HOP! Creating a network
The first workphase was called fare rete (creating a network) and foresaw three meetings, three distinct appointments, in which we had the possibility to express doubts, bring up problems and be prepositive in a way of collective enrichment. With the aim to create a network, to construct a collective heritage of experiences, to put together projects and resources to enforce our activities.
For the first lab in this series, we immediately introduced two instruments that have proven to be useful: the food cards and picture cards. The first one as a way to break the ice between the thirty participants present, the second one to not take for granted the reading and the reinterpretation of the territory and to deconstruct and again reconstruct the common places of Bollate and the surroundings.
The images, selected by ZUP after an location visit, served to stimulate the minds and to start the discussion on Bollate, Introducing them was necessary to reinterpretate the known territory, often also the ‘home’ of the participants, the place they live each day. At the same time it is the scene of the transformation they have to imagine and to deal with. The aim of the second meeting was to put in evidence the relations, the shared commons, the diversities and the possibilities to enrich, concretise inside the network.
With the help of the mappa nera (black map) the participants of the workshop have started to observe and correlate the projects of the different organisations, committee and cooperations they represent: what unites and what divides them? This step is useful to to wrap-up and thus turn back to the challenges we have to deal with.
Once we had dealt with the themes ‘where am I, where are we’, we opened introduced another, but related topic in which we talked about losing its way, reorientation and recognition. A topic that definitely is part of a participation process dealing with the territory.
In the third meeting we changed, only or once, the approach and made it a plenary meeting. This kind of meeting has some limits, as not everyone talks in these kind of sessions (while in the ZUPlab we’ve foreseen the possibility for everyone to contribute equally to the discussion), the moderation has a more directive function (related to the time, the space and the communication). However, it is a need that in this phase of the itinerary we couldn’t ignore: we directly tested with the participants whether they are interested (or not) to discuss one or more of the topics that emerged during the first two meetings. It is necessary to give feedback, to push towards the next level and confront our methods.
The fourth meeting was meant to stimulate an important aspect of the participation: making a ‘design’ and the capacity of the citizens and associations – which have different competences and points of views – to discuss in more detail a specific theme. In this meeting it became crucial to understand the role of citizens and associations, in relation to the municipal administration, which apparently seems bipolar.
This question, in a scenario that is in transformation (either wanted or not), is the turning point to reason and to do participation. It is a synthetic reflection on the work done so far in Bollate and a good input for what we will do in the next weeks.