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Activities Reflections & good practices ChĂ´ros


Promoter

In partnership with

Funder


index

chapter I CHÔROS Introduction

Nicolas Bertrand Levan Khetaguri

3 4

chapter II THEATRE EXPLORATIONS — Workshops, laboratories and performances

Interview Christiane Véricel, Image Aigue

6

Activities Calendar Julie Plozner

10

chapter III Capacity Building

Community development through citizen participation. Henrique Praça PARTNERS INTERVIEWS Henrique Praça

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Creating Art, Community and Change Pedro Daniel Ferreira

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Theatre Nomade Cindy Le Cière PARTNERS INTERVIEWS Cindy Le Cière

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Three Cities — Three Experiences of Chôros in Geórgia Levan Khetaguri PARTNERS INTERVIEWS Levan Khetaguri

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chapter IV Chôros first conclusions: A first outlook on our common future

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29

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PARTNERS INTERVIEWS Hana Karadza

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Sarajevo War Theater Hana Karadža

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Videos

46-51


chapter I

chĂ´rOs introduction

2


I CHÔROS Introduction Nicolas Bertrand

3

Chôros is a new cultural cooperation project between organisation from France, Portugal, Morocco, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Georgia. Partners of the project intend to foster cultural exchanges between cities from the centre, periphery and neighbourhood of Europe by means of performing arts practices, addressing common societal issues (social inclusion and democratic participation, migrations from neighbour and far countries, ageing and cooperation between generations, employment and new relations to work). From Jully 2015 to September 2016, with the support of Creative Europe programme, partners of the project will experiment and structure a cooperation process and elaborate a common strategic approach. Objectives

To create the ground for a cross-sectorial and trans-regional platform lead by artistic and cultural organisations addressing common social issues Aims

inspiring artistic productions for a family and non-theatre goer audience; conceiving new cultural activities to engage communities; strengthening a cross-sectorial network of actors (art, education, social, sciences) both grass-rooted and international; develop new business models balancing economical gaps and capacities. Activities

Theatre explorations (Sarajevo, Casablanca, Tbilissi, Lyon) are an artistic strand composed of pedagogic and research activities with children and young artists, and “The walkin man” Image Aiguë’s performance in dialogue with the audience. This strand of activities explores ways of making theatre together, considering participants’ own personality, cultural identities and artistic practices as a creative asset. Capacity buildings workshops (Porto, Sarajevo, Casablanca, Tbilissi, Lyon) are peer-to-peer learning activities, to share each partners’ specific experiences and background, network with local cultural organisations and co-implement artistic activities. Target groups

Through a participative approach, the project will benefit to children, youth and young artists. It should also reach families, migrants and socially disadvantaged people, through local cooperation networks of partners (schools, cultural organisations...). However the project reaches populations from Georgia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Morocco, Portugal and France, one important challenge is address such a socially and culturally diverse audience. Results

Common methodology and sharing knowledge. Involving actors from our cities (policy makers, social, education, cultural workers, artists). Build a network of 5 cities (Porto, Lyon, Tbilissi, Casablanca, Sarajevo).


I CHÔROS Introduction

Levan Khetaguri

4

Chorus is the most important expressive way of theater and is an integral part of ancient tragedies and comedies. The Chorus is an unity of ancient actors carrying voice and plastic actions. In the theater chorus was a voice of people, society, civil position expressed through creating beautiful geometric figures, recitatives and dance. It may be said that the authors of ancient tragedies and comedies showed civil position through chorus. OUR CHORUS

Our Chorus is a result of 5 countries where the protagonist (leader) became our French partner, very famous theatre Image Aiguë. It is a team of like-minded people (chorus). Our chorus unified France, Portugal, Morocco, Bosnia Herzegovina and Georgia. Various cities of 5 different countries: Lyon, Porto, Casablanca, Sarajevo and from Georgia: Tbilisi, Tserovani (camps for refugees as the Russian occupation) and Batumi – the creative square for planned projects. The creative ideas of our project should be brought to the population of these cities, we should talk, act and listen. We should learn from our audience and our audience should learn from us as well. We realized the social responsibility of our art. Not only state and our citizens are responsible for budget collection to support culture and art, but we also have responsibility to listen our citizens. We are united in the Chorus around European values, principal values of western civilization; two continents – Europe and Africa, center and suburbs, cities of different character. We are united around performing art, around the desire to find same language, to improve dialogue between artists and spectators – our habitants. WE WANT

New free spaces where there is a place for debates and common sense; new life for traditional institutions through assigning them new functions. The society controlling the state and creates cultural observatories. Cities where urban responsibility is so high that they continue their creative lives…. WE DON’T WANT

Forced immigrants and refugees, wars and violence, states and cities without active citizens, culture without creativity. WE NEED

Europe by spirit and not by boarders, the spirit that will not be sold to devil, the spirit that will be focused on creation and unification of citizens.


chapter II

THEATRE EXPLORATIONS — Workshops , laboratories and performances

5


II THEATRE EXPLORATIONS — Workshops , laboratories and performances

Image Aigue

Interview with Christiane Véricel,

Artistic Director, Image

Aiguë

6


II THEATRE EXPLORATIONS Interview with Christiane Véricel, 7 — Workshops , laboratories and performances Artistic Director, Image Aiguë

What’s the point of doing theatre? That is the question, the big one emerged from a conversation with the two main representatives of Image Aiguë, the theatre company based in Lyon, France, that first conceived the Chôros project. Christiane Véricel is a pioneer: she is the founder of the company and the director of the play “The Walking Man” which was performed in the countries where the project took place. A very peculiar play, since it involves the public answering questions on the play itself. Nicolas Bertrand took care of the organisational aspects of the project, and it’s him who first asks Christiane: “What’s the point of doing theatre as you do it?”. Christiane: What’s the point of doing theatre… well, it’s high time I asked myself that question, after 33 years… However this question implies the opposite of what actually happened. It implies that once it has been done we ask ourselves retrospectively what the use of it is. But it’s not like that. It’s the same for Chôros: we didn’t conceive a European project just because it’s nice, it’s the European project that’s part of an artistic project. When I founded Image Aiguë, 33 years ago, I wanted to bring together on the stage people of different ages and cultures, and to invent a theatre that didn’t start from the text, so that people could communicate between them, about shared interests, everyday life, the difficulties to survive, to live together, to get fed… A universal method where everyone could express themselves in theatrical form. The second point was to bring out the value of these people on the stage, especially children, to make the best of their personality and culture. My idea was that the audience, watching

all kinds of culture on the stage - I worked in the so-called “immigrant” or “difficult” neighbourhoods - would then be more tolerant towards these cultures. We started on a local level and then went abroad, very far away, and only later we refocused on Europe, because we wanted to tell the public that this kind of theatre could help understand and build Europe. It helped understand that the Maghreb child or the Asian youth or the German immigrant, or someone from France, all these little bits of personalities were building Europe together, that Europe was not something coming from the outside, but it also expresses the European citizenship, and each of us contributes to it. Selene: Seeing the results from the outside, it’s hard to imagine how all these people get to communicate and how it’s possible to have them work together. Especially without a text... C: Yes, there is some text, but it is a text that approaches universal themes, so it can be understood almost just through the tone of the voice, the philosophy is expressed through the theatrical image. Picking up crumbs because you’re hungry, that can be done both by a professional and a 6-7 year old child. Everyone does it in their own way, and then there is the personality of each actor. A child can think of Tom Thumb, while an adult will read this on a symbolical level, where the crumb represents food or money or a means of survival, even a means of power… This is true for the actors, and it’s also true for the audience. Basically we do the opposite of what is done in traditional theatre: I don’t assign characters to play, I watch my actors play the stories I propose to them, and then I invent the characters. For instance, I realize that a child walks in a certain way, or expresses their joy in a certain way, or desires something in a rather


II THEATRE EXPLORATIONS Interview with Christiane Véricel, 8 — Workshops , laboratories and performances Artistic Director, Image Aiguë

Words from performers

C: Each project is really very gratifying, it allows me to meet new personalities, new Henrique: Was it easy to be in the group with the cultures immersed in different countries, and other participants ? each time it’s both a challenge and a gift, it’s Hana H: It’s not a question of easy or hard, it’s fun or very inspiring. not fun. When somebody give you a good feedback, you have something to react on and I think that’s The first meeting is always a source of wonreally important. der because we meet new personalities, and In Sarajevo, everything is based for the student in at the same time source of fear, because we performing art and if you don’t get in academy after don’t know if what I propose is going to work. your high school, maybe two or three years after, you In general, it works, but there might be some don’t have the chance to develop actors. No workresistance, and we have to take into account shops and no opportunities. (...) In Sarajevo, Sarajevo war theater is the only theater that has different kind the relationships between the actors. Do they of art, sometimes we have concerts, exhibitions and know each other or not? And can the way I also workshops and also plays for the kids, for the treat each of them produce tensions? At the teenagers and for the adults. We are trying to keep same time I am interested in the tensions with that program. inside a group, which are also social tensions: Hana K: Did you have some kind of previous expewho has the power, who wants to show off, rience working with a group of people who are not from your country ? Do you prefer with younger or it who doesn’t, which one should I push, which is something that is new for you ? one on the contrary should I stop if they speak I’ve never had the chance to work with children all the time… it’s very interesting to make the before and I like it because children are very imagigroup function. If there are too many tensions native and they are not afraid that’s something they the group is not going to function. do will be wrong, they do what they have in their So, when I do this from inside my culture, mind, they are like playing a game and I don’t have that in people who are my age, when I want to play, I can cope, but when I’m working with a nobody wants to play. Children create world and different culture, sometimes I need to ask our get into that world. They live into it and play accordforeign partners to provide me with the right ing with that world rules. social codes. Nicolas: On the organisational level, there is a violent way. I find this attitude interesting and process we go through with our partners, who we build a character on that. The hard part is making all this coherent with the other actors, have their own issues, their own criteria, their own visions of theatre, and that’s important, with the music and also with the sequence because we have to meet our own expectaof the stories. That is why we perform short stories, because doing this work for 20 people tions, and we have to meet their expectations, and find something in common. And there is for an hour would be complicated. There is a an extra cultural dimension, because when logic, of course, but it is not a narrative logic we work with immigrants in France, at least in the traditional sense, it’s more a logic of we live in the same city, we share the same association of ideas, of theatrical images. space. S: So, during the Chôros project, were there S: What about the audience in the different any difficulties, maybe different from the ones countries of the project? you can find in France, with other cultures N: The reactions have been very different living in other countries?


II THEATRE EXPLORATIONS Interview with Christiane Véricel, 9 — Workshops , laboratories and performances Artistic Director, Image Aiguë

from one country to the other, but it worked because the way we work breaks the conventions the audiences are used to. It was quite well adapted in Morocco, for instance, with the Théâtre Nomade team, who work under tents and have an approach similar to circus, with acrobatics, very popular stuff in Morocco; in Georgia theatre is quite academic, so we created a direct relationship which is quite unusual for them, and the same happened in Sarajevo, where they have contemporary theatre but quite academic. C: “The Walking Man” is the pretext for a conversation, and this can be brutal. If I was a viewer I don’t know if I would like to answer questions on a story right after watching it. So it is quite unexpected, and it is interesting for the actors of course, but it is also interesting for the viewers, because it can create a dialogue between them. Sometimes they see things in completely opposite ways. This is because it’s a very open show, it is not didactic. So what is interesting for me as a director is to hear the audience talk, but also to conceive stories that must remain open to interpretation, because if we say everything in the story, the audience has nothing more to say. And it’s interesting for me to see how they feel the story, which kind of ending they would like to see, how it could be changed, how it could evolve… But it is also interesting because there is a reflection on the world, on how society works. S: And simple as it is, it is a kind of theatre that treats very political topics. Can this have repercussions on freedom of expression? C: Sure. For example in one of the scenes there is a border. Once I had an audience of immigrant students, some legal some not, and I asked if the characters were right in crossing the border, disobeying the authority. And they all said they shouldn’t have, while they had

done it themselves. N: I don’t think there is any censorship concerning the message, it’s more the project itself that may encounter some difficulties, some bureaucratic obstacles, for example. But it’s probably true of all collaborative projects. C: We get really all kinds of reactions, and I think that’s why it’s important to bring “The Walking Man” around Europe, and that’s why I would like to make a sequel. N: Listening to you, I realised that our visions are strongly oriented by the political system: speaking must be done in a certain way, inside a certain frame, while here, the way people speak and share ideas is not at all like this, and so for example at the Sarajevo orphanage the result was a very open approach. C: If I’m not mistaken at the orphanage someone - a teenager or a child - said something he wasn’t supposed to say, and that’s good. Since it’s destabilizing, he didn’t even stop to think “Should I say this or not?”. And I’m thinking: is it like in the ancient forums, was there this kind of freedom of speech? How was it done? It might as well be like this. N: I think the artistic approach could be a model for political and civic initiatives. Salome: It’s my first time and for me, I think it is a huge experience. Of course I like it, I like the children and I like the director, I like everything. I really like Christiane because she is friendly with the children and children are not complicated when they are doing something. I like this project. Henrique: At the end of the performance I heard someone saying “how they can do this in two or three days ?” and they are three stories on stage with twenty people, you worked 3-4 days ? How is it possible ? How do you do ? Salome: It is possible because it’s full improvisation. Hana K: During the final representation, was it any improvisation or you follow the rules of Christiane all the time ?


II THEATRE EXPLORATIONS Julie Plozner 10 — Workshops , laboratories and performances

ACTIVITIES

CALENDAR


II THEATRE EXPLORATIONS activities calender 11 — Workshops , laboratories and performances

Porto — Portugal September 11-12, 2015 Community Development Kickstart meeting and Capacity building Partners kickstart meeting Discussion with experts : Pedro Ferreira (Psychologist) and Ligia Ferro (Anthropologist) Meeting with 12 representatives of cultural organisations active in community development Attendance to Mexe festival Casablanca — Morocco December 14-19, 2015 Youth Cultural Education Casablanca Theatre Exploration 5 days training workshops with 14 artists and pedagogic staff member of Théâtre Nomade 3 Theater lessons with children 1 Adaptation of « L’homme qui marche » with local artists (2 acrobats and 1 musician) 2 common performances of “L’homme qui marche” and “l’Os” at Théâtre Nomade Capacity building workshop Casablanca 2 days of meeting and networking with 19 representatives of cultural and social organisations (from Casablanca and Tanger) on the topic of popular and artistic education of youth organized cith the creative industry promotion non-profit « Racines » Tbilissi Theatre Exploration March 9-14, 2016 Cultural Policies / Active Civil Society Tbilisi Theatre Exploration 3 Workshops at Youth Palace in Tbilissi (around 30 participants), open to the audience

Salome: In the situation “My name is Salome”, it was directed but other moments, “Hate you” or when children translate for example, are full improvisations. Henrique: Did you begin with simple or complex things ? Hana H: First, we began with simple and small things and then it start to begin more complex and we didn’t even notice and we did everything and at the end it was really like very professional performance but at the beginning it was just like playing, like simple games. Henrique: What the value of this experience in Lyon, for the next weeks and for you personally ? Salome: it was my first time working with international people and it is big for me. The exercises we do on stage were new for me and everything is experience for me. Hana H: I am lucky to be here and doing this now and it will affect my life but I don’t know in which way, in right way perhaps. I don’t know in which way because I like to perform but I didn’t have any chance to perform and now I know it is possible to perform and before that, I didn’t know. Nicolas: In Sarajevo or Batumi, how do you imagine this project could continue ? Salome: In Batumi there are many people who want to be on stage but there is no area and chance, so project like this help.

2 Workshop with 4 theatre students in Batumi 5 Performances of « L’homme qui marche » at Youth Palace in Tbilissi, in Tserovani Refugee Camp, at National Theatre in Batumi Capacity building workshop Tbilissi Attendance to students of Folk department of Tbilissi State University’s dance rehearsals 1 Dance and music performance by children from Tbilissi Youth Palace Meeting with representatives from European and local cultural institutions, Ministry of Culture Meeting with Adjara region officials Partners’ meetings


II THEATRE EXPLORATIONS Julie Plozner 12 — Workshops , laboratories and performances

Sarajevo — Bosnia-Herzegovina Mai 24-30, 2016 Cultural Entrepreneurship Sarajevo Theatre Exploration 5 days of Theatre workshop with a group of 20 young people 1 public opening in SARTR theater 4 Performances of « L’homme qui marche » in a retirement house, an orphanage, a kindergarden and at SARTR theatre 1 Theater lesson at Montessori school Capacity building workshop Sarajevo Meetings with Creative Europe Desk, Mozaik foundation, Institut Français Visit of the city : transformation of the city center and the memory of the war Partners’ meeting Working session SARTR’s administrative team Lyon – France July 7-13, 2016 International Cooperation With Caucasus, Balkan Countries, North-Africa Lyon Theatre Exploration 7 days of theatre workshop (5 days with Georgian and Bosnian young actors) with about 28 children, youth and adult actors 3 public opening for a mixed audience (families, theatre-goers, refugees, old persons...) Capacity building workshop Lyon Partners’ meetings Visit of Le Rize (municipal cultural center in Villeurbanne : public library, municipal

archives, performing hall, social research center) and Musée des Confluences (Lyon) Chôros project analysis seminar with colleagues from 5 local/ European organisations Hana H: It is important to learn some techniques like how to check your body or your voices. It is important to learn that stuff and then you can perform. I can’t go somewhere and perform, I have to learn things and with this workshop I have the opportunity to learn this things and so I can perform and I can do some performance. We learn how to dance, we sing. Hana : When I saw on internet about the workshops and that the approach of Christiane is individual, she approaches each person individually, that was something that really interested me. She sees somebody doing something in some way and she builds on that. I think this is a very good approach because each person can develop something they already have in them. In my life, in every school, I had problems with professors because they don’t give us a chance to say or do something, they always say their own opinion and that opinion is the brightest, the most important, the right opinion. If you want to have a good mark you have to agreed and obey with that opinion, you can’t go off from that. Finally I can do something somewhere and it is ok and good. Nicolas: It is a dialogue with Christiane working with her. Even if it is a group, and a big group like today, she tries to work independently with each person. It is also a question of time, in three days you can’t work everything with each person. ...


chapter III

Capacity Building

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III Capacity Building Henrique praรงa

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Community development through

citizen

participation


III Capacity Building Community development through citizen participation

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There exists a tradition of public involvement, a cultural feeling in some societies that you should not just help your neighbour but help your neighbourhood. Sir Bernard Crick Among the definitions that one can found in the literature on citizens participation, despite the wide range of perspectives, those more specific present the idea of influence and control. Thus, participation is the “Efforts that people make in order to influence public policy decisions” (Gerry Stoker, Manchester University), or “the organized effort to increase control over resources and regulative institution on the parts of groups and movements hitherto excluded from such control” (United Nations Research Institute for Social Development). One can say that citizens participation is always a question of power. Sherry Arnstein’s Ladder of Citizens Participation1 (figure 1) is the most famous articulation of participation in terms of the degree to which power is devolved to citizens. The graphics of a ladder means that there is a progression from poor to rich participation, depending on the level of power devolved to citizens. The aim of the first steps, Manipulation and Therapy, which strictly speaking are not participatory processes, is to cure or educate the citizens. The proposed plan (our plan!) is the best and the job of participation is to achieve public support through public relations. The Tokenism, ranging from Information to Placation, is the first true degree of participation. It ranging from information without feedback to allowing citizens to advise or plan (surveys, neighbourhood meetings and public enquiries) but retains for power holders the right to judge the legitimacy or feasibility of the advice (Consultation). In the three high steps of the ladder, it ranges from Partnership (planning and decision-making responsibilities are shared e.g. through joint committees), Delegation (Citizens holding a clear majority of seats on committees with delegated powers to make decisions) and Citizen Control (citizens handle the entire job of planning, policy making and managing a program).


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Delegation

6

Partnership

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Placation

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Consultation

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Informing

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Therapy

1

Manipulation

Tokenism

Citizen Control

Non participation

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Citizen Control

III Capacity Building Henrique Praça

Fig.1. Ladder of Citizens Participation.

With regard to the practices of citizen participation they are multiple and diverse, from the volunteer work for a cause and non-governmental organizations, through participation in elections, referendums, public consultations and citizens juries to the initiatives led by citizens in public space (communities, neighborhood groups, etc.). To finish this introduction I describe below, briefly, an example of citizen participation in urban development project in the public space. VivaCidade. Dress-up the city voids. Engaging the community through place-making VivaCidade Project2, held in Aveiro, Portugal, was one of the ten projects that take part in the first edition of the Program Actors of Urban Change3 by the Robert Bosch Foundation in cooperation with MitOST e.V. The Program’s goal, witch is now carrying out the 2sd edition, is to achieve sustainable and participatory urban development through culture activities implemented by teams of partners coming from the cultural sphere/civil society, public administration and the private sector, in a real and meaningful cross-sector collaboration. The one who wants the honey has to support the bee stings

Comments from the audience from Casablanca

The purpose of the project VivaCidade4 was clear and simple: getting the local community involved in the requalification of urban voids5. After mapping the city’s empty spaces, the Project began to qualify one of them involving people from the neighbourhood, university students and local artists collectives and also businesses: local small shops, restaurants and other enterprises located in Aveiro.


III Capacity Building Community development through citizen participation participation, Brief introduction

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The community involvement and participation continued working over several months (Wednesday nights and Saturdays where chosen) and many activities have been done: work meetings, workshops, street actions, picnics, communication advocacy, during which the citizens involved could discuss, learn, decide and carry out all the tasks necessary for the qualification of the urban space. In a “pop-up factory”, a small temporary workshop, experts assisted participants in learning how to build the various elements for the space, thereby empowering them and transferring know-how. Over this 15 months, the empty space initially degraded, full of garbage and rubble, was transformed in a plaza with the elements of an “outdoor living-room”: wooden furniture, a small garden, two walls made out of hanging gardens, a painted tile mural, an interactive light panel and trees. In the opening day a local committee of citizens from the neighbourhood of the space was setup to maintain the space, especially the hanging garden. One year after the opening day, last May, the first major space maintenance was performed by the citizens. The project was started by a team of three persons belonging to the three different sectors required by the regulation of the Program Actors of Urban Change: one from the local authority (Aveiro Town Hall), another one from a cultural organization (4iS of the University of Aveiro) and another from a private company (SETEPÉS which, coincidentally, works in the cultural sector). This initial team was responsible for the mobilization and involvement of citizens in the project. Have been involved in the project about 50 citizens, 5 local companies (building construction companies, a tile manufacturing factory, a gardening company) and several small local businesses (bakery, restaurants and a hostel). To finish it is important to add that, at local level, Vivacidade gave strength to other initiatives and push to keep working with community for place-making. The city just got approved the Strategic Plan for Urban Development, which counts with European funds, and predicts support for projects with community as drivers. SETEPÉS, Henrique Praça henriquep@setepes.pt 1 A Ladder of Citizen Participation, Journal of the American Planning Association, Vol. 35, No. 4, July 1969, pp. 216-224

2 Projeto Vivacidade. Vestir os Vazios da Cidade (PT/ENG). https://issuu.com/4is-inovsocial/docs/ publicacao_vivacidade_web_hr 3 Actors of Urban Change. Program Documentation 2013-2015. Robert Bosch Stiftung GmbH, 2015. www. actors-of-urban-change.eu 4 https://www.facebook.com/vivacidade.aveiro 5 Also referred to interstitial spaces normaly forgotten by city’s administrative authorities or by private ones, in a continuouse degrading process.


III Capacity Building Henrique praรงa

partner

interview

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III Capacity Building

Henrique Praça Cooperation between very different partners is not easy, but possible SETEPES, from Porto, is different from the other structures that took part in the Chôros adventure. It is not an organisation but a company, and - says its director Henrique Praça -, “We work as consultants and project designers. We also do training for people who work in culture : management, communication, marketing, creativity, entrepreneurship, audience development, etc.”. Selene: What was your role in this project ? Henrique : In Porto we had no theatre workshops. We had meetings with people and small companies who work in theater and community theater. We discussed how theater companies and other companies in art can improve and do projects with people from communities. S: Why your company ? H: We are interested in this kind of projects. We have been in other partnerships like this, it’s important for us to meet people, get in touch with culture projects, see how others work in the culture field. S: So you can bring this new information, these new skills into your work? H: Yes, of course. Every time I go to this kind of meetings, I also go to museums, cultural venues, cultural organizations, to see what is happening. For instance, in Lyon I visited the Musée des Confluences. It’s important to see a new museum, to see how they do the exhibitions.

partner interviews

19

S: Concerning the interaction between different cultures, did you meet any difficulties? H: The main difficulty in this kind of projects is that we are very different partners. This is good because we get to know different perspectives but it’s difficult sometimes to have a common goal. But we can do it, it’s not easy but possible. S: Chôros is a cultural cooperation project, focused on increasing the integration of the centre and the peripheries of Europe. We can say France is in the center - geographically, economically and politically, while Georgia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Morocco are in the periphery. What about Portugal? H: We are not in the center, we are in the south of Europe, we are not in the periphery of Europe neither, we are in the European Union. I think we are closer to France than to Morocco, Bosnia-Herzegovina or Georgia from the point of view of culture development, art and culture management. It is not easy to work in the cultural field in Portugal but in Bosnia-Herzegovina it is much more difficult. For SARTR, it is the first time that they are in a Creative Europe program. In Portugal we have been working for twenty years in this kind of partnerships. S: You also had European capitals of culture. H: Yes, Lisbon, Porto and Guimarães. From this point of view we are closer to the center of Europe than to countries like BosniaHerzegovina or Georgia, which are getting a lot from this partnership. This morning Hana from SARTR said that she was very happy to have her first time partnership because she’s learning a lot. And in Georgia and Morocco they have difficulties because they have to get visas in order to travel. S: What are the specific difficulties in Portugal for the cultural sector?


III Capacity Building Henrique praça

H: Every time there is an economic crisis the cultural sector is the first to have huge cuts. The problem is not only economical, it’s also about perspectives. This program, Creative Europe, puts all the different sectors in the same package as creative industry. When we say creative industry, we mean software development, big film companies and at the same time we mean small dance and theater companies, but it’s not the same. We have to rethink this. S: Is Europe helping or is it rather going in the sense of helping creative industry? H: The Creative Europe program is the reason why we are here, why small theater companies could create this project. I’m afraid that in the future small companies could be excluded from this kind of projects and funds. I see this happening in Portugal, because when you have money you can buy good consultants to do the projects applications but small companies can’t do that. N: I agree: when Culture became Creative Europe it was a big threat for small organizations, because what it was announcing was “you have to be big to be able to apply”. Finally they had to change their plans a bit because of the crisis, but it is still not easy for small organizations, they have to find ways to get bigger, to create an agglomeration from small organisations. The Chôros project is one of the smallest this year.

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III Capacity Building Pedro Daniel Ferreira

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Creating

Art,

and Community Change


III Capacity Building Creating Art, Community and Change

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Art can change the world. Art did already change worlds and the lives of many by transforming them into something else, other, new. Some say it’s “the nature of art to challenge to create openings where one can envision something outside the realm of what already exists for oneself, one’s community, and the world” (Krensky & Steffen, 2009, p.5). Surely we may believe this is not always the case. Art can also be uncritical, detached, accepting, or conventional (Schehner, 2006) but that doesn’t mean that it is impossible to find instances where art acts as an important element in bringing about change, intentionally, where social change is part of the artistic process itself. Activist art, in its various forms, is the most common current example of art seen as a “powerful medium for social and political change” (Dikson, 1995, p.18). Writing in the 1980s, Lucy Lippard (1991) saw activist art as a product of the practices of experimental or avant-garde artists, of artists working with or within political organizations (‘political artists’) and of community artists working with grassroots groups. She also noted already then a tendency for these three camps to increasingly overlap. The blurred lines between these three routes to activist art are maybe even clearer today but their traces are often still present. Purposefully engaging in criticizing existing structures and participating in structural change (Lippard, 1984), activist art aims at social transformation and addresses social and political issues (Felshin, 1995). This doesn’t mean that artists can, alone, directly or immediately change the world (Lippard, 1991). Instead, it signals a certain awareness, choice and commitment of some artists to take part, with others, in the motions of worlds changing (Lippard, 1991; Felshin, 1995; Schehner, 2006). Activist art therefore often inscribes itself in the public, engages the public in interchange and interaction, and creates a public while challenging the boundaries between artist and non-artist (Krensky & Steffen, 2009). Much artistic activist work is in fact collaborative or participatory, and its meaning often dependent of and bounded by the collective processes it derives from. Artists reach “out as in” as they try “to combine social action, social theory, and the fine arts tradition, in a spirit of multiplicity and integration, rather than one of narrowing choices” (Lippard, 1991, p.187). The relational, collaborative or participatory element of this art is even more present in community art. In community art artists work with communities to create art that brings their issues and their messages to the public (Krensky & Steffen, 2009). Not all community art is equally politicized - “[s]ome community art reflects its local situation, some stimulates active participation in its situation, some criticizes and mobilizes for change in that situation” (Lippard, 1991, p.194) - even though community artists tend to see participation as a process contributing to the empowerment of those communities involved in the creative process (Dikson, 1995). Unlike other forms of public art, community art, by virtue of its commitment to participation and democracy, is particularly useful to community development efforts. It will seek to engage with a community, with its issues, in its own terms. It will learn about the community and


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provide the opportunities for the community to face its realities and find understandings and visions of how it could be different and changed (Mattern & Love, 2013). Art becomes powerful in making appear in public what was not yet visibly, hadn’t yet appeared to be seen or recognized and by acting as a catalyst to transformation. As Dewey pointed out “[t]he first stirrings of dissatisfaction and the first intimations of a better future are always found in works of art. (...) Change in the climate of imagination is the precursor of the changes that affect more than the details of life” (Dewey, 1934, pp.345-346). A moroccan walks in the street, he sees a piece of bread and picks it, kisses it, saves it! Bread is a businessin Morocco! In each family there is always a piece of bread.

Comments from the audience from Casablanca

In a community art context - when its activist orientation is acknowledged, and transformation becomes entwined with creative processes - artistic practices can become community development practices. In fact, both can be closely woven together as they share important concerns: a concern with democracy and social justice; a concern with participation and empowerment; a concern with (a truly dialogical) process (over product); a concern with valuing communities, their knowledge and interests; and a concern with inclusion and pluralism (which is also a concern with productive conflict). Community development as a strategy based on the sharing of knowledge and devolution of power which “emphasizes participation by community members themselves in constructing and implementing change processes” (Menezes, 2010, p.104). The concern with participation and empowerment appears immediately here. Participation, and participation with power, is central to any community development process which respects and values community members and does not treat them as objects to be manipulated or forced into some externally imposed change (Orford, 2008). A similar concern is often expressed by artists in community art where emphasis is placed on collaboration - between participating artists, between artists and community members and between community members themselves - in a process that shares knowledge and power in the various phases of the artistic process (Dikson, 1995; Lippard, 1991). Participating with others, and not for others (or even in spite of them), as making art with others and not for others, brings forth the concern with the relational and dialogical process. Authentic dialogue builds trust and the conditions for more legitimate and effective change (Menezes, 2010). Both creating art and creating change in a community requires openness to listening to and learning with each other. Besides, authentic dialogue needs an equalizing and respectful attitude from those involved. Professionals (and artists) accompanying these processes must not act as experts. Instead, they should focus on facilitating and supporting the reflection and conscientization processes through which community members come to understand their situation and define their problems (Montero, 2003; Orford 2008). Efforts should be made to ensure participation is as large and wide as possible, that


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it integrates diverse groups and different perspectives. Communities are social places where exclusion and power asymmetries are also reproduced. Creating and facilitating change must be an opportunity to include and confront injustice present in the community. This is only possible if the issues of power (and productive conflict) are not ignored and if differences are acknowledged from an inclusive and pluralist point of view (Menezes, 2010; Mattern & Love, 2013). Like the coming together of different voices in a choir, it is not as easy task. Community development and community art are very demanding processes. Their shared emphasis on transformation through participation and their commitment to social justice through an enlarged and deepened democracy make it particularly so. This means community art must go one step further when compared to other forms of activist art. It must be “simultaneously critical, positive, and progressive”, as Aagerstoun and Auther (2007, p.vii) define feminist activist art, and work to expose the structures that create injustice, to express, value and posit alternatives that bring to the public new possibilities of being and to strive for more democratic, egalitarian and inclusive ways of living together. And it must be more than that. It is not enough that the work of the artist becomes concerned with the world in the making and with “how spaces of attention, hope, interest, affiliation, entanglement, commitment, passion, empathy, possibility, and imagination are crafted when people pause to reflect on what it means to be together” (Martin, 2006, p.16), it is necessary that artists themselves (and their art) adopt a different role, the role of citizens working with communities (Mattern & Love, 2013) in liberating their imagination and acting to create new and better futures together. References

Aagerstoun, M. J. & Auther, E.(2007). Considering Feminist Activist Art. NWSA Journal 19(1), vii-xiv. — Dewey, J. (1934). Art as Experience. Wideview/Perigee. — Dickson, M. (1995). Art With People. Sunderland: AN Publications. — Felshin, N. (1995). But Is It Art? The Spirit of Art as Activism. Seattle: Bay Press, Inc. — Krensky, B., & Steffen, S. L. (2008). Engaging Classrooms and Communities through Art: The Guide to Designing and Implementing Community-Based Art Education. Rowman Altamira. — Lippard, L. R. (1984). Get the message?: a decade of art for social change. Plume. — Lippard, L. (1991) Trojan Horses: Activist Art and Power (pp.185-203) in S. Everett (Ed.) Art Theory and Criticism: An anthology of formalist, avant-garde, contextualist and post-modernist thought. McFarland — Love, N. S., & Mattern, M. (Eds.). (2013). Doing Democracy: Activist Art and Cultural Politics. Suny Press. — Martin, R. (2006) Artistic Citizenship in M. S. Campbell & R. Martin (Eds.) Artistic Citizenship: A Public Voice for the Arts (pp.1-22). Routledge — Menezes, I. (2010). Intervenção Comunitária: Uma perspectiva psicológica. Livpsic. — Montero, M. (2003). Teoria y Prática de la Psicología Comunitaria: la tensión entre comunidad y sociedad. Paidós. — Orford, J. (2008). Community psychology: Challenges, controversies and emerging consensus. John Wiley & Sons. — Schechner, R. (2006) A polity of its own called art? in M. S. Campbell & R. Martin (Eds.) Artistic Citizenship: A Public Voice for the Arts (pp.33-42). Routledge


III Capacity Building Cindy Le Cière

théâtre

Nomade

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théâtre nomade

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Since the creation of the association in 2006, Theatre Nomade aims at helping vulnerable people through the practice of street art (workshops, training events), by proposing artistics activities which primarily targets young people subject to exclusion, women and peoples with disabilities. The association is itinerant and works close to vulnerable populations. It sets up its circus, the “cultural itinerant studio” (Al Khaimah) for residencies in districts without cultural infrastructure. After touring in urban neighborhood and villages across Morocco for ten years, Théâtre Nomade settled down its yellow and blue circus tent in the former slaughterhouse of Casablanca (Hay Mohammadi district). Each week-end, children and young from the neighborhood come to participate to workshops lead by members of the company: acrobatics, storytelling, book reading, hip hop dancing, juggling… The project of Théâtre Nomade is highly political: it opens a cultural (and nomadic space) for everyone. Through circus and street theatre, creation and transmission, the company builds bridges in between cultural forms (tradition/contemporary), languages (dajira/ french/sign language), territories (rural/urban), generations. Suddenly one of us randomly accuses another person, charging one another with mess and the chain continued to eventually come to Bambi [the moroccan actor] who must pick up the trash, unsuccessfully demanding to others for a fair fee to do the job. After he gave the clear , all with great relief we sit on the floor, humming altogether a French song accompanied by accordion. A moment later, Fred strikes several times with a stick on the floor and ran through the space declaring it is his territory, knocking us out of the stage. We are now completely free on the scene, and all raise our hands when Christine asked who would like to act out a part of the performance. Comments from the audience from Sarajevo — Merima Ražanica Théâtre Nomade claims to make entertaining but thoughtful performances, based on both Moroccan traditional arts (acrobatics, gnaoua music, storytelling, masks…) and contemporary forms (writing, dancing, puppets…) to address urban and rural non-theater goers audiences. This notion of popular art with a societal awareness is of a particular importance in Morocco where 30% of the population is under 30 years old and less than 30% is illiterate. Expectations in terms of social justice are high, Théâtre Nomade provides an example of a united community, calling on cultural traditions and contemporary creation to contribute to social change.


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Cindy Le Cière

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Creation is strongly linked with transmission. A dozen of young people are composing the troupe of Théâtre Nomade : some were trained in circus and theatre schools, but most of them were met while the company was on tour in villages and popular neighborhood. They develop artistic skills by researching, rehearsing, performing daily and intensively with Mohammed, Soufia and experimented artists. And of course they train themselves children of the neighborhood to the techniques they gain in their daily artistic practice. Chôros step in Casablanca happened in December 2015 and was build in the frame of Théâtre Nomade commitment and proposed to work about “Artistic education of youth and popular education”. Objectives in a short term perspective was to keep improving knowledge and methodologies in different levels (artistic, training, management, etc) of the company by exchanging in the frame of a cultural cooperation project. It was a way to inspire new workshops with children in order to improve weekly workshops, to create new artistics proposals based on dialogue with audience which is not a current theatrical form in Morocco, to build new business models at the intern level and also in the frame of Théâtre Nomade network. In order to reach those goals, the idea of the week in Casablanca was to have way to exchange: theatre exploration between Image Aiguë and Théâtre Nomade teams, workshops with children of the neighborhood, performances by Image Aiguë and Théâtre Nomade and a meeting with some Moroccan cultural actors and Chôros partners on the subject of the “Artistic education of youth and popular education”. Regarding the artists of the company, the project is a strong tool to develop their artistic practice which they will reinvest in the workshops that they lead. More generally, it’s a link to a new culture and to a new vision of theatre practice. After the Moroccan week, the project gave the opportunity to one artists of the team to be part of the step in Sarajevo: Abdenbi participated to theatre exploration, performances, workshops with children, etc. Being involved in that way appeared as a cross-cultural experience which has impact on the daily work of Théâtre Nomade. Abdenbi participation was a way to open his work and his mindset by exploring in a completely new context: out of the company and out of his country far from his current value and way of working. The fact that artists in Théâtre Nomade can also be involved individually in this project is a new way to build a common project in Théâtre Nomade. Each individual experiences are invested in the work of the group. Projects like Chôros should be considered as long term projects with different steps of implementation during years. This first project is the creation of new partnerships and a first discover of each partners practices and knowledge which should be explore more in details in a long term perspective.


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théâtre nomade

In the future, Théâtre Nomade has important challenges to face. The project needs to be supported by public institutions and private organizations to keep continue the project and manage new step like the creation of a street art training diploma on Morocco. Cindy Le Clère. Théâtre Nomade, Casablanca, Morocco

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III Capacity Building Cindy Leclère

partner

interview

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Cindy Leclère We are in a daily emergency, but things are changing slowly Cindy Leclère meets us on a hot summer Sunday morning in an almost deserted Villeurbanne, a town on the outskirts of Lyon. We - Nicolas Bertrand from Image Aiguë, Hana Karazda from Sarajevo War Theatre and myself - are in the cozy apartment Image Aiguë rented for Hana. Cindy is the manager of Théâtre Nomade, a street art theater company based in Casablanca, in the former slaughterhouse site. Théâtre Nomade - Cindy explains to us - was created by Mohammed El Hassouni and his wife in 2006 in order to work on cultural workshops with children and young people, especially in very poor areas in Morocco. They get their inspiration from the neighbourhood they work in. Every year the children choose a topic to work on and, at the end of the workshop, they create a show. And every year they change place and meet new children. This is why they call themselves “Théâtre Nomade”, nomadic theatre: they travel in a circus tent. Selene: What was it like working with Christiane Véricel? Have you already had any experience working with actors in different languages? Cindy: With Christiane’s method, she doesn’t need to speak to be understood. It’s more body language so verbal language was not necessary. S: How was, in general, your interaction with Image Aiguë and the other partners?

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C: I think there was a good synergy, but as it’s often the case in projects like this, everybody has a full calendar in their own company and sometimes it’s hard to meet all the partners of the project. S: How do you see the future of this project? C: I think we should keep exploring what we can share on theatre. During the show of Image Aiguë “L’homme qui marche” it was surprising how the audience got involved and wanted to speak and share their opinion. This is for us something new to explore and maybe in the future a new form that we can share together and possibly develop. S: In Georgia audiences had different reactions to the show, was it the same in Casablanca? C: In Casablanca people were mostly talking through quotations in a poetic way, which is a completely different reaction to what we witnessed in Georgia and Sarajevo. Nicolas: Why is it important for Théâtre Nomade to do cultural education in Morocco? C: I think Mohammed and Soufia’s goal was to have a place for children to express themselves. Boys and girls work together in our workshops, which is not common in Morocco. It’s a way to create a more confident generation, where there is no barrier in sharing between boys and girls. We also try to show them they can be professional artists if they want. S: How is the situation for the culture sector in Morocco? C: It is still difficult to have public help to build a project. Besides Théâtre Nomade works in the public space, which is not very common nowadays, and when we play outside we can have difficulties with authorities to play. The project was born to take back the street by art. We also try to preserve the Moroccan


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heritage through shows inspired by traditional theater, which used to take place in the street. Last April we went to Marrakech for a street art festival. At first we were authorized to perform, but when we started our show the authorities just changed their mind. S: But you have public funding? C: Yes. It’s not a lot but things are changing. In the last few years the Ministry of Culture has started publishing calls for proposals. S: So on one side they give you money but on the other side they block your actions. C: Yes, but I think it’s more or less the same everywhere. For the Chôros project we got European funds but some people from Image Aiguë and the Georgians couldn’t go to Morocco because of visa problems. N: One of the difficulties when we were in Casablanca was about being in touch with schools. Are the schools and the art field two separate worlds? C: It’s complicated to have an authorization from the Ministry of Education to work with public schools. I also think public schools don’t want to get out of their frame of work. It is more easy to work with private schools, they are getting more and more open to proposals. N: What are your relations with the social field, with associations working with young people? C: It is still complicated because we are in a kind of emergency to get funds. We try to share our practices, our materials with other companies, but it’s hard to find the time to help other organizations.

cindy leclère

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THREE

Levan Khetaguri

CITIES

— THREE EXPERIENCES OF CHOROS IN GEORGIA

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III Capacity Building THREE CITIES — THREE EXPERIENCES OF Chôros IN GEORGIA

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In Greek tragedy Chôros is the leading collective part of the play – group of actors acting and speaking simultaneously. In our project Chôros is the union of different individuals and different institutions aimingat same – change the life environment, through arts of expression – performing arts, involving societies in different parts of different countries, societies after war, societies after in being in crises, societies who just want to be changed and gave chance for changes. This is my personal understanding of CHOROS, this is my vision for the mission of performing arts In general. During the planning we decided to visit 3 cities In Georgia. 3 very different cultural environments, where we presented “The walking men” (Image Aiguë’s performance): Tbilisi — Capital of Georgia; Tserovani — city of refugee camps; Batumi — beautiful touristic city on black sea cost; We met very different audience in different political and cultural environments. Performance of Image Ague is very familiar for me I saw it during last 10 year twice in Lyon and one in Stockholm, always different, simple but very kind and worm, with deep humor, sensation. The stories of the company are very simple but all of them are parabolas, provocations for audience to be involved, to be more active, and to make the choice. Stories telling you about different attitudes and circumstances of our life, power, hungriness, borders, etc situations were always we have two positions civil and artistic, every story had simple underlined questions – and answers is art, art is always solution to keep you dreaming, flying. Art is a way of true self-expression way to be free and liberate from the daily problems. We gave 4 same stories in 3 cities and after each stories performed by the actors of Image Aiguë – facilitator through translators tried to start discussions with the audience. At the beginning was a little bit afraid how the Georgian audience would be involved in conversations through translators, but I was surprised neither of those 3 cities there was any problem of communication – audience would like to share their opinions and thoughts, but the same stories had absolutely different reactions in 3 different cities. Tbilisi – as the political capital - in all stories local audience of different ages starting from 7-8 till 60 saw power, peoples stimulation to become powerful, to get positions, you need money, power and you could buy everything even arts. Batumi – city on a border – they found out that personal space was more important nobody is allowed to cross through your personal space-borders.


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Levan Khetaguri

Tserovani – city of refugee camps, people who have been forced to move from their own houses, lands by Russian occupation in 2008. In the story about borders they saw Russian troupes, that every day move military boarder deeper in the country, in the power and aggressor they saw Russian. At the performance were children and parents, teachers and local authorities as audience, they saw death and war, lost relatives and friends, but they were only audience in Georgia, which said:“Art is powerful, only art can win in all this stories”. And this is amazing only the people who lived in refugee camps, people which lost their houses, suffered from terrible use of power and war only they told us that artist is powerful than somebody who have power or food. Only refugees kept dreaming, they hoped and believed in arts, because they believe that they will return back – this is big power and we hear them through Image Aiguë, through actors who show them their parabolas…

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III Capacity Building Levan Khetaguri et Iuri Mgebrishvili

partner

interview

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Levan Khetaguri et Iuri Mgebrishvili Each team can reflect creatively on their needs Levan Khetaguri and Iuri Mgebrishvili represent the Stichting Caucasus Foundation, a Dutch foundation which works in the Caucasus area. We met them in the Image Aiguë headquarters, in Lyon city centre. They started our chat by explaining that the Caucasus Fundation “plans a lot of programs in the cultural field, not only culture projects but also education projects and research in the cultural”. It was founded in 1997 and is made up of three working bodies in the Caucasus countries: one in Tbilisi in Georgia, one in Yerevan in Armenia and one in Baku in Azerbaijan. They cooperate with a number of cultural organizations in Europe and run projects together. Selene: How do you get financed? Levan: Our funding is a combination of different tools. This is an international foundation, which has sponsorships and self-generating funds, and of course the State funds us through our partners, on different levels. On the international level, we use all the possibilities through the different bodies located in Austria, The Netherlands, Britain, Germany, etc. We get support from most of the international institutions: the European Commission, the EU, UNESCO, the Council of Europe and of course ministries, embassies and international foundations. Georgia is also part of Creative Europe, Horizon 2020 and ERASMUS.

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S: Do these different kinds of fundings affect your projects, especially from the point of view of freedom of expression? L: Of course somehow, yes. But we are very clear that we are part of the civil society, not of the government structure. I think that as representatives of culture, we need to be always part of the civil monitoring of the State policy and if we lose this, it means that we lose our mission too. This is why we are always very careful when we get proposals to move to the State sector. Selene: What was the role of your foundation inside the Chôros project? L: For us, it was important to bring a theater company to the workshops, to select a few participants from Georgia who would become part of the project in Lyon. But it was also important to organize roundtables on capacity building and on the relationship between cultural policy and civil society, in the frame of urban development. S: How did the Georgian audience react to the show? L: We had three different audiences. In Tbilisi, it was more about politics, because it is the capital and people are very much involved in political life. We performed the same story in Tserovani refugee camp. The strange thing was that their reactions were more close to the original idea. Only the refugees caught this and responded that “Yes, power is less than art, art can be more important than your political position”. And only refugees showed they have hope and believe in the future. In Batumi the response was about personal space, where nobody can enter: when they saw the story about borders, they turned them into personal borders. This city is on the border with Turkey and they see borders in a different way, for them it’s just about keeping


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their personal private spaces. Selene: Do you think there are specific problems in Georgia concerning culture? Levan: I think that generally, in most countries, culture suffers from the same problems. The common problem is that we have politicians who are very “un-cultural’ and we have a society that needs culture. But again we get back to the problem: what we need is to involve citizens to be more active. I think in the next decade this will be the issue for most of the countries. We need to find a new definition for traditional things because when we talk about traditional institutions like museums or libraries, they still are in the 19th century. But people changed and institutions also must change. Now we see that soon books might disappear. I personally prefer to have a book in my hands, and most of my generation do. But if I don’t accept e-books, nothing will change. Maybe tomorrow a new generation will come and say that we need a new type of museum. The circumstances will change according to the local needs, and then we will see what kind of operators will be able to react. Everybody says the problem is funding but I don’t believe that is the problem. The problem is how each team can reflect creatively on their needs. Because at the end you can always find fundings if you have a very good idea and if your idea is on time.

Levan Khetaguri et Iuri Mgebrishvili

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III Capacity Building Hana Karadza

partner

interview

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III Capacity Building

Hana Karadza Sunday, July 10th 2016 Lyon Hana Karazda has flaming red hair and the sweetest smile. She is a producer, PR and marketing person at Sarajevo War Theatre. Sarajevo War theatre - shortened in SARTR - was founded in May 1992 on the initiative of the two directors Dubravko Bibanovic and Gradimir Gojer. It is the youngest theatre company established in Sarajevo and its peculiarity is that it was founded during the siege of Sarajevo as a manifestation of “resistance culture”. Selene: How was the project organized in Sarajevo? Hana: Image Aiguë played the performance “The walking man” three times in three different places. One was at kindergarten Montessori, and the audience was about twenty young children between five and six-seven years old. The second one was in an orphanage, with children who often come to SARTR to watch our performances. The third one was in a retirement house in Sarajevo. S: How is the cultural landscape in Bosnia? Are there any problems with the authorities? H: Our only problem is communication with the authorities, with politics, because it’s all about connections and relationships for the financial support. We don’t have problems to do what we want to do, they told us we can do whatever we want, but we can’t because we don’t have enough funding. Nicolas : SARTR is a public theater, it

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depends on public funding. Do you consider that there is an independent sector, are there artists with independent troupes, like Théâtre Nomade and Image Aiguë, in Bosnia? H: We have companies that don’t have their own stage and space, but they do more commercial performances so they can go to the different cities to play. They need to do that kind of performances because they live from the tickets they sell, so they try to make something that a lot of people will come to see. There is also the MESS festival. Now they will have their own scene, but it won’t be a theater, it will just be the MESS scene. The MESS festival is very popular in Sarajevo and in neighborhood countries and also in countries from the European Union, because lots of theatres from around Europe come to play there. N: Do you think the notion of culture and resistance, which has been very strong in the story of SARTR, still has a meaning today or do you think that the theatre is going towards something different? H: We try to keep some kind of balance, we try not to forget the origins of SARTR, its main motive and we also try to make plays which don’t have connection with the war. We have two or three plays that are connected with the war, but we also do more experimental performances, sometimes we have dancing performances, sometimes we have classical texts.. People are tired of hearing about the war, everybody has strong feelings about that but they don’t like to watch it all the time because now it’s time to move on, because our audience wants to watch something which produces good energy, because a lot of people in Sarajevo don’t have a good life and if they go to theatre, they don’t want to go home feeling bad. Our most popular play is


III Capacity Building Hana Karadza

“The Secret of Raspberry Jam”, a collection of short stories written by a young author, Karim Zaimović, who died by the end of the war. When you watch that play you don’t have any connection with the war because his stories are fictional. But everybody, when they hear his name, remembers the war, the sad story of his life. I think that is the key to finding the balance. S: How do you see the future of this project? H: This is a new kind of project because for the first time we are not working with people from our neighborhood countries. Nobody in Bosnia has any collaboration with Morocco, France, Portugal and Georgia. I think we need to keep this connection and maybe next year or another year we can make something else beside this project. Creative Europe introduced us, and according to their rules you need to have four different institutions from three or four countries. So it’s a good way to connect with different countries, to meet different cultures, different kinds of people and to know that you and those different people can produce something together even if you don’t know each other from some previous project. Maybe we should give more space to the artists. They are the artistic part of the project, and I think it’s the aim of the project to create artistic work, whether it is workshops or performances.

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Chapter IV

ChĂ´ros first conclusions: A first outlook on our common future

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IV ChĂ´ros first conclusions: Hana KaradĹža A first outlook on our common future

Sarajevo

Theater

War

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IV Chôros first conclusions: sarajevo war theater A first outlook on our common future

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During the last part of activities in Lyon, approaching the end of Chôros’ action plan, we proposed five colleagues* to meet our group of partners**, all five guests being active at international level and involved in EU funded projects. Their role : to be our confidents and mirror a vision of our cooperation in order to shape the outlines of our future collaboration. The appointment was on Tuesday, 12th of Jully 2016 in Villeurbanne municipal cultural center Le Rize. During lunchtime we introduced ourselves then we went on with a general presentation of the project, then peer-to-peer discussions : each colleague dialoguing with one partner organisation then reporting and commenting to the assembly. From this fruitful brainstorming session, this article synthesizes discussions, highlights good practices from Chôros cooperation and guidances for future actions. Visions of the project in the begining Initiated by theater group Image Aiguë, Chôros was conceived by a trio of organisations (Image Aiguë, IBCCP, Setepès) who previously cooperated together and were involved in Civil society initiative A Soul for Europe. SARTR and Théâtre Nomade were related to the project through various connections and meetings. Therefore, partners were sharing similar concerns (about civil society, cultural education, cooperation between generation, migrations...) to address in specific ways and environments. Also it makes the project addressing a wide range of issues, objectives and in consequence activities. This variety was a bit disappointing at some point but the kick off meeting in Porto helped clarifing. Also, the high level of competition for EU fundings requires projects to have a rich content : however partners have a good expertise in dealing with Chôros’ issues (social inclusion, participation, migrations, etc...). … and during implementation The project had a simple structure, two sets of activities (one artistic and pedagogic, the other more administrative and turn to capacity building ) implemented locally by each partner. As a result, if Image Aiguë’s specific artistic process was central and common to activities development, it was combined with each partners’ expectations and competences : each had a clearly defined role in the project. At the end, partners are very positive with the artistic results of the project (transmission of Image Aiguë’s methodology, performances...) but it was more perceived as one way project (Image Aiguë travelling to others’ cities). By chance, visas’ issues gave the opportunity to artists of Théâtre Nomade to take part more actively in the artistic work, not only to benefit from trainings but to search and perform with artists of Image Aiguë, in Casablanca and, for one of them, in Sarajevo.


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On the other hand, administrative tasks were considered as very intense and time consuming, even to the detriment of artistic and outreach activities. Maybe in the future should the project be more focused on artistic exchanges. The fundamental objective of the project was to imagine a common future. Chôros project was a laboratory for transmission and share of artistic, administrative, production, audience development.... skills, a participative and reflexive action for producing energy through culture. Results of the cooperation The project allowed partners to be part of a more global ecosystem (“we can share our problems, but also our solutions”) based on our respective skills, know how, expertise and experiences. And activities were implemented in a good way in all cities, despite challenges some partners are facing (financial, political, know how...). At individual level, the project allowed to put a distance to each everyday life and daily urgencies, being an opportunity for learning from each other and developping your owns. It created a feeling of empowerment and sense of belonging (“I was not Hana from SARTR, but Hana from Chôros”). As mentionned before, the project resulted in a strong group cohesion : “You are definitely taking part in the same project !” noticed an observer. Furthermore, the project was based on common values, the cooperation was conceived on a clear role distribution, a fluid communication between partners and a good coordination. Also partners could rely on the experience and knowledge of coordinator Image Aiguë, both at the artistitic and administrative level. Some expressed a feeling of confidence and trust, to be part an open-minded group where one could show doubts. and the chance for each to do what you are good at, therefore finding your own position in the framework. Impact on partners’ background Impact of the project were said to be beyond expected results ! Their profiles was raised towards public authories and professional milieu because of the Creative Europe support (first supported project in Georgia, one of the first two in BosniaHerzegovina), it also resulted in enhanced professional recognition. The project required to involve new partners from various fields : cultural, social, academic sectors, officials, art schools... that were in general very supportive with activities. It resulted in initiating new local cross-sectorial networks of organisations and stakeholders , concerned with common values. It was an opportunity for implemening a non-traditionnal artistic approach and experimenting new formats of artistic and outreach products : to perform outside of theater venues accross the city or country, to reach new audiences (from small children to elders).


IV Chôros first conclusions: sarajevo war theater A first outlook on our common future

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One partner stated that staying isolated is not a way out for problems operators face at local level, since most of these challenges have global roots. Another declares : “We managed to overcome difficulties in implementation thanks to creativity ! ”. This exercise was positive for reassuring our perceptions and identifying new tracks of evolution for our cooperation. Even if these are expressions from people involved in the administrative side it is interesting how the group was influenced by the artistic approach lead by Image Aiguë. Like art has transmitted a “way of life” to the management. * Marie Le Sourd – On the Move, Alice Henaff – Plateforme Franco-Allemande, Anaïs Lukacs – MobiCulture, Maïa Sert, Sergio Chianca – BuroKultur ** Hana Karadža – Sarajevo War Theater, Cindy Le Clère – Théâtre Nomade, Henrique Praça – Setepès, Levan Khetaguri et Iury Mgebrishvili – IBCCP, Nicolas Bertrand, Julie Plozner et Youna Sevestre – Image Aiguë


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choros.eu flickr.com/photos/choroseu storify.com/choros Lyon September 2016

Chôros Project  

Activities, Reflections & Good Practices is a booklet published by Project Chôros, a cultural cooperation project between organizations from...

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