© 2007 Cultural and Social Entrepreneurship, Nätverkstan. All Rights Reserved.
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Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine, is empty except for some people rushing across to their different morning activities and a piano painted in Ukraine colours standing lonely on the side.
A wooden board has been put up with photographs of the victims from the Maidan revolution last February (2014) that ended with an overthrown Ukrainan government, and the old president fleeing to Russia. Russian military forces took over Crimea as well as the Eastern parts of Ukraine where fights are still going on. The photographs on the board are getting worn out by rain and wind. They are only of men: one with his cat, another young boy looking seriously in to the camera, yet another a man standing the middle of the demonstration giving a quick glance in the direction of the photographer.
Sunday 26 of October is the election, but here on the Maidan Square we don’t see any evidence of this upcoming event. The on-going crisis in the East with Russia is, though, in the mind of everyone I meet.
On the conference Cultural Policy in Europe today: Finance, management, audience development arranged by EUNIC and the Eastern Partnership, culture is in focus and big hopes and importance are attached to the culture field. Minister of Culture, Yevhen Nyshchuk, opens the seminar by emphasizing culture as the key for growth and development in Ukraine and Europe.
Walter Zampieri, Head of Unit, Culture Policy and Intercultural dialogue at the Directorate General for Education and Culture at the European Commission, stresses the same and says that Culture and Creative Industries encompass around 4% of GDP in Europe. This is an important field in Europe today.
Ukraine is eager to build relations with the EU, an agenda has finally been signed that will guarantee cooperation. Culture and Creative Industries are one of the areas where money will be spent and efforts put in.
But can culture play this role? And can it just be instrumental? Doesn’t artistic value and quality need to be at the core of any such discussions?
One of the speakers, Mr Luciano Gloor, got the chance to answer a question posed by a man in film business that was wondering how to meet what he saw as propaganda done by the Russians, and if perhaps film could be a tool to counteract this?
The answer was straightforward and clear: As soon as you forget your passion and artistic values in producing your art, it will also become propaganda.
The audience will immediately see through any such attempt and judge you as others are judged that only commit to use art as propaganda.
Sunny cobblestoned streets and a vivid cultural life was the first impression of Lviv, Ukraine, after spending a couple of hours there. 3 days later that impression had even deepened and expanded along with our mission – to observe and to create a workshop for future.
An hour after arrival at Lviv Airport – a beautiful building more alike a train station than the airports we earlier have experienced – we meet Ihor Savchak from The Centre for Cultural Management. He is at the moment arranging a conference on cultural entrepreneurship and with his perspective and knowledge we where put in touch with culture personalities in the city. This turned in to be a multi faceted experience of project managers, artists, programmers, curators, directors and a poetry translator.
Since our main goal to visit Lviv was to develop and plan a future workshop, we focused on carefully listening and tuning in organisations and culture entrepreneurs and they soon grew into sources of inspiration. Day by day our work was processed and we found ourselves mind mapping and discussing lively how to shape a workshop influenced by the environment that surrounded us and at the same time develop possible new grounds to explore.
Palace of Arts has every reason to call itself a palace with its impressive 9000 square meters stuffed with exhibitions, screenings, conferences and events. Transformator is a project on electronic music, sound art and media installations and at the same time a mix of workshops, exhibitions, lectures and discussions. This year it will take place in November 26-28. The Ukrainian-Polish Radioschool, is about to launch a live on-line radio program and we also had the great opportunity to spend time with Lev Hrytsyuk, a Ukrainian translator with emphasis on Swedish poetry.
The last night was spent at a barbeque-party outside the city with over 30 culture entrepreneurs from all over the country, sharing culture experiences and Ukrainian hotdogs by the open fire. We also learned the meaning of the expression “Swedish family” in Ukraine. “- It ´s like ABBA. You live however you like and with who ever you like. Men and women mixed and more than two. When you spend a lot of time with friends or live together with friends we call it a Swedish family.” A perfect wrap up for a perfect stay in Lviv. We look forward to coming collaborations.
Text & Photo: Helena Persson and Carl Forsberg, Project Managers at Nätverkstan
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