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New European Bauhaus Prizes 2024

Regaining a sense of belonging

“Co-llection” - a collective narratorship of trans-local (hi)stories
Co-llection is a creative project responding to the erosion of rural narratives. It facilitates international artists and local communities to co-create an evolving knowledge platform where (hi)stories are preserved, transformed and enriched through creative reimagining, transcending traditional archival methods. Through social and cultural interactions, it empowers humans to reclaim narratorship and reconnect to their roots, rekindling a sense of belonging.

EU Member State, Western Balkans or Ukraine
In the village of Dikea Evrou in Greece
Greece- Aνατολική Μακεδονία, Θράκη (Anatoliki Makedonia, Thraki)
Mainly rural
It refers to a physical transformation of the built environment (hard investment)
Prototype level
As a representative of an organisation

Trigono, situated at the border of Greece, Turkey, and Bulgaria, faces depopulation, poverty, and loss of its cultural heritage. The grassroots initiative Cotranspose, led by female youth community members returning to their roots, reclaims inactive spaces and nurtures cultural regeneration, bringing together international creatives with local communities. Cotranspose researches forging connections between international creatives and locals. In a collaborative effort with students from HKU University of Utrecht in April 2023, they envisioned a versatile and accessible space for exchanging knowledge, benefiting local and global communities, which led to the creation of 'Steki,' a cultural hub in Dikea that facilitates getting together, exchanging information and provides flexible workspaces, and a communal kitchen.

Following the implementation of the prototype, Cotranspose recognised a common interest among locals and international creatives addressing the loss of (hi)stories and celebrating local narratives. To facilitate this, they propose 'Co-llection, a dynamic knowledge hub that fosters active information exchange and production. It functions as a living library and archive for engagement, usership, creation, and collection.

Within 'Steki,' Collection's physical intervention introduces an accessible design with adaptive structures and a digital interface that offers diverse content. It provides regulated compartments for archiving and living elements that connect with the local ecosystem. The program revolves around workshops empowering the community to record and archive, fostering creative re-imagination through exhibitions, events and a co-created bi-yearly publication.

Co-llection responds to the risk of losing local stories, offering a bridge for international creatives to engage with the rural community. Dynamic social and cultural interactions empower residents' connection to their homes, rekindling a renewed sense of belonging.
Rural Innovation
Community Empowerment
Narratorship (power through storytelling)
The project aims to preserve and revitalise the cultural heritage of Trigono, ensuring that local traditions, stories, and practices are sustained and passed on to future generations. The engagement of the community's cognitive surplus plays a vital role in continuously enriching the cultural narrative. These traditions and techniques are preserved and serve as sources of environmentally sustainable solutions for the future.

By reclaiming inactive spaces, the project minimises environmental impact and fosters sustainable practices. This includes the use of locally sourced materials, energy-efficient solutions, and the integration of green spaces. Local traditions and techniques are integrated into the environmental sustainability efforts, providing valuable insights and sustainable practices.

By creating a communal hub for local and international creatives, the project supports economic sustainability by generating opportunities for the local population and reducing outmigration.

The project focuses on fostering social cohesion and community empowerment, critical social sustainability aspects. It brings diverse community members together, encouraging mutual understanding and shared experiences. It enables a culture of continuous learning, sharing, and collaboration. Local traditions and techniques promote social cohesion and contribute to a sense of shared identity, strengthening the social fabric.

The project serves as an exemplar by demonstrating the transformative power of community empowerment and a renewed sense of belonging. This, coupled with cultural preservation, environmentally sustainable practices, and economic vitality, results in a sustainable model that reduces outmigration, revitalises the community and fosters lasting change. Through an empathy-driven framework, Cotranspose aspires to create harmonious, sustainable futures while respecting the past.
The project harnesses an evocative community-driven design to enrich the cultures involved. Inactive spaces are re-imagined into vibrant environments, emphasising cultural and social connections while instilling a profound sense of belonging. It exemplifies a smooth integration of embodied aesthetics and cultural benefits, creating a space where co-creation and collectivity can flourish.

The creation of 'Co-llective' unfolds through participatory design practices, ensuring the active involvement of the community in the design process. This approach reinforces that aesthetic enhancements align with the community's cultural values and preferences, resulting in spaces that resonate with the community's identity.

Beyond visual appeal, the spaces evoke emotions and memories by integrating local traditions, stories, and practices. It offers an inclusive engagement with a multisensory experience of local narratives through a versatile and interactive design that encourages multimedia materials. Additionally, implementing digital tools ensures accessibility, providing innovative solutions for material translation into various languages and formats.

The project fosters cultural pride and enhances a sense of belonging in the community by rejuvenating local traditions. It becomes a space where individuals forge a profound connection to their cultural roots, strengthening the overall quality of experience.

The project exemplifies how design and cultural benefits can harmoniously merge through holistic approaches, creating accessible and inclusive spaces that significantly benefit the community.
The project is committed to inclusivity, accessibility, affordability, and active participation. The unwavering dedication to providing free access to the project and all associated programs and workshops is central to the approach. This ensures that financial constraints do not serve as barriers to entry, fostering a sense of unity and shared engagement.

As an integral part of the 'Co-llection' program, inclusivity efforts are extended by hosting workshops introducing individuals from diverse backgrounds to collecting and archiving. These workshops empower participants to contribute to preserving and sharing their unique narratives actively. It also offers guidance on how to use the design and materials to create fresh, innovative works. This multifaceted approach encourages users to interact with the content and become active contributors, instilling a sense of ownership and empowerment.

Cotranspose's commitment to inclusivity extends to the project's design, where it leverages innovative digital tools and software to transcend language and format barriers, ensuring that content seamlessly transitions from one form to another. This adaptable design philosophy will cater to diverse accessibility requirements, ensuring the project can accommodate a wide range of needs. Steki, our central hub, is wheelchair-accessible, underlining our dedication to physical inclusivity.

In addition, the project is designed to meet the needs of different age groups, offering amenities such as speakers, headphones, magnifying glasses, noise-cancelling features and braille labels. These provisions empower users to tailor their experience to their requirements, cultivating an environment of inclusivity and adaptability.

In this comprehensive approach, "Co-llection" exemplifies how inclusivity can be achieved by integrating accessible technologies, adaptable design principles, and a commitment to serving diverse communities and individuals.
Citizens, civil society, and the international creative community have played pivotal roles in developing the project. Their willingness to be involved has imprinted the project's outcomes. Through participatory design, they have offered invaluable insights, ensuring that the project's design harmonises with the cultural values and identity of the local community.

Furthermore, citizens actively participate in accessible workshops around archiving, storytelling, and utilising design materials. This engagement empowers them to become the storytellers of their narratives, going beyond passive beneficiaries.

The project's design philosophy is firmly rooted in care ethics and inclusivity, as it considers the diverse accessibility needs of its users. Features like adjustable designs and age-appropriate amenities ensure the project can adapt to individual requirements. In addressing language and format barriers, the project leverages digital tools, offering innovative content translation solutions that allow all users to access collective knowledge production.

The involvement of the international creative community diversifies the project's cultural content, providing a global perspective and fostering cross-cultural dialogue. Citizens, civil society, and international creatives have become co-creators and preservers of cultural heritage. Their involvement extends the project's cultural content, design, and accessibility.

The project exemplifies how community-led initiatives by reclaiming (trans)local narratives can lead to enriched cultural engagements, fostering a sense of care across citizens and empowering them to become changemakers.
Stakeholders at multiple levels, spanning from local to European and global, have actively participated in the design and implementation of the project, each contributing unique perspectives and expertise. Citizens, civil society, and the international creative community have played pivotal roles at the local level. They engage in participatory design, research, workshops, and content creation. A noteworthy example is the collaboration with HKU students who conducted research, including interviews with locals and surveys involving international participants to develop the project's prototype.

Regionally, partnerships with cultural institutions, organisations and individuals working on collecting local narratives have been established. This aims to enhance the project's reach, impact, and data input to the Co-llection. Nationally, collaborations with educational institutions and governmental bodies are in progress, reinforcing the project's foundation and contributing to its sustainable growth.

At the European level, the project fosters cross-border dialogue and cooperation. The participation of creatives worldwide brings diverse global perspectives that enrich the project's cultural content, inclusivity, and creative exploration of local narratives. The creation of workshops and programs results from partnerships with national and international entities, providing expertise in collecting and recording (hi)stories. These collaborations expand the project's scope and impact. Cotranspose actively engages with various initiatives to develop programs contributing to knowledge accumulation and local empowerment.

Involving stakeholders at all levels creates value through diverse perspectives and enhances the project's cultural content, accessibility, and inclusivity. This multi-faceted engagement reflects the collaborative spirit of the organisation of Cotranspose.
Representatives from transdisciplinary fields have played an essential role in shaping the project's design. The collaborative effort encompassed individuals from diverse knowledge fields, contributing their expertise and insights to create a multifaceted initiative.

In April 2023, HKU University of Utrecht students joined the project on location. They engaged with international artists participating in the residency program and conducted online surveys and interviews with the locals. The insights gained from these interactions informed the project's development and ensured that it resonated with the experiences and expectations of diverse participants.

Following the implementation of Steki, a group of artists joined the residency program. They worked on location and organised events for the local community. Their involvement was instrumental in gathering feedback on Steki's functionality and understanding the needs of both the local and international communities.

Cotranspose initiated discussions with participatory architecture and design experts to address those needs. This collaboration aimed to find innovative solutions for implementing the concept of Co-llection within Steki.

Moreover, contact was made with artists and creatives with expertise in participatory projects. Programs were co-developed and designed to engage the local community in the project. Their insights and contributions were invaluable in creating programs that promote inclusivity and community empowerment.

Cotranspose researched and visited other spaces with similar objectives to expand the understanding of similar initiatives and best practices. This comprehensive research approach allowed learning from successful models and adapting these insights to the project's context.

Cotranspose remains committed to inviting multidisciplinary users to contribute and provide ongoing feedback, ensuring our project continues evolving and improving.
"Collection" is a pioneering initiative in the Northern part of Greece. It differs from mainstream actions by focusing on rural areas.

It involves artistic practices as a dynamic medium to record and re-imagine local (hi)stories. By providing artists with the rich narratives of the community, it facilitates creative expression and contributes to the preservation of local stories that might otherwise lack the resources for documentation. This approach combines two challenges to create a solution.

The project is also characterised by its multifaceted community empowerment. Unlike traditional initiatives in this field, it actively involves both local citizens and international creatives in the design process. This engagement extends beyond conventional top-down decision-making. It highlights our commitment to developing the project in collaboration with the community rather than for them.

Implementing innovative means in the design, such as digital tools and software, to enhance the project's inclusivity is another aspect that makes it. This includes features for language translation, material accessibility, and a multisensory experience going beyond standard practices in the field.

The concept of 'Co-llection' is innovative because it serves as an interactive, ever-evolving knowledge hub that transcends the limitations of traditional archives. It encourages active user interaction, enabling them to re-imagine content.

Finally, it contributes to preserving local traditions and environmentally sustainable techniques. This forward-thinking element positions it as an initiative that values heritage and promotes sustainable practices.
The project's methodology is characterized by its adaptive and inclusive nature. It thrives on the input of various stakeholders and community members, employing these methodologies to ensure the project remains dynamic, responsive, and effective.

The project's foundation lies in the active involvement of the community and stakeholders throughout the design process. This approach places their perspectives, ideas, and distinct needs at the core of our project's development. We strive to create a space deeply rooted in their identity and values by empowering the local community to share their voices.

Employing an action research approach, seamlessly merging research and practical action. Through interviews, surveys, and on-location engagements, it extracts valuable insights and transforms them into pragmatic solutions. This methodology equips the project to address real community issues, ensuring its actions align with the identified needs.

Collaboration is a cornerstone of Cotranspose's approach that actively engages with a diverse network of partners, organizations, and stakeholders who share its project's vision. These collaborative endeavours collectively advance towards the project's objectives, amplifying the impact through shared expertise and resources. Simultaneously, involving experts from various fields adds a dynamic dimension to the project. By integrating professionals with diverse perspectives and unique areas of expertise, the aim is to enrich the project's approach and ultimate outcomes. This multidisciplinary collaboration fuels innovation and fosters a holistic understanding of the challenges addressed.
The concept of 'Co-llection' offers a dynamic and interactive knowledge hub that can be effortlessly adapted and replicated in various contexts. This platform empowers users to actively engage with and contribute to a perpetually evolving collection of knowledge, utilizing the idea of cognitive surplus.

The project proposes the partnership of creatives with small rural areas to record and re-imagine local (hi)stories. This approach facilitates creative expression and contributes to preserving local narratives that may otherwise lack the necessary resources for documentation. It presents a unique solution that bridges two significant challenges, making it a transferable and innovative concept.

The foundational elements of our project are designed to ensure inclusivity and diversity, rendering them universally applicable. The participatory design methodology encourages the involvement of the community and stakeholders in the design process, ensuring that their perspectives and needs are pivotal to project development. This inclusive approach can be seamlessly adapted to foster a sense of ownership and identity within diverse communities.

Incorporating innovative digital tools and software for language translation, material accessibility, and multisensory experiences represents another transferable aspect. These tools enhance inclusivity by making information and knowledge accessible to a broader audience.

Furthermore, the project's focus on preserving local traditions and environmentally sustainable techniques provides a model for other initiatives. The emphasis on valuing heritage and promoting sustainable practices can serve as a source of inspiration for different cultural and environmental contexts.

This modular and adaptable approach ensures that these elements can be effortlessly transferred to other projects, promoting the principles of inclusivity, community engagement, and sustainability in a wide array of settings.
The project promotes the preservation and sharing of local stories and traditions that, in today's globalised world, are at risk of being overshadowed and forgotten. Its interactive approach sets it apart, ensuring these narratives are reimagined to remain relevant to current and future generations.

Rural areas often face depopulation and economic challenges. Our project invites international creatives that contribute to the local revival. It also introduces programs that promote knowledge transferability while empowering the local community, providing them with tools and resources to create their narratives and revitalise their surroundings. This can combat the outmigration of young people seeking opportunities elsewhere.

The project addresses global challenges related to information and knowledge accessibility by using digital tools and software to enhance inclusivity. It makes content available in multiple formats and languages, ensuring a broader and more diverse audience can access and engage with the knowledge production.

In addition, it emphasises preserving local traditions and environmentally sustainable techniques. Highlighting these practices promotes ecologically friendly methods, re-enforcing the positive quality of sustainable living in rural areas.

Declining vitality in rural communities is a challenge faced by many regions worldwide. The project offers a model for reinvigorating these communities by creating communal spaces for interaction, information exchange and production, and creative activities. It provides an environment where people can reconnect with their roots and renew their sense of belonging.

The project addresses global challenges through local solutions that empower communities, preserve cultural heritage, promote inclusivity, and support environmental sustainability. Its holistic approach demonstrates how focusing on local needs and narratives can positively impact global challenges.
There is a clear plan for developing, promoting, and implementing our concept in the coming year. Currently, we are working on the design of the collection space in collaboration with an architect. This design is informed by research and feedback from the community. Over the following months, we will transition from the design phase to the physical realisation of this space within Steki.

We are using the material collected and created during the previous years of Cotranspose's operation to initiate the setup of Co-llection. We will focus on establishing a database of entries creating a structured and accessible repository.

Our yearly program starts in April with a series of collaborations to activate the project. These collaborations will foster engagement, knowledge sharing, and community participation. They include working with Matina Vretou, an architect, conducting a workshop on local traditional building practices and educating participants on tools for documentation and TAAT, a collective of artists and architects investigating local practices in regenerative architecture. The artist Henry Alles focuses on recording local recipes and tastes, while Rocio Rapoport and Ambar Waegemaeker collect local sounds. A group of HKU students will be creating a user manual for Co-llection.

Once the April-May residency concludes, we will conduct a feedback round to fine-tune the project.

We will initiate partnerships with schools and other community-based initiatives and collaborate with individuals archiving and collecting.

From July to September, we will welcome artists to the location to realise projects and engage with the Co-llection. The local community will have continuous access to this resource, fostering an environment of participation.

After the first year of operation, we will review how well it has met the users' needs. This evaluation will guide us to develop further and enhance the project.
  • Co-llection_visual.pdf
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