How might we craft a community and programming strategy that inspires, engages, and connects a diverse set of participants?
Perspektif İstanbul is a community activation program designed by ATÖLYE and Today at Apple to celebrate the opening of Apple’s third retail location in Turkey that is situated in the heart of Istanbul, on Bağdat Caddesi. Its programming was built on essentially human interactions facilitated by technology through in-person or online participatory events. The public events were designed after three main themes exploring creativity’s, the city’s, and technology’s possibilities, and they aimed to foster coherent yet diverse experiences embedded in meaningful interactions.
Başak Aras, Burcu Yılmaz Deniz, Deniz Dönmez, Emel Pilavcı, Gülnaz Ör, Melissa Clissold, Oytun Elaçmaz, Sıla Eser
Göksu Kaçaroğlu (Design Researcher), Baran Somaklı (Developer), Tuğçe Akbulut (Master of Ceremonies), Yalçın Pembecioğlu (Master of Ceremonies), Meltem Şahin (Artist), Nurbanu Asena (Artist), Yusuf Akın Gülsayın (Visual Designer)
Following the impressions of the well-known phrase about Istanbul, “They call it chaos, we call it home,” Perspektif İstanbul aimed to create a community and programming strategy that would energize and connect the creatives in Istanbul and beyond. The sessions aimed to inspire both the creatives and participants while building connections with the Apple values. Collaborating with creatives of various crafts, the programming centered around the idea of engaging the participants with technology and creativity through experiential sessions.
The initial step in the project was to explore Istanbul’s diverse creative landscape via in-depth interviews with the members of the local creative community at large. The interviews facilitated initial contacts with the community and helped articulate what the artists needed and what they aspired to accomplish in their work. The patterns coming out of these dialogues then informed our approach to programming. Together with Today at Apple, we imagined Perspektif İstanbul as an innovative platform for the local creative community in Istanbul to explore, experiment, and nourish creativity.
The creatives whom we interviewed expressed similar concerns and interests about creative communities, societal and environmental issues, and the necessity of unleashing creativity to grapple with contemporary issues and of amplifying the connections between creatives. Our themes Creative Fluidity, Istanbul, and Tech for Good tried to bring these discussions together and convey our approach to programming as a practice of building community.
“Creative Fluidity” bridged between different multidisciplinary sessions within the ever-changing landscape of creative practices via various learning and making sessions, the theme “Istanbul” sought after celebrating with novel expressions, and framed a series of sessions engaging with Istanbul’s unique urban fabric and the city experience. Lastly, “Tech for Good” rounded up the sessions with an emphasis on the possibility of using technology to conceive possible futures and project them in various forms.
In the end, we designed the programming strategy of Perspektif Istanbul, which focused on exploring through communities committed to fostering creative fluidity, honoring the city, and embracing technology for a good cause. Between October 22 – December 5, we invited everyone to come together to explore their creativity across various art disciplines.
Both physical and online sessions were attended by hundreds of participants, who collaborated with us in discovering new ways of looking at the city we live in, the spaces we occupy, and most importantly, look at each other with fresh perspectives. With a playful take on the ever-changing and multi-disciplinary creative practices, Perspektif İstanbul treasured the diversity and creativity of the city. We called new practices in technology and the positive social impact they can create.
The program’s outcomes were turned into a legacy of creativity in the post-program content on the program’s microsite. To find out more about the creative process of how we put this program together, check out our article where we “look at the city through fresh perspectives” and explore the participant’s creations here.