In the traditional education system and training for employment the focus is on the individual curriculum as a tool for competing in the job market. But competence and skills of an individual are not floating in a neutral field, they depend on context and social relations. They are situated. Developing a situated learning process we need to evaluate the competences formed into the specific local context and web of social relations.
With the Switch On Mehringplatz we aim at shifting the attention from competitive economies to collaborative, commons-based economies. We propose therefore to develop the Solidarity Curriculum as an innovative tool to empower a local community. Its scope is visualising and fostering synergies, social capital and relational potentialities existing in a given local environment.
We imagine the Solidarity Curriculum as a dynamic archive, a territorial atlas, as well as a collaborative baseline study depicting the existing resources of a community while envisioning their entrepreneurial and solidarity capacity for future initiatives. It is at once a reflexive tool for communities to recognise themselves, and a proactive instrument to form new ventures and imagine new challenges.
We identified some basic qualities of the Neighbourhood Curriculum:
Collaborative: The SC is a bottom-up, crowdsourced, horizontal tool. It is produced and validated by a community, while redefining and regenerating the community itself. It is based on collaborative procedures and tools that allow the participation of multiple stakeholders in its definition.
Accessible: devised as an online platform, it should guarantee the higher degree of accessibility for the public. It should be designed to provide as well offline forms of access and distribution. It should be friendly to those who do not have internet literacy or are part of linguistic minorities. It should be simple, intuitive, designed using smart and universal graphic codes.
Dynamic: The SC depicts a dynamic situation and should be easily adaptable and updatable. While current technologies provide a great deal of flexible instruments responding to that need, it is necessary to focus on designing effective social practice and collaborative procedures that can be sustainable on the long run.
Manifold: The SC is not a specialised tool, with a specific purpose. It is rather a visualisation of the multiplicity of factors and relations that enrich a community. It must be able to take into account the complexity of elements that influence a local situation and economy, while simplifying and clarifying such a complexity. Its objective is to aggregate a wide range of sources, data, languages and formats and combine them into a comprehensible and synthetic output.
The Solidarity Curriculum will be arranged as a simple and intuitive interface connecting documental resources produced or aggregated by the community in different formats and languages. Texts, maps, audio and video, picture and drawings and any sort of related documents will be aggregated using existing online platforms and repositories, and made available to the public as non-exclusive resources.
Assembled in a coherent, interoperable and open source database, such data can be used with different scopes and interpretative keys. It aims at being an effective platform for knowledge sharing and promoting social entrepreneurship. The SC may provide a profile on the socio-spatial situation of a neighbourhood , a directory of resources and initiatives present on the territory, a visualisation of synergies and potentials for collaboration, a billboard for aggregating ideas, projects campaigns, and a baseline to evaluate competences and social empowerment process.
How to obtain such a result – which principles, design solutions, technologies, protocols and policies to adopt to make it efficient and sustainable – these are the goals of the EULER – Mehringplatz Ankipsen project. These will be the questions for the public discussions and the three laboratories developing specific tools and techniques employed to realise the Mehringplatz prototype .