Panel 1/2: "Culture and care: rebuilding alternative cultural spaces & ourselves"

  • 31.05.24
  • Trans Europe Halles x Alter-Places

Alter-Places' first rendez-vous

Trans Europe Halles 97 conference will take place in Tartu (Estonia) on the theme ‘the art of survival’ and on that occasion, Alter-places is organising two hybrid panels coordinated by the Ukrainian partner Izyolatsia and the Canadian partner Long Winter / DIY Space Project. These panels will focus on alternative cultural places and projects, and particularly on the critical issues they face and the impact and changes they bring about.

Topics of the panel

As urban landscapes embody a series of injustices (displacement, gentrification, marginalization, ...), alternative cultural places (ACP) have diversified their action, extending beyond the cultural sector, to contemporary forms of solidarity. These renewed practices and somewhat undisciplined paths are developed by ACPs communities to open their spaces and inhabit them with new sets of competences focusing on care, transmission, pedagogy, co-creation, and any form fostering and welcoming diversity of expression and selves. However, ACPs are faced with tensions, backlash movements, official censorship as well as hidden forms of self-censorship. Our panel will explore some of ACPs’ strategies and challenges associated with such transformations and issues, including work organization, alliances, censorship, instrumentalization – as well as the space for hope cultural spaces and communities can nurture in a contemporary urban environment.

This panel will be moderated by Laura Aufrere and animated by following panellists :

1. Anastasiia Ponomareva

1. Anastasiia Gulak

3. Amy Gottung

4. Louna Sbou

5. Olivier Le Gal

Panellist 1 - Anastasiia Ponomareva

Co-founder of Urban Curators agency (est. in 2015) and CO-HATY project. Before the full-scale Russian invasion, she worked in Kyiv with projects at the junction of art, architecture, urban design, and the development of territorial communities. CO-HATY is a project to create housing for internally displaced people. Project team implements architectural and urban expertise, cooperate with local governments and property owners, raise budgets for repairing and furnishing, coordinate the construction process, and design furniture for retrofitted spaces.

Panellist 2 - Anastassia Gulak

Ukrainian architect, innovation manager, architect, strategy developer. Curator of IZYUM_recovery project. Project aims to create a visible and attractive sustainable concept for rebuilding of an residential area in Izyum city (highly damaged by Russian attacks) that will take into account all the factors of change that need to rethink living spaces for their effective functioning and communication with Nature and Humans. (they are subgrantees of IZOLYATSIA + TEH + Maly Berlin subgranting programme ZMINA: Rebuilding)

Panellist 3 - Amy Gottung

Amy Gottung is a director, producer, consultant, fundraiser, and writer based in Canada. Bridging sectors and disciplines, her practice evades an easy identity, and encompasses a diverse, international roster of projects, clients, and collaborators.

As a media and cultural producer, Amy has led the creation and realization of custom XR work, non-fiction television and video, international festivals, art-tech hackathons, operas, and other trans-disciplinary forms.

As a consultant and fundraiser, Amy works with organizations in creative, social-purpose, and cross-sector contexts to build strategy, structures, and support. Recent projects include a collaboration with VibeLab, a global leader in night culture, on consultations to inform the City of Toronto’s night economy strategy.

From 2016-2020 Amy served as the Executive Director of Toronto’s singular “anarchic, circus-like” alt music and art series, Long Winter (Rolling Stone), founded in 2012. In three seasons, she helped to establish collective-based frameworks and a board of directors, introduced international collaborations with the co-production of a 2019 festival in Paris, France, tripled revenue and activity, and ushered the organization into annual operating funding streams.

Amy is the founder of several cross-sector interventions and international exchanges in support of alternative cultural scenes and spaces. Initiatives include a festival and research conference, co-presented by Long Winter (Toronto) and La Station Gare des Mines (Paris) in 2021, and the DIY Space Project: a multi-city research and advocacy program realized in partnership with Trans Europe Halles (a network of 100+ grassroots cultural centres) and leaders from government, real estate, and culture in Canada and Europe. She is an active partner in Alterplaces: a trans-disciplinary, trans-national research project focused on the sustainability of alternative cultural spaces, based out of the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle, and funded by a grant from the European Union.

Amy was a co-creator and creative producer of A More Beautiful Journey, a custom augmented reality app that animated hundreds of kilometres of Toronto public transit line with original, spatialized music and sound from nearly 40 artists and ensembles. The interactive app was available free of charge to TTC riders and listeners around the world from September 2022 - June 2023.

Amy holds a SSHRC-funded M.A. from the University of Toronto and a B. Mus from McGill University. She has lived and worked in Toronto, New York, Montréal, Sagueney (QC), Zürich, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and British Columbia. She speaks English and (pretty good) French.

Amy collaborates and experiments with partners around the world.

Panellist 4 - Louna Sbou

Louna Sbou is a curator, mentor, and cultural producer. She is the director of Oyoun in Berlin, the anti-disciplinary arts centre with a particular focus on queer-feminist, decolonial and class-critical perspectives. Her lived experience as a queer Muslim and first generation immigrant led to an unconventional journey allowing her to actively engage in shaping contemporary curatorship while experimenting with a non-Western approach to collective-making. She has curated numerous exhibitions, performances, and interdisciplinary festivals including Un:Imaginable in Rwanda and Bosnia (2022/2023) with Hope Azeda, Moudjahidate* (2022) with Nadja Makhlouf, Maya Inés Touam and Sarah El Hamed, Embodied Temporalities in Berlin, Birmingham, Prague and Lesbos (2022) with Ahmed Baba, Gugulethu Duma, Sujatro Ghosh, Backbone (2021) with Mazen Khaddaj.

She worked as director of be’kech in Germany (2016-2022), independent curator in Japan (2016-2019) and program director at Station with late artist Leila Alaoui and Nabil Canaan in Lebanon (2013-2015), collaborating with Bernardine Evaristo, Seloua Luste Boulbina, Dr. Tiffany Florvil, Akinbode Akinbiyi, Mary Maggic, Donatella Bernardi, Renata Salecl, Panashe Chigumadzi, Lamin Fofana, Tewa Barnosa, and more. Over the past year, Louna held lectures at West Den Haag Museum, Transformation Marseille, Ubumuntu Kigali, Berliner Festspiele, Caisa Helsinki, Performing Arts Festival, University of Arts Berlin, Bozcaada Festival and won a number of fellowships in Japan, Spain and Greece.

Panellist 5 - Olivier Le Gal

Moderator - Laura Aufrere

Laura Aufrère was for 5 years a coordinator of the French network gathering cultural professional initiatives rooted in the solidarity economy movement (UFISC), developing a diversity of discplines : music, theater, outdoor and circus, visual arts, etc. She is a PHD in management, looking specifically into cultural commons and social and solidarity economy cultural initiatives from a critcital perspective and the Theory of organization, focusing specifically on work and labour organisation, cooperation and governance, and social protection. Her dissertation answers the following question: “How can commoning help an infrastructure to emerge as a space for artistic professionalisation? The case of an artist-run space” (2023). As a coordinator in La Main (since 2023), the French cooperative community landtrust dedicated to independant and alterative places, she is in charge of the research and innovation through its support program to help them develop sustainable and collective organisational models, in the perspective of collective ownership or long term occupancy. She is also the coordinator responsible for the development of its resource center, the production of the Handbook for independent cultural real-estate (supported by the French Ministry of culture); participating in academic research programs and trainings. She has been a volonteer membre of the International Alliance of Independant Publishing since 2016.