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Monday, 11 August 2008

Project activities

The value of this project is many-sided. In addition to the high level artistic and creative content of the activities, it will strengthen the cultural cooperation between partner cities and China. This dimension opens new horizons and future collaboration possibilities. The collaboration will be very tight and concrete, the exchanges to be realised will ensure the familiarization of the varying working practices and methods of all participants.   

This two year project will consist of three 3 month periods of artist exchanges and four management meetings around them. The exchange periods are relatively long in order to give the artists a real chance to familiarise themselves with the local culture and its practices. The duration of the exchanges also makes it possible for the visitors to form genuine work partnerships with the local artists.

In each partner city a local art institute will help familiarising the visiting artist(s) with the local art scene. To some extent they will also help in arranging practical matters, like finding work spaces and materials. This system of mentorship will reinforce the collaboration structure between partners. The mentors will be chosen carefully, so that their professionalism would interact well with the visitors’ needs and working plans.

In exchange the visiting artists will take part in the institute’s educational work. For example workshops and course visits will be realised. The extent of this cooperation between the partner city and the local art institution is up to each city to negotiate and decide.

Since University of Art and Design Helsinki (UIAH) is a partner in this project, it will have an important role in designing and implementing all the actions. The specific role of the University of Art and Design Helsinki can be said to be that of an expert partner, whose main focus is the artistic content of the project.

UIAH’s main task as a partner is to ensure that the project and the actions taken during it have real value from the art world’s point of view. Since one of the main goals of this project is to promote environmental art and discussion around it, the project couldn’t be properly implemented without UIAH’s expertise about the topic.

Autumn 2008:
For the first 3 month period one artist from each of the partner cities has been chosen to take part in the project. These three artists travel to Beijing, where they are actively introduced to the local art scene. During their stay they will be working in close cooperation with 3 Beijing based artists. The visible product of the 3 moth stay will be work(s) of environmental art realised within the Beijing city area.

Spring 2009:
The next phase of the project will take place in Europe, in the cities of Helsinki, Tallinn and Stockholm.  In each of these cities, one artist will spend two months familiarising her/ him with the European culture and working with a local artist. (In an ideal case the two have already worked together during the first phase of the project in Beijing).

After the two months of working together, the Beijing artists and their local artist partners from Stockholm and Tallinn will join the artists in Tallinn. In Tallinn this group of six artists, who now have a strong experience in working together, will jointly realise an art work ending the first year of the project. This collaboration phase is really unique both from an artistic and collaboration perspective. During this step, the artists already have formed a basis for dialogue, which will be reinforced by creating an artistic piece together.
Autumn 2009:
After evaluating the first year’s experiences, a new group of three artists will be chosen again from the partner cities. Like the first group had done a year before, the chosen artists will spend 3 months in Beijing working with a group of their local colleagues. The tangible objective of this collaboration is again to design and carry out a large public environmental art project.

As a result of this two year project strong connections will be formed between Beijing, Helsinki, Tallinn and Stockholm, both on personal and on organisational level. These connections will promote continual intercultural dialogue and future collaborations. During this project, new ideas and working methods will be shared and new contacts will be formed. The learning experience will be essential, both on a professional and personal level. The exchange experiences will be analysed and evaluated and recommendations for future mobility actions will be formed. This project is hoped to produce a tested formula that can be used in designing other exchange based art and culture projects between China and the EU.

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. These pages reflect the views only of the authors; The Commission is not responsible for the information presented within these pages.
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