Culture Lab

June, 2020
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The Participatory
Action Research

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22nd April 2021No Comments

EoC-Care Day 20-personal spinoff

Dear reader.

Here comes "Metal" (00:22), a new song by Kingalita, another catchy

potential hit number 1. On the longish side, but Care Day 20 favorite for today.

And, as expected, no surprises here, another QandorA  installment.

Arguments between the Writer, the Translator and the Readers

some might call fierce and some might not. Who quotes whom?


Have fun.

Love and care.


20th April 2021No Comments

Multiplying circles of (self) care


Dear you,

Today is my Care Day, a day fully dedicated to taking care of myself.

Today you are part of it.

What you are holding in your hands is a little gift for you and the opportunity to pass the gift forward to somebody else.

“To take care of somebody or something” is a reflexive verb and I like to think that this action is too, in more than one way.

Since I have started this experiment, I have realised that the precious time spent for myself - which I felt not to have - had always been mine.

It is indeed a process and I am still learning the dos and don’ts that serve me best..

To me, it means  listening to my body and  getting to know myself more.

The reason why you have received this package is because when I love myself and I make it my intention to feel good, this feeling affects people surrounding me in a positive way as a ripple effect.

In other words:

I take care of myself (and therefore of you too)










13 people scattered all around Italy - with a brief interlude in France
1 disposable camera
A box with some money to cover postal costs
A loose set of instructions
And a personal message (not the one above) for the next person in the chain.


It might be called “community art”, 

it could be labelled as “hipster”,

and it can be categorised as //already seen and //already done. 

“Mi prendo cura di me (e quindi di te)” [=I take care of myself (and therefore of you too)] 

is (probably) all of that and it doesn’t care about labels, anyway.


It is an analog chain of people sharing the desire to experiment with self-care. 

Each person can participate by spending as much time as they want on something that makes them feel well. Then they have the opportunity to send a message to the next person, in the format of a classic chain letter.

I have asked the participants to use the disposable camera to represent the title of the project through their eyes.
Lastly, send everything to the next person.
[The addresses are covered with a handcrafted strategy in order to protect privacy.]



It is a way to involve my community into what I am doing.
It is my way of multiplying the circles of care by extending the opportunity I have been given to experiment with self-care by the Culture for Solidarity grant with my closest ones.

It came to my mind during one of my Care Days.
I had already had some chats with my friends about the project, about self-care and about what they would do if they had a Care Day for themselves.

“ I mean, you can have it, if you want”.

This is what I sometimes replied.
Technically we all can.
Of course, there’s a difference if you are paid for experimenting with it.
I won’t hide that participating in this project has helped me a lot throughout these months, not only personally, but also financially speaking.
Therefore, I am aware that our daily routine often doesn’t allow us to have a full day dedicated wholly to self-care.
However, a lot of my friends agreed that, for one reason or another, they were hardly ever devoting time to taking care of themselves.


This is how this little box came to fruition.

I will write an update when the box comes full circle once I receive it back  🙂



15th April 2021No Comments

EoC-Care Day 19-personal spinoff

Dear reader.

Let's keep it simple for the Care Day 19.

No questions given and no answers asked.

Here comes the new hit single by Kingalita, from the upcoming album

named "Facade". One song per personal Care Day Friday. From now on. 

"Maybe" by Kingalita, 00:18,


As the bonus for today, a video clip of "Blood Pressure",  another song from the same album,  the great dramatic and funky one too.


And, off course, here the super fresh Small Story for Everycareday,

QandorA structural development.


Have fun rocking and reading.


Rove and Rare.


p.s. and I did get new remark from Sputnik:

- " You are the brightest, multi-colored, tropical butterfly

that kindly shits on their meadow."

- "Multi-colored shit I shit on their gray meadow? I am thinking.



11th April 2021No Comments

News from the cracked fields #2

Since we were mapping the new ways of learning, we started to communicate with the main actors of our #research to start a #discussion, and #exchange_of_practices. Our new series called News from the cracked fields will be actively sharing the news from our collaborations via our Telegram channel, to start creating a #network for mutual learning rooted in our differences and communalities. 



As our project intends to create a platform seeded by video interviews, we made our first dialogue with the #City_Detective (Şehir Dedektifi) from #Istanbul, #Turkey, a #civic_initiative that focuses on the child's #right_to_live in a healthy and safe environment. They support #active_citizens who want to take a part in #decision_making processes in their #city, and increase #children_participation in spaces. They also develop #rights_based_tools on children's relationship with the city. 


The interview was held by our group member Liana Kuyumcuyan, with Gizem Kıygı and Nur Akdemir from the City Detective. The main points of the interview were highlighting the structure and current work of the civic initiative, and learning their tools that developed as an additional way of learning to the traditional system of education. 


"The studies we made showed us that the space was ignored during the traditional system of education. So we started to use the space as the teacher."  -Gizem Kıygı


Since Istanbul is a mega-city that continues growing, different age groups confront different difficulties while engaging with the city. As these challenges increase, it starts affecting the daily life of the citizen, which might end up with drawing back. To enhance the engagement with the city in early ages would be the best way to teach children to be active and aware citizens, and to know their rights to use the public space. The City Detective works on sharing this knowledge via their #mapping_projects, #city_walks and #documentation that tackles the #problematic_areas in the city, and also #public_transportation which is not seen as a space, but contains a lot of engagement with the children.



City Detective marks our first mile-stone in building a network from the #cracked_fields as well as a valuable learning experience! 

Stay focused for receiving new interviews from different geographies with a different focus on the ways of learning! 

Join us in #looking_through_our_cracks across our borders!

5th June 2020No Comments

Culture Lab Europe methodology

Thank you all for joining the 2nd session of Culture Lab Europe - Spaces for Solidarity today. For the ones who missed it or the ones who can't get enough of it, please watch the presentation on CLE methodology by Ruben Diaz.

3rd June 20202 Comments

New! Interesting FACES#3 LOOKING out of European Windows #SPACESforsolidarity

mikes badhuistheater amsterdam

mikes badhuistheater amsterdam


The Cultural scene in Amsterdam (read :your major European Capital)  needs some adaptation to meet demands of the present population. The original Dutch (whicheverCity) are in minority but most cultural services still reflect the ideas of 1970s when the performers were colored and the audience was white. A few cultural centers serve the ‘categorial’ “Official” minorities of the former Colonies. but these “official” minorities all  together these days form  a minority in the non-Dutch crowd. The  Present “minority” population  in whatever European Capital , lumped by the expat label, cover a few dozen nationalities. There are large communities of  East Europeans, Anglo-Saxons, EU neighbours, South-Asian and several others are found. Most live well and have fun because people are friendly and many styles are encountered. However, the cultural services and facilities  for them are minimal  and the Municipal cultures do not benefit from their vibrant communities. It is  because the cultural policies of the Municipalities  prioritize the few institutions too “ big to fall “ and the “official Minority”  organisations have small audiences, each one  a subsidized club. A Change is necessary  toward services for the “other “  cultures. And this diversity would refresh the scene. Why not start with such innovation in the parts of the Cities  where so many cultures study and live. 

ThePower of the SMALL

100 years ago in New York in the 1920’s ,there were Italian,Yiddish,Irish,Afro American and Russian theatres all being successful with original language productions. As a Theatre centre  ourselves in Amsterdam , we host productions in many languages other than English or the Secret language of Dutch 🙂  The refreshment and renewal of the cultural scene can start from outside  because many good performers are interested. Given that “our city “ of  Amsterdam has much goodwill as a European metropole on a human scale, a number of reasonably priced European Theatre groups  can be attracted, not only for a one-night performances , but also for workshops with the Amsterdam professionals, and  workshops  for the  more ambitious amateurs than typical spectator. Such combinations of performances with  training and education generate vibrant local culture and enlarge public interest in culture and arts because ‘delights make people hungry’ as the  Polish say. 

We are ready for your Proposals ! and Solidarity and looking forward to cooperating with

ECF, Krytyka Polytizcna and ZEMOS98 


Surviving the Plague

THE Non-commercial Venues essential for Post-Corona Major Cities

SO , new paths in arts should be pursued, in particular ,the multimedia combinations because they can be homemade, which is attractive to younger age groups , thereby fostering continuity in this Endeavour. Key is that all these lines progress because only the combinations can avoid the deadlock of “too small” arts for attracting audience and ” too small” audiences  for attractive arts; this is a conclusion observed in many cultural organizations. All  together ,The Art Scene needs sufficient numbers  to satisfy the performers ,the policymakers and the costs.

The  New Faces at the European Windows are looking out and asking at the #spacesforsolidarity , And we as the art centres face questions and challenges of different demands ,not the commercial ‘as you ask, we run’ neither the artists as ‘donkeys carrying politician messages’ as Gerrit Komrij has written.  Are we up to it ? Can we deliver answers for our “new” populations ? Since all the City monies are already spent twice to maintain many anachronistic  buildings  and out of touch  businesses and even more bullshit jobs, we have to be clever instead of big. Clever means combining things together. It is a combination of organisers. The organizers cover costs of performing, marketing and organization and make the performers happy to serve, stay and come back. The Cities and Municipalities ,with European support, need to find Capital to  pay reasonable accommodation and costs of stay during the services. So we are going Dutch.

 In addition, investment is needed for the start-up and goodwill to attract extra  sponsors.

Written by Yoram Krozer,  Professor of Sustainabilty and Member of the Artistic Council of Badhuistheater Amsterdam.

Best Wishes. Mike Manicardi Gimpel   email

19th April 2020No Comments

Culture and Solidarity: Conclusions

... our research allowed us to outline certain conclusions:

1) Solidarity may be provoked as part of a cultural and artistic activity, if the said activity happens based on a social, i.e. cultural, religious or class difference and sets in motion tensions caused by this difference by programming cooperation of people representing such difference. Active encounters of differences in order to reach a common objective (preparation of an event, artistic or cultural activity) is the first step towards rebuilding social solidarity using cultural tools.

2) It is necessary to shift the mindset from thinking about solidarity as a reaction to a crisis of another subject towards solidarity manifesting as building relations with another subject. To make it possible, organizational framework needs to be redesigned together with material infrastructure and interfaces that would form the basis for developing social solidarity. This is how we approach culture: it has greater chance of affecting how the social solidarity practices emerge and consolidate if it provides material foundations, tools that would act as a scaffold for erecting solidarity as a relation, and not only a reaction. Culture should also be able to develop and provide scenarios for social solidarity activities, a sort of dramaturgy, narrative, practical clues on how to carry out collective processes aimed at development and consolidation of social solidarity practices.

3) Thus, we find it is an imperative to rethink the category and the practice of performance which in our opinion has incredible potential as an artistic genre that can be taken over from the avant-garde culture and adopted to serve popular social culture focused on creating communities. Performance is an activity; it stimulates all senses of the participants and has a transformational potential. If aptly applied in the area of culture dedicated to solidarity, it may bring incredible results in future.

4) Other performative genres that in our opinion bring hope as far as provoking social solidarity is concerned, are the ludic genres, referring to dance, collective celebrations, carnival-related practices. Apart from the qualities of a performance they also apply laughter and humour as tools to slightly crack identity and subjectivity.

5) Last but not least, before we as creators of culture take on the task of establishing the new paradigm for cultural practices that will contribute to the restoration of social solidarity we need to fight for the reform of the culture itself, for creating conditions that will allow us to focus on the positive social impact instead of the everyday struggle for survival and concern about the future caused by insecure, precarious conditions of our own work. Without cultural organizations founded on the logic of solidarity, social culture does not have any chance to impact the solidarity of European societies.

This last point that we mention has not only the sociological, but also a deeply philosophical dimension. Solidarity is a function of the subject; only by being a subject, i.e. a person who has control over his or her life, we are able to bridge with another subject. When we do this, our subjectivity is complemented, we become even more ourselves. All in all, solidarity constitutes the subject; only if we are able to act in empathy with others, we can be certain to have control over our own life. The stake in any analysis of culture and solidarity is Europe, our society, politics, our cultures. In the end, however, the final stake here is us, our dignity and the meaning of our lives altogether.


This final excerpt is from a paper based on the action research carried out by an international group of researchers and artists across Europe in 2018 as part of the Culture for Solidarity project. You can now access the final version of this participatory-action-research in both English and Polish. Soon we will also publish the Spanish version. 

Read the final English document in PDF

Read the Polish version in PDF

Information on the project - English website

Information on the project - Polish website

19th April 2020No Comments

Superheroes need solidarity too

Tuning is like dressing up, a masquerade. This is exactly what it is in the Seville experiment. In one of the interviews, when asked about a situation that he would consider a disruption of the habit and the routine underlying operations of the organizations and about the conditions that would facilitate solidarity towards the employees themselves and extracting their subjectivity, Felipe González Gil fantasized about a support group for tired superheroes:

"We, employees of culture, are like mutants, like superheroes. We have our mission and we tend to forget about our own needs. I wish I could create a situation, a theatre play, maybe, where we would sit in our superhero costumes, tired, with our make-up melting, trying to talk about our ideals. Or maybe rather we should be discussing our weaknesses, that everybody has some, though we can rarely expose them. This is what I imagine it like: we are sitting together and then one of the superheroes says: I’m so tired of flying..."

This image was the starting point for the masquerade that was meant to serve as a sort of solidarity experience, action research focused around the question: What needs to happen for the tired superheroes to reconnect with their desires, needs, with each other in their vulnerability and subjectivity, rather than in tasks and the productive work mode? The answer was to be reached through the already mentioned reality tuning, an intensive time of a performative city ride, made up of situations when they experience events that they previously mentioned as unusual, dream situations, disrupting the shell of values and the burden of the mission. They were roaming the city for fifteen hours dressed up as Spiderman, Catwoman, Batman and Superman, participating in surprise events that they prepared for each other based on the knowledge collected during the interviews.


This excerpt is from a paper based on the action research carried out by an international group of researchers and artists across Europe in 2018 as part of the Culture for Solidarity project. You can now access the final version of this participatory-action-research in both English and Polish. Soon we will also publish the Spanish version. 

Read the final English document in PDF

Read the Polish version in PDF

Information on the project - English website

Information on the project - Polish website

19th April 2020No Comments

Working conditions in culture – II: Stability, solidarity and dignity

Similarly to how educational institutions may not put their values and ethics into practice, the reality of institutions of culture and art, as well as organizations dedicated to social change, is that their values may not necessarily be translated into the way they are organised.

The dissonance between the modus operandi and the contents is like a blind spot. It often remains out of sight. What represents the essence of work in the given institution, its main mission statement, the set of values and addressed issues, very often is not implemented in production structures. Theatres producing plays on social justice operate using extremely unjust mechanisms.  Progressive institutions aimed at civic society development struggle with insufficient transparency in management and lack of any internal democracy. Small organizations work on permanent take-off run, always lagging behind, uncertain, giving in to a grantosis, losing their marbles out of fear whether they will be able to maintain their open undertakings on one hand, and pay wages to their employees on the other. At the same time, they carry out projects to persuade participants about the need to look after themselves, about the value of subjective choices and that “less is more”, as the popular catchphrase assures. Can anyone imagine a more overwhelming schizophrenia? Almost all institutional cultural centres work based on habits that are a sort of default system setting. Work procedures and methods are full of contradicting and unfair rules that become translucent, absorbed by the blood flow of the system, operating on the routine level.

As a result, nobody has any first-hand experience of emancipation here, however, we always insist that we do what we love. Maybe we don't feel the cognitive dissonance, maybe we believe that this is the price to pay for this unusual privilege. How can it be changed? How do you keep your enthusiasm stemming from the sense of mission and absolute involvement in produced values and keep a clear head, not forgetting about your own needs and ambitions, not giving up on your basic sense of security, to put it plainly? Is it possible to work in dignified conditions in culture? Can we empathize with ourselves, knowing that we need both bold visions, as well as to be able to pay our bills without the recurring end-of-the-month anxieties? Are we able to create such ways of working that will be the best artistic and social project on its own talking about justice, equality and balance?


This excerpt is from a paper based on the action research carried out by an international group of researchers and artists across Europe in 2018 as part of the Culture for Solidarity project. You can now access the final version of this participatory-action-research in both English and Polish. Soon we will also publish the Spanish version. 

Read the final English document in PDF

Read the Polish version in PDF

Information on the project - English website

Information on the project - Polish website

Miya Tokomitsu - In the name of love

19th April 2020No Comments

Working conditions in culture: “Do what you love”

During the research carried out for this paper, it was noted that one of the possible barriers to social impact and culture for solidarity gestures, is the working conditions of artists and cultural organisations. These conditions are precarious, unstable, with low pay and excessive work...


Paradoxically, the world of culture, art and social activities is based on the tension between the above described working conditions and the fact that the persons shaping this world very often have sincere, deeply rooted ideological motivation, and  they invest in their work a lot of energy and life resources, engaging passion, hope and thoughts. Sometimes professional activities absorb these people totally, which is not so difficult, when the profession you practice is at the same time your passion and hobby. In a simple way it helps you efface boundaries between the work and private life.

Additional factors, such as flexible working hours, high mobility, combining social and professional life, increased sense of responsibility can soon stop being a blessing, a privilege and turn to a curse instead. The problem has been diagnosed in a powerful way by Miya Tokumitsu of Pennsylvania University in her paper opening with the famous slogan, Do what you love.(Miya Tokomitsu, In the name of love) Firstly, she points to the fact we seem to often forget and refers to the primacy of passion: many activities essential for the society can be hardly referred to as fascinating and stimulating. Unfortunately, these are also jobs that enjoy very little recognition, both socially and economically. The researcher argues that being so lavish with the positive thinking narrative and enhancing the love motivation at work not only encourages humiliation of professionals on the positions not connected with any big passion or fascination, but can even result in a peculiar invisibility of the huge area of services and people providing such services.

This, according to Tokumistu, is just the tip of the iceberg. For her the situation in the area of seemingly privileged professions is even more treacherous: “The »do what you love« mantra has also caused great damage to the professions it pretends to celebrate” she maintains, giving as the example the way universities operate and the situation of scholars employed in academia.

There are many factors that keep PhDs providing such high-skilled labor for such extremely low wages [...], but one of the strongest is how pervasively the »DWYL [do what you love]« doctrine is embedded in academia. Few other professions fuse the personal identity of their workers so intimately with the work output. This intense identification partly explains why so many proudly left-leaning faculty authorities remain oddly silent about the working conditions of their peers. Because academic research should be done out of pure love, the actual conditions of and compensation for this labor become afterthoughts, if they are considered at all.


This excerpt is from a paper based on the action research carried out by an international group of researchers and artists across Europe in 2018 as part of the Culture for Solidarity project. You can now access the final version of this participatory-action-research in both English and Polish. Soon we will also publish the Spanish version. 

Read the final English document in PDF

Read the Polish version in PDF

Information on the project - English website

Information on the project - Polish website

Miya Tokomitsu - In the name of love