Sitting in betahaus café, Anni Roolf, from Germany, and Brazilian Leila País de Miranda are passionately discussing the concepts of privilege and reward in the third world. They are not arguing; it’s simply a healthy exchange of ideas and perspectives, an example of open communication. Another young coworker from the US sitting at the end of the table pipes in, and he and Leila delve deeper into the conversation.
Anni and Leila are the two women behind Jellyweek 2013 – the ‘glocal’, week-long, decentralized event aiming to establish connections and form cross communal networks. And they certainly practice what they preach: openness, difference, and collaboration are the principles of the event organization, and the pair is excited to see these values explored and embraced during the week-long event.
‘Glocal’: supporting global action at the local level
From the 14th to the 20th of January for the third year running, Worldwide Jellyweek will take place in countries all over the world. It is completely decentralized and organized by the thousands of individuals, communities and networks who host a local event and share ideas and experiences in their communities.
There are no boundaries or limitations as to what can be organized, but they should be free and open to the public. The organization of hundreds of simultaneous events serves to promote global action on a local level, the philosophy of Worldwide Jellyweek.
What Jellyweek will thus look like or achieve is yet to be seen.
‘We want to empower people to do what they want,’ said Anni, ‘and set people free. We want to provide the [platform] for connections to be made, but their involvement is all very voluntary… and the volunteers give shape to whole project. We have no certain result in mind.’
Forging local and regional networks between different sectors
While we are yet to see what Jellyweek will look like, Anni and Leila are working hard to ensure that each event receives exposure, and meaningful connections between hosts across the globe are forged.
Currently, the two, who became a strong partnership during the Jellyweek Summer Camp, are focusing on community building, introducing participants with similar focuses in different regions over the Jellyweek Facebook group. This ensures that not only the events, but the connections are both local and global.
But Jellyweek is also providing a platform for different groups to promote themselves and increase their own visibility, within and outside of their own environments.
‘If you think about communities and groups in Morocco for example,’ said Anni, ‘there is a huge need to connect, and it’s hard to be visible outside their own environments. We provide very simple things like downloadable flyers and a template press release (coming soon) to distribute and connect with others. We invite people to print them themselves, to contact their own media contacts, to translate the text.’
Certainly, Jellyweek is an excellent opportunity to put a community group or project on the map, thrust it into international recognition, and meet meaningful contacts and collaborators. Which explains why so many hosts have already registered events.
87 events (and counting), 26 countries, 6 continents
Worldwide Jellyweek 2013 captures the essence of active collaboration, with the potential of dozens of cross-community, -national, and -regional networks to be forged.
The event’s strong focus on community – and its origins from the humble Jelly – have meant many coworking spaces have jumped on board to offer free coworking days throughout the week. But there are a number of events going on in various venues. Here’s a snapshot of what you can expect to find during Jellyweek 2013:
Coworking Croatia has organized a full day event, with a ‘Know How? Show How!’ Workshop, a ‘Cowork it Out’ session in the afternoon, and a movie screening, followed by an ‘After-cowork party’, in the evening. The whole day will also be open for anyone to go and give coworking a go. Thursday, 17th
Leslie Starr has teamed up with Tau coworking space in Toulouse, Afriworkers and Jena-Pouli, expert in semi-rural coworking, to host a Franco-African dialogue, with the aim of introducing people who are working on similar projects. The dialogue will be streamed on YouTube and a Gogle Hangout set up, presenting an opportunity for local groups to promote their current projects. Friday 18th, 4pm.
Leila País de Miranda will be heading back to her native Brazil to host a co-cooking event. She’s inviting her neighbors and networks and anyone else interested to gather and prepare a communal meal. 14th – 20th January, 10-20pm
In Berin, documenting all the fun, a rally surrounding some of the jellies will be organized, with interviews and broadcasts in different venues collated to paint a picture of what’s going on around the city. A Jellyweek documentary may ensue. There will also be a Beam2Berlin tele-presence and Google Hangouts. 14th – 20th January
There are also Jellyweek events organized in Morocco, Australia, Japan, Egypt, Pakistan, the Swedish Arctic Circle… and room for more.
Helping’s old-fashioned. Just get involved.
Putting on an event like Jellyweek – even if it the majority of activities are self organized, is no easy task. But when asking Anni and Leila how people could help, they were adamant that there would be no ‘helping’ necessary. The event – Anni and Leila stressed – is not for them, But about doing something for themselves and their communities.
‘Help?’ Asked Leila. ‘We don’t want help. We want people to get involved!’
Nor are they looking for financial support. ‘Getting sponsors is the old way of doing things,’ said Leila. ‘We don’t want this ‘the money’s there, so you go there’ attitude. We want people who are really interested to contribute … it’s ‘glocal’ thinking. They are the conversations that really matter, for solving problems together.’
Instead, here are five ways to get involved, support glocal action, and promote your project:
- Create an event. It can be as big or as small as you like and take any form. Register on the Jellyweek Google map. If you’re having trouble, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, who can guide you through it.
- Attend an event. There are hundreds of events going on in cities all over the world. You can browse the complete list on the Google map.
- Wear the t-shirt. Spark conversations about Jellyweek and your event and order a t-shirt at cost price, courtesy of Spreadshirt.
- Volunteer. You can help spread the word about Jellyweek by inviting your networks to like the facebook page or circulating the online materials to different communities to print and translate – or do this yourself.
- Follow on Facebook and Twitter. Get connected on the social media groups, share ideas and make contacts. Tweet about Worldwide Jellyweek using the #JW2013 hashtag.