Case — Co-creation at Cultureghem

Cultureghem is a vibrant hub located in Cureghem, Anderlecht, designed to facilitate social interaction. The organization strives to use Brussels' public spaces to foster connections among its diverse residents, irrespective of their living conditions.

Founded in 2013 on the Abattoir site in Cureghem, Cultureghem has since executed numerous projects. These range from initiatives to curtail food waste at the market, to establishing an open-air restaurant, organizing engaging activities for children, and even introducing an open-air museum to the neighborhood. The organization is driven by a team of 10 permanent staff and a dedicated 'Dream Team' of over 100 diverse volunteers.

In this video, Barbara Luypaert, the co-director of Cultureghem, shares her experiences from the Open Space session and talks about the surprising results that followed.

What they want to achieve

Cultureghem is facing two significant changes.

  • This year, three key members of the permanent team, including the individual who inspired the project, are leaving the organization.
  • The organization wants its volunteers to take on a greater role in steering and executing its projects.

Our contribution

We are assisting Cultureghem with their transition to a participatory model. They are striving for a new approach to leadership that gives volunteers more influence. The permanent staff also aims to integrate the Dream Team more thoroughly into their activities. They are working to better understand the viewpoints of the volunteers.

We recommend using Open Space Technology. This method is suitable for an organization that wants to implement changes, but isn't fully aware of of how these changes are perceived by everyone and what ideas are being contemplated.

The outcome

The Open Space day gave the team valuable insight into the Dream Team's concerns and ideas. It offered volunteers a platform to express issues that they might have been unable or reluctant to share before. The agenda for the day was set collaboratively, allowing everyone the freedom to choose the discussions they wanted to join.

For Cultureghem, this process resulted in

  • clear action items,
  • increased involvement from volunteers, and
  • above all, deepened mutual understanding.

Outcomes from the Open Space session featured a plan for non-violent communication, a hygiene strategy, suggestions for improved working conditions in winter, and the development of a new reception area.