Submitted by Robert McBride, Rockigham Arts and Museum Project (RAMP)
This July the University of Bologna's department of economics hosted a week long symposium, The Future of Social Enterprise: Models and Experience. from July 6 to 11 at the University Residential Centre of Bertinoro, Forl Campus.
Thirty-five participants from around the world, with a variety of backgrounds, attended. Robert McBride, founding director of the Rockingham Arts and Museum Project (RAMP), www.ramp-vt.org in Bellows Falls was selected to participate.
"First of all, having a chance to go to Italy is always an incredible experience and to be with a group of people interested in social economy which loosely parallels the whole concept in the United States of the not-for-profit model and exchange ideas was a great experience," McBride said. "Many of the other participants where PhD students ineconomics; I was one of the few practitioners that had developed a not-for-profit organization."
McBride founded RAMP in 1995 in order to help contribute to Bellows Falls revitalization.
Its mission is to recognize how artists and the arts enrich communities culturally, socially and economically.
"Community building is incremental and takes time," McBride saids, "it is hard for me to believe that RAMP is already entering its 14th year!"
Over the years, RAMP has through creative collaborations been building community through arts advocacy and leveraging the creative economy network in the regionally, statewide and nationally.
The week-long symposium brought together a distinguished group of scholars and professors coming from all over Europe and the world for an intense week of analysis and discussion of the current issues on Social Economy and Social Enterprises. www.esse.unibo.it
"It was very heartening to spend a week with a group of people from around the world engaged and motivated by developing business models that incorporate social good and not just profit as the primary outcome." McBride added. "It certainly has opened the door for me to think a lot more beyond the not-for-profit model onto the whole arena of third sector economy."