New creative co-working space in Klitmøller one step closer to realization

Something just happened. The Matchmaking Zone in Klitmøller is through to the next round of the Realdania campaign, Places Matter. The project is one among 26 project ideas that'll receive support for further development. The project was selected from a total of 88 project ideas.

"We are very pleased to get an opportunity to develop our idea. We see Cold Hawaii as a journey where the next step will be created by people who have a special relationship with a very special coastline. For us, today marks one of these steps. We look forward to working with Realdania," says Rasmus Johnsen.

The idea is to create a co-working space for 7-10 established companies and approximately 50 temporary casual users on a monthly basis. It will create relationships between, or "match", professionals and entrepreneurs living inside and outside Klitmøller, Cold Hawaii.

The project was selected for further development because it supports the current operations and caters to the existing needs of residents and visitors. The project will make it easier and more attractive for (visiting) surfers to stay in the area. The project also shows how a positive development that has already started can be supported.

The process going forward now looks as follows:

  • March 4: All selected project teams participate in a co-development workshop.
  • August 18: Each selected project team submits its proposal for how to realize its idea.
  • October 2014: Winners will be announced.
  • November 2014: Realization starts.

Winner of a holiday stay in Klitmøller

Sebastian Wahl from Kiel is the winner a holiday stay in Klitmøller. We drew a number and the entry drawn belonged to Sebastian. Congratulations!

We’ll e-mail your voucher straight to your inbox. Enjoy your beach house stay!

We wanna thank all you AWESOME people who took your time to fill out our questionnaire, Co-working Klitmøller. The responses tell us quite a lot about our target group (including you), and we are very happy about the support and enthusiasm so many of you added. Also - kudos to our great sponsors, Feriepartner Thy, who donated the beach house stay. You guys rock!

Case # Krowji

Tuesday we followed the signs towards Redruth, where we had an appointment at Krowji with boardshaper James Otter. Krowji is “...Cornwall’s biggest creative cluster, providing studios, workspaces, offices, The Melting Pot Café, meeting rooms and other facilities for a wide range of creative businesses at the Old Grammar School buildings in Redruth” (http://www.krowji.org.uk). Krowji as a site is owned by Cornwall Arts Centre Trust Ltd (ACT) - a charity and limited company. Krowji means “workshop” in Cornish and as a location the Krowji is providing separate space facilities to individual companies or organizations, in total over 100 creative practitioners.

One of these is the Otter Surfboards (http://www.ottersurfboards.co.uk) owned by craftsman, designer and surfer, James Otter. His space is a board-shapery, where the shaping of wooden surf boards primarily is done with locally produced cedar wood. The main object of the business for James is the workshops, where he tutors surfers to build and shape their own boards. Of course, we fell in love with the concept already before we entered the Otter space: The idea of combining board shaping and sustainability must be the ideal birth of a board for any environmentally conscious and ideological surfer. Wooden boards not only materializes the history of surfing back to ancient Polynesia, they also symbolize the lifelong relation between a surfer and his board. With a wooden board you can choose to learn to surf your board in all conditions instead of zapping through different shapes to match the challenges of the waves. That is, at least, how James perceives it, and I like the idea.

Entering the light, wood smelling space of Otter, we stepped directly into what for us as a couple would be the dream work place: A craftsman’s workshop combined with a little exhibition entrance and an office with personal props and a dog resting underneath the table. James himself primarily chose the Krowji as his space provider because the  organization allows residents to rent their space with only one month notice, which is exactly why small start ups like Otter Surfboards can afford being there: they do not have to sign a long term rental agreement.

The Krowji as a co-working space is enormous, and ACT is an organization, that might support more agents than you could ever find within the creative sector in a low population density municipality like Thisted. But it is interesting that the cluster community serves both as an upstart facilitator and space provider for its members. By combining the two, the ACT is actually supplying the Krowji with residents - who do not have to attach themselves to the place for a prolonged period.

Additionally, the wide spectra of business types is a quite unique example in our co-working research. On one hand, James’ shapery does not belong to the group, we usually consider to be within the cultural sector or to the typical target group businesses of a co-working space. But there is a charm in combining the creative professions working with ideas with the crafts working with materials. Otter Surfboards is a brilliant example in which a craftsmanship is guided by the work of shaping an idea, and as metioned above: Imagine the combination of a carpenter’s workshop and a writers office. I like it.

otter1
otter1
tim shaping
tim shaping
otter2
otter2
otter storyboard
otter storyboard

Case # The Open Shed

Behind the Penzance Savoy Cinema in an interimistic bike repair kitchen, we walk into the Open Shed, a crowdfunded hackspace, and are kindly welcomed by Johannes (http://www.openshed.org). Here hackers, bike repairs-men, and computer-recyclers come together in a sustainable survivor atmosphere. First, we do not quite understand the connection between the so-called “bike kitchen” and a co-working space for IT-workers, but the link appears to be the re-use of hardware parts and the ability to (partly) fund the place with the small payments, the bike-fixers charge for a repair.

Johannes gives us the tour of the stuffed location, adding a grass-rooted example to the list of visited co-working spaces. Tools, bikes, boxes, computer parts, trash, worn out furnitures and bits and pieces I cannot identify are occupying the backroom spaces leaving very little floor for movement or conversation (http://openshed.org/content/empty-shelves-full-shelves). This seems to be a place where the financial state of the peninsula is most explicit: no municipal funds are given to the initiative that only charge its 50 members 10 pounds a month for a membership. Do you fix a bike, half the price is given to the space, the other half you can keep yourself.

According to Johannes, it seems as if the financial state of Penzance and Cornwall in general, forces the population of the peninsula to reinvent not only a sustainable industry (since tourism apparently is not enough), but also an identity (since being a tourist destination should not be it). The Open Shed appears to us as a complex picture of this state of development - as a revelation of the need to be part of a work community even when you are out of work and the initiative to create something even though you have no capital to invest.

 

 

Fill out our questionnaire, and you have the chance to win a holiday stay in Klitmøller

We at Cold Hawaii Starfish are in the process of exploring a new project aimed to serve both locals and visitors in Klitmøller. Our idea is to realize and construct a co-working concept and office space named “Matchmaking Zones”.

The pilot project Matchmaking Zones is funded by grants from the Ministry of Housing, Urban and Rural Affairs and LAG Thy-Mors. The overall aim of the project is to develop a concept readymade to be implemented in rural districts and surf destinations all over the world, but the starting point will be Klitmøller and Scandinavia. With the construction of a “Matchmaking Zone” building in Cold Hawaii we hope to create a space where local residents can conduct their business AND where visiting surfers, tourists, students and business owners (a group we define as "beta-residents") can work while they are in town, giving them the opportunity to meet with local residents regarding their project- and business affairs.

In order to do so we need more information about our target group, the so-called “beta-residents” of Klitmøller. A beta-resident is a person with some kind of relation to Klitmøller who nevertheless does not live in or near Klitmøller. This review is a questionnaire based on some of the focus group interviews that we have already conducted. The questionnaire will ONLY be used to gather statistics on our target group in order to ensure that the final project serves this group’s real needs.

Therefore, please take 8 minutes to fill out our questionnaire - especially all you nature-loving, surf-passionate or beach-bums travellers, who flow in and out of the area of Klitmøller every year. We thank you and acknowledge your efforts with the chance to win a stay for 6 persons in a beach house in Klitmøller sponsored by Feriepartner Thy.

(Survey is completed, we will find the lucky winner on Friday September 27. Thank you for your interest!)

Case # Digital Peninsula Network

On our Monday visit to Penzance we knocked on the doors of Digital Peninsula Network, DPN (http://www.digitalpeninsula.org). The largest network of ICT and digital businesses in Cornwall is physically located in an old brewery yard behind the shopping district. Here we were friendly welcomed by an assistant manager, who was still awaiting his managing director to return from his holidays. We had a short conversation on the topic DPN, whilst the AM made a note for his boss and referred me to other places in Penzance (handing me torn pieces of paper with handwritten addresses, which reminded me that there still are people like me who exchange info in paper format).

As I had already acknowledge through my research, the DPN was initiated as a space for the creatives of Cornwall to come and use proper wifi since the peninsula did not have any strong connections. Now - almost 15 years later - the company works more in state of it's networking capacities offering tutoring courses and matchmaking consulting.

At DPN the tea and coffee are free and as we talk to two hot-deskers smoking in the yard, we realize that being around other self employees and a 3d printer is more important to the coworkers than strong wifi since fiber is now installed almost everywhere in Cornwall. The smoking hot-deskers cannot imagine living anyplace else than here, but they admit that making money is hard if it was not because of the geographical detachment of their professions.

Again, I return to Penzance on the following Wednesday but when I reach DPN the manager Janus had just left. One more time the Colombian Assistant Manager takes his time to answer some of my questions, even though he seems careful to admit his complete insight in the organization of DPN. He tells us that DPN as the oldest coworking space in Cornwall, started out of the need for strong wifi, computer equipment and hardware. The EU Regional Development Aid and the “Objective One Programme” (http://www.objectiveone.com) helped start up the DPN. Today it is an organization limited by guarantee with a board, a director and a manager. The DPN primarily functions as a networking platform, and a start up and hotdesking space. Companies that used to be located in the DPN facilities but now has grown bigger keep their virtual membership, small start ups come for tutor and network aid and hot-deskers work there to socialize. The DPN is for businesses within the ICT sector - or so it happened to be by itself, no official criterias demand the business code.

Case # The Workbox Penzance

Monday morning the plan was to go to the port town Penzance even though I had no luck making an appointment with any of the coworking spaces, I managed to locate in the Penzance area. I was hoping to find a more realistic everyday view of the Cornish life than the one we encountered in St. Paradis, since what I was trying to uncover was not the tourist tracks but the way of life of the local self-employed or the travellers staying in Cornwall for a longer period of time.

The economy of Penzance has, like those of many Cornish communities, suffered from the decline of the traditional industries of fishing, mining and agriculture. Like the rest of Cornwall housing remains comparatively expensive, wages low and unemployment high which means that local residents are struggling to make it. As a visitor, though, it can be difficult to distinguish the activities of the locals from those of the non-locals, so the strategy was to knock on the doors of my potential coworking fellows, public holidays or not, and look for the reality of the self-employed coworker in one of the most employment deprivated areas in England.

Unfortunately, I must admit that I passed the location of The Workbox Penzance (http://theworkbox.com) more than once before I realized that I was at the right address. The rather new coworking space is to be found in an anonymous brick office building in the center of Penzance. Nevertheless, from the construction site embracing the ground floor entrance, you could imagine the views to be found on the 4th floor. I did not get to see them though, cause when I rang the doorbell nobody answered.

After popping by some other spaces in Penzance equally derelict of busy coworkers, we decided to come back another day and instead turn the car towards Lands End, the most Western point of England. The beauty of it all stroke us as we made our way down the coast through narrow uphill and downhill streets, past sidewalks and gardens blooming with flowers, through broadleaf forests, along spectacular coastal cliffs and sandy beaches and a completely turkish Atlantic ocean illuminating everything below us. To most people (including myself), I am not sure Klitmoller can compete with the rock sand, hydrangeas and palm trees of Cornwall...

Anyways, on my return to The Workbox the following Wednesday, I was buzzed in by Nigel who, unfortunately, had very little time to chat. Entering The Workbox from the escalator, you are taken by the views overlooking Penzance, and even when trying to focus on the interior or the man speaking in front of you, eyes are drawn towards the light and beauty outside. Truth is, I do not recall much of the decoration, maybe because it was still too new to be personalized and did not leave any sign of its users. While talking to Nigel, though it was only shortly, I tried to neglect the smell of new furnitures, wishing I had a little more time to explore the flexible and transparent interior choices of the space.

The Workbox opened in April this year and now has approximately 30 members, primarily within the IT sector. Through seminars and workshops on various topics and in close collaboration with local colleagues and other organisations such as Outset Cornwall (www.outsetcornwall.co.uk) the space provides its residents with start up help and other networking opportunities. It seems that this is the most common coworking space service in Cornwall: To enable people to start as independents through financial advisory and marketing guidance.

The model of start up business assistance is currently being implemented in The Municipality of Thisted through Thy Erhvervsforum. I am excited about the outcome. Seems that the service is an important entrance to funding and realization of coworking spaces.

Case # Cornwall

Coworking has been a well-known phenomenon in Cornwall for almost three decades. Creatives, IT-workers and self-employed went to places like The Digital Peninsula Network (http://www.digitalpeninsula.org) to be able to work with a proper wifi before any private household wifi could do anything. Today every nook and cranny of the county Cornwall has got the superfast broadband and when it is installed in the Cornish cities also, Cornwall will - according to http://www.gradcornwall.co.uk/living-working-cornwall - “be one of the best and fastest connected places on earth, offering businesses a clear, competitive advantage”.

After the awesome output from especially the visit to Portuguese Óbidos, I was afraid to get my hopes up too high before taking off to the British south-west peninsula Cornwall. Luckily, I chose to buy a ticket for my own personal chauffeur (and boyfriend), so at least I would not have to worry about many hours of driving whilst chasing the good cases.

We landed in Bristol on a cloudy Saturday morning, thinking that we had a hole day of research in front of us. Apparently, we knew nothing about the British highway queues! Arriving in St. Ives six hours later, we only had the energy for a stroll, a chit-chat with the lifeguard on duty and a veggie burger at the local café (though it should not go unnoticed that this was the best beach burger I had in my life).

Waking up at dawn the following morning, we went for a long walk & talk in St. Ives (that quickly became St. Paradis in my vocabulary). A large percent of the the seaside town’s income is based on being a popular holiday resort, and faced with the scenery of the place you get a clear picture of why this place is preferred by so many British tourists. Unfortunately, the main surf beach of St. Ives, Porthmeor Beach, was empty and the Atlantic Ocean flat. In our quest for the surf spirit of Cornwall we headed North towards the very long surf beach Gwithian. Here the crowds were going in the water, though, even for a surfer coming from Denmark, the conditions looked ridiculously shitty. So we went back into the car and made our way up to Portreath, where the surf historian geek inside me had the satisfaction of visiting the Portreath Surf Life Saving Club (http://www.portreathslsc.co.uk). Inspired by the Australian and South African models, the British Surf Lifesaving Clubs were the starting points for many committed and progressive young surfers of the late 1950s and the 60s. Out of the love for the ocean and the meeting with visiting lifeguards (and surfers) from Australia and South Africa grew a passionate community of surfers and by 1964 the new social groups of British surfers had adapted the surfie lifestyle of the Californian surf culture and became an important asset in the tourist industry’s branding of coastal Britain. The story is repeated in many different locations and shifting decades throughout the world, but especially the Australian and British popular surf scene is still closely intertwined with the Surf Life Saving Clubs and the voluntary work they perform to educate, train, encourage and support the local communities of watermen (or waterkids).

The patrolling life guard at Portreath beach told us to go further North searching for waves, so we continued towards Chapels Porth after a stop over in Aggies Surfshop (http://www.aggiesurfshop.com), where we had to rescue ourselves (or rather our personal capital) from the temptation to buy some of Aggies beautiful boards (among these I fell in love with an original second hand Cord longboard). At Chapels Porth rain was falling, current was strong, tide was low and waves were breaking in a messy mess, but people were still hanging out on the beach and eating their picnic with surf boards set as tables.

No surf, we thought, and decided to try to get to Fistral Beach for the Boardmasters final and maybe even the chance to hear Ben Howard play at the festival (http://www.boardmasters.co.uk). To put it in few words: No Fistral for us, no Ben Howard this time. The hole Newquay area was one big traffic jam and there was no parking space to be found anywhere near the fistral festival area. We had to settle with the downtown tourist track and some browsing in surf shops (with views).

Heading back to our hotel we decided to try Gwithian again, and since I am no longer allowed to surf (that is my perception of it, of course, I do not have to mention I would probably give birth to a flat baby if I continue lying on my stomach on a board), I was forced to try the Sunset Café while Claus went into the ridiculously shitty waves. Nevertheless, I had some quality time observing the Sunday living life of the vacationing British surfer families, interrogate the far to busy café people and hang out with a very lifelike poster of Kelly Slater. By the end of the day, I did not feel like neither a researcher, a surfer nor a tourist. I just felt lucky.

st. ives harbour low tide
st. ives harbour low tide
st.ives:st.paradis
st.ives:st.paradis
gwithian
gwithian
aggie the board shaper
aggie the board shaper
beach patrole
beach patrole
surfshop with a view
surfshop with a view
show respect, gain respect
show respect, gain respect

Where2go - planning the research trips

Coworking spaces appear all over the planet and they all have some sort of significance in the development of the global trend of coworking. In the context of the MZ project the challenge was to find coworking societies which in some way or another had similarities to our concept or the location in which our concept was to be explored. After researching the internet through out the world of coworking, my attention kept returning to the case of Óbidos, Portugal, and the peninsula of Cornwall, Great Britain. Both places are European, their main source of income is tourism, beaches and nature are some of their major attractions, incubation of creative business are locally facilitated and they each hold a strong iconic image at a national level. The common denominators are many, yet we have not found any concepts offering actual matchmaking the way we intend to do it. The idea of “working holiday” is crucial for the current perception of traveling tourists, and we are exited to learn how the two top priorities places among the selected tourist destinations understand the concept of “beta-tourism”.

Sharing the concept

Before shipping off the initial fund applications back in December 2012, we decided to get some authoritative declarations of interest. What kind of institutions could benefit from our project and deliver something in return? We approached Knowledge Center of Coastal Tourism, Vaeksthus Copenhagen, Nordic Surfers and The Municipality of Thisted and they all agreed to get involved on a monitoring level, supporting the project and its purpose. After many months of waiting for the pieces to fall into place, we finally had our first monitoring group session on June 11th. The workshop primarily revolved around a thorough MZ presentation and the topic of the cross-institutional and cross-regional potentials of the project. Some of the data is confidential and will not be posted here, but the overall outcome was a positive consensus on the necessity of exploring the collaboration between Bornholm (Vaeksthus Copenhagen), Varberg (Nordic Surfers), The Municipality of Thisted and the MZ project in Klitmøller (unfortunately Knowledge Center of Coastal Tourism had to cancel).