Conf/CfP - "Free speech! Free action!", 3 - 11 June 2017, Ukraine

Publish Date: Apr 14, 2017

Deadline: Apr 23, 2017

2nd edition “Free speech! Free action!”

Dnipro, Ukraine, June 3-11, 2017

Kultura Medialna announces an open call for artists for participation in the second edition of the project Civic Media Lab “Free speech! Free action!” that will take place in June 2017 in Dnipro, Ukraine. The project offers selected participants from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Germany, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine a residency opportunity for conducting artistic research and creating new works and projects. All works will be presented at the annual international festival of audiovisual art and new media in urban space “Construction” conducted by Kultura Medialna in June 2017.

Civic Media Lab is an ongoing project initiated in 2016 as a vibrant transregional network of artists, curators, researchers and activists from EU and former USSR countries for creating unconventional dialogue and stimulating long-term collaborations between art and culture professionals interested in contributing to the civil society in the countries of the Eastern Partnership and Eastern Europe.

The theme of the second edition of Civic Media Lab is freedom of media and expression in transforming societies. In the era of information wars, ‘alternative facts’, expansion of multiple propagandistic discourses and increase of censorship in the arts at the global level, we want to gather artistic practices and stimulate artistic projects that deal with freedom of speech and expression on many levels and help connecting artists from different countries despite the political tensions between and within them. The project “Free speech! Free action!” represents an alternative broadcasting channel and a space for reflection upon current sociopolitical issues important for all the participants - from equal human rights to freedom of press, from the role of art in a society in transition to resistance against the challenging of democratic regimes. “Free speech! Free action!” serves as an expanding platform for communication, exchange and cutting-edge artistic, activist and curatorial practices dealing with the subject of free media and information in the public realm including the virtual space. Dnipro, the largest city near the zone of the military conflict in Ukraine, was chosen as a location for the project deliberately. By inviting artists to work closely with the city’s local context we encourage connections between different people that we believe should remain in touch despite the political contradictions and manipulative media narratives.

Civic Media Lab invites artists working with different medium (video, media, sound) and formats (interactive installations, public performances) to submit their proposals. Eight selected participants will be invited to work on the realization of their projects in Dnipro, Ukraine during short-term residencies (up to 10 days) in May and June 2017. Created projects will be presented at the “Construction” festival that will take place in Dnipro from June 3 to 11, 2017. We are especially encouraging proposals exploring and testing new aesthetic and conceptual approaches in digital art and public spaces.

In addition to residencies Civic Media Lab will also organize workshops and artist talks as well as a symposium, where a wide specter of emerging artistic and curatorial practices dealing with physical and virtual public space will be discussed.

Civic Media Lab covers:

  • travel costs to Dnipro (optional two times)

  • subsistence costs (guest flat during the residency before the festival, and guest flat during the festival plus per diem)

  • residency and artist fee (approx. 550 EUR)

  • production and material costs (up to 650 EUR)

Participating artists are expected to:

  • Create a new piece on site in Dnipro during a 10-day residency in May or June
    (dates will be discussed with each participant separately)

  • Present your project at the CONSTRUCTION FESTIVAL
    (between June 3rd and 11th)

  • Participate in artist talks, public discussions and the final symposium

Eligible Countries:

Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Germany, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine

To apply please submit your application to: 

deadline: April 23, 2017


Set in front of an unresolved territorial conflict and the friction built up from varying historical narratives of the countries in the Eastern Partnership and Russia, there is an increasing loss of trust among the participants in civil society and a diminishing preparedness to make dialogues and to outline a perceptible collaboration. Trans-regional civil society networks of the kinds that existed in the past are currently hardly there at all. Therefore, the imagery of ‘’the other’’ above all else becomes stamped by national(-ist) discourse. The sense of self and the sense of the foreigner are becoming differentiated more strongly with increasingly deepening prejudice. The obvious weakness of critical voices in Russia in current social and political developments strengthens the process of keeping people apart. The aim of the CIVIC MEDIA LAB is to breakthrough these negative trends by making unconventional dialogue and long term trans-regional collaborations between people working in civil society from the countries in the Eastern Partnership.
Alternative perspectives, and perspectives from outside, as well as involvement in a trans-regional networks make possible the promotion of dialogue and understanding through civil society multipliers, as well as a knowledge- and experience-transfer though a ‘’best practises’’ method. With these possibilities a civil society engagement in the entire region will be delivered with sustainable clout, preventing new conflicts and dispelling friction. In the CIVIC MEDIA LAB, the participants should abandon old ways of thinking by approaching media and artistic practises and interventions that you are not used to: the CIVIC MEDIA LAB stands as an experiment with media and digital forms with common experience in the foreground in order to turn away from traditional presentations of ‘’the other’’. Participants can activate the borderless freedoms of the digital realm and harness them for an engagement with real space and time.
As the body running the project, | depart has established the conception of the CIVIC MEDIA LAB through many years of experience in unique international exhibitions, festivals and events: they commit themselves in their work to both the cultural valuation of interdisciplinary media projects and art production as such, to the valuation and production in whose meanings, regarding forms of expression, they can connect themselves to other cultural practises. With the CIVIC MEDIA LAB a creative platform for self-reflection and for learning at a global level is realised, a platform on which those taking part are urged to discover what is new, to inquire and question each other, to inspire and to challenge. The trans-disciplinary approach builds active bridges between various backgrounds and cultures, art disciplines, scenes and genres. The participants learn there to understand their activities as a creative force that - in terms of their long term dialogues with artists, producers, critics and audiences or publication - contribute in a constructive manner to dialogue and communication overall.
The format was prepared as a low-threshold ’’Do-it-yourself’’ format. The participants should become able to implement their new experiences and experimental methods within their individual specific locations and contexts. After this implementation participants will come together to present and reflect on their results and to analyse with hindsight their success factors, portability and the possible potential for approaches to intercultural dialogue. These results, as well as reports on different experiences, will be collected together in an online portal which shall be freely accessible to other civil society organisations. This media directed project is highly effective in multiplying itself. Digital formats have many possibilities as means of distribution. In this way, the public visibility of this project and its partners is assured within further arrangements like the Info-events of the Project and the public presentations and involvement in the already established event Konstrukcija.
CIVIC MEDIA LAB can be thought of as a pilot project. It should be build up further from the experiences of its first years progress in 2017. Long term, a Network of participants in the countries of the East-European Partnership and Russia should be built up as well as a ‘’best practise’’ principle for an online portal.

Civic Media Lab was initiated in 2016 by cultural managers Cornelia Reichel, Barbara Bernsmeier, Kathrin Oerters & Clemens A. Schöll, and Thomas Dumke.

For more information please click "Further Official Information" below.

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