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[] SPACES – Sustainable Public Areas for Culture in Eastern Countries

December 29, 2011

Sustainable Public Areas for Culture in Eastern Countries (SPACES)

SPACES is a project, financed by the European Commission, in which TEH takes part as an associate partner, represented by TEH Ambassador Annette Wolfsberger. The project assembles artists and cultural workers in four Eastern partner countries, Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine, who aim at reflecting societal issues in the public realm of their city.

It will take place from December 2011 to December 2013.

To learn more about the project, TEH invited its project manager Ina Ivanceanu for an interview.

What is SPACES?
The project SPACES aims at strengthening the independent art and culture scene in Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine. The key word is capacity building – from developing a better standing in negotiations with governmental agencies, to processes ofself-learning, increasing contact with civil society audiences, and finding new spaces where art and culture can take place. The core question of the project: How can art and culture regain public space(s) for citizens, especially for young people? SPACES will curate and carry out participatory art events in public spaces in the four countries. Processes of networking, social research and policy debates will accompany the in situ events. A better understanding of the role culture and art can play with regard to public space in post communist spaces, a stronger lobby for the independent scenes, new concepts for cultural governance in the region: these are some of the SPACES results. The three years project (2011-2014) is funded by  the European Commission via the “Investing in People and Eastern Partnership Culture Programme”.

SPACES is being launched this month – what is happening right now?
The first project team meeting took place in Vienna two weeks ago with all partner organizations to discuss and fine tune the project. The following partners are involved in the project: OIKODROM – Vienna/Austria (coordinator),; Loose Associations/Croatia; FCCA/Ukraine; GeoAIR/Georgia; Oberliht/Moldova; Minotaurus Film/Luxemburg. Right now partners are starting their networking activities in the four countries, and we are preparing the first public space events and project meeting that take place in May 2012 in Tiblisi (Georgia).

What is the role of TEH as associate partner? How can TEH members get involved?
The associate partners have different roles in this project, depending on their focus and available resources. Some will get directly involved on location on their own costs – for example, London Metropolitan University plans to join several public space events in the countries with a group of students to built structures needed for the public space events, or some associate partners might be invited to join a meeting in the country to bring in specific expertise, hold a training workshop etc. With other associate partners the main link will be to feed the project into their networks, introduce core themes relevant to the project, and disseminate the outcomes of the project. We will soon come up with suggestions on how TEH could get involved, and we are open to suggestions of course!

In which cities will the projects take place?
Tbilisi, Yerevan, Kiev and Chisinau.

How are you planning to make the selection of artists and cultural workers involved in the the project?
We have established a collective curatorial team consisting of a representative of each partner organization. The curatorial team was constituted at the first meeting in Vienna. It gives curatorial input (arts and culture in public space, social sciences, participation etc) and has an advisory function. The local partners have the right to decide on their projects.

How will you achieve the link between SPACES and the local citizens of these four countries?
The project has a strong participatory approach. Working in the public realm of the cities with direct involvement of local people will be a major challenge in this project which we are looking forward to meet. The project partners have a lot of experience in participatory art and culture work and participatory research methods, and we hope to widen this expertise during the course of the project. A main group we want to communicate with in this project is the urban youth in the cities.

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