Saturday 9th November

The morning session was dedicated to a discussion with Krystof Czyzewski, an opportunity for participants and alumni to share the progress of their personal projects, and for suggestions and advice.

krysQ&A

For example, Ani Tugushi told us about her work using theatre with children aged 8-14. She is working on a project with a psychologist, with a room at a bookstore as their only space. The group discussed how this work could be shaped towards a the creation of a concrete and neighbourhood space, visible to local people, and how to develop relationships with local partners to build support for the project, how making links to the children and their elders can be a powerful thing in the community.

In relation to the Borderland summer school and these follow up local workshops, it was stressed that  Borderland school wants to support projects which are both local and concrete, projects which might be modest in scale but realisable and achievable and can act as models for development.

Session Three: No Project without the objective
Nathalie: A project is a state of mind, the way you think, see the problem, define the role, state the objective and plan the activity to reach the objective. You are the actor in this scenario, and in control of your actions. The diagnosis tools of this workshop are intended for you to use in order describe the world around you in a practical way.

The group looked at a practical example: Museums are not interested in attracting people. Nathalie asked the group, How do you know this is a problem?

The group answered: By doing research – for example, we have research in the university which tells us this is a problem. We think more people should go to museums.

Nathalie: What is the source of your belief that you should have more people going to the museums?

Participants: It’s important that people go to museums, for education, to be involved in culture.

IMG_2939

Nathalie noted: So these are your values. Your belief system tells you As in the American constitution: We hold these values to be self-evident. You believe it’s important to go to a museum and meet other people involved in culture than stay home and drink beer.

Participants: In our society we have problems with our values. We need to make education projects that would make young people aware, to involve these people in the museums. This should be a goal for us in a project, to involve the students at the university and people from other schools.

Participants: What is I am no one in this field, I don’t have any connections in education, but I am interested in this problem, how can I make project to help them?

Nathalie: If you don’t have a connection with the problem, perhaps don’t make this particular project.

Participants: Can’t you just be a researcher who is interested in this problem?

Nathalie: Maybe your resource is just your good will, but building a project requires something more. You will need to develop partners and gain additional resources. Your experience, whatever it is, counts. For your research – your evidence for the problem – direct testimony helps, but it should be relevant, not ‘my neighbour said to me the other day, I don’t go to the museum very often.’

Participants then looked at the following:
Aims – the vision.
Objectives – smaller and measurable, a step in the right direction.
(keep your objectives consistent)

Remember the goal is to solve the problem. The objective is to:
–       make a step in the right direction
–       reach an identified place
–       make sure I get where I wanted to get
–       get ready to go further to the next identified place

The objective should be attractive to the person or institution (the stakeholder) that you wish to involve in the project. A good objective is also a powerful team building tool. Make your objectives realistic and measurable.

Using the museum example – increasing the audience of museums – participants were asked to work in three groups to identify two objectives, make them measurable, be ambitious but not unrealistic. In turn one group will present the objectives. The other groups will attack the objectives in a given character (member of local government, potential sponsor, NGO).

IMG_2968

Group One:
Objective A – within three months, we will have an extra 50 visitors a week.
Objective B –  within  half a year we will create a project to involve visitors and museum together.

To do this we will create a menu of offers to entice new visitors. They intended to enliven the museum by offering an open space to young creatives to come and use for events, performances, workshops, different and new activities. We hope I turn these will bring new people into the museum. Ketevan Chkhikvadze presented back.

http://vimeo.com/79020715

The expression ‘Menu of offers’ caused offence to one hostile NGO for dumbing down the language, making the museum sound like a fast food outlet. The group felt that the debate and discussion then raised – because it was controversial – was a good reason to use such a word.

Group Two:
Objective A – we will create additional service and products in the museum
Objective B – we will make research after 6 months to see if it is effective.

For example: an additional service will be the opportunity to use a special computer programme to create your own object based on the museum collection and make a print of it to take home as a customised souvenir, something to both appeals to kids and adults.

Questions from the group: Why do you have to do this – isn’t there research research in other museums who have tried this? Why does it not work in Georgia, when it works elsewhere? Is it a question of effective management?

Nathalie asked: What lessons did you learn from this role play?

Participants: When you are being attacked, it’s hard to think faster to redress the situation. But it is an opportunity to address the challenges and learn to be strong. You may learn something from the criticism – it’s wrong to think I am right and cannot listen to any criticism.

Nathalie: Learn not to be too emotionally attached to your project – maybe you did write something stupid, or maybe you wrote something intelligent and the environment does not understand it.  You don’t need to be aggressively protective of your project. Be able to step back from it and be objective to its merits and weaknesses. Share it with someone not attached to the project to hear their perspective and feedback.

Session Four: No activity without formulating and describing

activitie

The three groups were asked to formulate their activities in the style of :
Driving directions
Cooking recipe
Letter to my grand-mother

They then presented these back for comment and discussion.

IMG_2963

IMG_2967

Friday 8th November

The morning was devoted to a presentation at the Ministry of Culture to an invited audience, including alumni of the summer school.

IMG_2862

Krystof spoke particularly of the new project of the Borderland for 2014-15 – a programme which will unite all the studios of Pogranicze – a festival of Medea, looking at different incarnations of Medea in culture, incorporating literature, philosophy, opera, ballet, performance, exhibition. He spoke about the Greek mythology relating to Georgia, about the journey of the Argonauts across the Black Sea, bridging one culture from one bank to another culture on the distant bank. It was a clash of cultures, as Jason betrayed Medea in the end. He hoped that this project would partner with organisations here in Georgia. He then spoke of the work and philosophy of Borderland in working with local stories, local people, with music, theatre and storytelling. Following the presentation, and a short film abut the summer school at Krasnogruda, there was discussion with the audience.

IMG_2855

Short extract of presentation below…

http://vimeo.com/79592432

Workshop at The Arts Research Institute of Ilia State University

Introduction from Nathalie Bolgert
Nathalie stressed that this workshop was about the participants and uncovering what they could offer. ‘You have a lot of different resources – experience,  relationships, emotions, human resources, desires, ideas… To learn how to get the best out of our resources, we need to be fully aware of what they are, what resources and what experience we actually have…’

She showed a film ‘Conduct Us’ and then asked participants to discuss what was happening in this film and their reaction to it. They talked about what were the resources used to create this street event portrayed in the film. For example, there was a small part of orchestra – musicians who appeared to be professional led by a conductor who is an amateur. They talked about how the amateur conductors all appeared to be enjoying the experience and were happy to try out something different, to have a go at something they were unfamiliar with using their feeling, movement, emotions – even though they didn’t really know what they were doing.  This was combined with the professional knowledge of the musicians, who were able to use this to respond to a novice, to understand and interpret the amateur conductor.

Nathalie noted that this would be dangerous in some situations – for example, an amateur piloting a plane. But the main point for her was that the participants shown in the film were enjoying this experience, that they felt empowered to do this. She imagined that they walked home that with their head high, with a spring in their step, energised. She hopes that participants will feel like this at the end of this workshop, having had the opportunity to try something unfamiliar and be energised by the experience – that here was an opportunity to work out the chemistry that will make a project work.

Session One: No start without diagnosis.
The first exercise was to sit in pairs for 15 minutes. Choose someone you know less well – you will talk with the other person and ask questions. What are their plans, what is the project, what is s/he working on? What are their objectives in coming to this workshop? What is s/he looking for? What does this person feel s/he doesn’t have or what skill does s/he want to develop? What resources does the person have that he can offer to the group?

IMG_2869

The pairs then presented back to the whole group their findings about each other  (this also acted as a introduction to each participant). The answers were also written up and shared on the wall. These were then discussed in some detail.

Observations and discussion points:
Firstly, not everyone was paying attention to the presentations, so the needs and resources appeared not that vital to some people – did they really want to participate in this workshop if they were being attentive? For example, checking your phone while someone is making a presentation suggests you have no interest in what might be said and you are missing the opportunity to gain some knowledge.

Secondly, think about how you present yourself, and how to be precise in what you want to say. For example, in response to the question about what resources you can offer ‘if you simply say ‘contact’ what does that actually mean? ‘If you simply write that you re offering ‘contact’ on a web site you will receive either nothing or you will receive requests from everything from people looking for nuclear scientists in Germany or call girls in Paris.’ When you are listing your needs and what is on offer, be as precise as possible – no one goes to a shop to buy ‘contact’. What exactly are you looking for? Contact with high mountain climbers who can play guitar on top of the mountain?

One participant who had expressed ‘contact’ as a resource he could offer explained what he meant in more detail. He said that by ‘contact’ he did not mean a date base, for example, but he meant personal real contact with a range of experts and practitioners in his field of contemporary arts.  He felt that here in Georgia spontanaity was especially important in cultural projects. This was usually the key factor in making something – you meet something in real life who has a skill they can help you with for an event or an activity and you decide to make it happen. Contact for him meant a network of contemporary arts practitioners whom he knew personally and he knew what kind of projects they would be interesting in helping out with, getting involved with.

It was noted that both the person listening to the answers as well as participant needed to express themselves clearly, and to listen and report back precisely for effective communication. To say you could offer ‘a network of 20 contemporary artists’ was much more understandable than simply saying you offer ‘contact’.

IMG_2874

Session Two: Be aware of the problem
Nathalie said that it seems an obvious thing to say – but be acutely beware that you have to both know what you are talking about and be able to say it in such a way in that a/ they see this as a problem b/ they see that you are the right person to work on the problem.

You need a crystal clear presentation of the problem of what you want to solve. As for the diagnosis, this is the first part of any description of a project.

Nathalie spoke of ‘Project Writing Disease’ – the danger of using words that don’t mean anything, language only made for the bureaucracy of the funder. If you suffer from this, you will stop thinking about your project effectively and you stop being understandable to anyone else. Try to use your own words, your own logic and in a way that is easily communicable to others. Not only for your funders, but for your partners, media, the participants.

Participants considered these key questions:
What is the problem?
Why is this a problem?
For whom is this a problem?
How did I learn about this problem?
What do I specifically know about the problem?
Do I need to learn more about the problem?

Two key points came out of discussing these questions:
1. It is more difficult to discuss a problem when the problem describes something which does not yet exist. For example: we do not have an archive of Georgian video arts.

You are working in this field so you are aware this is a problem problem. Your diagnosis is from direct observation, but as it is something that does not exist you will have to work harder to make other people ware that this is a problem.

Has anyone else studied this problem – is there any study that anyone has done that can back up your argument? Can you explain how you know they are at risk of being lost? Can you measure what has been lost in some way – ie: in the past 30 years, 150 video works have been lost to the future…

2. It is difficult to deal with a large national or global problem. For example, we do not have a cultural policy that is effective. Are you in a position to do anything  about this? If you wish to change the state policy then are you prepared to become a politician, to become the Minister of Culture? They discussed how it is better to name a problem that you can do something directly about.

For example, maybe you could consider the problem as a lack of dialogue about culture – with a problem expressed in this way, you may have an opportunity to create a dialogue, to enable artists to share their experiences, or to discuss cultural policy. Here you can make concrete steps.

Evening Research

medicine2

We visited the old Medicine Museum, a 19th century building which once housed a medical museum. It has been abandoned for 10 years (though some archives still existed on one floor) and is going to be renovated with the help of a team of contemporary artists working through the Centre of Contemporary Arts, who will also move in to the building and have exhibition space combined with working open studios for an alternative art school called ‘Corps Diplomatic The Director and curator of CCA, Wato Tsereteli, is responsible for designing the museum. In the outside courtyard, working with Mamuka Japaridze, they will design a Garden of Medea.

trojanwomen

Following this we attended a performance at the Royal District Theatre, of ‘Women of Troy’, directed by Data Tavadze, written by Davit Gabunia and the Director, performed in this former synagogue. The play is intersperses lines from the original by Euripedes with materials drawn from documentary oral history interviews collected over two years with refugees from Abkhazia. Five actresses take turns to tell their stories, one story crueler and more radical than the other, describing the cycle of violence against women unchanged through centuries. After the performance, we met actress Nato Murvanidze, who is co-owner of the theatre.

Orientation day

The project team met with Professor David Lordkipanidze at the Georgian National Museum and then went to the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia to meet with the Minister of Culture, Guram Odisharia, and First Deputy Minister, Dr Marine Mizandari. These meetings were to discuss the development of common projects, both in relation to a new programme that Borderland were working on in the next two years about the ancient story of Medea. (Medea was a Colchian Princess portrayed in Greek Mythology. Colchis (Kolketi) was located on the eastern coast of the Black Sea, in present day western Georgia. It was also an opportunity to consider inter-related links with the projects which may develop as part of the outcomes of the summer school training.

cultureminister

The group then was given a tour of the old city by Levan Khetaguri, Director and Professor of Arts Research Institute of Ilia State University.

oldriver

One of the organisers of this programme, Iuri Mgebrishvili, Director of Cultural Management course at Ilia State University, joined us as later in the day we visited the 6th century Jvari (Holy Cross) Monastery overlooking the old Silk Road and the confluence of the Aragvi and Mtsheka rivers and the town of Mtskheta.  From here we can see the large archeological digging of the Acropolis Armazi on the bank opposite Mtskheta. Mtskheta was a capital of the Georgian Kingdom of Iberia during the 3rd century BC – 5th century AD. Georgians accepted Christianity in 317 and it still remains the headquarters of the Georgian Orthodox and Apostolic Church, with Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. It is a World Heritage site. Here we met with Erekle Tripolski, Committee Regional Policy and Self-government Chairman Self-Government, along with Dodo Khetaguri, Representative of the Prime Minister in the region of Mtzkheta Tianeti.

Mtskheta

Final sessions in Lviv

The workshops were concluded by ‘jury’ role play where 3 projects were chosen to be put in front of a tribunal, prosecutor, defender, witnesses and the public – each role was performed by chosen participants. It was entertaining but also helped in processing the knowledge and skills which appeared during previous workshops. It was also a good opportunity to get valuable feedback from other participants and to reflect on the most important points raised. The projects discussed by the jury were:

‘Street University’ - leader: Nathalia Yeryomenko, journalist and social activist, Chernivtsi.  The project consisted of the idea of creating a common space for local community to share ideas, learn about interesting initiatives and meet inspirational personalities. In her presentation she stressed that the content of the project will be developed together with local community to respond directly to their needs and interest. It will also result in deeper involvement of the community during all the stages of the project.

http://vimeo.com/84399811

‘Multiculture through ages’ - leader: Anna Zharkivska, Union Forum, Brody. The project, realised in partnership with the city council and local museum, consists in organisation of an international summer voluntary workcamp dedicated to arranging of the old historical cemetery. The activities will include making photo catalogue of monuments, presenting the result of work as the exhibition in central park of the  town and organising a series of youth workshops and discussions on different aspects of past and present diversity of the town. The project is aimed at rising awareness among local community about multiculture past of our town, bringing up the subject of intercultural dialog into small (closed) community, as well as promoting open-minded attitude to multicultural past and create background for international cooperation and cross-cultural promotion of town’s cultural heritage.

‘Developing Strategies for Revitalization of Postindustrial buildings in Ukraine’ - leader: Bozhena Zakaliuzhna, Cultural Industries Association, Lviv. Bozhena depicted the problems with post-industrial buildings in Ukraine which are located in the close centers  and are not in use  anymore for many years.  These buildings are dead spot in urban  space and play destructive role in the community and city in general. Her project is aimed at creating new strategies for revitalising industrial buildings, that will enable changes in  urban space in different cities, involvement of local communities into different activities.

http://vimeo.com/84405625

Faced with questions, authors had to give answers to persuade public to their projects. Then ballot had been commenced to see what notes the public gave to each of the projects, according to set criteria.

After the role play, time has come to summarise workshops. Weronika and Agnieszka underlined the importance of this meeting for local cultural animators and social activists and invited the participants to take part in next year grant program – the third phase of Borderland School.

The final word was taken by Krzysztof Czyżewski, who summarised the Borderland experience here in Lviv, thanking participants for their involvement, and presented new Medea programme which will take place next year. He invited the participants to take an active role in it.

LWOW_03_11_2013_IIII_004

LWOW_03_11_2013_IIII_005

LWOW_03_11_2013_IIII_006