Meeting #1 in Tartu

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.

First panel : "Culture and care: rebuilding alternative cultural spaces & ourselves"

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.

Second panel : "Alternative culture places under crisis: resilience, renewal and challenges"

In this critical session, we will focus on the survival and evolution of alternative cultural spaces, reflecting on how these communal hubs are adapting to the rapid changes and environmental, political, and social threats, often on the frontlines of change in the current climate. This hybrid session explores some of the specific challenges relevant to grassroots and community-driven cultural spaces in this moment: conflict and occupation, cultural oppression, issues of equity, physical displacement, economic instability, and lack of physical space. Cultural leaders join our discussion from spaces across the globe, sharing progressive approaches, creative strategies, and efficient tactics their communities have developed in the face of adversity. Together, we will explore some of the varied vulnerabilities and opportunities unique to alternative cultural spaces, and consider new framings of audience, care, and even “culture”, in the context of crisis.