We have already talked about the purpose of cultural exchange programs in the First Cultural Exchange Program section. However, let's summarize a bit. These preparatory trips before the forums allow:
- Managers from different regions to meet each other and establish effective working groups.
- To understand the demands of local audience more clearly – what exactly do people want to hear and see? What are they interested in about your region/city? What formats should be used and are popular here or, on the contrary – what has never been seen here yet? And which ones have been tested and do not work?
- To gain a bit of understand the regional "aesthetic codes" and potential painful points: which topics should be discussed with particular caution, which are not worth it at all, and which are no longer relevant. We have researched the current issues, common and distinctive features of the cultural landscape of different regions.
- See – how does your region/city look like from the perspective of another part of the country? What do they know about you, imagine, fantasize about, what are they afraid of?
- To conduct a self-identification audit – to understand more clearly what exactly you want to tell about yourself? How do you see your region/city that you find particularly valuable and interesting?
- Overcome mutual stereotypes and prejudices, stimulate mutual knowledge and respect for diversity.
- See the locations of the future forum with your own eyes, get acquainted with the partner teams – and thus minimize possible logistic errors, correctly calculate the budget, future scenography of events, etc. And also – to take into account the context of the place.
- Take the experience of local cultural institutions and groups and share your own.
- Establish stable inter-institutional relations.
- See places you will never see without a "guide" (theatre corridors, museum vaults, special estates, etc.).
- In the end – to relax in a circle of like-minded people.
The second in the series of "Cultural Exchange Programs "Interregional socio-cultural forums. Experience and Prospects" was dedicated to the preparation of the forum "TransCarpathiaCult"- a presentation of Zakarpattia in Odesa. This forum has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic; however, its program has been formed as a whole – thanks to working meetings.
Within six months, the organizer(s) and curator(s) of the SlobodaCult Forum, which took place in Zakarpattia in 2018, and the potential curator(s) of the future forum on Zakarpattia in Odesa held three working meetings in Odesa and Uzhhorod.
During these meetings we:
- Represented the concept of interregional cultural forums and jointly researched cultural maps of Uzhhorod and Odesa;
- Met and revealed each other’s institutions and initiatives,
visited cultural and artistic locations;
- Created collages of stereotypes, visualizing how they represent the Black Sea coast in the Carpathians and vice versa;
- Studied the features of the cultural landscape of the regions, traveling through Besarabia and Zakarpattia;
- And, of course, we worked a lot: started the concept of joint work, formed curatorial groups, created a draft program of the future forum.
The 2019 interregional exchange program has been implemented by the Dofa Fund in partnership with Uzhhorod City Institute NGO with the support of the International Renaissance Foundation and the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation.