On Friday morning, we all gathered in the centre of Athens, where we were welcomed into the space that would host us for the day: TAF: The Art Foundation.
TAF is a project space, an art space, and a café: ‘a home for unexpected ideas and jazzy spirit’. Loukas told us that this is how old Athenian houses looked before the war, with a common courtyard surrounded by the houses where families used to live, and a collective kitchen and toilets. Taking the place and its history as inspiration, we started our morning session with a focus on our network and ourselves.
The word network includes the word work: a network needs to work together! What should this network work on?
We remembered our mission statement:
Cultural Exchange around three core areas:
- Advocacy in Cultural Policy (How can we advocate for progressive cultural policies?)
- Peer-to-Peer Capacity Building (How can we as a network support each other in our learning, how can we take it from the local to the trans-local?)
- Art & Culture for Social Change (The world is fundamentally changing, and people like us are the architects of the new world: how can this network make a difference?)
We have a lot of good work to do together! Zooming in on these three main elements of our mission statement, we gathered in groups of three to discuss the question:
‘What does culture in my part of the world need that our network could do work on?’
We often tend to think and talk about the problems and challenges confronting us – but can we transform them into ideas and projects that we can work on trans-locally? The groups invited us to enter into conversation with one another, with each person assuming a specific role: speaker, listener (only listens and does not interrupt), and observer (paying attention to what is not being spoken about, emotions, body language, and taking notes about what they feel are important points)..