The international seminar “European Cultural Residences”, organized in partnership with the Ukrainian charity funds Dofa.fund and Zenko Foundation, was held in the Carpathian village of Tatariv at the Hotel Koruna on November 2-6, 2017.
The main objectives of the seminar “European Cultural Residences” were the following:
- establishing of lasting ties between cultural institutions of Ukraine and Europe;
- discussing of the common vision of cooperation within the framework of the development of the program of residences for artists and partnerships and perspective application for the Creative Europe program;
- establishing of a network of partner institutions working with multidisciplinary cultural projects and promoting common values: integrity of the EU, inclusion of Ukraine in the European cultural context, tolerance, equal partnership etc.
The seminar was held within the framework of the annual forum Zenko Platform, whose objective is to create and maintain sustainable communication between cultural institutions in Europe. The information partners of the Seminar were the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine and Center for strategic communications StratCom, as well as the Huss Family Printing House. The LikeU project with its activities in social media for promotion of Ukraine abroad serves as a platform for the Seminar.
“LikeU. European Cultural Residences” was realized with support of the French Embassy and Alliance Francaise in Ukraine, The Austrian Cultural Forum, European Cultural Foundation and promotion of the Belgium Embassy in Ukraine, MitOst network including Advocate Europe and Tandem.
Participants of the seminar “European Cultural Residences” were representatives of cultural institutions from 11 countries of the European Union: Austria, Belgium, Great Britain, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Portugal, France, Hungary, as well as curators and art managers from different cities of Ukraine: Uzhgorod, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv, Chernivtsi, Odessa, Kharkiv, Kyiv. Some important Ukrainian journalists who cover cultural events and representatives of the European institutions in Ukraine like British Council also joined the Seminar. His Exellency, the Ambassador of Belgium to Ukraine, Luke Jacobs, who is well-known for his support of the cultural ties between Ukraine and the EU was the honorary guest of the event.
The first day of the Seminar began with solemn greetings and introduction of the participants, presentations of Ukrainian institutions. However, the formal part was concise and dynamic. Already in the second half of the day participants were invited to join one of the 6 round tables, which, quite arbitrarily, narrowed circle of interlocutors to those interested in projects related to visual art, music, cinema, theater, curatorship and cooking. Conversations at the tables were moderated by Ukrainian curators: Oksana Barshynova, Dmitry Golets, Lyubov Morozova, Maria Zadorozhna, Olga Zhuk, Natalka Vorozhbyt, Iryna Magdysh – recognized experts in their fields, familiar with local processes. Colleagues from Europe were asked to move between groups as needed, as the institutions they represent work with different types and forms of art.
Discussions on the first day were intense and effectively identified the pressing issues of integration:
- insufficient, and sometimes lacking, awareness of the relevant contexts of Ukraine and the EU;
- differences in planning systems (European horizons are measured over the years, Ukrainians fit into the year);
- difference of principles of formulation of problems and statement of tasks of cultural projects;
- principles of the interaction of the institution with the states and the involvement of state bodies in supporting the development of culture;
- support of cultural institutions by public authorities, communities, donors;
- working conditions and needs of artists and curators, etc.
The project of residences, proposed by the Ukrainian organizers, was professionally analyzed by the European colleagues and subjected to constructive criticism. However, new discussions about the viability of the project began to emerge from the joint discussions, which would be relevant to all participants in the platform.
The second day of the Seminar took place in Ivano-Frankivsk with the support of the local partners: two NGOs “The Warm City” and “The Other Education”. Participants from the EU had an opportunity to get acquainted with artistic and public initiatives, to feel the local context and the actual problems of Frankivsk.
Co-founder of “The Warm City ” Yuriy Fyliuk presented a report on the work of their organization. The meeting was held at the well-known venue “Urban Space100”. Also, the guests visited the premises of the “Promprylad” plant, which is currently being processed by local activists and public organizations as an ambitious revitalization project aimed at reorienting the abandoned industrial facility into an educational and artistic hub with the involvement of socially oriented businesses.
All the participants of the seminar, as well as activists from Ivano-Frankivsk, had the opportunity to listen to colleagues from European institutions who already had experience in participating in Creative Europe. Sincere stories about the long way from idea to realization and evasion that was thorny even for experienced institutions with powerful back-horn and support at the local and state levels were extremely useful and showed additional vectors of work on the project application for the European Commission.
Therefore, in general, the second day became a day of gaining valuable experience for all parties. It was also important to have personal experience of presence, marked by all participants – potential partners should meet and visit the countries, cities and locations of each other.
The third day of the Seminar was extremely fruitful and effective. Formal and informal communication made it possible to establish personal contact and create an atmosphere of openness. The organizers of the seminar modified somewhat the planned format, following and adjusting to the needs of the participants.
So, work in groups was transferred to the yard, which was facilitated by the magnificent sunny weather and picturesque landscapes. The curators created new ideas and forms of work when they settled in the valleys and the forest glades. In the process, several types of art projects merged into a single synthetic project involving, for example, music, cinema and theater; visual and culinary arts.
As a result of the blitz-format interview with the Seminar’s organizers (the tete-a-tete talk or talk in a small group), the EU members asked direct and, at times, provocative questions. It was very important for them to understand the in-depth motives of the project’s initiators, to become more familiar with the experience of the Dofa.Fund, as well as their vision of the principles of partnership. The issue of trust was the key to these conversations. Olga Sagaidak, co-founder of Dofa.Fund and chief of the project, and Iryna Vikyrchak, project coordinator of the Seminar, during these talks, were able to persuade the majority of interlocutors to have team competencies and experience, readiness for dialogue and flexibility in working out decisions, as well as purposefulness to achieve the goal.
By the end of the third day of the Seminar we came to see the possibility of developing two full-scale projects.
One of them is connected with the research and creation of a joint performative product at the intersection of theater, music and cinema. It suggests holding residencies as an instrument, but it puts much wider tasks than international communication among artists.
The second is related to designing and development of innovative methodologies in the creation of multidisciplinary socio-cultural projects and is related to the experience of the Dofa.Fund, which implements interregional cultural forums in Ukraine.
The seminar ended with a Hutsul party and generous dining from the Koruna Hotel, as well as inspirational speeches from grateful participants from all over Europe. The hospitable host, founder of the Zenko Foundation Zenko Aftanaziv, invited to count on the Zenko Platform as a platform for further co-creation and dialogue for European and Ukrainian cultural institutions, and the art-space of the foundation as a platform for demonstrating the actual results of cooperation.
The most important result of the seminar in Tatariv the organizers consider the trust between Ukrainian and European institutions on personal and professional levels, which is the key to a sustainable partnership.
Articulation of urgent problems, urgent local and pan-European contexts, readiness for dialogue and building of joint decisions, productive exchange of experience is what we managed to achieve during a 3-day seminar in the Carpathian village of Tatariv. Such principles are reliable pillies in a very fragile dialogue on a strong European Union, on the role of Ukraine, on which the foundation of a common cultural strategy can be maintained.