Think Tank Transbaltic
- an interdisciplinary art project around the Baltic Sea

European Cultural Values in Public Space
- a Europan research project in development

Pilot Workshop - Think Tank Transbaltic

Workshop, Seminar and Actions in Public Space
Date: 15-17 May 2017
Location: Ronneby city square, Sweden.
 The Base camp will be in a former shop.
How can one facilitate a meeting place in a city where inhabitants, newcomers and guests feel at home and feel free to share experience?  Let’s get together for some days of joint exploration in participation and creation of a welcoming and more friendly public space.

- Share and exchange experience and knowledge with experts in different fields.
- Try out your method in public space together with our joint crew.
- The result can be ideas to use and share again.
Next time we might meet in Gdansk, Klaipeda or another Baltic city – this is the plan.

Questions and approach
How can we use a public square in a creative way and as a meeting place for inhabitants and newcomers? Can methods used in a Swedish city be re-used in Gdansk or in other cities around the Baltic Sea? Can the choreography of a city be transferred to another city?

Can we engage people and passers-by? How can one arrange a third place/third space? Can one be at home when displaced? What is a hometown for someone that grew up and live and work in the same city? Is mobility a constant factor only in some intercultural societies? What about contacts between people today on a city-square, when the digital public space takes over our social life more and more?

Can we find a way to collaborate between participants in the workshop and people that happen to spend time on, or cross the square - and create something, build bridges between people, encourage meetings and stories? Can we be the cross-fertilizing platform for stories of the newcomers and the residents?

What role can we take on in these challenging times? What role can artists, city planners, architects, cultural professionals, designers, researchers and technology developers and others interested in examining the intersections between professions in the thematic scope of the pilot workshop?

During the workshop days you can develop your practise and bring concrete ideas with you in your profession.

Think Tank Transbaltic – can we propose small-scale changes or alternatives?

The Pilot workshop Think Tank Transbaltic is arranged with the support of
the Swedish Institute
and in collaboration with Konst i Blekinge and Ronneby konsthall/Kulturcentrum Ronneby.

The project idea is awarded Flagship of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region.

A parallel Horizon 2020 EU research application is delivered in a first format and revolves around European Cultural Values in Public Space and with European collaborators.
The projects are developed from the network of the Baltic art project Art Line and the steering group of Think Tank Transbaltic.
Photograph by Sepa Sama.

The project title for our Horizon 2020-application is
“European Cultural Values in Flux – Past, Present, Future”.

In a transforming Europe, this project aims at exploring the challenges of migration across Europe by reconceptualising and renegotiating values in the public realm through a variety of critical and artistic practices. The partners from academy and the arts will study the historical, present and future composition of European societies and their citizens focusing on collaborative and participatory work and artistic action research.

What if we analyzed the public space as a core value and look at different ways how public space is practiced (as a value) by locals and newcomers? We will identify, explore and negotiate practiced values by co-creation, capacity-building, action-based research and artistic action in public space. We will investigate the relationship between values of locals and migrants with different methods and actions. Through interdisciplinary collaborations we will facilitate inclusion processes and decision-making.

Our project will raise capacity for councils and communities to negotiate values in public space. We will develop advanced knowledge tools for inclusion of migrants and the creation of inclusive and friendly societies.

We will question the EU core values through the personal stories of old and new EU citizens in the public realm and challenge the idea of European core values, such as freedom, equality and solidarity and how they are (mis)used and negotiated in public space (digital media, institutions, urban space).

The project proposal for Horizon 2020 CULT-COOP-12-2017 was delivered in time.
If the project proposal is accepted, a full application will be delivered in September. The Horizon-program is targeting the significance of cultural and core values for the migration challenge.

The results will be tailored policies, a toolbox, models, new knowledge about how the public environment affects people and an increase knowledge of community values, new interdisciplinary collaborations, more people involved in decision making – and raised capacity.

Matthias Einhoff, Maria Gourieva, Agnieszka Wolodzko, Torun Ekstrand, Pirjo Elovaara and Inga Urbonaite - the core group meets at ZK/U Center for Art and Urbanistics in Berlin in May 2016

A new interdisciplinary project is planned!

Institutione in countries bordering to the Atlantic coast or the Meditteranean Sea are partners.

A Partner meeting was held at the Royal Art Academy in Copenhagen
November 9-10th 2016

A first project proposal was deliverd in February 2017 and if successful an application to Horizon 2020 will be developed in September 2017

The main aim is to generate urban and regional development approaches by combining hard and soft professions, disciplines and cultural methods. Now we are heading towards a partnership with institutions in countries bordering to the Baltic Sea, the Mediterranean Sea or the Atlantic.
Currently the Think Tank is preparing a new multiannual research project that will be implemented in 2017. It will be focused on the inclusion of migrants’ experience and knowledge in the process of development of public space. How can participatory and interdisciplinary methods have an impact to these problems?
Port cities are symbolic and specific harbors for people on the move between cultures – are the relations and cultures visible? We plan to work with migration - immigration and emigration. What does it mean to arrive to another continent over the sea – to be confronted with new cultures? How can we use the different stories of immigration and emigration in the process of designing the public space? Is it possible to enhance social cohesion through innovative dialogue-based interdisciplinary work? Can we make the skills and knowledge among the migrants visible and valuable parts of city development? Who is allowed to be part of the development of our cities - and to use public space?
Migration has and has had different histories in all our countries. Who are the people who moved over the sea in historic times and who are on the move today, “inside” or “outside” Europe? What are their cultures, traditions and practices, and do theirs differ from ours? How can we build a common ground?
By presenting our ideas, our intention is to start to indicate what kind of topics we are interested in and looking for more partners to develop the topics further and co-operate with. But we also want to emphasize that our ideas are not the only possible ones, they only indicate the trajectory of the planned European interdisciplinary, cross-sectional project, where we welcome your experiences, knowledge, skills and competencies.
Think Tank Transbaltic wants to compare the experiences of the Baltic Sea region with those from other coastal regions and countries with a coastline. This is why, for the sake of the planned research project, new partners from institutions from other European coastal regions will be sought to co-operate.
The project will be based on an interdisciplinary collaboration of researchers, artists, architects, spatial planners, integration workers, educators etc. This is why it will assume research through practice. Its driving force will be ideas of diversity as a resource and non-normative/norm creative thinking. There will be various forms of practices used, e.g. site specific games, performance and theatre in the city space, exhibitions, creating films, interventions and installations in public space, workshops, working with non-human beings in public space, creating new experimental public space, group residencies etc. The research’s results will lead to creating new knowledge on the public space and the consequences of the re-creation – to redefining it.
Some of the project partners have been part of the interdisciplinary project Art Line that was appointed Flagship by the European Commission.

Think Tank Transbaltic has been rewarded Flagship.  
Read more on the blog

With the generous support of the Swedish Institute and Nordic Culture Point.

Think Tank Transbaltic - the start-up

Think Tank Transbaltic will establish an interdisciplinary collaboration to generate urban and regional development approaches by combining hard and soft professions, disciplines and cultural methods. The Think Tank will facilitate a broad engagement in the Baltic Sea area by using participatory methods and a cross-cultural perspective.
We will create a mobile, productive and creative Think Tank to develop new methods for community development with artistic practices as a base. The Think Tank workshops and programs will be arranged in port cities around the Baltic Sea in collaboration with partner institutions and local/regional actors.
The overarching question is how to bring the port cities in the Baltic Sea together in a symbolic, digital, cultural, mental and physical infrastructure. How we can solve challenges that the Baltic Sea Region is facing connected to urbanization and migration? How can we visualize the relationship and proximity to the sea and thus develop selected locations in close proximity to the Baltic Sea? EU statistics show that migration from the countryside to urban areas is accelerating at an increasing pace in Europe - how does the fast urban population growth affect the port cities, the rural areas and the regions?

How can diversity, not mono-culture, be the base of development discussions? How can newcomers be included in an already vague idea about a Baltic identity? How can questions about exclusion, citizenship, segregated neighborhoods and integration become part of the regional and local planning policies?

The project idea is appointed a Flagship in the Baltic Sea Region Strategy and part of the Policy Area Culture.

Read about the development of the project, workshops and programs.
Read about the partner institutions in Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Belarus,
Russia, Germany, Denmark and Sweden.

The pilot study is made possible through the Nordic Culture Point - Kulturkontakt Nord,
The Swedish Institute and the regional councils of Kalmar and Blekinge.