Tandem Ukraine Plzen 2014 (2)
Tandem Ukraine Interim Meeting in Plzen, 2015. Photo by Olga Zarko.

Tandem Ukraine 2014-15

Tandem Ukraine offers a platform for collaborations between cultural actors to strengthen their capacities in community development and conflict resolution through the arts and culture on local and international level. The first round of Tandem Ukraine was driven by the energy of wonderful people and their stories!

Follow two Tandems

Visual images as cultural celebration, confrontation and transformation. Northern Ireland and Ukraine are countries that are processing long term effects of historical and ongoing conflict on divided communities.

David Boyd from Belfast working for Beat Carnival and Mykhailo Glubokyi from Kyiv working for Izolyatsia teamed up for the Tandem collaboration Reflections of conflict – Sloviansk & Belfast.


I am the Director  and the founder of Beat Carnival, which was started 21 years ago. It was the time when Belfast was still a very divided city, there were a lot of troubles including conflict and violence on the streets. So I wanted to do something that was very different: something positive and creative and it was important for me that artists would do something on the street, not just in  a gallery. We are not trying to be like Caribbean Carnival or Brazilian Carnival, but the idea of "carnival" celebration on the streets is an important thing for us – when normally, people gathering on the streets means that there will be confrontation and trouble.
The interesting connection between our two organisations is the idea of making art in a conflict situation and art that can transform a divisive conflict situation to something creative, shared and hopeful.
Our project is to look at visual images of cultural identity, how people express their sense of identity and their sense of belonging to the place. So when we get together we will collect different visual images from the past and then we want to have artists from both countries working on new ideas and images. In Ukraine, the plan is to go to Mariupol and do some paintings and art works there together with artists from Belfast.

David Boyd

My organisation has been working on the territory of exinsulation material factory in Donetsk. Unfortunately, in 2014 the territory of the factory was seized by DNR terrorists, that’s why we had to move to Kyiv and to continue our work from there. But we are still working in the Eastern Ukraine, especially with cities which are close to the war zone.

The main goal of this project for me is to learn how David and his colleagues from Beat Carnival made all the sides of the conflict come to peace through art and integrated both sides of the community into one.

I think it will be important project for IZOLYATSIYA because we are still planning lots to do in the Eastern Ukraine, where society is strongly divided and our aim is to make people come together, make them think critically, without any political hinting.

Mihaylo Glubokyi
Anastasiia Ponomarova and Niels Grootjans. Photo by Olga Zarko.

Anastasiia Ponomarova from Kyiv working for CANactions and Niels Grootjans from Utrecht working for the European Geography Association (EGEA) tandemed up to create “Map Me Happy”. An urbanist project to improve the city and help sparkle critical consciousness of just how creatively people use their city.

I am an architect and urbanist interested in participatory city initiatives and revitalisation of former industrial areas. I have been working in CANactions organisation for 4 years. It's an educational platform and a place for sharing ideas about city development. From 2012, our main approach in different research and educational projects is an interdisciplinary approach.

Tandem is a great opportunity to come closer to cultural managers and specialist interested in city development process. As for myself, this programme is a great experience as a cultural manager and a fantastic laboratory for creating my dream social project as well. It is called "Map me happy" and it is an innovative platform which helps to diversify public spaces in cities.

But this project is not the only one I've been working on. I am also involved in "Transformers project", organised by another Tandem: Communa ASBL and Cultural Dialog. Thanks to this collaboration I got to know a lot about the transformation of cities through cultural events.

Anastasiia Ponomarova

I’m a geographer and a social entrepreneur. I live in Nijmegen, Netherlands. I participate in Tandem with my organisation European Geography Association (EGEA), which is a vast network of young active geographers. Together with our great new partner CANactions we are developing a new innovative initiative.

The aim of "Map Me Happy" is to improve and diversify public spaces by finding out what it is that makes some places better than others. We ask you – fellow urbanites – to share your positive experience with public places and tell us "What creative activities can you do only there?" and "Can you suggest ways for exporting these positive features to other places?". Our application and the map will give you a great opportunity to explore and experience your own city through your fellow urbanites’ eyes (community sharing) and share your opinion for improving your own city (community planning).

Would I have embarked on this journey without Tandem? For sure not! Tandem is foremost an idea laboratory and I owe a very great deal of my current set of ideas to Tandem and to people I met here.

Niels Grootjans

Kick-off Meeting in Berlin

The Kick Off Meeting started with a gathering of all Tandems at Agora in Berlin presenting their projects and having a community dinner with the Berlin Agora collective. In ancient Greek city states the Agora was a central spot. The literal meaning of the word is gathering place or assembly. It was the center of spiritual, political, artistic and athletic life of the city.

The next morning started with the invitation to broaden the view about yourself, your organisation, your community and the environment your are working in. The canvases helped to find out the interfaces or links among the collaborating tandems, their organisations and communities.

Phil Wood held a session about how to manage change in complex times. The group looked at different levels and phases, patterns and structures of change. So how do we come from the way of doing things, to the way of thinking about things and in the end to the way of understanding things. Side note: “Maybe there is no pattern only chaos.” (Samuel Beckett)

The alumni Stella, Hatem and Barna from Tandem Turkey and Tandem Shaml joined the group to discuss, explore and to share knowledge about placement visits. See for yourself and explore the flickr gallery.

Interim Meeting in Plzeň

Even if you’ve just arrived, you are hungry and thirsty – its always better to see Prague first! The group started their Interim Meeting in Prague, Czech Republic walking through the old town and the Pristaw park and visiting a theatre performance to get the best taste of the city.
Pozor vlak! Train is coming! Next stop is Plzeň.
Plzeň Zastávka hosted the Tandems in an unusual space – a meeting point, community centre and train station! The sound of train wheels and piano music was a perfect sountrack for diving into conversation about trips to partners’ countries and personal impressions of cooperation in tandems. Also the local organisations from DEPO2015 and Papírna Plzeň shared which challenges they face, when Plzeň got the status of European capital of culture.
Outside sitting under the tree, as in the ancient forum, the group evaluated the 3-days meeting and checked the “luggage” – what we take with us back home, what we brought for the others and what shall we bring next time. See pictures at flickr.

Na shledanou, Plzeň!

Final Meeting in Uzhgorod

For the Final Meeting all the Tandems brought their colleagues to join. Apart from the presentations of the 12 projects, participants prepared workshops about their main learnings. At the “market place” participants discussed future joint projects, not only within in the group also with alumni from Tandem Turkey.
Two big live performance by young musicians from the project “Making music across borders” and the exhibition of the boat-trip project “Open Gallery 1000 km-view” completed the Final Meeting. Get some insights via flickr.

My Tandem year

David Boyd shares his Tandem year with you. Watch 1 project, 2 placements, 4 meetings, 365 days, 10 000 photos, 23 000 km of travel, many great people and inspiring stories!