In May 2021, the Aiaraldea Ekintzen Faktoria opened its doors. The 750 sqm pavilion is located in Laudio, where the local media is located, in the large cabin created in basque by Aiaraldea Kooperatiba Elkartea. But how and why did they get there?
Everything is possible. How, if not, can Aiaraldea, created as a Communication Window, become a Factorship of Actions? Although it is an erdaldun space, the Aiaraldea Komunikazio Ventana association was created in 2010 to influence the normalization and communication of the Basque Country. Until 2017 it was associative until the partners decided to transform Aiaraldea into a Cooperative Society. In fact, the initial tool or project that was launched under the name of Aiarbidasoa .com grew considerably; and the local media acquired the centrality of the entire region, both in the edition of the website (aiarbidasoa .eus) and in the printed edition (7,500 copies of the fortnightly Aiaraldea Hemen are distributed free of charge every two weeks in all public transport, school centres. The project was created in the valley to create tools in Euskera and from Euskera, integrating the 9 municipalities of the area: Orduña, Amurrio, Ayala, Okondo, Orozko, Arrankudiaga - Zollo, Arakaldo, Llodio and Artziniega. And history became history.
Today, it manages a wide web (aiarbidasoa .eus), a large paper edition (fortnightly, special summer and yearbook) and numerous social networks (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Youtube and Twich), along with the Whatsapp and Telegram broadcast channels. All this combined with professional and citizen journalism, thanks to intense voluntary work: community agents, individual opinion makers, photographers and voluntary distributors... The media are all of it, and they all do it through the Media Aiaraldea, based on the monthly support of 500 members of the Aiaraldea Factoring of Actions, the cooperative.
In the spring of 2021, on May 15, we opened the Aiaraldea Action Branch, a new umbrella of the global project. Located in the industrial estate Gardea de Llodio, it is a pavilion of 750 square meters. Projects of all lines of the Cooperative work on it: Aiaraldea Komunikabideak, Kokoriko Hezkuntza Faktoria (Education Line), Ekonomatua (Food Sovereignty Line), Komunika enpresa (Project Economic Support Service Line), Bor-feminism (Feminism Roots Line) and Faktoria (Cultural Creation Line, Social Transformative Economy). From Monday to Friday the space is functioning publicly in the morning and afternoon as well as on Saturdays in the morning. But on the weekend the doors are open according to social programming.
In short, the doors are open to anyone who wants to approach the Basque house. The Factory has its own peculiarities: it is the respiratory center entirely in Basque, along with other values. In other words, commitment or respect is required for both Euskera and feminism to be present, and we welcome all people such as mouth (ahobizi), ear (belarusian) or heart (people who do not know Euskera but feel their own). Communication and programming in Basque is also promoted over the weeks, through activities of all kinds: media tertulias, concerts, theatres, book presentations, kitchen workshops, dinners, movement and free play for 0-3 years, circus workshop, Euskera classes, bertso eskolak, zunba group… It has not been made more colorful than to start in the future and the project of life.
Ours is the “Factory to live” and the one that gives life to the Factory. In the strategic reflection 2015-2020 we have set as a beacon the creation of tools and projects that allow the space and place that the Basque country needs, and has done so throughout the middle of the decade, consolidating the media project and articulating new spaces, lines and projects within the Aiaraldea Cooperative Society. The factoring of dreaming does not cease, as the needs and customs of society and our language change. At this stage 2022-2025, as characteristics and areas have been broadened, the path we want to dream and travel is yet to be drawn. This new decade will also undoubtedly mark the brand in the Basque Factory and in the community. The Basque country is not a destination for us, but a means and an option to take steps. Of course, we do nothing for the Basque people, the Basque people.
How did we get here?
Surely the keys have been teamwork. There are no tricks or miracles, but the formula has its magic: the “secret” has been maintained since the communication project was born, providing as much time as possible to what everyone likes.
As a result, the Aiaraldea media has made great leaps and pathways over 11 years, although some projects are on their way: Aiaraldea Irratia (internet radio entirely in Basque) had an activity of 2 years, and due to the excessive time and investment in broadcasting by antenna, it was decided to freeze it (investing in audiovisual). It was also abandoned by the Autumn Multimedia Schools, where many communication courses for volunteer and staff training were organised for 4-5 years. Who knows, nothing is forever, and maybe we"ll take it back. However, similar activities have been developed: podcasts, communication workshops, colloquia… Life is knowing how to adapt to new times and phases, and in that you also have to know how to transform the media (and the Basque).
There has also been no shortage of commuters. 13 workers, about 80 active volunteers and 500 partners are currently the drivers of the Aiaraldea Cooperative Society (and a lot of individual, collective, other organizations…). In fact, as parts are molded, new tools and tools have been designed. But with caution, we do not have to make Euskera survive in communication, but to create or consolidate alternatives for society to live Euskera. In other words, Euskera is not our goal, it is a tool.
Beyond the Aiaraldea Medium, Aiaraldea can make use of websites or social networks (fakt.eus or accounts of Aiaraldea Factoring, twitter and facebook) to follow the evolution of the Actions Factory.
The media as a mirror of values
Following the editorial line, in 2020 we defined the values to be enhanced through, the ways of doing so and the monitoring and evaluation instruments. Following the community identity, a project consolidated by citizen participation and cooperation was defined. As could not be otherwise, this has caused it to focus on care and recognition, in order to reconcile professional and community journalism from a feminist perspective and identity. For this reason, last year the Aiaraldea Media Council (2021) was established as a leadership space for the communication project strategy. Proof of this are the production of numerous contents of the Basque culture, feminism, cultural creation, food sovereignty, interculturality and the transforming social economy.
How to attract the basque-spanish community?
What makes such a project attractive? The mechanisms of attraction of the erdal community to the Basque can be multiple. In our case, the wager has been decided from the beginning, with the objective of integrating Aiaraldea into Basque. To do so, in addition to creating communication tools, image and multimedia have always been of great importance, since communication in Basque through the language of images is very easy to reach the people of Castilian Spanish. For example, the fact that the information collected in the photographs and/or videos is offered in Basque brings value and social recognition to Basque, our most significant work tool. To this must be added the magnifying glass of the locality and the proximity, from which you can also see large small initiatives, thanks to the work that takes place behind each newspaper piece (carried out mainly by the promoters of the projects or actions, as the media is limited to putting letters and images, although this process has an enormous weight in the result that is visualized). That is, the Aiaraldea Media has a loudspeaker effect but also the ability and ability to decide where to place the focus. And they"re both paid attention.
Likewise, many people, identities and marginal cultures through both paper and web editions have passed through the media portal throughout this time. This, in addition to the recognition of this knowledge and trajectories, has revealed the sense of belonging to the community. In a way, Aiaraldea offers in Basque what the Spanish world does not offer: today and local knowledge in different multimedia formats and tools both on paper and on the Internet.
New challenges for 2022
The new year is a great harvest forecast. This year 2021 has been a milestone, we are already looking at 2022. In this respect, we have already set our priorities. What will be the strategic objectives of the Aiaraldea Media in the midst of the pandemic?
On the one hand, combine professional journalism with the citizen (collaborative) to ensure the activation and continuity of the community, attending to the care. We want to invite and activate readers, experts and experts to community journalism.
On the other hand, it will be a priority to deepen the community and digital journalism, becoming the digital and reference space of the regional actuality (and the visit maintaining or improving the data). Thirdly, it is intended to increase economic sufficiency by updating advertising and other offers to avoid dependence on subsidies.
On the other hand, in order to increase quality journalism, new multimedia tools and the Internet will be included in the drafting lines. To this must be added the updating of the strategy of social networks, which are now essential to respond to unity and disseminate what happens.
In this sense, the fortnight on paper Aiaraldea Hemen celebrates this year 5 years and 2022 will represent a change of image and format in this project. In this way we want paper editing to be a more attractive and useful product and to fulfil an educational function (both in the educational community and in the Basque Country).
Aware of the importance of the image, the media"s multimedia offer will also have to be taken into account to make it more varied in its format. To do this, we will prepare a plató in Faktoria to produce television shows and other audiovisual pieces in a simpler and more systematic way. Direct emissions will be the showcase of this. For whom or what? We have questionnaires to identify community points of interest and in the first quarter of 2022 we will focus the needs of children, youth and education and the wider community of Aiaralde. To do this, the online survey has been active since December 2021 and a team is dedicated to it. What is Aiaraldea Komunikabideak offer for children and young people? Being aware of this lack, we would like this course to be completed with them the works produced for them and in Basque.
In addition, the usual publications, the yearbook “Mugarriak 2022” (200-page book), the fortnightly Aiaraldea Hemen and the summer magazine will be maintained. However, we do not rule out the launch of our own project on Tubacex’s indefinite strike, making room for local history and archive.
Finally, Aiaraldea Komunikabideak aims to be a place to develop social activities or initiatives of community input. Indeed, we intend to repeat some of the activities we started from the media last year and which were welcomed and responded positively by the citizens and agents. These include the competition “Aiaraldea dantzan contra la violencia machista” or initiatives such as photographic competitions, tertulias, research, etc.
So, just closed the year, under the Factory Skirts, we have a prolific and living source still in 2022. There is a pool of ideas, needs and opportunities. Do you want to cool or wet through our source?