Award-winning european communities are open to creativity and understanding

Communities involved in the 4-year project “MagiC Carpets”, funded by Creative Europe and led by Kaunas Biennial, have been nominated for the “Co-create & Comprehend” European community award, and the winners received a cash prize. The largest prize was awarded to the community of Novo Naselje in Serbia, outstanding for its scope of inclusion of the local people.

“Dialogues in movement” by Grossi Maglioni DUO / Novo Naselje community / Photo by Berta Tilmantaite / Nanook

Co-creation leads to comprehension

The first European community award “Co-create & Comprehend” took place at the end of the first year of the Creative Europe “MagiC Carpets” project. Curators, participating in the project, nominated six communities, out of sixteen that participated in the project within its first year, and four of them received cash prizes. The winners shared a total of 3000 EUR, which they will be able to use for various cultural and artistic activities as well as meet the needs of their communities. Nominees selected by the curators were assessed on their scope of inclusion, diversity, problems prevailing in their communities and the impact of artists’ residencies on the community in which they took place.

According to Project Manager Neringa Stoškutė, “We are very happy and proud that during the first year of “MagiC Carpets” project, the activity of various local communities and their involvement in the work with the emerging artists was immense. Within the scope of the project, we decided to award the communities that have been the most active and open to artists, to recognise their involvement and award them. It is important to mention that the European community award “Co-create & Comprehend” is awarded not to the organisations or emerging artists that participate in “MagiC Carpets” project, but local communities. This is what makes this award exceptional!”

The main winner of the European community award “Co-create & Comprehend” is Novo Naselje community in the city of Novi Sad, Serbia. Other winners include FOCUS Casa dei Diritti Sociali community in Italy, Wilten district community in Austria, Jelsa community on Hvar Island, with the remaining two nominees of children’s community in Slon Village (Romania) and washerwomen in Guimarães (North Portugal).

New experience for the community of Novo Naselje

Novi Sad is the second largest city in Serbia and the capital of the autonomous region of Vojvodina. Since its very establishment, it has been a multicultural city full of different cultures, ethnic groups and religions. During the economic boom in 1960–1970, the number of residents doubled in size, and the then government of Yugoslavia built two new districts that were designed to reflect the socialist-modernist utopias. However, because of subsequent economic troubles and political upheaval, the cultural infrastructure of the city has not been developed, and up to this day, city’s cultural operators carry out their activities in unconventional places not designed for them: yards of multi-story buildings, children’s playgrounds or simply under the balconies of their home. One of the oldest and most active districts of Novi Sad is called Novo Naselje, the employees of which have received the main European community award “Co-create & Comprehend”.

“Dialogues in movement – Inner dialogues” by Izabela Mašić / Novo Naselje community / Photo by Organizers

It was decided to grant the first prize to the community of Novo Naselje represented by Novo Kulturno Naselje organisation. This decision was motivated by a fact that this summer, the community was an active participant in the artistic project by an Italian artistic duo Grossi Maglioni. Stories told by the local residents became a part of the work of art developed by the artists, while another Serbian artist Izabela Mašić complemented the installation with an interactive project, making the local residents participants of the project as well.

“Dialogues in movement” by Grossi Maglioni DUO / Novo Naselje community / Photo by Berta Tilmantaite / Nanook

The community intends to use this award for cultural activities. Novo Kulturno Naselje organisation will announce an open call for the local community to offer various ideas on how this prize could be used. According to the representatives of Novo Kulturno Naselje, they will pay a lot of attention to those initiatives that will include the entire neighbourhood.

“Dialogues in movement” – Night dialogues, by Grossi Maglioni DUO / Novo Naselje community / Photo by Organizers

Other winners and nominees

Even the Italians themselves call Italy the gates to Europe, since almost every city becomes home for both Italians and migrants from Africa, Near East and other areas of the world, where conflicts take place. It is natural that there are organisations founded in Italy that represent migrant rights. One such organisation is FOCUS Casa dei Diritti Sociali, an independent organisation that has been responsible for the protection of social rights in Italy for over thirty years, including migrant integration, protection of vulnerable people, increase of access to education, medical aid, etc. It is a community centre established in Rome, where the Croatian artist-in-residence Hrvoslava Brkušić held her creative workshop and used the sound to create an inclusive dialogue with migrants from Peru, Guinea, Nigeria, Morocco, Brazil, Bangladesh and Georgia.

Courtesy FOCUS – Casa dei Diritti Sociali / Photo by Andrea Piras

The award was also granted to the community of Wilten district, Innsbruck, Austria and Jelsa city on Hvar Island, Croatia. Wilten is an archaic and multicultural community in the third largest Austrian region of Tirol. During the artistic residency that took place here, together with emerging artists Daniela Palimariu from Romania and Ninutsa Shatberashvili from Georgia, migrants were also included. The community plans to use this award to develop an educational programme for the local children. In the meantime, Jelsa city is an agricultural coastal district in the territory of Hvar Island in Croatia. The main economy of the city is seasonal tourism. The clash between the traditional and tourist culture was reflected in the project by a Portuguese artist Paulina Almeida, as it involved school students who created the Book of the Future and participated in her performance.

Performative Walk (at abandoned village) by: Paulina Almeida & Jakov Rubinić / Association Humac, Jelsa Community / Photo by Organizers

The remaining nominees were a community of washerwomen from the Portuguese town of Guimarães, who cultivate the disappearing tradition of doing laundry in the public tanks and the children’s community that wants to increase their connection between the outside world and their small village of Slon in Romania.

Community of washerwomen from the Portuguese town of Guimarães / Photo by Organizers

MagiC Carpets is an international project that connects local communities and artists for joint artistic activities. The 4-year project is represented by Kaunas Biennial and co-funded by Creative Europe. During the Year 1 of the project, 20 artistic residencies have been organised in 13 partner countries. Selected by the curators, artists worked with local communities, conducted research, collected their stories and at the end of their residencies, introduced their works of art, inspired by the communities and what they have shared.

“Traces of Time” by Ida Blazicko / Guimarães, Portugal / Photo by Berta Tilmantaitė / Nanook

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