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 social, cultural and artistic activists to share activities and learnings with local and global peers. We pool resources to co-create an open and accountable reporting system and archive 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.
Research & Priorities
However, the world of project reporting and learning is not ideal.
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 an analysis of reporting practices in arts and culture.
– 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)
We outlined five challenges:
- The database hugging disorder: Lessons from projects are kept instead of shared. Funder archives are closed and practitioners encouraged to compete instead of collaborate.
- Reporting fatigue: When projects end, practitioners are too exhausted to share valuable lessons.
- Positive bias: Results that are spread are usually only positive, excluding lessons from “failures”.
- Siloed networking: Exchange happens in bubbles of known practitioners, excluding knowledge sharing across disciplines, social and geographical contexts.
- Sorry this page is not available: Websites dedicated to projects, methods, and evaluations almost always die when funding ends.
To address the challenges our priorities are:
- Our structure should have inclusive and transparent governance:
– It should be controlled by practitioners while incorporating needs of researchers, project funders, and policymakers
- Our platform must be useful and simplify work flows:
– It should be feasible as a relevant social networking and portfolio building space for professional exchange
- It should be open, accountable and safe:
– It should be Open Source, use rigorous standards for preservation and descriptions for content, with efficient systems for data integrity protection and publishing ethics
- And long-term reliable:
– It should be based on a solid long-term financial plan, with mandate to provide ongoing and uninterrupted service
With these priorities we now pool resources to make Global Grand Central an international reporting standard
Global Grand Central non-profit
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 with the above priorities. 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,
Haraldssonfoto, Stockholm, 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