In 2022, Creative Industry Košice established bilateral international collaboration with the Norwegian Urban Space Lab, whose founder is Laurie Vestøl. Urban Space Lab explores the connections between the city, identity, and belonging, which made it a suitable partner for creating the Slovak-Norwegian Cultural Matching project.
The project’s goal was to create an intercultural dialogue between experts from Slovakia and Norway and to exchange their knowledge, thoughts, and ideas regarding how culture, creativity, aesthetics, and digital tools can improve citizen participation and solve social problems.
The creation of the project and its placement in the digital environment was also a reaction to the pandemic situation and the transfer of cultural, social and creative life to the online world. There was an opportunity to explore what the cultural industry has to offer for this rapidly changing world, as well as the tools that can be used in the digital city even during pandemic. Building digital cities is also related to the online participation of citizens, which also brings a positive impact in the physical world.
Various topics presented the possibilities of the digital city and cultural space
We could follow the project’s progress in the form of six webinars, which are available online in English on our YouTube channel and in Slovak translation on our Facebook. A valuable shared space was thus created, in which Slovak and Norwegian experts presented topics about human architecture, ecology, the creation of the city and the landscape, participation, and inclusive culture. They discussed how art and culture could be agents of change – in places, lives, and human behaviour.
The first of the series of workshops took place in February and its main topic was digital citizenship and participation in urban planning. Other workshops continued in the following months with topics on humanitarian aid through architecture, discussing diversity and inclusion in culture and dance. They also focused on digital tools and services in the cultural industry. The importance of such projects, bilateral and international collaborations was also shown by the final workshop, which focused on financing future Slovak-Norwegian projects. Project pointed to the possibilities of creating projects and searching for Norwegian partners.
The potential of future collaboration was the idea of all the webinars
The exchange of experiences in the cultural sphere between Slovakia and Norway gave both sides the opportunity to present and learn about projects, initiatives or tools that can be used to build (digital) cities, communities, engage citizens, create art or respond to current social issues, but also develop further collaboration. „We set up the whole project so that there is no final. We want to explore the opportunities between Norway and Slovakia in the cultural field. Norway was an unknown land for us, and we have learned much through collaboration with Urban Space Lab and Laurie. We consider this project a founding stone of future collaboration,” describes the benefits of the project, its manager Martin Mojžiš. „We are currently developing ideas for other projects and looking for funding sources for them,” adds Martin.
Laurie Vestøl, an artist active in the field of urban design and the founder of Urban Space Lab, also positively evaluates her experience with CIKE and the partnership in the project: „Collaboration with CIKE was an excellent experience. I wanted to find 5 to 6 interesting topics on which we could work together. Whether in the field of architecture, planning, humanitarian architecture, but also work with the Roma community. The project was very interesting during the entire period.” Even for Laurie, Slovakia was a big unknown, but she believes that with the opportunity to travel, it will be possible to connect experiences with places and possibilities that come with an open global conversation. She considers long-term interdisciplinary collaboration to be important, as well as discussion about sustainability, social or economic problems. He adds that together we can find new solutions and believes that the interest will continue on both sides. „All the conversations bring positive energy. I think the idea of a global digital conversation is very interesting, as are all the projects, and it’s definitely something that should continue. CIKE managed the project very well and became a good partner for us. It was wonderful to work with you in Slovakia. Thank you for your competence and professionalism,” Laurie evaluates the collaboration.
As part of the Slovak-Norwegian cultural connection project, we have published and continue to publish articles in the online magazine The Invisible Mag. We have prepared a series of podcasts with individual speakers we have invited to the workshops. Listen to all the episodes here:
Watch all videos from the webinars on our YouTube channel and discover the interesting topics and insights we came across during the project. You can find details about individual webinars and invited experts on the project page.
Supported by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA and Norway Grants.
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