Thanks to interdisciplinary centers we’ll learn how to dream professionally

In April, 2013 the series of working sessions Architecture of Opportunities were held. Activists, artists, cultural managers and residents of Kyiv participate in those meetings. The aim of the Architecture of Opportunities was to start collaboration between activists’ groups for making the concept of a multifunctional cultural center. Iryna Solovey told about her vision of the multifunctional center.


Yuriy Kruchak interviewed Irina Solovey

April 15, 2013  
Kyiv, Ukraine


Iryna Solovey – President of civic organization Garage Gang Kollektiv, co-founder of social innovations platform «BIG IDEA» and Spilnokosht.

Yuriy Kruchak: What is the main thing in formation of multifunctional center?

Iryna Solovey: Multifunctional centers are the places where important initiatives are implemented. So, the basic requirement is to create a backbone organization for coordination of participants’ activities according to the common agenda.

Other goal of the backbone organization is to create a system of indicators for determination how the project’s progressing. This factor is especially important when we talk about social changes. Indicators can be different for different participants. Thanks to them a service organization could see the general picture. Thus, at any time it’s possible to evaluate the center’s work at different stages of its development.

Another important function of the backbone organization is consolidation, or assistance in resolving of the conflicts among the participants. Organization, which we discuss, considers a conflict as a good challenge. Usually contradictions arise in the group when its members have hardly enough competence, but movements in problem direction are necessary. Conflicts also reflect situations peculiar to the community where the project operates. Contradiction is a source of valuable information both for members of the organization and for society in general, so, obtained knowledge can be applied in the future.


Yuriy Kruchak: What is the mechanism of information analysis in multifunctional center?

Iryna Solovey: People who develop the principles of facilitation use different methods to estimate the situation. The strategy, I’m familiar with, considers the process as something, which evolves in time continually. According to this, people don’t think how it should or should not be, as they aren’t able to know this. They say how it was, how it is, and how it could be. Specialists are focused on what is happening in this space and at this time, and they try to make a prospection using the present situation as a starting point.

It’s a difficult work. People have been studying for years to learn this. The certain level of competence allows us to explore the certain level of information. The more competent facilitators are, the more they’ll be able to see. It’s not always well, because if you got information, you need to digest it and to work with it.

The organization, we are talking about, is self-learning, it integrates obtained answers into the principles of its work, it coordinates separated actions. I like to use the notion of “continuum”. Somebody graduated from the high school, somebody other finished the university, and both of them are “educated”. Firstly we need to determine the continuum.

Service centers, which we discussed, have the clear understanding of the fact that each project has the proper client tier. And organizers of the center realize that people working on the project are the same consumers of this project, as those who join it periodically. They know perfectly both target audience and the audience they don’t want to attract, so, they use demarketing skilfully. The last point is important: for example, if an artist realizes that some idea may be interpreted wrong by certain people, he makes the presentation of his work using demarketing.


Yuriy Kruchak: Who would form the backbone of the service center? Which professions could be represented there? What are the mechanisms of interaction people in this organization?

Iryna Solovey: One of the problems, that should be solved, is assistance in identifying areas of responsibility between participants. The crucial point in successful work of service centers is considerable attention to details. Organizers define each new member as entity of the unique culture. They talk to each new participant, explain all principles of work in the given cultural space, and at the same time they reveal main benefits of the culture that new person represents. For example, someone came into the center from business background, he has good business thinking. The question is: what can we learn from him? How can we help each other?

It’s a complex model that needs to be translated into the language of the present. In fact, interdisciplinary organization provides services at different levels of interaction: someone comes from time to time, someone makes a big project. The center coordinates these processes, works to minimize the cost and maximize the projects’ recognition. It sounds like bare listing of the facts, but the center’s coordinators are required to keep in focus current goals of the organization, to feel each participant. The word “facilitator” fits to their role, because they contribute to what is happening.

The necessary precondition of successful work is regular meetings of the main participants. The task of the service organization is to work with this group of people all the time. If a participant of the organization is working at some project, he’s obliged to visit meetings regularly. It allows monitoring relationships inside organization and raising topical issues on time not to miss something important.

The structure of service organization and qualifications of its members depends on what project is creating. It can be representatives of one particular field, but then we could have a lop-sided review from some sphere. If all participants of the center are artists who don’t seeking financing, don’t do management and curating, their ability to be helpful decreases. Thus, it’s important for organization to have people with working experience in different fields.


Yuriy Kruchak: How such Multifunctional Center can survive?

Iryna Solovey: Society needs the space and people who always do experiments and generate ideas for practical usage. I wish the Multifunctional Center, we’re talking about, was a kind of a think tank for these things. Such think tank could focus on the future, and if business or an entire industry will want to determine the development strategy, in the center they’ll be supported and will assess the situation from different angles. Recently I’ve attended the meeting where economists acted as facilitators; they’re looking for ways to connect those who have assets and those who have the means. These people are often in different social groups, and it slows the economy.

Thus, service centers help to analyze the future and to explore applied technologies. In general, we’ll learn how to dream professionally.

Taking responsibility is an important point. For example, a designer invented his own perfect world and made an object appropriated in this world. And he takes responsibility for this creation. It hasn’t been completely clear for me yet, but I feel that it’s incredibly important, because it concerns our organization. The fact that cities could think in terms of their creativity is important for us. We take it as the starting point and explore how some city can implement its creative energy to be consistent with the world. It’s an illusion, but it allows us to say that things, which we create, are designed for cities that want to live in the certain way. We don’t say that everybody should live so, but we work for people who are interested in our ideas.

The fact that not everybody wants to live like we propose, we consider as a positive moment. If we make a mistake, another stream won’t allow us to go the wrong way. Thus, we don’t have a direct way, we’ll never reach our maximum, we need to study constantly, and we’re secure from the absurd.