A cooperative display is an exhibition of the work of multiple builders joined together as a cohesive whole, usually at a public event such as a train show or Fest. Often created using a Modular building standard, a cooperative display is usually coordinated by a single person or a small group for a particular event.
In some themes at some events a cooperative display is the primary organizing paradigm. Train (combined with Town) displays have long used a cooperative model especially for big shows like the National Train Show. But other themes have also used the cooperative model. For example Castle at Brickcon is organized as a giant medieval-themed landscape including villages, castles, temples and broad swathes of terrain featuring huge armies of minifigs and creatures. Coordinators for the Castle theme start planning months ahead (primarily on Classic-Castle) and establish any modifications to an existing standard and recruit builders. At the event they will spend many hours fitting together the contributions of all the builders to produce a spectacular display.
While the theme builds are usually open and accept any builder willing to adhere to the guidelines, a group build is more often closed. A group of builders will conceive, plan and execute the build of a large diorama. Members of the group will be assigned different sections or elements to build. They may be geographically close enough to assemble the build before the show or they may come together for the first time at the event site.
The advantage of the closed group build is that tighter tolerances and higher quality are often achieved resulting in several awards of best in show at major events.