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Projects

Participatory Economics

Participatory EconomicsOpen in Lightbox
Vegin' Out trial day at the health centre, May 2013
Participatory EconomicsOpen in Lightbox
Veg bags ready for sale at the trial day, May 2013
Participatory EconomicsOpen in Lightbox
Wochenklausur meeting at the CCA, February 2013
Participatory EconomicsOpen in Lightbox
Location of premises for Vegin' Out

A Wochenklausur project in Drumchapel, Glasgow 2013

For the month of February I was privileged to be part of the Wochenklausur team invited to do a residency at the CCA as part of the Economy exhibition in the CCA and Stills, curated by Kirsten Lloyd and Angela Dimitrakaki.

Members of the Wochenklausur core team had visited Glasgow last year to research possible partners and options for a project addressing the issue ‘participatory economics’. Drumchapel was chosen as it suffers from a high unemployment rate and it was agreed with local partner Drumchapel LIFE to try and work with local women to set up a women led co-operative addressing issues of health and diet.

The strategy of Wochenklausur is to conduct social interventions; working intensively for a short period of time and using the cultural capital of the inviting institution to address a sociopolitical deficit. The aim is to achieve a small-scale concrete change that can be sustained after the team has left.

As a team we set about arranging all the support that a social enterprise might need in order to be successful; drawing in a wide range of partners to support the group with skills development and practical hands on support with marketing, premises and business planning. Alongside this we were also building the group of women with Drumchapel LIFE, inviting people to join and drive the project forward. It was decided to create a business called Vegin’ Out the core of which would be to sell healthy meal bags; providing access to healthy produce and building confidence in cooking through including all the ingredients and recipe needed to make a healthy meal. Read a description of the project on on the Wochenklausur website

After the four weeks was up it was recognised that in addition to all the support pledged the group also needed some ongoing direct support on a weekly basis to facilitate group cohesion and enable them to access all the training, skills development and practical help offered. I took on the role of facilitator and funding was secured for four months for me to continue working with the women. During this time we did a successful trial of the bags, developed marketing ideas, secured premises and started looking at a business plan. The group still needs to develop into a strong team in order to drive it forward but there is still a lot of support for the ideas behind the project and a desire to keep trying out activity in order to progress the business.

The project is still ongoing with the support of Drumchapel LIFE and the CCA and it has been recognised that it is a big challenge for most people to take on the task of starting up their own business, let alone in an area crippled by years of economic deprivation, lack of infrastructure development and loss of people’s confidence in their own skills and abilities. This is a long-term project and the partners involved have got a passion for the original idea and a commitment to keep trying different methods of making it a reality. Funding has been secured to initiate further community and group development over a longer period.