On March 26th, Anadolu Kültür welcomed a group of people in action, coming from diverse backgrounds, to the Creative Action and Public Intervention (CAPI) workshop that took place in Istanbul.
With the aim of opening up a space of discussion regarding the current challanges and opportunities the grassroots movements face in Turkey’s and Armenia’s contemporary societies, the CAPI team organised a series of round tables, field visits, toolbox activities and presentations. (For a detailed insight about the content, please see the program at the end of the text.) The workshop also served as a platform to gather people who would like to develop their own socially and/or politically engaged ideas together.
Building upon the learnings and experiences of the previous Arts & Activism Pilot Workshop that was also held in Istanbul, the schedule was shaped with valuable efforts of the workshop’s facilitators Arzu Yayıntaş, Lala Aslikyan and İrem İnceoğlu.
The six day program started off with warming up activities and the personal presentations of the participants that gave opportunity for the participants to dwell on possible future collaborations while learning their fellow participants’ backgrounds and interest areas. The personal presentations were followed by thematic group works that revealed common trends of both countries on social topics such as gender issues, freedom of expression, right to the city, urban transformation and environmental consciousness.
During the rest of the week academicians, artists, activists from the field, and representatives from local NGOs were invited to conduct interactive sessions that further detailed the discussion of the thematic sessions mentioned above.
One of the many invitees for this workshop was Petra Hultman, an artist-activist from Stockholm. She accompanied the group during the whole duration of the workshop to conduct a hands-on mapping workshop that combined different techniques such as infographic, stop-motion, animation and thematic mapping as well as to facilitate the open space session together with Lala Aslikyan.
The mapping workshop which was included in the program as a toolbox activity session took place in Kadir Has University of Istanbul. After a general introduction to what mapping is and how maps have been conceived throughout time, the group was divided into four different mapping stations to work on their collective mapping ideas.
Sargis Khandanyan and Marianna Hovhannisyan, Armenian professionals who are currently doing their fellowships thanks to the Hrant Dink Foundation’s Turkey-Armenia Fellowship Scheme, also were present during some parts of the workshop. Marianna Hovhannisyan conducted a session entitled “The Spaces of Intentions – between creativity, politics and society”. She introduced the tendencies of Armenian contemporary art during the 1990s. Sargis Khandanyan’s presentation discussed the relation between activism and “clicktivism”. He also combined the discussion with his master’s research on “the role of digital on journalism during Gezi park protests in Istanbul”.
At the final day of the workshop, Lala Aslikyan and Petra Hultman conducted an open space workshop where participants got to chance to brainstorm their ideas and molded them into future collaborations. After an evaluation that grasped everyone’s feedbacks of the whole week, the team came up with an online communication plan to further consolidate the relations that were initiated during the workshop.
Ms. Arpine Aleksanyan and Ms. Sona Baloyan from Yerevan, from “Matenadaran” Mesrop Mashtots Institute of Ancient Manuscripts, were supported with the travel grant to visit Istanbul, Turkey for meetings with the Armenian Patriarchate, Armenian high schools, foundations and publishing houses to discuss possibilities of further collaboration on preserving the Armenian culture.