The Next Generation of Cultural Spaces creates a robust, translocal artivist alliance between Berlin, Tbilisi and South Tyrol to reimagine the usage of historical spaces, reviving them through cultural activities to create safe spaces where non-dominant youth culture, queer communities and other marginalised groups in Eastern & Southern Europe can thrive.
We want to plan together a new future for underused heritage sites, engage relevant stakeholders in three local conferences and activate a larger group of independent cultural spaces in developing new socio-economic models for the next generation of cultural spaces.
Why this project?
The Covid-19 global crisis and imposed restrictions, coupled with economic standstill, political polarisation and a war of aggression have threatened the very existence of social ecosystem of non-dominant youth culture, queer communities and other marginalised groups in Eastern & Southern Europe. The closure of cultural spaces and disruption of creative ecosystems that have served as the last remaining safe spaces for these communities, now poses an existential threat for the underrepresented. Additionally, right-wing extremism is on the rise, evidenced by recent violent attacks in Eastern European countries with casualties at Tbilisi, Kiev, Belgrade Pride events.
The creative ecosystem disruption has birthed new partnerships via "Localised Internationalism" with new translocal alliances developing projects during the pandemic such as ‘UnitedWeStream’, that helped raise awareness about local issues internationally while making local governments take these issues more seriously.
Collaborations between the three regions have existed for a significant time now. The bridges and exchanges between Berlin and Tbilisi have already affected a large portion of otherwise repressed communities not only in Georgia, but also in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, to name a few. The vibrant cultural processes, unanimously dubbed as “rave-olution” from Georgia have influenced the waves of new practices and movements in Berlin.
Cultural practices are never static and can only be developed with input from larger groups. Many awareness and sustainability practices in Berlin stem from the international communities that did this work first. The only way we can continue to develop inclusive and diverse practices is to collaborate with more regions.
The biggest outcome of this project for all actors besides the DIY how-to blueprints for other communities, is a well documented process that can be developed into a bigger, thriving network that scaffolds a new way of doing things, and supports a thriving, cultural innovation economy with a scope for large-scale social impact.
Distill which are the strategies that foster real collaboration in cultural space self-organisation. This means leveraging existing structures, policies and practices when they are helpful and working around them when they get in the way.
Combining this into a living document will hold culture-specific, transferable know-how that can apply to regions (Poland, Hungary, Romania, Greece or Ukraine) facing similar hardships whether economic austerity or extremist intolerance.
Identify the stakeholders who should join and advocate for solutions to reach beyond the “choir”, and deeply understand the values, needs, and drives of other partners including community-based advocates, development organizations, independent businesses and neighborhood representatives.
Create a mock-up strategy for collaborating with local municipalities, based on existing experience and powerful stories - focus on an action plan that fosters real participation of government actors.
Create a replicable system for venue self-preservation and business sustainability.
Involve a larger amount of cultural spaces from the region in three online community calls, exploring commonalities and differences in local parameters and laying a foundation for translocal approaches.
Hold three conferences, one in each region (Berlin, South Tyrol, Tbilisi), to foster conversations with relevant individuals and strengthen the ties between local collectives and organizations.