Of course first discussions were impossible without coffee. Or was it beer? There is nothing that hurts a working relationship like a non existend human relationship between A-team heroes. Khm. And then we had another drink. Or was it two. Which by now counts as tree. Damn. This art thing is getting out of control. No no no. Stop. It wasn’t like that at all. AT ALL! First working meeting was like that:
This Saturday the new Unicorn Union booth was set up at ICA Fornanders, our local grocery store, to spread information about the project and to find new participants.
Aleixia Mellor and I Karl Hallberg as the project manager from Not Quite has been working with the implication of The Uncorn Union, for a couple of weeks now. We started off with identifying and listing different points of contact of the community. – Wich occations, spaces or connections would be suitable for getting participants of the Unicorn Union? We have been in contact with representatives of the different local associations and have found an interest from several of a future collaboration where we could make an artistic take on regular local activities, such as the estate auctions, or hot air ballon flying. To have a wider ppicture of the community Alexia has adressed the individual habitant of Fengersfors, using our initial contacts with the associations as the starting point of reaching people.
It is very intresting to experience how an unexpected question can create many possibilities. Alexia has with her question, describe a place that has a special meaning to you, and her genuine interest in the answer, given the opportunity to people to take time, chose carefully their spots and in the same time reflect on their current situation. Many of the participants have experienced their home in a renewed way.
The collection of stories is starting to tell us something about how people feel about Fengersfors and why they chose to live here. There has been many great meetings and the discussion is spreading in the community. There is many ideas of how this information can be used, that will be our next step in the process. We are now working on a collaboration with the choire for this.
Karl Hallberg – Not Quite Fengersfors
The young visual/design artist from Scottland Isaac Wilcox will spend time at PRAC in Bostina, Bulgaria between 15 July and 5 August 2012. He will be assisted by young Bulgarian visual/design artist Gabriela Tzonkova. Together as an artistic team they will work with locals on the infrastructure issue in the village.
The idea about the result of the project is that the young artists will create an artwork together with villagers on one of the streets in the village in order to focus the attention of authorities on this heavy issue, which not an isolated problem in Rhodopes but is relevant all over the country. Of course, this initial idea will be developed during the residency.
Tackling community issues through creative action.
From May till July 2012, A-Team: Artists for Change will realise four creative processes in Sweden, Bulgaria, Latvia and Slovenia. Each A-Team consists of
- 1 artist (from another country)
- 1 project manager (who represents the hosting Trans Europe Halles centre)
- 1 local mediator (local community professional or volunteer leading the community dimension, whose professional skills ideally relate to the A-Team´s task)
Each team will work with a community for approximately 1 month, addressing a specific question of relevance to the local community. The work will be carried out through close partnerships between the independent cultural centres in question, the artist and the local inhabitants. This is the place where the 4 A-Teams will be documented.
What are the overall project aims of the A-Team?
- Test practices for sustainable working relationships between artists and the community
- Create opportunities led by independent cultural centres whereby local communities and European cultural workers intersect to address issues of civic concern through stimulating art processes
- Liberate artistic potential in addressing these issues. Create possibilities for artists to use their skills on a wider platform
- Provide the community with an outcome and a post-project plan for further collaboration on the issues in question, if necessary
- Documentation of the 4 A-Teams on the A-Team blog.
On what principles is the A-Team concept based?
- Relevance of the work to the local community: the process should be as close to, accessible and meaningful for locals as possible.
- Collaborations: in order to build bridges with the local community it is useful to create partnerships with other local associations, organisations, administrations, individuals.
- Process before product orientation: each A-Team starts with a theme/topic to address collaboratively and it’s mission is to provide possible solutions through creative action.
- Shared decision making: the A-Team process evolves as a set of equal relationships and an organic process between the three stakeholders: the artist, the centre (represented by the centres A-Team manager), the local community (represented by the mediator).
When and where will it all happen?
A-Teams are planned to be realised as follows:
May/ June 2012 in NOASS, Riga (Latvia)
July 2012 in Not Quite, Fengersfors (Sweden), Pekarna, Maribor (Slovenia) and Pro Rodopi Foundation, Bostina (Bulgaria)
4 A-Teams in 4 countries, 4 artists working with a cultural manager and supported by a local mediator. And here the story will be told. Every A-Team is challenged with a very specific theme but as if this wasn´t challenge enough, they will enter an unusual collaboration and act as a small collective intelligence into which each component brings specific skills: artistic sensibility and vision, managerial ability and vision and deep knowledge of the territory. The specific mix of both skills and personalities confronting the previously defined theme will determine the nature of the process and its outputs. This is a place for documentation, reflection and exchange. Between the components of one A-Team, between the different A-Teams, between A-Teams and the public, be it artists, cultural workers, locals, NGO´s, administrators or other.