The story and analysis behind Global Grand Central.
Presentation at ENCATC, Brussels, Sept 29, 2017 (11 minutes). Details of what we do below.

We make better impact – together

Global Grand Central is a unique platform for learning and exchange amongst social, cultural and artistic activists worldwide. We pool resources to co-create an open and accountable system aimed to improve practice, make better research, and create smarter policies. The platform is a constant work in progress.

On this page:
Idea(l) | A New Standard | Governance, Board & Contacts | Feedback, Code & Copyright | Background


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.

The ideal impact cycle, where we build on each others knowledge to become better.

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.

The problem (and suggested solutions)

However, the current world of projects and learnings is not ideal. A number of systematic challenges stop us from building on each others knowledge between and across projects.

The impact cycle is broken, knowledge does not cross between projects.

At Global Grand Central we address five systematic challenges head on, based on research, analysis and constant feedback, seeking to establish an open international standard.

In September 2017, Global Grand Central presented our analysis “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)

The paper outlined five challenges, and corresponding strategies to solve them. The five strategies are core priorities at Global Grand Central and guide our design process.


Global Grand Central non-profit

On top of the five challenges, a core issue is the uneven power distribution between policymakers, researchers and practitioners. Power needs to be redistributed with practice at the center, and an ongoing dialogue across and between stakeholders.

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.”

(*) With “cultural rights” we refer to Convention 2005 UNESCO, and Articles 1 and 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

  • 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

Working Board

Chair: Ferdinand Richard
International Culture Expert, Marseille, France
Interview with Ferdinand Richard here



Coordinator: Marcus Haraldsson
Journalist, Steneby, Sweden
Not Quite and Haraldssonfoto



Lead Developer: Christo de Klerk
Digital artist, Seattle, USA



Archives: Natalie Milbrodt
Metadata and community specialist, New York City, USA
Queens Borough Public Libraries and Queens Memory



Feedback, Code & Copyright

Come along to evolve forms, functions and designs!

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

Europe Grand Central gathered experiences and lessons from 34 inclusive projects in 12 countries. Images above from Activities in Bologna, Lublin, Athens, Bremen, Vienna, Åmål and Casablanca, and “legacy partner” activities in New York, Tunis, and London.

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


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