What happens when four friends decide to share a private office in a coworking space? To start with, they let their creativity flow when it comes to naming their group. Jojo, Kourou, OBA, and Vagos are the Cobra Kai team! Thanks to the flexibility a coworking space provides, these four friends who work remotely decided to get a private office at Stone Soup and focus on their projects together. When all you need is workspace and everything else is serviced, professionals can decide to join a coworking community instead of staying at home or returning to their fixed office.
Bringing diversity in a private office
Remote work and freelancing are two great ingredients in any recipe for flexibility and diversity. In this view, a shared private office is like a mini coworking space on its own! All you need is to gather your group of friends from school, university, or RPG games and get together in a workspace as Cobra Kai did! This way socialization is guaranteed as you can see a friendly face every time you focus on your projects.
Although they decided to enter a private office because they are long-time friends and not due to their professions, they have formed a truly interdisciplinary group. Apart from bringing some retro martial vibes to Stone Soup, the Cobra Kai dojo works in very innovative fields. Kourou is a front-end developer and works in data visualization while Vagos is an EU official specializing in cybersecurity. Jojo is a linguist and editor and OBA is a mathematician and works as an R&D consultant in machine learning.
In their own words: “Self-employed and working remotely. Some coding, some editing, tons of online meetings.”
Benefits of a sharing your own space
For them, getting a private office and sharing it “seemed like a good idea to avoid the everyday loneliness of home office”. This way it is much easier to catch up and stay in touch with your close friendly network. Moreover, having some cool company nearby is definitely helpful. This way you can share your personal and professional troubles with people you trust and listen to. Creativity and problem-solving get a boost as well since good brainstorming is just a couple of words away! And a tricky conversation piece does not have to do only with personal matters! For the Cobra Kai group, “illusions of deep political discussions“ is what brings them together as well!
Sharing a private office has been quite a positive experience for this group of friends so far, and they believe there are even better days to come. And if you are still wondering what is up with the name they gave to themselves, all we know is that “Yannis is a ninja. The rest of us have Netflix and just hate the Larussos!”
https://www.stonesoup.io/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/feature_image_sharedoffice.jpg9502400Dimitris Manoukashttps://www.stonesoup.io/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/ssl300x300.pngDimitris Manoukas2022-06-20 13:18:192022-06-20 13:18:22Creating your own private office the way you want it to be!
Last six months, we had the pleasure to host George and Carla, a couple of marketers who traveled with their family from Barcelona to Athens! We talked with them about their international marketing projects and their experience as a family in Athens. We also inspired them to create content featuring Stone Soup! As part of his content creation aspirations, George just completed a Videography course in SAE! Stone Soup proudly starred in his first attempt at directing a corporate video!
Firstly, we asked them how they got involved in marketing as well as the pros and cons of working remotely. Before the family came to Athens they added many pins to the European map. Carla started working remotely back in 2015 after quitting her job at SoundCloud in Berlin. Back then she had already been away from her homeland, Spain, for 10 years and she was looking forward to finding her way back home. A friend was the one who connected her with a big digital project. Ever since she has remained working remotely either as a freelancer or in a permanent position. She describes her first few years as a “rollercoaster” as she craved social interaction with other team members. However, she now admits that she has mastered it and she truly enjoys the freedom she gets from working remotely. From her current perspective, going back to her previous life with a 9-5 office job seems distant and weird.
As for George, remote working came along with his promotion to a Regional Marketing Manager at SAE Institute 7 years ago. He points out that getting to work from anywhere as long as you have WiFi is very tempting. You only have to find the strength to defeat the “pyjamas syndrome”. Professionally his main challenge was to train, manage and inspire a team of young professionals exclusively from a distance. Interactions are limited to online tools and this fact consequently limits the dynamics between people.
Marketing projects they are proud of
Their positions as marketers granted them the opportunity to work remotely and enjoy traveling all over Europe at the same time. They involve themselves in many facets of marketing, so we wanted to know more about their interests in this continuously expanding creative field. Carla enjoys working on digital marketing strategies. She loves thinking of ways to find the target audience of her clients online. She also finds challenging to plan out multiple a/b experiments to test what type of targeting may perform the best. As for George, he prefers working on social media projects as there is a more direct interaction with the audience. Aside from that, he likes running event promotion projects, as they move faster, with a greater variety in designs.
Working in the marketing field means that you are designing projects that can be both impactful and creative! We asked our members to pick a couple of marketing campaigns they dealt with that are worth mentioning. George feels quite proud of a marketing campaign he runs across five countries, promoting a new portfolio of Games Production courses. It was challenging as he had to overcome cultural and market diversity issues and manage to create consistent storytelling. Carla could not help but point out that she is currently running a campaign to promote the platform adeccojobsforukraine.com. It is a portal created to connect employers with refugees and this goal motivates her to give her best. Any employer can sign up and upload their vacancies and the displaced workers can upload their CVs. It operates as an effective matchmaking platform supporting all the Ukrainians in this terrible moment of their life.
Traveling to Athens
Their story continued in Athens, where they have been staying for the last six months. Together with their one-year-old daughter, Emma, they traveled to the Greek capital and decided to try focusing on their marketing ideas from here. They both agree that Athens is a lively and exciting city with plenty of things to do and international people to meet. They comment that strolling around may not be that easy but there are so many nice spaces to go to, like the Niarchos Foundation and the National Garden. There is no doubt that having a family limits the number of outings they can have. However, they have realized that there are also plenty of international families in Athens as well, even in Stone Soup!
Why work from a coworking space?
Working from a coworking space can help in achieving a work-life balance. They find it motivating to leave the house and add some flavor to their work life. If the coworking space neighborhood is full of choices (as it is in the case of Stonesoup), then even better! This way they can also pursue their interests as well. For example, aside from their marketing work Carla is exploring the digital art scene and curates content for her Digital Art District project on Instagram. They both find it inspiring to stay creative so they also do some paste-up street art together every now and then (instagram.com/lovnoir). When we asked them what is their biggest motivation lately, they passionately agreed that their number one mission and success story is named Emma, their fantastic daughter that rules their colorful world!
https://www.stonesoup.io/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/GEORGECARLA.jpg7121800Dimitris Manoukashttps://www.stonesoup.io/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/ssl300x300.pngDimitris Manoukas2022-04-19 10:56:552022-04-19 14:48:28An Expat Family In Athens: Working On International Projects Remotely
For Foteini Vergidou, 2020 was a milestone year for digital culture and contemporary art. Our new member is a curator, researcher, and project manager based in Athens.
“2020 was a year of living online and I don’t know if there will be any difference between art and digital culture from now on.”
Her curatorial practice focuses on the impact of technological advancements on human relations, on human-machine relations, and between humans and their ecosystem. She explores issues related to cultural identity, climate change, surveillance, and big data.
We had a chance to speak with her about the current digital art scene of Athens and the value of digital media for contemporary artists.
Exploring digital art: getting exposed to experiences abroad
Foteini represents a brain gain example. She obtained an MA in Interactive Media: Critical Theory and Practice from the Goldsmiths University of London. While studying she explored the contemporary art scene in London and indulged in her research interests before moving to Berlin to work in the iconic transmediale festival. She stayed in Berlin for 3 years and worked as a gallery manager in DNA Berlin. Such an international and multicultural environment equipped her with an open mind towards work-related issues. As a result, living and working abroad made her realize that there is no center of experiences and no bipolar divisions between “us” and “them”.
She returned and settled in Athens in 2015. In that year, Foteini worked as Coordinator and Project Manager for Kappatos Athens Art Residency Program. During this period, she collaborated with international artists such as Martin Creed, Roy Ascott, and Santiago Sierra. She also curated the Web Art exhibition category for the Athens Digital Arts Festival in Greece for the 11th and 12th editions. Most recently, she curated the Hysterophimia Pavilion, the Greek Pavilion for the 4th edition of The Wrong Digital Art Biennale (2019 – 2020) exploring the contemporary culture around Images, from selfies to big data.
Since 2018, she has worked as Curatorial Advisor and Project Manager for the artist Kalliopi Lemos, developing research upon themes that center around migration, human rights, and gender injustice. At the same time, she worked on different projects in Athens and abroad promoting artists through digital media.
Online culture and physical community: two sides of a common goal
For Foteini, the experiences triggered and gained abroad can be developed in one’s own country. Physical and online interaction with audiences and other creative professionals, input and output of experiences, drive a successful exposure.
Thus, community and network building play an important part in her career. It is actually the first thing she advises every new artist to pursue through physical and digital media. On one hand, this is the reason she joined a coworking space. It offers a physical chance of socialization, necessary to bring together different perspectives and ideas among professionals. On the other hand, artists can achieve digital interconnectivity and exposure through investment in up-to-date online platforms and social media like Instagram. In the last few years, digital art and media became an upcoming field in Athens. The pandemic boosted this relatively new way of promotion and highlighted the importance of the transition to online representation.
Tips for new artists: digital platforms are the future
But how can an artist take advantage of the digital media available to promote their body of work? Foteini describes a few fruitful moves they can make: network building, social media, research in up-to-date websites, platforms, funding. An artist’s online presence should include a social media account, like Instagram, where they promote their artwork. Through this medium, their physical network can interact with them and give them feedback.
Also, for Foteini the curative process is connected with a certain amount of research. Every exhibition is the result of a body of research that she deals with at a particular moment. Since 2017, she is an editor and writer at FerociousUrbanites.com, where she conducts research around issues that derive from our relation to technology. This is also an example of an up-to-date website with a strong focus on promoting Greek digital artists to an international audience. Browsing websites like this can offer artists and art lovers inspiration and information about online culture and digital art.
Since 2019, she is an active member of the TILT platform, bringing together creative people including artists, researchers, and theorists. She is always seeking collaboration with other professionals, coming often from diverse disciplines and practices, in order to develop synergies and joint projects. Her main goal is to conduct collective research, while forming an exhibition or a public intervention, in order to reveal different perspectives. The exhibition “Iasis” she curated for the TILT platform presented a body of work, artworks, educational seminars, and workshops, that investigated the political and social dimensions of global human activity. The TILT platform is an example of a network-building initiative for artists. Foteini compares it with a coworking space where members can interact and share their ideas and projects.
Picks ‘n tips for digital culture events & art-lovers
Foteini thinks that the contemporary Athenian cultural scene is experimental, as is the city itself. The pandemic has boosted the transition to online representation even though she agrees that there are limits. For example, both theatre and art exhibitions had to offer the audience an experience mediated by the Internet. Big and small institutions had to adapt to the new condition and the results are appealing to many. She points out that the initiatives to promote online culture from Onassis Foundation and the PCAI are worth “browsing”. Furthermore, digital media like Instagram are basic components of projects curated by 3137, an artist-run space in Athens. On the international side, she suggests visiting the Top Museum (Tokyo Photographic Art) and the Overkill festival.
Foteini’s expertise as a curator is to manage all these tasks! And you are welcome to contact us and get in touch! She acts as a mediator between artistic expression and public perception. Nevertheless, she is a strong supporter of the “artist’s fee”, the payment that every creator must demand in exchange for the presentation of their work. She admits that the current focus on digital art, both in Athens and internationally, can pose new challenges for artists. Her advice to them is to always seek copyright and legal support before participating in online exhibitions.
“Always reinvent yourself and be adjustable”
This is what she learned and suggests to every art worker in the post-pandemic world. There is no need for a laptop if a creative professional pursues exposure and openness, values that she found in a coworking space. For her, coworking offers inspiration through interaction without the extra layer of workplace stress. And in these crazy times, a casual chat in a safe space can be more creative than ever!
https://www.stonesoup.io/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Digital-Art-in-Athens-Foteini-Vergidou-Curator-scaled.jpg17072560Dimitris Manoukashttps://www.stonesoup.io/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/ssl300x300.pngDimitris Manoukas2021-03-02 16:27:132021-03-02 16:27:16Digital Art in Athens and beyond: a curator’s view
Diversity is the product of community and collaboration blended together with openness. This is, after all, one of the key reasons people want to be part of a coworking environment. This allows them to diversify their vision and experience by collaborating with people from different backgrounds, interests, experiences, and thinking. By creating a community of experiences we try to bring together various perspectives and opinions of people who share a feeling of mutualism.
Jelia has always been looking for diverse experiences and new links. She has chosen Athens to be her new home and she recently joined our coworking community. Since it is one of our core values, we discussed why she is constantly seeking diversity both in her work but also in her lifestyle.
“We carry so many places within us and it’s through these places that we see everything new.”
This is what it feels for Jelia when she travels to a new community and gets to meet new people. Coming from a diverse background herself, Jelia is originally from Senegal but she was born and raised in London. She is a lawyer at Doughty Street Chambers working remotely from Greece and she specializes in refugee law, human rights, and international criminal law. Working on a diverse range of issues in these areas, she provides legal assistance to unaccompanied child refugees seeking family reunification in Europe, and to victims of mass crimes seeking to access justice. Jelia joined Stone Soup in October and we had the chance to speak with her about her coworking experience in the diversity of Athens and the importance of inclusion in a community.
Travelling for diversity: Jelia’s background
Jelia studied Law and Spanish language at the University of Sheffield in the UK. She also studied in Barcelona for a year before pursuing a Master’s degree at UCL. After finishing her studies she worked abroad in different parts of the world from Argentina and Colombia to Cambodia. As a result, these travels truly enriched her vision of a world where diversity plays a core part. She first came to Greece in 2016, to work as a volunteer in the camp on Samos island. In 2018, she was able to come back to Greece for another volunteering stint, this time with Safe Passage. And that’s where her story with Athens begins.
Living in Athens: diversity seems familiar
Jelia has been living in Athens for two and a half years since then. For her, Athens is spatially diverse and is “becoming” culturally complex too. So, she loves the ecosystem of the center of the city because it is imperfect and not homogenous. Moreover, she enjoys the diversity of the urban small streets, the micro-neighborhoods, and the variety of independent coffee shops and small businesses. She also likes to cycle and walk in the area of “petroukaki”, which is the name she gave to the Petralona and Koukaki areas! In general, she highlighted the feelings of familiarity this imperfect environment creates in her. It reminds her of all the different cities she has lived in, like Buenos Aires. Driving in Greece is terrible like in Senegal too, she adds! Jelia notes that living in Athens has deepened her work because she is more directly exposed to migration. As a result, she can better understand the needs of the community she is trying to help.
Coworking in Athens: diversity in the workspace community
The choice of coworking in the diversity of Athens has offered her more work-life balance than London, she admits. The city doesn’t stress her out and meets her needs while she is trying to integrate. She decided to join a coworking space because she felt isolated and stressed working from home during the lockdown. She picked Stone Soup because the privacy she can have makes her feel settled. Now she laughs when she gets home and only has to say “Hi, flat!”. As a self-employed professional she needs both privacy and proximity to an everyday community. Her work and traveling experience add to her words about the elements she looks for in a workplace: “People always bring diversity and complexity and that enriches a community”. So, for Jelia, the coworking community should be a respectful place where people can express themselves without fear in these crazy times. She also works as a human rights consultant for the United Nations and NGOs. Her part-time work for the NGO All Survivors Project, which focuses on male survivors of sexual violence in war zones (gay, trans, non-binary), highlights the need for a safe space for everyone who challenges the norms.
Coworking for diversity in Stone Soup
The Stone Soup philosophy and Jelia’s work experience are based on the pursuit for inclusion and the expression of diversity. Here, Jelia adds, you can choose your friends because there are no office politics among the coworkers. Here, she gets to learn about tech and algorithms from Paulin and meet people who can be friends and not colleagues. She misses many things from pre-pandemic Athens though. But there is one thing she can’t wait to have once again: live concerts and drinks on the roof!
https://www.stonesoup.io/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Coworking-empowers-a-lifestyle-of-diversity-v7-scaled.jpg17072560Dimitris Manoukashttps://www.stonesoup.io/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/ssl300x300.pngDimitris Manoukas2020-11-24 15:49:042020-11-30 16:20:14Coworking empowers a lifestyle of diversity
Monday to Sunday: Members access Stone Soup according to their membership type