About – Where we started from
Cultural Scenes and Public Space in Eastern Countries
Non institutionalized (independent) cultural actors as drivers for change
In opposition to prevailing market models of cultural exchange on one side, and culture as a carrier of (national) identity politics on the other, today we are witnessing the development of collaborative platforms as carriers of cultural values that go beyond commerce and national self-reflections. They can be seen as a civic response to the process of globalization in the field of culture. They have been developing in parallel with the system of (state) cultural institutions, but also as a reaction to the (neo)liberal favouring of the (unique) “individual” (type of creation). These cultural initiatives that usually gather cultural workers, artists, urban youth etc, are often expanding the existing field of the local cultural offer, introducing socially engaged, experimental, progressive cultural practices that go beyond official cultural repertory.
The Cultural policy in the countries involved in the SPACES project has not stimulated the development of such local initiatives, although they have developed, with time, into important cultural actors, producing relevant cultural contents, and are widely recognized internationally. They are potential carriers of the transformation of the cultural system, which usually dominated by the existence of the institutional structure from the socialist period, highly politicized, burdened with national representation and structurally unchanged. Yet, local governmental agencies do not recognise the non institutionalized/ independent cultural actors sufficiently.
As a result, individuals and NGOs in the art and culture field suffer from a lack of physical spaces and funding, often resulting in inadequate public visibility and fragility of the scene.
Against this background the SPACES project focused on
- Strengthening the independent cultural scene in the partner countries
- Supporting research- and process-oriented art and culture
- Fostering new relations with the public.
That is why we have chosen the public space as an arena and platform for our cultural activities that tend to involve citizens and show the visibility of the independent culture as a generator of civic (and cultural) emancipation.