What are Open Studios?
The Open Studios are considered as an action-oriented analysis of the research results and insights of the project. They are designed to produce ideas for concrete action, input for recommendations to reshape policies, and questions that still need to be answered (missing insights or knowledge). The approach is a technique developed to design policies in a participative way bringing together multiple expertise, including the user experience.
How does it work?
During an Open Studio, participants go through periods of divergence (exploring in an open way, brainstorming) and of convergence (bringing ideas together into concepts of potential solutions). The technique of personas is used to stimulate creativity, create empathy and to take some distance from the personal experience of the participants. These personas are based on the earlier research and profile different archetypes of people that were affected by the pandemic in one way or another. “Better stories” are used as inspiration, stories that identify how a given (negative) societal situation can be ameliorated to improve on existing practices, without being a perfect fix that turns out to be unattainable (i.e., a ‘best story’). As feminist scholar Dina Georgis (2013) argues in her book The Better Story: “There is always a better story than the better story.”
The Open Studios try to find answers to some key questions, which include the following: What have been some inspiring practices, initiatives, and policies that we have been able to observe in different contexts across Europe? What can we learn from them to imagine even better stories of responding to this crisis that we all share, but are not equally affected by? How can a gender+ perspective help us explore, make visible, and co-create more egalitarian and inclusive policies, initiatives, and practices?
Participants are a mix of team members of the project and invited participants. Internal participants bring in the insights from the project activities, external participants bring in their expertise and creativity. The target is to have eight external participants in each Open Studio. They are identified because of their involvement with the theme of the Open Studio and can come from civil society organisations, can be policy-makers, researchers, user-experts or more creative profiles like artists.
When are Open Studios taking place?
Open Studios are planned in each cycle of the project. The first Open Studios took place in October 2021 and the second Open Studios from mid March to early April 2022. The final Open Studios will be organised in November 2022.
Each Open Studio is made of four sessions. Find out more about the thematic focus, the personas as well as the better stories that were used as input in each session:
Cycle 1 Open Studios
Cycle 2 Open Studios
Cycle 3 Open Studios