The story and research behind Global Grand Central.
Presentation at ENCATC, Brussels, Sept 29, 2017 (11 minutes). Details of what we do below.
Reporting systems are dead – long live reporting!
Global Grand Central is a unique platform for learning and exchange amongst social, cultural and artistic activists. We pool resources to co-create an open and accountable reporting system aimed to improve practice, make better research, and create smarter policies. The platform is a constant work in progress.
In local communities all around the world, activists in the form of artists, culture institutions, libraries, social organizers, community leaders, sports clubs and educators develop activities to make people understand and respect each other. Through inclusive projects we engage with communities and perform a delicate art built on empathy, creativity, and experience. These initiatives are fundamental to local and global societies and form the basis of human rights, social justice, and peace.
In an ideal world, social actions work together for the same ends – we plan activities aware of previous experience and knowledge, act, evaluate and spread lessons in a never ending cycle. By learning from mistakes and successes we contribute to improved understandings – and a better world.
A New Standard
However, the world of project reporting and learning is not ideal. Systematic challenges stop us from building on each others knowledge.
At Global Grand Central we address challenges head on, based on research, analysis and constant feedback, seeking to establish an open international reporting standard.
In September 2017, Global Grand Central presented the Research Paper “Mobilising Networks Through Web-based Archival Practice” at an ENCATC research conference in Brussels. It was based on our work across Europe, and built the argument for establishing a new bottom-up evaluation and reporting standard – designed to enable learning across peers. The Global Grand Central platform is built on its arguments.
– See the presentation with slides and audio at the top of this page (11 mins)
– Read the full paper in the 8th ENCATC Research Session Book Proceedings (pages 165-188)
|Our research outlined five challenges in current reporting systems…||…and five priorities for a new platform seeking to address them|
The database hugging disorder
– Lessons from projects are kept instead of shared. Funder archives are closed and practitioners encouraged to compete instead of collaborate
Open, accountable and safe
– Platform should be managed in a way that can keep confidential data safe, while sharing all other data, knowledge, and learnings as widely as possible.
– When projects end, practitioners are too exhausted to share valuable lessons
Useful, instrumental and simplify workflows
– Fewer and more relevant reports and evaluations. Preferably pooled, so that the same report can be sent to several funders. A reporting platform should also be supporting for creative and learning processes, and feasible as a social networking and portfolio building space for professional exchange.
– Results that are spread are usually only positive, excluding lessons from “failures”
Safe enough to encourage sharing of “failures”
– A platform should feel safe and supportive enough for users to describe failures, as well as successes, unexpected findings and meaningful representations of process.
– Knowledge exchange happens in “bubbles” of known practitioners, excluding knowledge sharing across disciplines, social and geographical contexts
– It should be possible to use reports and evaluations also for purposes of networking directly between peers and towards practitioners, policymakers and researchers.
“Sorry this page is not available”
– Websites dedicated to projects, methods, and evaluations almost always die when funding ends
– Reports and evaluations should be archived in a system that guarantees long-time survival and accessibility. Platform should be based on a solid long-term financial plan.
Global Grand Central non-profit
We believe that credible and efficient governance is key to solve the above challenges. We intend to evolve the mechanics of influence carefully over time based on research and iteration.
From September 1, 2017, the Global Grand Central platform is hosted by Global Grand Central non-profit, an association (“idéell förening”) registered in Sweden. The association is tasked with researching, testing, and implementing long-term solutions on governance, technology and funding. We are currently working under a three year plan until 2021.
From the statutes of Global Grand Central non-profit:
“In full respect of cultural rights,(*) and in order to reinforce a vibrant civil society, it is our objective to provide an open platform and living archives for learning and exchange amongst artistic, social and cultural activists worldwide.”
- Principles: Openness, co-creation, and accountability
- Geographies: Local and global
- Perspectives: Practice, research, and policy
- Stakeholders: Public, private, organizations, and individuals
Read our full statutes here
Board of Directors
Chair of the board:
Members of the board:
- Valeria La Corte,
Associazione Laminarie, Bologna, Italy
- Marcus Haraldsson,
Not Quite and Haraldssonfoto, Sweden
- Christo de Klerk,
Sudocity, Seattle, USA
- Natalie Milbrodt,
Queens Borough Public Library, New York City, USA
Chair Ferdinand Richard: FerdRich@free.fr
Delegate Valeria La Corte: ValeriaLaCorte@laminarie.it
Lead Developer Christo de Klerk: Christo@globalgrandcentral.net
Coordinator Marcus Haraldsson: Marcus@globalgrandcentral.net
Delegate Natalie Milbrodt: Natalie.Milbrodt@queenslibrary.org
Feedback, Code & Copyright
Global Grand Central is an alive platform and a constant work in progress. It is built and co-designed by its users. You are welcome to contribute!
- When you see something that should be improved on the site, please use the red feedback button (on the right side of your screen)
- Our code is Open Source available through GitHub here, you are welcome to contribute to develop our forms here
- Texts and images are freely available to reuse as long as you state the origin, and also make them freely available. Technically speaking, this is a “Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 license”. You can find our reasoning, and how this relates to Copyright, in the Content part of our Terms of Service
Europe Grand Central
Global Grand Central was developed as the result of ‘Europe Grand Central’ – an international collaboration project by seven independent European culture networks, theaters and art centers from six countries between 2015 and 2017. Concepts and functions were iterated to enable learning between very diverse experiences.
Until August 31, 2017, the platform was hosted by art center Not Quite in Fengersfors, Sweden, on a grant from the EU.
- Read more about the project, achievements, and Activities on the Europe Grand Central Hubs page
- Official EU, ‘Creative Europe’, project info and results here