Courageous Citizens 2018: Meet the 31 Research & Development Grantees
In May 2018, we launched a new open call for Research & Development Grants under the theme Courageous Citizens. We received more than 500 applications from all corners of Europe and beyond. As a result, we welcome 31 new grantees and their projects into our network! Their bold and daring projects range from raising eco-consciousness in the city, being decolonial detectives, empowering people with physical disabilities, to re-inventing one’s heritage in the context of migration and displacement.
Meet the 31 new Research & Development grantees & their projects
Jessica de Abreu – 100 years of Black Presence in The Netherlands
Jessica de Abreu co-founded New Urban Collective (NUC), a network for students and young professionals of African descent, and The Black Archives, the first historical archive on race/colonialism/slavery in the Netherlands. Through the proposed project, NUC will develop an oral history and art project that preserves Black Dutch (migration) history and good practices around social change and activism. This historical information will be made available via a website with videos and sound fragments. An exhibition, side-events and publications in the Dutch online paper De Correspondent are also part of the plan.
Khaled Barakeh – The Syrian Biennale [Germany]
Syrian artist and lecturer Khaled Barakeh wants to organise the Syrian Biennale – the first mobile exhibition showcasing Syrian and international artists within the framework of a biennale. The Syrian Biennale will change its location with every edition, following the route of Syrian refugees from Lebanon to central Europe and elsewhere around the world. The Biennale aims to be more than an exhibition of contemporary art – it intends to be a high-end art event accompanied by lectures, performances, music and debates that will benefit the local community and build a sense of belonging for newcomers.
Mohamed Ben Ghazi – Creating a “Think-and-Do” Tank for Southern Tunisia’s Cultural Industry
In response to three identified challenges in a study by MedCulture, Mohamed Ben Ghazi’s idea is to organise a participatory advocacy campaign that brings together young artists, industry leaders, members of the media and civil society representatives from across southern Tunisia in order to collectively identify solutions to these three challenges and ultimately to submit policy proposals to the national government in Tunis.
Raluca Croitoru – Purple dot [Romania]
Netherlands-based Romanian artist Raluca Croitoru’s idea aims to change the mindset of people in Bucharest. She hopes to offer small, sustainable solutions and eco-conscious attitudes to the inhabitants of the city, by introducing the concept of repairing and buying directly from small producers. She not only wants to help revive crafts and stimulate an alternative way of perceiving consumption but also to reopen workshop spaces that existed long before the communist reign. The history engraved in the walls of these small workshops is an invaluable heritage that tells a powerful story about cultural diversity because craftsmen of Jewish, Armenian, Russian and Roma descent have all worked together in building this community that is now on the verge of extinction.
Thomas Diafas – Thessaloniki Queer Arts Festival Platform [Greece]
Thomas Diafas’ idea is to explore how the Thessaloniki Queer Arts Festival can create a long-term change in entrenched misconceptions and prejudice towards the queer and LGBT community through art and cultural activities. With the research and development grant, the platform will have the capacity to cultivate strategic partnerships within the local police, schools and church. Establishing allies within, and co-working with these three institutions, will help us refine our approach based on their more intimate knowledge and experience.
Levent Duran – Murmuring Draft-Dodgers [Germany]
There are hundreds of thousands of men in Turkey whose lives have been blocked because they are fleeing from the mandatory military service. These men are being marginalised socially and are pushed into an oppressed position in their daily lives. This project aims to change that and propose a civic service. The aim of the idea is to create a web platform for exchange of experiences by men in the same situation and useful ideas/models with the power to bring change. Levent Duran and his collaborators are also planning to produce a short movie mixing tools of contemporary art, humour and political activism.
Nour Abo Faraj – Trace [Syria]
Taste Art targets audiences in Damascus from different religious and regional backgrounds, in a programme to attract Syrian youngsters to art events. Many Syrian youngsters are growing up in a challenging and isolated environment, forcing large segments of Syrian youth to live in virtual realities of social media. Taste Art wants to invite youngsters to real-time events and enable real time encounters. The idea involves a research phase [survey], designated events and also a website.
Cherelle Harding – Windrush Strikes Back: Decolonising Global Warwickshire [United Kingdom
Warwickshire is well-known as Shakespeare’s county and the cultural heart of England. What many do not know is that it was also the industrial and ideological heart of Empire. Representing ‘The Global Warwickshire Collective’ (a group consisting of scholars, activists and community engagement practitioners) Cherelle writes: “Surprisingly for some, then, our quintessentially English county has deep historical and contemporary connections with the struggle against colonialism in the Caribbean, and the wider Empire.” Grounded in the conviction that “We are here, because you were there”, the project aims at recruiting local descendants of the Windrush Generation to act as “Decolonial Detectives”, digging deeper into inter-related hidden histories. It is the first step in a process that should end in founding a ‘glocal’ history museum.
Frederikke Hansen – Talking About Art [Denmark]
The applicant, Centre for Art on Migration Politics (CAMP), is a not-for-profit exhibition venue for art discussing questions of displacement, migration, immigration and asylum. They are located in Trampoline House in Copenhagen and produce exhibitions on displacement and migration with renowned international artists as well as less established practitioners. Earlier they developed a programme in which refugees and asylum seekers were recruited and educated to become guides in CAMP. Now CAMP would like to extend this programme, through international collaboration and professional trainings.
Vonne Hemels – The Book Project [Greece]
Boomboomtales wants to open a small cross-cultural printing house where locals and migrants in Lesvos work together to create books. Using a risograph printer – an innovative, cost-effective and extremely environmentally friendly machine – they intend to offer a space for creativity, learning and co-creation. Boomboomtales is an organisation that focuses on storytelling workshops and publishing. Together with migrants they publish books, stories, zines, postcards, maps, comic books and posters. They make publications that promote inclusion, diversity, non-violent resistance and alternatives to the status quo.
Olga Khabibulina – ME MYgrant Culture [Poland]
The project idea is aimed at fostering intercultural dialogues and better understanding of cultural heritage of the migrants of Ukrainian, Moldovan and Georgian origins and local communities in nine towns in Poland, Romania and Greece. The main purposes of the project ME MYgrant Culture is to map the needs and challenges of migrants in Poland, Romania and Greece; present recommendations for intercultural dialogues between migrants and local communities; produce 30 video-cards, 30 post-cards and 9 posters promoting the cultures of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia in Poland, Romania and Greece respectively; and develop a manual – “Art Tool Box” – with creative tools and methods to use in building a multicultural society in project countries.
Ivo Krug – Tek Bunkeri – build a future with forgotten concrete [Germany]
Tek Bunkeri’s idea is to create a network-organisation that works via an online platform and offline workshop and event-series that empower rural communities to develop and realise sustainable and beneficial projects for unused but potentially useful military facilities in Albania. The team behind the idea already published research that gained widespread attention. The team’s goal is to raise awareness about the importance of public places and about how citizens can contribute directly to keep public places alive through participation and commitment.
Geraldine Lavelle – Improving quality of life for physically disabled people through sport [Ireland]
The aim of the project is to develop an online peer-to-peer platform to disseminate educational webinars and training tools to empower and educate individuals with physical disabilities (as well as their families and the wider community) about the importance of physical activity for overall promotion of positive health and wellbeing. The idea has huge potential to influence national policy action research on disability, equality and inclusivity in Ireland. The online platform, with media tools and webinars, aims to educate and raise awareness of key issues impacting on individuals with disabilities.
Mio Lindner – page_turner: The development of BuchLabs as a means to empower [Germany]
Alessio Mazzaro is an artist who, on 11 March 2017, reopened the Edinost, a Slovenian newspaper printed in Trieste (Italy) that gave voice to the first anti-fascist movement in Europe. It was shut down by fascists in 1928. “I reopened it as a multicultural space of dialogue and collective writing journal that I direct to investigate borders, fascisms, politics of memory and the role of arts in re-discussing unresolved conflicts. I want to enlarge it to an online and printed free newspaper; to serve as a laboratory where artists, academics and citizens can create collectively a framework for a new antifascism. A newspaper that keeps posing questions, to generate critical thinking at European level. But also a space where, on one of its two sides, cultural and economic migrants can expose acceptance problems.”
Iana Mikhalina – KROPOTKINA 11 [Russia]
“We want to create a space/resource centre located in St Petersburg, Russia, where critical theory, art and community practices merge through activities like workshops, participatory art projects, research, body conferences, reading groups and prepare some artistic replies to current social issues. We hope to strengthen the networking and knowledge exchange between regional and international social art scenes, feminist and other emancipatory agendas, and want to present our experimental space and share our experience digitally with the whole world through interviews, reviews and artworks.”
Mateja Moric – Overcoming the Culture of Humiliation [Slovenia]
In Slovenia there is a big stigma around LGBTIQ+ identities. LGBTIQ+ people are faced with institutional discrimination and oppression. Research conducted in 2017 shows most of the young LGBTIQ+ people faced violence and/or discrimination based on their sexual orientation and/or gender identity from peers during their education and that institutional response failed. To overcome this humiliation the project aims to have a presence both offline and online. The offline part would be focused on working with young LGBTIQ+ people with the experience of (cyber)bullying throughout the series of art-oriented workshops with ongoing pedagogical support. The online part will be used for showcasing the art of the LGBTIQ+ youth and raising awareness amongst the general public and policymakers.
Sana Murrani – Creative Recovery: Mapping Refugees’ Memories of Home, as Heritage [England]
“How can refugees make new homes that draw upon the culture of the material, spatial and social environments from which they have been displaced: recovering and re-inventing their heritage in a very different context?” Starting from this question Sana and 15 volunteers from the refugee community living in Plymouth will co-develop the project that involves digital mapping workshops, representing and expressing publicly, locally and domestically varieties of home-making memories, fostering mutual aid and interests between different refugee groups, and with local community networks.
Nidaa Nassar – Young Citizens Against intra-Palestinian Violence [Israel]
Against the backdrop of a dramatic increase in violent crime and especially gun crime among the Arab community in Israel, this project will research the internal and external social-cultural, economic and political explanations for this violence, and investigate options of interventions to combat the existing culture of violence and build peace in four Palestinian localities. The Baladna Youth Organisation research will be presented through an extensive report, four media articles and by interviews with the research group on local TV and/or radio.
Clara Nchama – Connecting Africa: Bridges between Europe and African Cultures [Spain]
Connecting Africa is a project that wants to strengthen the idea of Africa as a part of the European diversity. The project wants to be a tool for inclusiveness, and a speaker for minorities. After a research and development phase – including the publication of a guidebook of resources, interviews, biographies about African Cultures in Spain and a pilot programme in collaboration with the National Museum of Anthropology – the project aims to establish ‘The Festival of Culture and Arts of Africa and its Diaspora’, which will take place in Madrid once a year.
Lilia Nenescu – Urban sustainable food systems: models of interventions in Posta Veche [Moldova]
The central idea of the project is to think of alternative models of urban planning in Chisinau – starting from the Posta Veche neighbourhood – that have food self-sufficiency of urban neighbourhoods as a central paradigm. At the end of the research a methodological toolkit (on how to engage communities in participatory practices around the issue of food and gardening in the city), a mapping of existing practices related to food and sustainability in the city of Chisinau and a collection of policy recommendations on urban gardening should be created.
Aris Papadopoulos – CRATE – Center for Refugee Art Technology and Environment [Greece]
CRATE is about establishing a refugee-led Center for Refugee Art Technology and Environment in Greece, which will produce exhibitions, workshops and knowledge intensive events in the cross-over between contemporary culture, humanitarian design and 21st century technology. CRATE will not be limited to a single cultural space, but will produce and disseminate its content in situ in refugee camps, hot spots, urban settings and hospitality centres across Greece, making culture, art, design and technology inclusive and accessible to marginalised refugee communities. It thereby explores the topic of cultural citizenship and what tools and methods can be used by refugees to prototype it, new forms of curatorial engagement and questions of how contemporary art, design and technology can accelerate the cultural integration of refugees.
Nikoletta Polydorou – Integration Sounds [Cyprus]
Integration Sounds aim to make music education accessible to all children and young people through the creation of orchestras and choirs. The second objective is to promote respect for and recognition of people from disadvantaged and vulnerable groups of society. This project will do so by bringing two target groups together: unaccompanied refugee youth (aged 15-18) living in Nicosia, and marginalised children and young immigrants (aged 10-15) who participate in the Sistema inspired programme “Sistema Cyprus”. Departure point for the project is to bring the two groups together in music workshops.
Danilo Prnjat – Mini-Pogon for production of Commonness [Serbia]
The Mini-Pogon is an experimental collective production recycling plant that explores alternative methods of production, cooperative relationships, self-management and develops the concept of equity with an economic foothold. The collective, of which Danilo Prnjat is a member, has built three machines for recycling plastic, in order to subvert the economic model and showcase alternative. They will reach out to refugee communities in Serbia, for workshops and discussion sessions with refugee communities concerning joint work organisation and planning. They plan to publicly share outcomes and present a multilingual manual.
Adriana Radu – UNPROTECTED [Romania]
With her website and YouTube channel SEX vs. THE STORK, Adriana Radu steps into the realm Romanian governments and the school have neglected: sexuality education. “Romania has the second-highest adolescent fertility rate and the highest syphilis and HIV incidences in 15 to 24 youth in the EU.” Since online projects do not reach all youngsters, UNPROTECTED will be an offline project. In collaboration with Animact – a local theatre organisation in Targu Mures – and other third parties, a play will be developed. The play will ‘tour’ the country, and aims to attract policymakers, teachers and parents to facilitate the conveying of the wishes of young people to parents and the authorities.
Sarah Story – The First Six Months – Our Welcome to Europe [United Kingdom]
Their idea will be implemented by the Refugee Info Bus. Their mission is simple: Operating at the frontlines of Europe’s ongoing refugee crisis, they provide refugees in Europe with Wifi, technology, a human rights education, legal information and together they produce collaborative journalism for advocacy purposes. The First Six Months – Our Welcome to Europe will create a series of informational videos, a documentary and written report, led by a team of three refugee volunteers, who will have just arrived as asylum seekers in Greece, the UK and Germany.
Duygu Toprak – ORTAKLAŞA: Commoning the city [Turkey]
A new idea of imagining the city outside the borders of neoliberalism and of democratising how urban spaces are formed is needed. ORTAKLAŞA focuses on the urban commons in Turkey, which have flourished especially after 2013 [when the Gezi protests happened]. Duygu Toprak and her partners foresee two tangible outcomes of the project: an online platform for urban commons and a collaborative publication.
Numu S. Touray – Open mic to unheard voices [Italy]
Numu S. Touray has already hosted radio-shows in Gambia and in Palermo. His idea is to train marginalised and young people to create their own radio show to foster social inclusion. Numu believes radio can be used as a tool for expression, to promote social inclusion and to unlock the talent of marginalised and young people. He also believes radio speaking requires a lot of skills that should be developed through a safe learning environment. He now wants to take his idea to Marseille and via workshops will open dialogue between people from different backgrounds. The shows produced will cover social issues and will advocate for the inclusion of marginalised people. It will raise awareness and change the view of local people towards excluded groups of society
Simeon Vasilev – Research, Publication and Exhibition on Homosexuality during Communism in Bulgaria
Being gay or lesbian during communism was a taboo. Through this project, the GLAS Foundation wants to research ‘being the different one’ during the communist regime in Bulgaria. The research will culminate with a print publication and a specifically designed exhibition, combining various artistic approaches and sharing personal stories. GLAS Foundation believes this project can help to transform attitudes in Bulgaria, which lacks positive homosexual role models in society. The historical story has yet been untold through the means of art and culture.
Adinda Veltrop – The Future Is Intersectional (working title) [The Netherlands]
Based on four of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Women’s March Netherlands will develop an intersectional framework to educate young people at three levels: primary school, secondary school and college-level. By providing cultural, social and politically engaged education that revolves around inclusiveness, we will create a dialogue between educators and youth that serve as an addition to the standardised education curriculum. In addition we want to ‘network’ and amplify the voices of bi-cultural youth in the Netherlands, youth who identify as LGBTQI+ and those who want to engage with social awareness and politics.
Minouche Wardenaar – The City is Ours [The Netherlands]
The City is Ours will be an explorative democratic process resulting in an art exhibition by Framer Framed and Jasmine Foundation. It aims to display the artistic expressions and ideas about public space of young women from Tunis and Amsterdam. This project ensures these teenage girls have more say in public space design by connecting with local policy makers, enable them to participate in art practices and to empower them to decide their own social and political stories and definitions.