves to experiment through play with ideas and systems, this will inevitably lead to purebred social innovation.
Check our calendar for the next training!
WHEN: March 2010 – ongoing
TEAM: Yanina Taneva, Benita Primo, Sasha Vitanova, Alexandra Yotsova
The first co-production of the Factory in cooperation with artists from Cumbo Circus: acrobats Benita Primo and Emi Velkova together with David Romanello. Performance – playful and childlikely free. We performed it two whole times.
TEAM: From Cumbo Circus: Benita Primo, Emi Velkova, David Romanello; from the Factory: Yanina Taneva
WHERE: Sofia House of Culture “Sredets” (formerly “Lilyana Dimitrova”)
People from the “Association for the Revival of the Village of Mandritsa” come up with great ideas to enliven their favorite native village. Willing to please and attract mostly youngsters – the potential future residents of the village and with the support of Ivaylovgrad Municipality, they had organized an Easter celebration for children. They invited us to create the festival’s program with factory’s charge together with our friends from Cumbo Circus. And this is what we came up with – a gunny sack race, “Mandritsa golf” (knocking down a matchbox with a potato on a thread) egg-and-spoon race, tug of war with a rope made from recycled materials and other games.
One of the major attractions was the “Treasure Hunt” – a real quest-game to explore Mandritsa. Children were walking around the village with different missions, interrogating the grandmothers and learning many things while trying to find the hidden treasure – a pot of gold coins … made from chocolate!
Most fanciful of all was the enchanting performance under the tent of Cumbo Circus. At sunset dozens of DIY kites flew in the sky. And finally there was a real mask carnival in which the participants’ fantasy made the Cumbo-jury’s decision maximally difficult.
The good thing is that the festival had a second edition in 2012 and will probably become a permanent event. We wish them the same excitement in the village all year round!
TEAM: “Association For the Revival of the Village of Mandritsa” in partnership with the municipality of Ivaylovgrad, a team from the Factory and friends, Cumbo Circus
WHERE: the village of Mandritsa
Our idea was to stimulate a thought process in the urban environment about nature conservation and other stories through performances in the public space. It can be called “invisible theater”, theater of improvisation … a strongly Balkan project, which ended with a fest by the Ariana Lake and was the first publicity for “Let’s Save Irakli”
The photo is from the action called “fishing”, in which 10 folks in yellow raincoats, with coolers and fishing chairs, sat down to fish at Eagles’ Bridge. Yeah … yeah … in that same channel that some boldly call Perlovska River. Boldly indeed!
OBJECTIVE: To some extent the goal was … to provoke, to shock and to evoke interest, without being afraid of the public space which we used as a stage.
TEAM: The Balkan style authors of this event were: Agnes Asodi (Novi Sad), Oana Munteanu (Timisoara), Katherine Neuman (Nuremberg) and me – Yanina Taneva from Sofia.
WHEN: 1 – 5 May 2006