Exploring Spaces of Possibilities for Arts, Culture, Public Space, and Civil Society: A Project in the Eastern Partnership Region

By Heidi Dumreicher, Bettina Kolb, Richard S. Levine and Michael Anranter.

Published by The International Journal of Social, Political and Community Agendas in the Arts

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

As a basic concept, the SPACES project organizes arts interventions in public spaces to support the quality of public space, contributing to the role of urban space in post-soviet countries. A qualitative social research accompanies these events, carried out during the project duration and aiming to show the process of public space events and its effects on urban spaces as well as on selected urban residence. The Georgian team selected the underground passages of Tbilisi as public space for these interventions and organized an ambitious arts intervention program, and the curatorial team selected artists with high artistic standards. They proved to do this with great enthusiasm and high engagement. Most of them, during their arts performances, enabled changes in the usual interaction with the audience: they considered themselves as part of a social intervention with the Tbilisi underground passages, their inhabitants, and their visitors. The scale of interaction varied, but all of them constituted an active contribution to the selected urban spaces – by changes in of the atmosphere, light, noise, or in the material appearance of public space. The events proved to be a welcome intervention in a city undergoing a process of change and modernization: the numerous passages in Tbilisi, usually considered as unattractive public space within the city, became places for arts, producing a positive impact to the ongoing modernization process. As a preliminary result from the first spaces event, the authors came up with the following theses, which will be tested in the next events.

Keywords: Urban Space, Post-Soviet Countries, Social Research, Place-making, Collective Memory

The International Journal of Social, Political and Community Agendas in the Arts, Volume 10, Issue 3, September, 2015, pp.17-25. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 630.321KB).

Dr. Heidi Dumreicher

Director, Oikodrom, Vienna, Austria

Dr. Bettina Kolb

Social Researcher, Vienna, Austria

Richard S. Levine

Partner, Research Division, Centre of Sustainable Cities, Lexington, Kentucky, USA

Michael Anranter

Research Intern, Vienna, Austria