Timelab Academy coaches governments and organizations to shape participatory spaces and projects. From bustling breeding grounds, inspiring city living rooms and innovative business models to initiatives for which we have yet to invent the name: we help you set your plans in motion and make them come true.

Crystallized from 10 years of practical experience

For more than a decade, Timelab has been creating high-profile urban development and innovation processes. The Red Thread? Broad participation. Co-creation between residents, organizations and governance. And above all: lasting results on an economic, social, cultural and ecological level. The many projects resulted in a unique method with which we now also support policymakers and professionals in getting a diverse group of people to organize themselves. Timelab Academy is the ‘school’ that grew out of Timelab and that teaches you to understand the Timelab method and how to successfully apply it to your own project.

A pragmatic and playful approach

Projects with many stakeholders can be complex. So many ideas. Even more opinions. And did we mention expectations? The Timelab method transforms the complexity of your project into manageable, practical parts. She helps you solve problems and get the noses in one direction. By means of accessible tools such as a serious game, knowledge exchange is facilitated and cooperation is promoted among the people who participate. The whole is a practical, playful and effective approach that strengthens you as a policy officer or professional to shape a project or building together.

Constantly refined and improved

The Timelab method does not stand still. On the one hand, it develops further through progressive insight into the concrete projects that we help set up. On the other hand, the method is constantly linked back to theoretical and international models for ‘commons’ (the commonly used name for the tangible or intangible goods that are created and managed by a community according to their own agreements). All this makes the Timelab method not only solidly substantiated, but also very hands-on and effective.

The offer of Timelab Academy

Stimulating inspiration session

During a short workshop we let you taste our cases from the past ten years and you get an insight into the unique Timelab method. The ideal shot of oxygen for your own collaborations.

Individual coaching

Through one-on-one training and guidance you develop your own competencies as a leader, participation coach or community builder. Together we create concrete tools with which you can further develop your project independently.

Intensive process guidance

We support and guide your initiative from A to Z: from the earliest dream to the unique interpretation of your place or project that comes 100% from the various participants.

Another question?

Do you have another nut you want to crack with Timelab Academy? Do you want a tool based on your own method? Or advice on a specific theme? Please contact Timelab Academy to discuss your question.

This is how we help you

Collaborating with Timelab Academy in a nutshell.

Practical handles

We don’t give you hollow tips, but useful tools that you can use right away. Afterwards you can continue completely autonomously and with confidence.

Sustainable management model

Together we work towards a solid management framework for your shared place or project. Not a one-day model, but a framework that helps you move forward in the long term.

Personal development

During the process, a lot of attention goes to your personal development as a initiator. This is how we help you become more resilient and more meaningful at work.

Physical tools

Physical facilitation tools have great added value in participation processes. Together we create your own set of tools that promote learning and keep the acquired knowledge alive.

Clear report

Afterwards you will receive an extensive report that provides insights into the process. This makes it possible to repeat the process and to anticipate pitfalls and opportunities.

Peer network

You get lifelong access to the learning network of Timelab Academy. This way you exchange experiences and best practices with participation coaches in Belgium and far beyond.

About our method

How do you create places or projects that belong to everyone? These are the basic principles of our approach.

Seven different patterns

The backbone of the Timelab method are seven themes or ‘patterns’. We have distilled these patterns from our own and global experiences with commons. We saw that everyone who works with commons always encounters the same challenges: how to organize yourself as a group, how to share resources, create an identity, make agreements, visualize processes, embrace an open end and increase your impact. We found a clever way to guide you through all the patterns and choose the most relevant ones together. Through workshops for which we translated management and coaching methods into playful and interactive working methods, we find the answers for your project.

Brighter every time

Our process is characterized by iterations with clear phases. The first sanding is rough, but layer by layer the interpretation of your project becomes clearer and we continue to polish together until a manageable model is created. We work towards the independence of your project and the empowerment of the participants. The entire process is aimed at being able to work independently with the lessons learned and making our support superfluous.

Guaranteed unique result

Timelab Academy maintains tight control over the process and continuously keeps a finger on the pulse. The process produces a unique result that comes from the contribution of the various participants, without predetermining the outcome. So no collaboration on paper, but real participation and co-creation.

Success projects

  • NEST (Ghent) – We created a creative meeting place in a former city library.
  • RSL Op Post (Roeselare) – We developed a shared space without stigma in an old postal building.
  • Maakleerplek (Leuven) – We helped a group initiatives to unite and set up their own NGO to manage a shared space in the city.


Policy Analysis and Recommendations

By Marjolein Cremer (Senior Advocacy Officer, European Cultural Foundation), Maria Francesca De Tullio (Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Antwerp), Pascal Gielen (Professor of Sociology of Culture& Politics, University of Antwerp), Violante Torre (Policy Officer, European Cultural Foundation).

Policy Analysis and Recommendations’  has laid the ground for a new vision on decision-making, one that takes culture as the foundation, inclusiveness and a better quality of life for all citizens. The Analysis brings together the outputs and the outcomes of the CCSC project, and shares the key learnings from the project partners. The Recommendations, based on these core principles, are made for the EU for the support and recognition of commons at the local and EU level. They advocate for the use of the commons as a policy framework that can reinforce the much-needed connection between the local and EU level.

Commons. Between Dreams and Reality

Ana Sofia Acosta Alvarado, Marcela Arreaga, Michel Bauwens, Michele Bee, Marjolein Cremer, Margherita D’Andrea, Sofia de Juan, Maria Francesca De Tullio, Sergi Frías Hernández, Pascal Gielen, Hablarenarte, Giuseppe Micciarelli, José Rodríguez, Will Ruddick, Evi Swinnen, Violante Torre and Laure-Anne Vermaercke.

Commons. Between Dreams and Reality addresses how cooperation and collective actions might influence political and economic realities. At its core, it focuses on the practical life of commons and commoning practices, their factors of growth and transformative potential, as well as on the challenges and contradictions which they face. The book examines the commons in relationship with their local environment and how they can become a tool for the economic sustainability of culture. The aim is to articulate an analysis and look at how commons are addressed by institutions and communities in policy-making and everyday practices.

Customers speak

“The need for collaboration, nationally and internationally, is urgent and calls for collaboration methods that are both meaningful and effective. Timelab’s research into ’the commons’ and how this way of collaborating can be applied in practice is highly relevant to our students and the art world, taking into account social, environmental and public values.”

Gwenoële Trapman – DAS Amsterdam

Contact us

Do you want to know more? Putting heads together? Are you curious how we can be of service to your organisation? Feel free to contact us for a no-obligation introduction via marieke@timelab.org or take part in our events!