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Network meeting Athens 2017

An initiative of the Robert Bosch Cultural Managers Network

A project by COMM’ON, Athens: Marou Chatzopoulou, Stelios Voulgaris and Silke Wittig

6th to 9th of July 2017, Athens (Greece)

From July 6th to 9th, a bunch of 67 alumni of the different Cultural Managers programs, Actors of Urban Change, Tandem Shaml, and Tandem Europe were hosted by the organization COMM’ON in Athens to gather for the 3rd Biannual Network Meeting of the Robert Bosch Cultural Managers Network.
Why Athens? The extreme social challenges the city of Athens has been facing in recent years have activated a flourish of participative civic activities through new interdisciplinary collaborations. These initiatives have encouraged a discourse about transformation processes through culture, and have given the chance to experiment on new procedures to respond to social living in the city. Furthermore, the documenta was hosted for the first time in its history not only in Kassel, but also equally in a second city: in Athens. From April 8th to July 16th documenta 14 opened its doors in more than 40 venues spread over the whole city. This major international world art show not only enriched the local art scene and attracted cultural actors and visitors from all around the world, it also set in motion a cross-disciplinary critical discourse and learning process about cultural transformation.

Together with 24 fellows and alumni of the program START – Create Cultural Change we dived into the cultural scene of Athens and got acquainted with local actors of various fields. We visited both spaces of the independent scene and institutions as well as some venues of documenta 14. After intense brainstorming within the network, we discussed, developed ideas and initiated new projects. Along with storytelling sessions, discussions, and presentations on key topics like “Festivalization of the arts and the impact of International festivals on local scenes“, “Political strategies in the arts: What role can art play politically?“, “Methods and impact of art and cultural education“, “Sustainability of independent spaces and structures“, “Active citizenship: Social change through small acts“, and “Advocating active communities and urban activism“ we pooled our energies and synergies in working meetings and open platforms. We had our voices heard, elaborated both our individual and collective needs and enlightened the purposes the network and its members should serve. We set priorities and created working groups to fruitfully draft ideas on how to foster the networks potentials, develop its future and take it to the next level.

pictures: Panos Georgiou