Community Building and Co-production: The Face Mask Sewing Initiative at the Dawn of COVID-19

Lukas Valek, Vladimír Bures, Olga Glumac, Mariusz Kwiatkowski, Dorota Bazun, Aram Vartikyan, Yevgine Vardanyan, Alla Strishna

Lukas Valek has a background in management and economics in financial management from the University of Hradec Kralove and Corporate Finance and Business from the University of Technology in Brno, both in the Czech Republic. He has fifteen years of experience in nonprofits and non-formal education. He holds a PhD in Information and Knowledge Management from the University of Hradec Kralove in Soft Systems and Social Economy. At the moment, he follows topics of social entrepreneurship and (social) entrepreneurship and migration at the Prague University of Economics and Business.

Vladimír Bureš earned his PhD in Information and Knowledge Management at the University of Hradec Králové, Czech Republic, in 2005. Currently, he works as a full professor of Systems Engineering at the University of Hradec Králové, Czech Republic. In his research, he focuses on system dynamics, information and knowledge management, systems theory, and the application of ICT in various areas. Professor Bureš is a member of program committees and editorial boards of several scientific conferences, and journals focused on the application of information technologies in various domains such as economic systems, business management, or socio-technical systems.

Olga Glumac is a PhD in Design specializing in developing intergenerational and multistakeholder collaborative frameworks through the application of co-creation in grassroots and EU initiatives. Olga is a co-founder and coordinating body member of the Lab of Collaborative Youth (LoCY), a platform based on youth-driven codesign with the stakeholders of the local communities. Olga has profound knowledge in assessing learning/capacity-build needs, always appropriating language, materials, and participatory approaches to suit the best intercultural learning and learning styles of individuals/collective.

Mariusz Kwiatkowski is a Sociologist employed as an associate professor at the University of Zielona Góra (Poland). Author of several books and many articles. He studies social capital, social entrepreneurship, and social services. He published the latest article, “Exploratory walk and local cohesion”, in the journal “Mobilities” (2022). In 2020-2023, he coordinates the international research and teaching project “Social Education on the Move”.

Dorota Bazuń studied philosophy and sociology and obtained her PhD in sociology at Adam Mickiewicz University Poznań. She is an employee of the Institute of Sociology at the University of Zielona Góra. Research interest: sociology of social movements and civil society; cultural and social processes of adapting new space; social economy.

Aram Vartikyan is a PhD in Sociology. He is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Applied Sociology of Yerevan State University and the Director of the Migration Competences Centre at the same faculty. The focus of its academic and professional interests contains migratory and adjacent issues, the transformative processes of social identities, the problems of integration, alienation, isolation, and social exclusion of modern mass societies, the structural transformation of Armenian societies, the regeneration of social power in modern societies, the issues of rural areas, urbanism, and urban planning, poverty and polarization, social security.

Yevgine Vardanyan works as a lecturer at Yerevan State University, Department of Social Work and Social Technologies. She has a PhD in Sociology. Her research work was on the role of local self-government bodies in the social protection system. She is involved in different national and international projects as an expert, advisor, trainer, and researcher. Her interests include social policy analysis, social legislation, forensic social work, etc.

Alla Strishna has a master’s degree in management of research organisations and is chairperson of cultural and educational NGO KURO Hradec Kralove z.s. Her primary focus is on non-formal learning, volunteering, and socio-cultural development in the region.

OBJECTIVES: This study reacts to people’s co-productive grassroots community problemsolving in reaction to complications caused by COVID-19 and related restrictions. THEORETICAL BASE: The authors pay special attention to the community creation and potential of co-production from the bottom to up when those who gathered around the same goal share an intra-group identity. METHODS: A multidisciplinary view of community building and co-production around the unique situation of pandemics. The article’s core lies in the intersection of social policy, sociology, social economics, and knowledge sciences. The supportive research consists of a survey with 249 respondents, and the questionnaires were supported by ten semi-structured interviews, including views on actors of the Quadruple helix. OUTCOMES: The discussion outlines links to differences between co-production and co-creation, communities of practice, the disaster side of the issue, involved systems archetypes, and the emergent phenomenon of local communities gaining identity and encapsulating themselves from outside help. SOCIAL WORK IMPLICATIONS: A perspective to the multifaceted term of co-production. Understanding underlying processes within co-production, co-creation of social policies, and related community building is one of the key points to navigate how people self-organize and thus are less dependent on outside help of social services. A more resilient community is able to tend to many of its problems independently.

co-production, co-creation, community building, COVID-19, face mask

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