Baba Residence 2017

For the past 2 years Baba Residence has been our answer to the problem of depopulation of Bulgarian villages and the gradual loss of their cultural heritage. It’s where generations open-heartedly meet, where villages and cities come together in the search of a beneficial common ground between the community, the local culture, and of course, you.

By taking part in the program Baba Residence 2017, participants make the decision to engage in a 7-month long challenge, only a month of which is field work in a village in the Gotse Delchev region.
Every single day of this month they will be diving into the everyday and emotional needs of the village and their hosts. They will learn about and document the remaining bits of folklore and use the observations and their social-entrepreneurial mindset to develop their own (or a group) idea, which would help the village.
The participants will themselves answer what the village needs in order to blossom again while getting to know the ones who make up its folklore – the local people.

This year the month of field work will take place in a village in the Gotse Delchev region from 31st August to 25th September.

We become a part of the organisation of next Tandem Europe!


HURRAY (in tandem)! Officially, we’re now part of the organisational team of the next round of the international programme for creative interaction between cultural managers and activists from whole Europe Tandem Europe! We’re in it together with 4iS (Aveiro) and This Is Comm’on (Athens).
This year the focus is shifting towards developing a social innovation, based on the cultural exploration of the community/ environment of the participants’ countries.

Our responsibility as co-organizers is the first event from the programme – a Partner forum in October 2017 (10-15), during which all the candidate-tandemians will meet for the first time. The forum will submerge them during 5 intense days into many interactions, a world cafe, games and field work. The purpose – all of them (around 100 people) will form the desired two-country tandems. They will work as such during one who year and will develop a product/ initiative/ event etc., which could be an instrument for overcoming certain community problem.

The application for the programme is open from 15th of May until 30th of June! Let there be Tandems!
More about Tandem Europe and the ways you can get involved, find here -> HERE!

The Ideas Factory presents: EMPATHEAST Vol. 2

On 13, 14 and 15 November 2015 EMPATHEAST – the forum for empathy-driven social change – will transform Sofia into an area for social innovations, created by and for the community.

Register here:

EMPATHEAST gathers “realistic dreamers” from around the world and the region, challenges and stimulates the collective creativeness with meetings, interactive formats, lectures, discussions, installations, games and performances. All of that is there to demonstrates how we call be part from a shared vision, nourished by empathy for real.

This year we play with the topic “Community-led innovations” and the bright palette of human-centered solutions: self-organized and independent civil systems and communities, ethical finance for positive social impact, food independence, exchange of knowledge between generations, proactive participation in the development of the urban environment.

Some of the social innovation adventures you can experience at EMPATHEAST 2015 include:

– Art Innovation Challenge
– Claudian Dobos from Transition Towns Network & Aurora community
– Dialogue in the dark (Диалог на тъмно) – social enterprise for blind people
– Institute for silence exploration
– More than 15 socially innovative ideas and social enterprises from Social Innovation Challenge 2015
– Stories from from Granny Residence (Резиденция Баба)
– Video installation Granny Peppy (part of
– World Café on the topic „Food sovereignty“
– Movie shows
… and many more

Follow the news on FACEBOOK and register quickly because the places are limited!

Social Innovation Challenge 2015!

The Social innovation challenge’s second edition is a reality! We received registrations from 43 inspired teams from Sofia, Vratsa, Plovdiv, Ruse and Burgas, 134 challenged changemakers from quite various backgrounds and professions and a handful of missions (well, 43).

In the evening of 25 September each team received its mission! On Sept. 29 they delivered the solutions to their Angels (mentors) and to the Ideas Factory team.

On Oct. 1st followed regional presentations in all 5 cities involved in the challenge this year and the teams with the most sustainable and innovative solutions had the chance to present them in Sofia, where more people will hear and support them on Oct. 8th. These teams joined the Incubator for social innovations which was in the middle of October. After working with mentors for almost a month those teams will get the chance to look for sponsors and supporters at a spacial event during EMPATHEAST – the forum for empathy-driven social change organized by the Ideas Factory at the end of every year.

Follow all recent news on the Social Innovation Challenge here.

We have also fulfilled Dance with me!

Our last year wishes come true boldly! Now, we were able to actualize Dance with me too!

For a full 10 days Karlovo and its surroundings had become a gathering point for dancers from near and far – Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Israel, Greece, Georgia and the Netherlands. 29 participants experimented with techniques of contemporary dance and learned to use them in their work with groups.

The result – on the 19th of June, the participants performed 3 performances!

The first location was the community center in the city of Bania, where a part of our audience were women from the home for elderly people with mental retardation; then we went to the square in the village of Kliment – we managed to capture even the attention of the youngest, who were mimicking the movements of the dancers; and finally we put the icing on the cake on the central square in Karlovo!

The process wouldn’t have been so successful if we didn’t have the ground of the “Vasil Levski” Primary School, 1861, where our dancers had their rehearsals – we are very grateful!

You can see photos from the process and the performances HERE!
Dance with Ideas Factory!

erazum-plus-logoThe “Ideas Factory” project “Dance with me” is funded by Erasmus + program of the European Union.

The Training of Baba’s residents

The four-day inspiring training organized by Ideas Factory at the school museum “St. George” in Asenovgrad, gathered at one place all approved candidates for “Baba Residence “ for the first time!

Dobrich, Varna, Popovo, Gorna Oryahovitsa, Ruse, Plovdiv, Stara Zagora, Karlovo, Burgas, Sofia, Vienna, Berlin – these are some of the cities that are associated with our 20 motivated participants.

Only a month before heading to the villages, the enterprising young people gained skills in areas such as emotional and social intelligence, ethnological fieldwork, local economy, met the representatives of the Luki Municipality and the Municipal Foundation “Plovdiv 2019”. During the training, the future residents found supporters and mentors for the accomplishment of their ideas, linking traditional knowledge and resources of the village with the contemporary possibilities of marketing and production. The lecturers from the Ongal Association introduced the young people into the specifics of communication and lifestyle of the local people in Luki Municipality, and economist Dimitar Subev gave practical examples of the variety of activities offered by the villages, as resources and opportunities for business development.

The frightening statistics is that Bulgaria is among the most urbanized countries in the Balkans – 73% of the population lives in the cities, which leads to the release of a huge market niche and somewhat explains the new trend of increasing rate of resettlement from the towns to the villages in the past year.

There is another challenge before the young participants and the local residents – to organize events, together, in mid-August, in each of the villages – Manastir, Yugovo, Drianovo and Dzhurkovo. This way friends and fans of the cause “Baba Residence” will be able to meet in person with the participants, visit the villages and taste the fruit of the joint efforts of urban children and Rhodope elderly people.


EEA_Grants_JPG_4642_1The project “Baba Residence” is financed through the “NGO Programme in Bulgaria under the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area 2009-2014”. Our partners are Association for Anthropology, Ethnology and Folklore studies “Ongal” and Foundation “Plovdiv 2019”.

Just a few days until “Dance with me”!

If you will be in Karlovo between the 11th and 20th of June and at some point you feel the ground beneath your feet vibrating – do not worry! This is not an earthquake, this is “Dance with me” by Ideas Factory!

29 young and active people from Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Israel, Greece, Georgia and the Netherlands will experiment with techniques of contemporary dance and will find out how to use them in their work with groups, where the learner is in the center of the process.

Workshops with methods and techniques of modern dance, open workshops with the local youth, discussion groups, group rehearsals with coaching and video feedback, open shows for the local community – these are only a small part of the adventure before our future dancers!

The participants will present what they have learned in the afternoon of June 19, at the central square in Karlovo – Come, Dance With Me!

The “Ideas Factory” project “Dance with me” is funded by Erasmus + program of the European Union.


Life in the PRICE space

Ideas, discussions, lectors, examples – so buzzed the PRICE space of Ideas Factory!
From the depths of alternative currency systems, along with Filka Sekulova (Free University of Barcelona), through educational alternatives with Joro Mavrov, the Portuguese Casa da Juventude of Miguel Pinto and Vyara Ivanova (“Elana” and PRICE Bulgaria), aaaall the way to our speakers from Empatheast – Jason Nardi and Ralph Bohlke!
The meetings became more frequent, and the ideas – too! And to tell you honestly, we can’t wait to test them!

The PRICE project (promoting responsible investment and commerce in Europe) lives its own life in the Ideas Factory space! In short – the PRICE space! Purposefully we gave it each Monday after 18:30 at the familiar Factory place, so that the people, who dream of and work for fair trade and ethic finance, could have their place for meetings, inspiration and sharing.

If you want to be informed of everything that happens in the PRICE space, join the group on Facebook!

Apply for “Baba Residence”!

Do you have an idea how to connect your modern urban skills with traditional rural culture? Do you know how to bring back people’s interest in the Bulgarian village? Ideas factory has a challenge for you!

Become a resident! Apply with an idea and become a part of the dreamed “Baba Residence”!

20 people with the most interesting and innovative ideas will be included in this training by Ideas Factory and Association “Ongal” in systematic and design thinking, social entrepreneurship and ethnologic fieldwork. After this the young people will head to the Rhodope Mountains, where they will spend 4 to 6 weeks, so that they could start learning a craft and develop their initial idea.

Find out more information and the application form – HERE!

EEA_Grants_JPG_4642_1-150x150The project “Baba Residence” is financed through the “NGO Programme in Bulgaria under the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area 2009-2014”. Our partners are Association for Anthropology, Ethnology and Folklore studies “Ongal” and Foundation “Plovdiv 2019”.

А statistics-jar for “Baba Residence”

Before we throw ourselves in the living adventure called “Baba Residence”, we decided to test the water with one preliminary survey and get to know the attitudes and thoughts of university students and unemployed graduates from Plovdiv and Sofia.
We share with you a part of the infographics, based on the results of a quantitative survey, made by “Media Links” for Ideas Factory.
We filled the jars with number and here’s what came out!

From the results you can see the lack of motivation and dejection of unemployed graduates – many of them would not want to learn any craft, would not have live in a remote rural area, do not intend to develop their own business, and expect mostly high income from their future job.
The university student bring a ray of light to the statistic – a huge percentage of them would want to learn how to cook, make jewelry from beads, sing and become mountain guides. It is gratifying that they would take the challenge to live in a remote rural area and would want to develop their own business.
We have always been interested in the topic about education and we have never stopped digging in it. An interesting fact is that, when they were asked the question of whether the knowledge they have acquired at the university, would help them to start their own business, 38% of the students answered it would “rather not”.
A chance to grow and be satisfied from the work you have done – that is what the students expect from their future job.
The lack of financing is that keeps both students and unemployed graduates from starting their own business.

You don’t think that the results from the quantitative survey have frightened us, do you? On the contrary – they motivated us even more, to change the numbers and help the young people in Bulgaria to find themselves, by going back to the roots!

What’s going to happen – keep your eyes on our “Baba Residence”!


EEA_Grants_JPG_4642_1The project “Baba Residence” is financed through the “NGO Programme in Bulgaria under the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area 2009-2014”. Our partners are Association for Anthropology, Ethnology and Folklore studies “Ongal” and Foundation “Plovdiv 2019”.