Urban Gorillas and Non Riservato meet in Milano for a shared lunch Community, arts and public space! Tandem Europe participants Sergio Galasso (Milano, Italy) and Veronika Antoniou (Nicosia, Cyprius) have worked together on PS:MiNi, proposing a network for groups interested in public space and urban regeneration in Milano and Nicosia. Sergio shares updates and thoughts from their collaboration. When Veronika and I met in Sofia during the first Tandem meeting in October 2017, we where both representing not only a network of organisations, artists, and professionals from the creative sector, but also a very clear point of view. Public space, especially in urban contexts, is a very clear boundary of legitimacy and empowerment for communities. Defending the right to feel public space as an opportunity to meet, create and affirm civil, human and urban rights, is one of the most compelling challenges of our time. Our mission empathy was immediately clear and our collaboration opportunity came just along! We decided to create a bridge crossing the Mediterranean and let artists and professionals from Milano and Nicosia exchange talent and creativity in two very peculiar urban contexts. In fact, not only we wanted to foster a collaboration among organisations, Non Riservato and Urban Gorillas, but we wanted to experiment real collaboration among artists in public events. This is why we decided to integrate the MiNi Tandem project and use the exchange opportunity to bring six artists/collectives to create site specific interventions in two public art Festivals: Pame Kaimakli in Nicosia and Pixel Pic Nic in Milano. Non Riservato and Urban Gorillas artists and staff chating and having coffee with neighbours in Kaimakli, Nicosia. July 2018. Photo by Sergio Galasso The first is a call for the small and characteristic neighbourhood community of Kaimakli to open their house and adopt an artist for two days; the second is a two-day “appropriation” of public space through urban games, performances, sports and creativity this year taking place in Monte Stella, a big park in the outskirts of Milano north-est side. Beyond the staff members and project managers of the Tandem project Veronika, Giovanna, Sergio, Irene and Teresa, this exchange and project was possible thanks to all Urban Gorillas and Non Riservato staff and of course thanks to the artists: Borderlight Collective, Sophie Usunier, Mirko Canesi, Natalie Konyalian, Mathieu Devavry. But most of all, I think we should thank the more than three thousand neighbours and community members in Nicosia and Milano that responded to our call, accepted our invitation to be part of our events and demonstrated that art can be a trigger for engagement and inclusion. Our exchange programme has been full of crazy production challenges, hurries and worries, staff meetings and unexpected turnovers, but created a very powerful connection among people and cultures. I think this collaboration will continue beyond titles and organisations. It will continue among people who have common desires, curiosities and mutual respect.