There are now more than 40 different coworking spaces in metropolitan France, joining the swelling ranks of Third Places in Europe and across the world.
However, and although the movement is well and truly underway, coworking is still at the exploration phase. From simple shared workspaces to third places combining several kinds of activities, coworking is growing into various shapes and sizes and remains hard to define. Most of these spaces are focused on innovation and entrepreneurship and are contributing to the development of new ways of working.

It therefore makes sense to look at what we understand by coworking and identify the opportunities to be seized. Coworking Day was therefore organised to examine the following issues:

What opportunities does sharing a workspace create? Aside the sharing of physical space, what vision for society and work does coworking foster?  What values does it uphold? What models of governance are needed to keep such spaces alive? Who do these spaces aim to attract (freelancers, entrepreneurs, micro and small companies, teleworking employees, non-profits, students, experienced or young professionals) and what type of communities are generated as a result? How do coworkers experience collaborative working in these spaces? What opportunities may arise for “working and doing business differently”? What potential, and desirable, relationships can be formed with regional stakeholders and government institutions? How are ecological issues dealt with by such spaces and their users? And, finally, is it possible to arrive at a single definition of coworking?

European collective “The Origin of Spaces” is organising a full day of workshops and dynamic presentations to keep you informed about the latest advances made on all of these fronts and facilitate the exchange of ideas between participants.

Discover the diverse range of shared spaces available, from theme-based spaces to working cafes, hybrid places, project incubators and cultural brownfields.   

Meet and talk to inspiring project leaders and coworking space managers who are taking a fresh look at the opportunities harboured by these workplaces, as well as their usage and collaborative working methods.

Les darwiniens ©Les Sauvages


8h30 > Greeting & coffee 

9h00 > Introduction by Jean-Marc Gancille, co-founder in charge of ecological transition in Darwin & Jean-Pierre Brossard, coordinator Erasmus’s projet “The Origin of Spaces”

9h30 > Snapshot: the state of play in the French and regional coworking sector.
Presented by the “Coopérative des Tiers-Lieux” (Third Places Cooperative).

10h00 > Workshop sessions:
Workshops will be held in unusual locations across the Caserne Niel site.
Some workshops will have limited capacity. We therefore ask that you indicate which workshops you would like to attend when you fill in your registration form. The workshops will last for 1.5 hours including a break.

#1 Imagining an ideal coworking space.
A workshop for thinking about and designing the ideal workspace.
Design Thinking Method – workshop in English (not translated).
Host: Deborah Astell – manager of Capture Arts and Creative Projects, an arts collective based in London that encourages active participation in creative thinking. Capture is in charge of developing the online tool for people looking to set up coworking spaces (see The Origin of Spaces project).

#2 Can Third Places develop my region?
One policy, one region, one identified need: try out the MakeSense method for addressing a concrete, useful project proposal.
Hosts: Fazette Bordage, a pioneer in cultural brownfields and other shared spaces in France for the last 30 years (setting up the Confort Moderne in Poitiers, Mains d’Oeuvre in Saint Ouen, and currently in residence in Le Havre,) & Christiaan Weiler, a Dutch architect and one of the first co-workers at Darwin. Christiaan is deeply involved in co-working space governance as part of the non-profit organisation Les Darwiniens.

#3 Co-acting: Using the group dynamic inherent in theatrical expression to enhance collaboration between coworkers
The Darwiniens decided to take the plunge by adding theatre workshops to their workplace to test new forms of collaborative working and alternative communication. Try it for yourself! workshop in English (translated in french).
Host: Eirini Sfiri – As an actress and architect, Eirini has been putting her eight years’ experience in theatre in Greece and Spain at the disposal of innovative spaces like the Darwin ecosystème.

#4 Just how green is your space? Conducting an ecological assessment of your third place.
How is your (existing or future) third space putting ecological transition into practice? Use an innovative new tool to conduct an assessment of your existing practices and identify the next steps to be taken.
Host: Blandine Chenot – Darwin user, consultant on social and ecological transition, expert in collaborative working methods & Jean-Marc Gancille, co-founder in charge of ecological transition in Darwin.

#5 Forming a local team.
Can we form a network of coworking spaces in Bordeaux and the metropolitan area? Initiatives are springing up here and there, enabling coworkers to share services and create new ones. Who would be willing to join a network today? What messages could this send about a city, what advantages could it bring?
Host: Maud Sapene – manager of a coworking space in Bordeaux and active member of the Coopérative des Tiers Lieux (Third Places Cooperative) in the Nouvelle Aquitaine region in south-west France.

11h30 > Feedbacks

12h30 > Lunch, networking

14h00 > Pitching innovative projects for international coworking spaces.

  • Davide Leone, from Palermo, inspired architect and engaged manager of a project, CREZI Plus, big collaborative and creative place in Palermo
  • Ivone Cruz, from Viana do Castelo, manager of LINKS, a dynamic coworking space and incubator in the Northern coast of Portugal
  • Chwan Li, from Shangaï. He has worked for over 13 years in the cultural and creative industries in China, now working as researcher under a contract in the applied economics department of University of Valencia
  • Dunja Vukovic, former EU project manager in a cultural center of Zagreb (who contributed actively at the writing of our OOS application) and involved today in a co-living, nomad third place, and gardening project in Zagreb
  • Laura Korculanin, Slovenian and Croatian from Lisbon, design anthropologist, environmental activist through art in public space and founder of Give a Shit project about water, independent researcher and collaborator at creative university IADE-UE
  • Pedro Reis from Óbidos (PT), manager of a coworking space « Colab Óbidos » + USE at Caldas da Rainha


14h30 > European projet The Origin of Spaces – a story of collaboration

14h45 > Conference #1 European collective The Origin of Spaces: 5 organisations, 5 specialities, 1 common purpose.

With LX Factory (Lisbon), ZAWP (Bilbao), ROJC ALLIANCE (Croatia), London Borough of Lewisham (England), Capture Projects (England), Les Darwiniens (Bordeaux).

Q&A with the audience

16h00 > Conference #2 Coworking, fablabs, work cafés, third places: different perspectives on new practices in shaping a city.
“Managing a region requires a consistent policy for social inclusion, economic development, ecology and culture. It would be far better if such policy was developed not only for, but also involving, the citizens it serves. Coworking spaces and third places are, by definition, ideal for pursuing these objectives through citizen-driven initiatives. Time to try and conceive of collaborative action between institutions and citizens that would serve the general interest…”


  • Fazette Bordage is a musicologist, but also a longtime practitioner of the initiation of places of cultural practices, such as the ‘Confort Moderne’ in Poitiers in 1983 (!), and since 2012 on a mission with the municipality of Le Havre and its cultural actors. 
  • Kent Fitzsimons is an architect, teacher and director of the PAVE laboratory at the Bordeaux School of Architecture and Landscape, and is interested in how the stakes of architecture and the city serve as a pretext for political and social experimentation, rather than the reverse. 
  • Mehdi Hazgui (moderator) is a member and co-author of the research phase for The Origin of Spaces. As a sociologist-consultant, he conceives and animates participatory sessions on projects of urban and sustainable development. 
  • Salima Hout-Zaffran is Head of Creation and Economy of Culture in the Directorate of Culture and Citizenship of the Dep. Gironde, and launched with her team a call for initiatives under the Sapiens program, which aims to stimulate e-cooperation in digital public space and physical third-places to contain the digital divide of the public. 
  • Eugenie Michardière is responsible for the ICT mission at the Aquitaine Regional Council, and works closely with the Cooperative des Tiers-Lieux on the modernization of digital uses for spatial planning. 
  • Fabienne Oré-Courregelongue is Head of Employment and Local Economy at Bordeux Métropole and focuses on the dynamism and quality of neighborhood activities of small and very small businesses in commerce, crafts and independant professions. 
  • Christiaan Weiler is research coordinator as well as architect-engineer focused on technical and programmatic innovations for ecological transition. 
  • Contribution to the preliminary reflections: Catherine André of the Institute of Town and Country Planning, Etienne Lhomet of Des Villes et Des Hommes, a consulting firm for sustainable mobility – and Darwinian. Bruno Marzloff of the Chronos Group – consultant for mobility development issues.

Q&A with the audience

17h30 > Closing sequence

18h00 > Buffet dinner and drinks:
Join us for a buffet dinner and drinks at the Chantier de la Garonne bar (opposite Darwin), a friendly setting on the banks of the Garonne river in which to continue our discussions.

Coworking Day is co-funded by the EC’s Erasmus+ programmes, Bordeaux Metropole, supported by La Coopérative des Tiers-Lieux.

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