Dofa Fund: The Depths of Art Charity Foundation
"Weaving the lace of private relations throughout the country":
these words have become an informal motto of Dofa Fund which is already recognizable for our friends and partners.
We are engaged in cultural networking: we create events and conditions for people and ideas to meet.
Our main projects:
- multidisciplinary forums for collaborations and connections between the regions: DonCult, SlobodaCult, GaliciaCult, TranscarpathiaCult which is still in development;
- residency programs for artists and cultural managers;
- Her (ex)position – an exhibition and educational project to support women starting their way in arts sphere.
From 2014 to 2021, we have been cooperating with over 170 non-governmental organizations, cultural initiatives, private and public theatres, galleries, museums, libraries, schools, and more than 800 artists, researchers, cultural managers, primarily from all over Ukraine, but also from Austria, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, USA, Hungary, Czech Republic . All the forums included over 400 events that were attended by more than 50 thousand people.
Our donor partners are: House of Europe, Ukrainian Cultural Foundation, Renaissance Foundation, Harald Binder Cultural Enterprises, US Embassy, MitOst and others.
Our experts also worked or continue to work:
- as experts of the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation;
- on the development of laws that should determine the reasonable and effective functioning of the cultural sector. In particular, they were engaged into development of draft laws on Preservation of Cultural Heritage and Relocation of Cultural Property;
- in the Supervisory Board of the Ukrainian Institute.
A project of educational analytics for cultural managers is now at the development stage. We believe that today the Ukrainian cultural management lacks agreement on current challenges, ability to work on cross-sectoral and international projects, so we aim to analyse why this is happening and what to do about it.
History. Ideas. "Recipes" of cultural forums
The Dofa Fund, or the Depth of Art Charitable Foundation, was established in 2014, in the first year of the Russian-Ukrainian war and the occupation of part of Ukrainian territory.
Over the years, our main values included: people, relationships, education and humanism. And all these in the end resulted in respect for each other, the value of cognition and diversity.
We involve people and institutions and unite cultural communities.
All the events of our projects are free. To help us continue on this road, you may join our regular donors and support us financially or offer your assistance.
2014 - 2015
Our first landmark project was the DonCult multidisciplinary forum, which was held in Kyiv in 2014 and in Lviv in 2015. It was obvious to us that Ukraine knows too little about Donbass, and we should get to know it more deeply in order to fight for it. DonCult consisted of eight programs (Literature, Music and Theatre, Visual Arts/Exposition, Cinema, Fashion, Discussions, Kid’s Program and Fair): so we tried to show not only the best artistic achievements of Donbass, but also those ideas that boil at the region, problems it is concerned with, his inseparability from the national Ukrainian context.
This is how we found the format that has become our brand: establishing relations between the regions with the broken ties through cultural dialogue and co-creation, presentation of the best artistic achievements, and, most importantly, constant mutual visits and joint work of curators/artists/researchers from different regions on one project.
Important: we do not use the word "region" in its exotic colonial dimension.
Ukraine is a large and diverse country with territories having different historic backgrounds, and therefore often have different ways of talking about themselves. We want to capture the cultural diversity of people and ideas, while highlighting everything that unites us.
We created the GaliciaCult Forum (Kharkiv, 2016) not only to make Kharkiv residents familiar with modern and already classic art of Galicia, but also to create an opportunity for people from these regions to work together; to get rid of mutual stereotypes that bring a lot of harm. Develop common narratives. Lay the foundation for future cultural partnerships.
That is why we started this forum with a residency: within two weeks researchers from Galicia and Kharkiv developed projects related to architecture and urban planning, visual arts, cinema and animation. To learn more go to GaliciaCult Residency program.
Kharkiv and Galicia residency proved that preliminary acquaintance is the most important part of the forums. Therefore, we started preparation to SlobodaCult with three trips (Cultural Exchange Program): twice a group of artists/curators from Sloboda Ukraine came to Zakarpattia, and Transcarpathians travelled through Sloboda Ukraine together with residents of Kharkiv to better understand what should be represented at the forum.
The SlobodaCult Forum in Zakarpattia was really special as residents of Zakarpattia are extremely rare guests in eastern Ukraine and usually know very little about Kharkiv and Sumy regions.
We split the forum into two locations – Uzhhorod and Mukachevo – to attract even more people and make even more connections. The forum lasted 2 weeks and had 100 events in 6 programs: Literary Discussion, Music and Theatre, Visual Arts, Kid’s Program, Cinema and Fashion.
We offered both high artistic achievements and intellectual discussions to the guests of the forum, as well as entertainment programs that allowed us to become even closer to each other, to immerse ourselves into the atmosphere of the region.
We decided to hold the TransCarpathiaCult Forum in Odesa, and 2019 was dedicated to its preparation according to the already developed model: a curatorial group from Zakarpattia travelled to Odesa, and Odesa managers and curators came to visit Zakarpattia.
These trips convinced us of the need to learn each other not only within the boundaries of the country, but also go beyond the borders of Ukraine and get to know the cultural processes in the bordering countries. We started to gather European partners for the international residency "Transcarpathia: inside and outside".
As for majority of cultural institutions in the world, 2020 was a year of changed plans.
Back in the spring, we stopped preparations for the TransCarpathiaCult forum, and in September they were forced to cancel the Transcarpathia: inside & outside residency.
However, even at the first stage of the work we managed to do something important: to gather and at least virtually meet cultural managers and artists from Ukraine (Zakarpattia and Odesa), Hungary, Romania, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland.
We plan to hold this residency as soon as we overcome the global COVID-19 crisis – after quarantine regime derogation.
In the same 2020, we launched the exhibition and educational project – Her (ex)position. Years of work in the field of culture have convinced us that women in the arts still need support, especially at the start, and especially in the times of crisis. To learn more go to the project page.
2021 and onwards
We plan to dedicate 2021 to cultural analysis. We want to carefully analyse how to make work in the cultural sector more effective. Which competencies cultural managers lack, and where the resourced and potential are used inefficiently. How to make incomes in the cultural sector worthy of qualified professionals. How to bring the standards of work closer to the world’s standards, in particular, how to modernize the principles of public administration in the field of culture.
As soon as the epidemiological situation becomes favourable, we will hold the international residency Transcarpathia: inside & outside planned for 2020.
Also, in 2021, we plan to start preparations for a project that we jokingly call a “forum of forums”: we aim to create a platform where cultural figures from different regions of Ukraine will come together – both those who have already participated in our forums, and those who would still like to host them, or create their own cultural projects focused on mutual cognition and cooperation. It should be a professional event, aimed at those who create cultural processes in this country.
Components and principles of Dofa Fund forums
We are sure that they will be useful for other cultural projects:
- We do not bring “finished cultural product” to the cities: we create it together with local communities. Our task is to act as facilitators between regional cultural communities, to get people know each other, to solve logistical, financial and various other managerial issues.
- The curators of the programs are mostly the representatives of the regions that present themselves, and they work together with the representatives of the host party. A curatorial duo from Kyiv has been working on the visual program from the very beginning: they try to present regional phenomena as part of national processes. However, local co-curators are always involved in the visual program.
- We organize forums by including programs in different fields of culture and art, so that everyone can find something, so that different voices can be heard. The main programs of the forums are Literature, Music and Theatre, Cinema, Visual Arts, Fashion, Lectures and Discussions.
- In addition, we are looking for the entertaining formats (fairs and treatments, fashion shows, mini folk festivals, etc.) and discussion, because culture is not only art, but also how we relax, how we eat, what we dress, how we take care of our cities and agree on common values.
- We have a very important children's audience, so we make separate events for children and also find ways to make the main program interesting and accessible for them.
- We try to include in our programs artists from as many ethnic groups and different social backgrounds as possible. We try to emphasize the common, while preserving and appreciating the differences that make us all special.
- And all our events are free.
How to learn more about us?
Read about our tasks, purpose and main activities in our statute at the link below and about our projects in separate sections.
And also be sure to stay in touch with us:
via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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