Creatives & Changemakers

Organizations build relationships through individuals

Caroline Wendt
August 17, 2020

The key factor to ensure that collaborations between organizations work is to focus on the relationships between individuals. The work of Urban Lab within the large pan-European project CCSC has given Rosa Rydahl of Stenkrossen in Lund insights to how she can best show students what creative and innovative places there are in Lund – even outside the university area. Stenkrossen has already noticed the impact of this as more students are signing up for their cultural support program.

In 2018, the large pan-European project CCSC (Cultural Creative Spaces and Cities) began. Its purpose is to utilize the methods of the cultural and creative industries to find solutions and policies that improve the society at large. In Lund, Stenkrossen is part of an Urban Lab together with Future by Lund, Mejeriet and Science Village to investigate how creative institutions, through collaborations, can benefit from each other’s strengths and thus create something that will be attractive for the residents of Lund and others to join in.

Stenkrossen is an operation run by Lund Municipality and supports up to thirty stakeholders every year. It is located on Kastanjegatan in a former industrial building that is now a workspace for projects and activities within art, culture, and innovation where hundreds of activities are arranged each year that are open to the public. There are a variety of projects and spaces for business activities at Stenkrossen and they are divided into three different time-limited support models: mini, midi and maxi.

What does Stenkrossen expect to achieve by participating in the CCSC?

– The purpose of Stenkrossen’s Urban Lab has been to create a flow of knowledge exchange between Lund University, Mejeriet, and Lund Municipality and to bridge the gap between the university and municipality by focusing on initiatives that build relationships, such as regular meetings and networking events. This is because we want to bring to the attention of those studying in the fields of art, culture, and innovation that there are creative and innovative places outside the university area as well, says business operations manager Rosa Rydahl.

Rosa Rydahl at Stenkrossen. Photo: Amanda Pettersson

Rosa Rydahl and Stenkrossen began the task of bridging the gap between Stenkrossen and the university’s students by finding relevant collaborative partners within the university and student world. For example, an ongoing dialogue has been started with Venture Lab and regular presentations given of Stenkrossen’s support models for incubator students, in addition to mingling and walking tours for the International Citizen Hub Lund (ICHL). Within the framework of Urban Lab Lund, Stenkrossen has also arranged two networking events with targeted invitation to Venture Lab, ICHL and the master’s program in entrepreneurship. Following the networking events – which included various lectures and workshops under the theme “detangle your creative (k)not!” – Mejeriet hosted an after party, also within the framework of Urban Lab Lund.

The work with CCSC has resulted in several positive outcomes.

– What we have mainly achieved has been a continuous dialogue and less boundaries towards both Venture Lab, ICHL and Mejeriet. Stenkrossen is now part of Venture Lab’s annual cycle of information meetings, and we meet with Mejeriet continuously within the framework of the CCSC project/Urban Lab Lund. After the networking events Stenkrossen received about ten applications from entrepreneurs at the university and ICHL, which probably would not have happened without the cutting edge, relationship building efforts, says Rosa Rydahl.

CCSC has also helped facilitate additional resources.

– CCSC has been a rewarding framework to initiate processes that we knew about for several years that we should work with, says Rosa Rydahl. It is clear that relatively simple efforts such as networking and ongoing dialogue make a big difference, but it is very difficult to incorporate this into the regular work pattern when the calendar is almost always full. Within CCSC there was a small budget and mandate to spend working hours on the project. It makes a big difference – the extra resources in terms of time and a dedicated budget are enabling factors.  

“Those that collaborate keep the ship afloat”

A study trip to Barcelona through CCSC at the end of January 2020 gave Rosa Rydahl several clues as to what makes institutions and collaborations between institutions to work and develop.

– To come to another context and see how businesses that are in many ways like Stenkrossen were presented, gave me an opportunity to create distance to my own way of working. When I reflected on my and Stenkrossen’s development journey at CoBois, I understood that a key part of creating a working business is to have driven, visionary, and persistent individuals that are skilled in forming collaborations. It is sometimes said that we must distinguish between service and person, but in creative business development without large budgets, it is those that collaborate that keep the ship afloat by maintaining continuous relationships and thereby develop trust, understanding and simplicity in communication between various stakeholders and collaborators.  Without these key individuals, I would say that it is impossible to conduct and develop activities in the creative industries and cultural institutions. Through diligent work, these individuals create a kind of nuclear family of collaborators, which in turn develop into a larger, extended family, and it is in this situation that a business can then establish itself and the ship begins to sail.

Photo of Stenkrossen: Rosa Rydahl

Translation: Ben Dohrmann


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