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Highlighting brilliant case studies within the Urban Context: Social Festival - Keep the Ball Rolling

Presenting our new series: Highlighting brilliant case studies within the Urban Context. Our Cities and Regions network has scoured Europe to bring together the best examples of innovation happening within the urban context. The series includes 14 examples from around Europe.

This case study describes the learnings of the organisational team in the implementation of an Austrian social innovation: the social festival, Keep the Ball Rolling. The goal of Keep the Ball Rolling is to encourage people living in the respective hosting region to come up with their ideas, to reflect on their environment and develop new or enhance already existing thoughts and strategies that could help to improve their individual living conditions and those within their communities. The festival provides a framework for socially relevant activities; these activities, however, are expected to come from the people concerned, to be derived from their own experience and expertise. Keep the Ball Rolling explicitly follows a bottom-up approach. The working title was actually “Regionen gelebter Menschlichkeit” which could be translated as “regions of practised humanity.” As the project design developed into additionally emphasising celebration and joy, however, it seemed appropriate to call the project a “social festival.” Keep the Ball Rolling is hosted by a selected region for a period of 18 months. By now, the social festival has taken place four times (from 2011 to 2016).

All social festivals were accompanied by a research team. They describe (in the interview) their learning as follows: i) Beneficiaries of the social festival need enough time for building up a basis of trust in the innovation team and among themselves; furthermore, they need sufficient time to develop sustainable project ideas; ii) People who have no experience in conducting and managing funded projects need support in developing project ideas and an implementation framework; iii) The success of bottom-up projects crucially depends on leaving the ownership of an idea to its creators; iv) Projects should be carried out not by single individuals but rather by teams of at least two partners.

The full report is available on the right hand side of this page.