Young curators & art operators network

  • Hans Rosenstroem, "The Baltic Sea", exhbition 'Nordic Art Today: Conceptual Debts, Broken Dreams, and New Horizons',  2011, Loft Project ETAGI, St Petersburg
    1/1 | Hans Rosenstroem, "The Baltic Sea", exhbition 'Nordic Art Today: Conceptual Debts, Broken Dreams, and New Horizons', 2011, Loft Project ETAGI, St Petersburg
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About the project

'Young Curators & Art Operators Network' is a curatorial network of young and emerging curators from the North-West Russia and Sweden/Nordic countries to be started by Intercult (Stockholm) and Creative Association of Curators TOK (St Petersburg). The main objective of the network is to stimulate a dialogue and cooperation between art professionals interested in sustainable curatorial and artistic practices in public spaces as well as research-based multidisciplinary projects that bring together and connect various communities.

The network and its activities will create a set of opportunities for various people to be agents of change and stimulate an open and democratic dialogue between different social groups and representatives of different communities, where special attention will be paid to equal representation of people of different gender, background, ethnicity, social status and age. The methodology elaborated by the network will include description of different ways of how artists and curators using art projects in the public sphere can increase the awareness of the citizens of the influence of, for instance, grass root movements on various urban processes and maintain a dialogue with city authorities for a joint discussion of the city problems and challenges. 

The project idea arose after the representatives of TOK and Intercult met at the networking event organized by SI in St Petersburg and found out similarities in their approach to their work in the cultural field. We both believe in the power of culture and in creating meeting platforms for future international collaborations. Understanding that lack of a focused, productive and self-developing network of emerging curators, artists and art operators from Nordic countries and North-West Russia that would contribute to creating new knowledge and serve as a platform for developing collaborative projects, Intercult and TOK decided to start one and bring together artists/curators with a specific focus on art in public spaces and social practice, local governments and members of various urban communities.

Bringing together the previous experience of organizing art, educational and community-based projects and experience on international collaboration processes we decided to implement a project with a structure that would include mutual educational trips of various lengths of NW Russian and Swedish artists/curators to Russia and Sweden where they could explore the local context for a more productive collaboration.

In between the trips the project participants will form an active working group, which will be working on producing new methods of work in the public sphere, with their research findings and results to be accessible to a wider art/governmental/other communities on international level.

Stockholm in May 2015
The first step will be a research and educational trip of young curators and artists from NW Russia (St Petersburg, Arkhangelsk, Severodvinsk, Kalniningrad and Murmansk)  to Sweden to meet their colleagues and local agents 15-21 May 2015. Intercult will organise meetings with local partners, art institutions, local governments and audiences for collecting expertise, knowledge and various materials to be used for project development. All intersted curators/ art operators will be invited to a workshop for initiating of a common discussion on future collaboration. 

Saint Petersburg in October 2015
Next is a research and educational trip of young curators and artists from Sweden to NW Russia in October 2015 to meet  local partners, art institutions, local governments and audiences for collecting expertise and knowledge. Swedish participants will also join an international conference of public art and social practice organized by TOK at one of the local universities of St Petersburg. Russian project participants also take part in the conference, which becomes one of the project's important discursive platforms for knowledge production and exchange.

Residencies 2016
2016 we are planning short-term specific basecamps (residencies) between project participants in both countries. We plan for 1 week’s basecamp for 2 participants at a time for research, production and presentation for local audience. During the residencies there will be closer discussions, planning, research and dissemination of the upcoming common projects.  

Involving young curators & art operators
TOK and Intercult will be responsible for involving direct and indirect participants in each country consequently by inviting young artists and curators to join the project as participants, by engaging art institutions and local governments as partners and contributors (meeting with participants and discussing their work, discussing potential joint projects), by spreading information through various channels (including local media in North West Russia) about project development in order to engage potential audiences and connect them with the project participants yet on the phase of the research trips. Participants will be encouraged to in advance prepare the basecamps trips 2016 with a continuous follow up of the preparations. During the base camps (residencies) we will enable the personal contacts and extern communication of the results to the culture/art sector and encourage meetings and common productions. We will also involve both direct participants and other actors in creating a video documentation of the Project. We foresee solid amount of time that our organisations will have to contribute to the project during two years period. 

Involving others
Since the project is supposed to be an intellectual platform for generating new knowledge, its recipients will be a large number of international art operators interested in public art and social practice, art professors, art students, and art institutions, who can pass on this knowledge further and also track the work of the network and/or join it in the future. The work of the network will also be aimed at distributing information about art in public spaces through various open events to various audiences including urban communities that have little connection to contemporary art but would be interested to learn more and be a part of the art/creative process.

One of the main project's ideas is to create a mechanism that will be operating locally further very much depending on the initiatives of the stakeholders involved and will continue after the two year-time. Projects participants, representatives of local governments and art institutions will have had a platform for a dialogue and cooperation as well as necessary skills and understanding for continuing their work. The projects will encourage initiation of new mutual projects and will help participants to start them so that they could work on them onwards independently and involve new agents thus helping the network of art operators grow and get stronger.

Intercult is a lead partner of the project
As a European Centre for Culture in Sweden Intercult creates international meeting and collaborative umbrella spaces for arts engaged in working with local communities & policies. Being a founding member of R//C, member of Culture Action Europe and initiator of knowledge platform Access Europa, Intercult is working actively together with national and international culture organizations to create new collaborations. We believe that culture is a crucial tool for the healthy, democratic development of our cities and societies. The main objective of Intercult is to connect local and international initiatives; across disciplines and in multiple partnerships. We bring together artists, operators and audience at meeting spaces across boarders. We are lead partners and collaborating partners in many cultural European projects.  
TOK is a project partner of Intercult in Russia
Creative Association of Curators TOK is a non-profit art organization founded by Anna Bitkina and Maria Veits in 2010 as a platform for conducting interdisciplinary projects in the fields of contemporary art and design and social sciences. Today TOK is an interactive intellectual platform for collaborations of curators, artists, researchers, designers, sociologists, anthropologists and other professionals in the sphere of art and culture from Russia and other countries. The main goal of TOK is to elaborate and realize projects that are based on the research of cultural processes in contemporary society. One of our main principles is the combination of theory and practice and a cross-disciplinary approach. 

Duration of the project:  March 2015 - December  2016

The project is financed by Swedish Institute Creative Force