CONGRESS OPENING: Culture and Solidarity – inaugural lecture
For centuries of lack of statehood and struggle for sovereignty, culture has been the foundation of identity and duration for the nations of Eastern Europe. Today, however, we need a culture which not only protects our difference, but also helps build the Eastern Partnership and Europe as a joint cultural project; which not only underlines independence, but is also conscious of mutual dependencies in a multicultural and globalizing world, which restores connective tissues where they are ruined by cultural conflicts and the ever-deepening abyss between ‘Us’ and ‘Them’, the rich and the poor, the privileged and the excluded. The time is coming to pose a question about culture and solidarity anew.
CULTURE AND IDENTITY
The programme of this thematic axis is focused around three key terms: Europe, Identity and Memory. We will try to jointly work out the opinion of the people of culture from the Eastern Partnership states in the discussion on a new narrative for Europe. We will search for answers to the question of how culture copes with history. We will make an attempt to sketch the European map of memory. We will dwell on the problems of today’s cultural self-identification and the issues of creating local narratives.
- What does Europe mean to us? The voice of people of culture from the Eastern Partnership countries in the debate about a new narrative for Europe (workshop) Europe as a space for dialogue, Europe as a community of values. Europe as a responsibility. A debate referring to the current public discussion in the EU on a new narrative for Europe. An attempt to work out the opinion of Congress participants on this issue during an open discussion participated by the Congress Programming Council members, and then in the course of workshop activities in small groups.
- Sharing ideas and experiences (workshop) During a two-hour session, Congress participants will have an opportunity to present their experiences and ideas concerning the issue of culture and identity, to discuss them with other participants and to get to know each other.
- Creating urban and regional narratives through integrated cultural activities. The Magician of Lublin and urban utopias of Oskar Hansen (city walk) Presentation of manifold cultural narratives on Lublin. Its participants will walk around the housing estate designed by Oskar Hansen according to his utopian concepts of the Open Form and the Linear Continuous System, and watch the presentations of three concurrent cultural activities drawing upon motifs found in I. B. Singer’s novel The Magician of Lublin to be accompanied by a several-minute juggling workshop – for relax.
- How does culture cope with history? Lublin. Memory of the Place. The experience of the “Grodzka Gate – NN Theatre” Centre in artistic work with memory (presentations) The ‘Grodzka Gate – NN Theatre’ Centre is a municipal cultural institution which operates in Lublin for the purposes of cultural heritage protection and education. Its activities, which are unique on a European scale, refer to the symbolic and historical significance of its residence, the Grodzka Gate which was once a passage from the Christian to the Jewish part of the city, as well as to the locality of Lublin as a place where various cultures, traditions and religions once met. A story about the Lublin experience will be a starting point to share experiences between participants and to discuss the challenges facing the people of culture who address the issues of difficult memories.
- How does culture cope with history? European debates on memory and oblivion (debate and workshop) The process of uniting Europe initiated many attempts to create a common European memory and work out a common view of the past. Textbooks have been written, documentaries shot and numerous anniversary celebrations held. The last decade has, however, shown that this suggestion has succeeded only halfway. Does memory unite us or divide us? Should the winning concept be that of building a common European identity of memory or is it actually particularities and national and regional idiosyncrasies that are a European value? Through discussions and workshop activities in groups, we will try to sketch the European map of memory as seen by the Congress’ participants. The workshop will include projection of clips from documentaries and feature films showing the heterogeneity of the European memory.
- Creating urban and regional narratives through integrated cultural activities (workshop) Discussion on creating local narratives—both those already existing and known to workshop participants, and those worked out in the workshop. How can narratives of this type help in breaking barriers between cultures? The role of cultural heritage in creating urban narratives.
- Cultural identities and intercultural dialogue. The missing link? (workshop) Workshop designed in line with the original concept developed by the City Research Center, concerning relations between the issues of cultural identity and intercultural dialogue. A two-hour session will be devoted to joint discussion of the challenges facing the organizations implementing intercultural projects, as well as the strategies and different solutions of the problems which appear at the interface of issues of identity and intercultural dialogue.
- Culture in the face of conflicts (debate, workshop) The role of culture in struggling with the aftermath of armed and social conflicts. Can cultural activities overcome conflicts—current ones, those from the past which still influence our life, and those which are only going to arise and threaten to explode in the future?
- What follows from that? – summing up the Culture and Identity thematic axis Joint summing up of the workshops, debates and talks, collecting ideas, an attempt to formulate the Congress recommendations.
SOCIALLY ENGAGED CULTURE
Socially engaged culture often operates on the peripheries: geographical ones (beyond the ‘nice’ city centre), thematic ones (touching topics not featured in the mainstream public debate), and artistic ones (using tools reserved for other disciplines). Within this thematic axis, we will have a closer look at the methods of exploring new space for artistic activities and non-obvious ways of participating in culture. Examples will be given of activities at the interface of disciplines, such as: culture and urban studies, art and politics, art and law or culture and social economy.
- Reading selected metropolises from the EU and EaP member states through the functioning of public spaces (presentations) We will learn the specific features of public spaces in the cities beyond the former Iron Curtain and the challenges they face. We will pose a question of who has ascendancy over public spaces, who shapes them and how, who can get into this process and who is excluded from it and why. We will have a closer look at meeting places such as parks, monuments, squares, which function according to the intentions of their creators or contradict them. We will also ask why the Congress’ guests, who were invited to deliver presentations, have chosen these very city areas for their activities and which goals they try to achieve thanks to their involvement.
- Reading selected metropolises from the EU and the EaP member states through the functioning of public spaces (workshop) The workshop is addressed not only to architects, urbanists and urban social movements’ activists, but also to all those who are going to implement projects in the Eastern Partnership countries and Central Europe, but cannot afford a ‘preparatory visit.’ We want the workshop to provide information about: 1) the specific features of activity in the public spaces of the cities presented and the declared needs of their residents and public space users, 2) knowledge on the structures and relations of decision-making entities, 3) tools and inspirations for beating back challenges defined by workshop participants as the ones they share in order to provide a basis for thinking about the future joint initiatives in which cities and residential areas will play leading roles. The overall picture will be complemented by observations of workshop participants—producers, curators and activists from the cities of the Eastern Partnership countries, including Yerevan, Tbilisi, Kyiv or Kharkiv.
- Culture-making activities in peripheral areas (presentations) Presentation of activities in a variety of peripheral spaces including suburbs of metropolises, areas to be abandoned, in the mountain villages where only elderly people live and one third of houses are empty, or in a penitentiary. We will give thought to the tasks of artist/animator/community leader and the necessity to operate in isolated environments.
- Peripheries of socially engaged art. Art and politics, art and law (presentations) Presentation of artistic projects commenting on the relations between the authorities and the society. A discussion with artists and curators who employ tools typical for politics or law, with the coordinator of a centre for culture conceived as a libertarian project, and the manager of a gallery operating in a “prison of regulations.”
- Chatting Library (open debate) Chatting Library is a series of non-moderated open meetings with speakers, Congress participants and residents of the city. Its participants will have the opportunity to drink a cup of coffee, to discuss the presented initiatives, to exchange contacts, to tell about their ideas, and to take opinion of culture practitioners from the Eastern Partnership countries and Central Europe about the projects they plan to undertake.
- Utopias of self-organization in practice (presentations workshop) Presentations of different forms of self-organization for culture-making activities—horizontally governed and self-managed, following the “do it yourself” principle, often raising funds for their activities by selling their own products and services, sensitive to social problems and engaging local communities. The discussion will concern, among others, a veggie hostel, photography exhibition in private apartments, beet soup put up for auction for cultural purposes, a kiosk on a balcony and a debating squat used as a visiting card by city mayor.
NEW COMPETENCIES FOR CULTURE
The thematic axis offers the programme which confronts automatisms of perception of contemporary culture’s role. Today, a serious need exists for developing non-formal education for cultural operators who would like to cooperate in the future with partners from Eastern Europe and develop their competencies. We will focus, among others, on innovative practices, methodologies, and trainings for cultural animators who need a new culture of management. Besides, we will touch upon the issues of prospects for new media in the educational culture as well as of gaining new partners and raising funds.
- New skills and competiencies needed for culture? (debate) What are the new trends, the new ways of thinking about culture management perspectives? Is it necessary to set up new educational programmes for cultural animators, curators etc? How can we improve the position of culture in our society? What should the results of cultural projects be like? What is today’s cultural education missing? How to replace the old-fashioned model of cultural policy with a more creative and effective one?
- New skills and competencies (workshop) Workshop discussing current needs and challenges for cultural animators while considering the differences between knowledge and its practical applications.
- Participation in culture vs. participatory culture – new forms of cultural animation (workshop) “I claim that participation means that we are to give up the position of an all-knowing authority and just create a framework for the others’ activities. What is your response?” Almost all kinds of cultural activities assume the participation of someone else—from artists /creators to the public. But it does not mean that we, culture managers, perform our activities as participatory ones. What is the difference? What is the real need for operating this way? We will ask ourselves these very questions during the workshop. Seeking for the possibilities of strengthening participation, we will set up our own models and recommend them to other Congress participants.
- Mapping our worlds (workshop) In what way are we connected? What kinds of borders—physical or metaphorical—divide us? These are only few of the questions which will be asked during a two-hour workshop whose participants will tell about the places they come from. Over the course of this process, we will try to discover some hidden connections and provide a new space for discussion and exchange.
- Potential and individual creativity as profession (workshop) The workshop starts with an introductory reflection on the issue of the post-socialist background and contexts for culture processes with respect to individual potential. How does ideology influence individual and social initiatives? The workshop will motivate you to continue your projects or start new ones.
- Education for intercultural understanding (workshop) The cultural gap between generations growing deeper and deeper, it is not easy to feel part of the free community of heterogeneous cultures. Our functioning today on several levels of culture—the national one, the social one, the one of modernity—makes it difficult to present our personal narrative in the general discourse. During the workshop, we will try to analyse the educational systems that we experienced. We will see how they have shaped us and learn what our own narratives are. The workshop’s participants will try to confront their opinions on the new educational models. We will search for solutions which will help the future generations to easier integrate our countries basing on the model of Interculture Map being developed today.
- “Icherisheher” as a living history. Our past seen as our future (presentation, workshop) Detailed presentation of the project with extensive use of visual aids accompanied with a discussion on the up-to-date methods of implementing cultural heritage protection programmes.
- Open educational methodologies for cross-border cooperation (workshop) The aim of the workshop is to thoroughly discuss and master the new models of sharing knowledge beyond the traditional education system and established hierarchies. The workshop will feature, among others, a workgroup session to analyse the concepts and the ways of using a cooperation network, and the preparation of a cross-border project. It will be based on reflexive and visionary attitudes, individual points of view, non-hierarchical views and experiences which take into account ‘blind spots’ and doubts.
- New media—new education (debate) Presentation of innovative programmes combining new media and the spheres of culture. Discussion on the possibilities of media education and developing skills necessary for social change. New models of work and animation, social exclusions and participatory culture.
CULTURE AND DEVELOPMENT
This thematic axis is focused on discussions and workshops activities concerning the issues of development in culture and development through culture. The points of interest here include defining the notion of development, working out new and non-economical indicators of development, searching for new tools of supporting cultural, integrative and prosocial activities, as well as the chances and mistakes of the EU cultural policy towards third countries.
- How do we understand development of culture and development through culture? (debate) An introductory discussion which aims to set the understanding of the notion of development in the context of the dynamically growing civilization changes, development of technology and the decline of trust in economic and political systems. An important context for the discussion will be that of geopolitical differences which can influence both defining the notion of development and determining tools which may be used to support the development of culture.
- The Eastern Partnership and the European Union − possibilities and expectations (debate, workshop) Cross-border programmes of the European Union—the opportunities they provide for cultural operators from different countries and the mistakes made in preparing them. Exchange of opinions and comments between people of culture. The framework for discussion will be the Creative Europe Programme and the Eastern Partnership in a cultural sense.
- Change through culture. Examples of initiatives: the programme of the European Capital of Culture and the cities of Lviv, Sarajevo and Lublin (presentations, workshop) The presentations will feature the analysis of three cities and the programmes which have led to social and cultural changes. Discussing both positive and negative examples will provide the background for the workshop dealing with the problems formulated by participants in regard to their activities and the situation of culture in their cities, regions or countries.
THE CULTURE OF NEW TECHNOLOGIES
Today’s culture is the function of media technologies. During the Congress proceedings, we will search for and critically analyse the symbolic consequences of such state of things: first in a more general way, in the space of cultural alphabets and the accompanying them collective communicative representations, that is, literacies; then in the field of theory and practice of design, the visual Esperanto of today, to focus at last on a radical change in the cultural landscape introduced by the art of media.
- Alphabets and Literacies (debate) This is a theoretical discussion between poets, media artists, and theoreticians of literature and digital culture devoted to answering the questions: on the possibility of meeting and exchange between different media imaginations and traditions, the old and the new ones, between analog and digital alphabets and literacies; on today’s globalizing and universalizing identity and communicative sensibility; on the ability to communicate via media in general.
- The art of media: toward the emancipation of the work, the viewer and the artist (presentations) In the course of presentations and discussions, curators and artists, theoreticians and practitioners will focus on the substance of changes in art introduced due to the development of digital technologies and networks. The discussion will cover both the new ways and methods of creating, exhibiting and distributing art, and the new role of the artist, the curator and the viewer. New digital technologies, means of communication and spaces for sharing information have changed the status of work of art and its social function. All this has a direct influence on the challenges facing institutions, the possibilities of the artist and the needs of the viewer.
- Design as a language of culture – a comparison of visual languages of different alphabets (debate) Graphic designers from Georgia, Belarus and Poland, the countries different in terms of culture, politics and aesthetics, will face the questions such as: does culture start only ‘on the stage’? does informing about culture by means of a poster of a leaflet constitute a part of culture or is it merely advertisement? is the language of design for culture—if such exists—comprehensible to the recipients or, just the opposite, does it explore an aesthetics of exclusion? is a graphic designer an artist? or an artisan? are the screens of phones, tablets and computers the “new paper,” requiring using a different language?
CONGRESS FINALE: Europe of Cultures – Culture of Europe (debate)
The borderlands of Europe, the Mediterranean and the East, were once the cradle of European culture, but what about now? The borderlands need support from the European Union and development of the neighbourhood programmes. If, however, this cooperation remained only a “one-way street,” we would live in a Europe of different cultures. The community of European culture still is the challenge of tomorrow.
PARTNERSHIP FAIR (open presentations of cultural initiatives and organizations)
If you are going to share an idea, a project or an initiative, if you are looking for a partner for cooperation or want to present the activity of your organization, you are welcome to participate in the Partnership Fair.
Pecha Kucha* presentations will be delivered on October 4 and 5.
* Pecha Kucha is a kind of multimedia presentation consisting of 20 slides shown for 20 seconds each, so it lasts 6 minutes and 40 seconds in total. This format provides the dynamics and liveliness of a presentation while its relatively short duration assures the concentration and attention of the audience. Questions and discussion are withheld until the end of presentation. (http://www.pechakucha.org/)