Postane: our Hub in Istanbul

Postane is a place in Galata, Istanbul, hosting social, environmental and urban impact-oriented communities and collaborative cultural productions. Here they are introducing themselves.

A terrace in the nightime in Istanbul is bustling. In the back you see Istanbuls houses

Postane Terrace © Emirkan Cörüt.JPG

“Postane, means “post office” in Turkish, referring both directly to the building’s own past, as well as the hub’s mission to become a center for communication, networking, knowledge production and dissemination for activists.”
Postane Team

Allianz Foundation Hubs are regional platforms from civil society, climate action and arts & culture. They form a European network working on solutions for the pressing societal questions of our times. To meet these challenges, new ways of exchange and cooperation are needed. And a shared vision.

What is your mission?

"Located in Galata (Istanbul), one of the most diverse, vibrant and historically significant urban localities in Europe experiencing rapid gentrification, Postane is first and foremost a locally grounded hub, serving the community starting from its most disadvantaged members. 

At the same time, Postane is a metropolitan hub, based in a mega city with a population of over 16 million facing tremendous urban, environmental, and historical injustices. The hub has quickly become a focal point for the city’s civic and cultural life, providing invaluable resources for a multitude of actors, such as spatial and technical support, funding, knowledge. Together with our partners, we aim to generate social and environmental impact and foster cooperation between civil society actors and local municipalities.
Postane is also a regional hub; attracting interest and traffic of activists from around Turkey, Europe, Post-Soviet states and the Mediterranean. We take regional networking and alliance building seriously for sustained social change. Most of the issues we are dealing with have a very strong regional dimension. 

Lastly, Postane is a globally connected hub. It aims to be a reference point for cultural hubs and activist spaces around the world with its cooperation model, innovative programs, holistic spatial concept and cross-fertilization potential among various interconnected actors and thematic areas."

Women are standing around a shops table and are looing on a laptop. One person is presenting something on the laptop.

Open Workshop in the Postane shop © Emirkan Cörüt.jpg

A white building with three floors is shown.

Postane Building in Galata, Istanbul © Emirkan Cörüt.jpg

What are your projects? 

"Postane is an urban hub serving individuals and organizations whose work focuses on creating social and environmental impact, aiming to build a more just city, region, and planet. Founded in the summer of 2021, we provide inclusive spaces, offer technical resources, and run cultural programs for and with civil initiatives, activists, artists and social enterprises. With urban, ecological, and social justice priorities in mind, our goal is to create a much-needed independent, inclusive social center in Istanbul and contribute to the revitalization of the region’s public sphere. 

Our name, Postane, means “post office” in Turkish, referring both directly to the building’s own past as a historic post office building, as well as the hub’s mission to become a center for communication, networking, knowledge production and dissemination for activists. Postane has an educational rooftop garden where we grow edible plants ecologically; a solidarity-based kitchen and cafeteria only sourced from ecologically concerned local producers; a fair trade unit that brings together numerous social enterprises and cooperatives; co-working and meeting spaces that promote co-production among civil society organizations, activists and creatives; a specialized library with selected sources on topics such as ecology, cities, civil society, etc.; a podcast studio for creative storytellers; and a multi-purpose event hall for hybrid public and private events. All these spaces are complemented with technical support, cross-disciplinary expertise, networking experience, and incubation programs.

A person is carrying a birthday cake in a room that is full with people.

Who are the people of Postane and with whom do you work?

"The roots of Postane can be traced to encounters, acquaintances and comradery accumulated over urban and environmental activism in Turkey in the past 15 years. In the first year of our existence year we aimed to bring together an inclusive team with various capabilities that embraces diversity and to build a solid community base from engaged individuals and organizations. 

The Postane team has operational and programmatic members, who often are expected to work closely with each other and with the Postane community. The titles such as ‘chef’, ‘producer’, ‘communication coordinator’, ‘events coordinator’ need to be coupled with ‘activist’, ‘documentary film-maker’, ‘artist’, ‘story-teller’ to do justice to the qualities of our team members. 

We have a variety of institutional members who are active in the Turkish civil society and social enterprise ecosystem, working on issues such as environmental justice, women empowerment, social economy, and independent media. Moreover, since at Postane we believe in the solidarity economy and hence always prefer to buy goods and services from social economy organizations rather than large corporations, Postane has a growing community of artisans, cooperatives, social enterprises, and local producers. 

Which expectations do you have towards the collaboration with the Allianz Foundation Hubs network? 

"While Postane is embedded in local networks of solidarity and activism, we also envision ourselves as part of a larger global civil society and connected to socially engaged hubs around the Globe. Our mission for building ways of exchange and cooperation across borders, disciplines, classes and social groups fits perfectly with that of the Allianz Foundation Hubs. It reflects the clear awareness of multiple crises that our cities, societies and planet are experiencing; the urgent need to bring together cultural with social and environmental movements; and the multi-scalar approach required to create ‘better stories’ and make them visible and connected. 

For the following years, we believe that the overall mission of Postane will be strengthened through the cooperation with the other Hubs and with Allianz Foundation: to bring cultural and artistic realms together with social and environmental movements by creating exchange and cooperation opportunities for impact-oriented actors."

A room with many books in a big shelf

Postane Library © Emirkan Cörüt.jpg

People are sitting in a sunny room and are chatting and working on their laptops.

Postane Cafe © Emirkan Cörüt.jpg

Postane community event © Emirkan Cörü.jpg

Postane community event © Emirkan Cörü.jpg

Postane Office © Emirkan Cörüt.jpg

Postane Office © Emirkan Cörüt.jpg