CHCstories: Factoria Cultural
A year ago, in March 2017, only two months after the Culture Hub Croatia was officially founded, we went to Madrid to participate in the skills workshop on how to build a creative hub which was organized in the framework of the European Creative Hubs Network project. It was one of those experiences which fills you up with positivity, new ideas, motivation, creativity and different perspectives. It took place in Factoria Cultural, situated in Matadero – a Contemporary Art Centre, which is actually a former slaughterhouse and livestock market, built between 1908 and 1928. It covers an area of 165,415 m2, surrounded by a 2,500 m long wall.
The pavilions inside of these walls were used as administration buildings, markets, vehicle depots, stalls and storages…From 1970, the space started losing its original functions, already in 1987 the stable and market warehouse was converted into a space for socio-cultural activities but it was not until 1990s when the first major renovation projects took place. Finally, in 2003, Madrid’s City Council decided to hand the site over and convert it into a space for creative industries – the proposal for the reconstruction project was conditioned to respect the former architecture and 75% of the space had to have a cultural use. The reconstruction project was centred on reversibility, flexibility and versatility, meaning that each building inside of the complex can be easily reconverted into its original state and used for different purposes. At the same time, this illustrates the experimental character of the institutions which occupy them nowadays. The singular buildings inside of the Matadero are all part of a larger urban concept comprising of equally interesting open-air spaces.
Several different organizations are a part of Matadero which makes the whole complex even more dynamic – wandering through this huge area you can find a cinema; a space for contemporary experimentation and performance; a musical village; Visual Artists Association; a space dedicated to the experience of reading; a design venue where all kinds of graphic, industrial or interior design projects are generated; the only cinema in the country dedicated to non-fiction and finally, the Factoria Cultural – “Vivero de Industrias Creativas”.
Factoria is a creative incubator and a hub, with more than hundred places for co-workers in flexible and multidisciplinary, user-oriented spaces. It offers different services depending on the state of development of an entrepreneurial project: pre-incubation, incubation and acceleration. Factoria’s experts are dedicated to providing help to cultural entrepreneurs to develop their ideas and make their projects happen, from the very beginning of creating a prototype to finding subventions, resolving legal issues and creating marketing strategy, all through a personal approach. Project acceleration service is a step further targeting those who already have the idea or a prototype developed and are ready to step on to the market – they can learn about crowdfunding or get a professional advice they need at that point.
Education is one of the essential elements of Factoria – its Escuela offers a wide variety of courses in different sectors, not exclusively for the cultural and creative field. This includes a high-quality educational offer, adapted to the needs of its users and the opportunity to become part of a larger ecosystem and a community of change-makers. The basic principle is learning by doing in small groups. You can choose to master digital tools, learn about branding, digital marketing or cultural industries such as music, cinema or audiovisual arts…Factoria also publishes calls two times per year to offer scholarships and support implementation of innovative projects through incubation programs.
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