While many of the sessions involved detailed technical work on the project plans, this session was dedicated to looking ahead.
Chris and Willemijn noted that most of these projects involved building a community. They asked these questions: how can you continue working with these communities after October? How do you imagine that will keep working with these people that you will meet now? What kind of support will be able if you want to continue? How can Borderland help look for new funds?
The group were asked to imagine one person that they are going to meet in the next few months. “Imagine how you would like to continue with that person after October? It could be one of the children you work on a photography project in Tbilisi, or one of the people who attend one of the lectures at Chernivtsi. These may become part of the new community you will be building.”
Chris gave an example of a local person in North Amsterdam, Andrea, who they met for the first time some years ago, when they invited volunteers to participate in reclaiming a local park. This was in the early days of establishing his arts centre, Tolhuistuin. He shared the story of her situation and how by participating in the project it helped build her self-confidence and her increased role in the community today. “At the very beginning, you can never predict how it goes, but some of the people you meet in the first part of your process will become friends and allies.”
He shared some images from the opening of the new arts centre last Monday, which was Liberation Day in Holland, a national holiday. They organised a dinner for 1000 Amsterdammers. “You cooked a dish at home and this was your entrance fee.” This was another way of engaging with people, to build a community.
Willemijn spoke of building an international community of like minded people. She shared a story of how she met and collaborated with Asmaa Azaizeh, a poet, journalist and news anchor in Haifa, who had made a poetry festival and created a performance space. She described how Asmaa had became a key person to organising the Read My World festival in Amsterdam festival, and how they planned to collaborate in future, with a possible edition of Read My World organised in Haifa.
Bearing in mind these examples of individuals you could meet during a project, they then asked the group to “imagine just one person you will meet – imagine how you will do work with them in the future and how this relationship might develop.” Using this as a starting point, they shared this back with the group and in the process also gave background to their project.
Following this there was a final summation with Krzysztof Czyżewski – looking at the concrete proposals that have been developed with the funds and the knowledge they have gained from the workshops.
For example, Natalia Yeryomenko and Zhan Pobe outlined their project ‘Dzestra Talks’. This will consist of a series of lectures, conducted in the parks and city squares of Chernivtsi. Their initial concept was of making a ‘street university’. The lectures are to be held mostly in different public spaces, which they feel are disregarded, ignored by the citizens, fallen into disuse. These places are inert and dormant, which they wish to transform into spaces with the potential for leisure or crossroads for public interaction and dialogue.
They explained how they want the presenters of the lectures to be innovators, role models who have a certain cultural expertise or positive reputation (ie: a well known film-maker), who have contributed to Ukrainian culture (in a broad sense of the word) without any support from state institutions. They are the example of how culture can be sustained and created by active individuals.
These street lectures are aimed at both young people who may be looking for interesting and intellectual leisure, as well as active youth who want to share ideas and develop them. “The project is all about showing people how to see possibilities and explore them, instead of simply focusing on problems.”