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How to change: conversations in "Teple Misto"

"Experience Exchange Days" program from “Teple Misto” started on March 17th this year — with the participation of guests from Lviv, Zhytomyr and Ivano-Frankivsk. Most of the representatives were freshmen of the Ukrainian Catholic University studying cultural studies, and teachers of the Department of Cultural Studies.

The program for the participants of the event in Ivano-Frankivsk traditionally provided a series of presentations, discussions and excursions. An assistant of the head of organization, Tetyana Vasylyk, informed guests about the history and organizational model, mission and values of "Teple Misto." She also outlined the starting points of the philosophy of "Teple Misto" as a platform for initiatives and synergies between them: the balance in the triangle "power — business — public sector", uniting efforts, support for grassroots initiatives. All of this is "to turn people from paternalism to proactivity" and make Ivano-Frankivsk recognizable on the global map.

The coordinator of partner programs, Olga Stetsevich, told about what effect of such an approach, on the example of interaction with business: the support of the platform — and therefore of the public sector — of local entrepreneurs is the result of their understanding that only by interacting and investing in the development of the community, you can qualitatively change the city life, make it comfortable and attractive, such place where young people do not want to leave and where, on the contrary, they will come from different parts of the country — to rest, work, and live.

Nazar Maksymiv explained how it seems to be in practice to support the “bottom-up” movement — "City Grants" program aimed at activating the initiatives of residents and implementing their projects to improve the quality of life in Ivano-Frankivsk. The coordinator of the Urban Space program, Natalia Stezko, shared the idea of the Urban Space 100 public restaurant and the prospects for the further formation of the Urban Space network (in particular, in Kiev, Kramatorsk, Berlin). Operational manager of "Teple Misto," Yaryna Melnyk, attracted guests to a discussion about contemporary art, in particular about murals, while presenting the platform's artistic program. Later on, the participants of the meeting had the opportunity to examine several murals that appeared in Frankivsk within "Teple Misto" art program. According to the student, Solomia Svistun, contemporary art is important, because it drives to think and change, in particular in the Ukrainian context, to rethink the Soviet past. "Teple Misto" in general became for her a pleasant discovery: this is how "people want to change something and devote themselves to it" — and "all this for people living in the city".

Volodymyr Radevich, coordinator of the program "Sustainable Mobility", presented projects for the development of cycling and it’s infrastructure in Ivano-Frankivsk (research, cycling schools, etc.), as well as for people with disabilities. In the lecture on the “Urbanistics” program, Anna Pashynska mentioned some projects (parklet, square before the printing house, etc.) and emphasized the reorientation from tactical to long-term and strategic urban initiatives and solutions (as the festival "City Scanning Session" scheduled for August 2017). An excursion to the plant was also held, where the Promprylad project will be implemented - from the revitalization of the industrial zone: the students were interested in what educational and cultural activities would be possible there, they expressed their desire to volunteer. In general, during the meeting, they actively joined the dialogue, asked about the platform's relationship with the authorities, the church, the community, and others.

For future cultural scientists, "environmental immersion" and "reality contact" is very important, says Zoryana Rybchynska, head of UCU Culturology Program. Ivano-Frankivsk is the first city visited by students: according to the professor of the Department of Cultural Studies Olena Haleta, it was chosen because today it is one of the most successful examples of "how to work in the city's space without waiting for the formation of favorable conditions, and creating them". This experience is also interesting because it is outside of the capital and is actually formed from scratch.

The program of experience exchange meetings is being implemented with the support of the European Endowment for Democracy.

Photos: Anton Kuba

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