LOUDER is finally launching!

We are happy to share the launching initiative of our follow-up “Europe Lab” Forum project and our grant receiver – LOUDER. This project is a first cross-national community art project creating platform for citizens’ artwork and storytelling to combat prejudice, expose social and cultural challenges and realities of people and communities from minority groups and/or with intersectional and diverse identities.

On 10th of December, with the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, young civil society professionals from Romania, Finland and Russia has officially launched their project and Open Call for a first round of art submissions and stories aiming to create a cross-cultural online and offline community, bridging EU countries and Russia through exhibitions organized in Russia, Finland and Romania.

LOUDER invites citizens, artists and non-artists alike, from all backgrounds to submit their visual art and stories, until January 7th. The artwork and stories will be published on LOUDER website and social media, and selected works will be displayed in a touring art exhibition in Finland, Romania and Russia.

You can find more information about the application here.

For more information on the project and the partners, please visit https://www.louderart.com/ 

And do not forget to follow them on Facebook!

Europe Lab 2018: Three Projects Selected for Funding

Following the successful fourth edition of the annual “Europe Lab” Forum in Pitești this July, the Jury has chosen the best projects, who will be funded by the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum. This year, the forum participants have demonstrated their strong and serious efforts in initiating inspiring and creative projects. However, our Jury had to select three winning projects, and on the 6th of September, Imprisoned Youth, LOUDER and We Accept were picked as the best initiatives to receive funding.

Imprisoned Youth

The project “Imprisoned Youth” aims to narrate the story of the short 20th century through the memories of ten young political prisoners from Belgium to Siberia. The project is being dedicated to all young activists being imprisoned these days for their political beliefs and actions. By showcasing and publishing the personal stories on an easily accessible online multimedia platform, the project aims to enhance the engagement of young people by increasing their political awareness and interest in civil activism. Organizers aim to achieve their goals through a social media campaign and strong cooperation with local schools, universities and various youth associations.

LOUDER

LOUDER is a community-building art project designed to create an inclusive visual platform for citizens’ artwork with the aim to expose social and cultural challenges, enhance visibility of prejudices and bring awareness about diversity and intersectionality. The project will be implemented online via a powerful social media campaign, and offline through various exhibitions organized in Russia, Finland and Romania. LOUDER aims to develop a platform equipped with tools, inspiration and good practices for activists and NGOs from the EU and Russia to use and multiply within their respective communities.

We Accept

The project’s goal is to give a stronger voice to the LGBT+ community in less welcoming countries. By narrating inspiring, empowering and honest stories from individuals, who have decided to be more open in a hostile environment, We Accept seeks to raise awareness about the damage and difficulties surrounding the spread of homophobia and transphobia. The main goal is to share these stories online and demonstrate that overcoming these problems is one of the crucial steps of society’s progress forward. Organizers hope that their project will motivate the other members of the LGBT+ community to be more open as well.

We Accept is funded by the supported by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in Moscow.

 

Final results of the projects’ work will be presented at the 9th General Assembly of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum on May 2019.

The Forum for Young Professionals “Europe Lab” 2018 was organised by the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum in cooperation with the Pitești Prison Memorial, INLAR, DRA / German-Russian Exchange, Competendo and the University of Pitești. The Project was supported by the European Commission and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom. The media partner was the WECHANGE Platform.

Europe Lab 2018: The Dizziness of Freedom

On 28-31 July 2018, the Annual Forum “Europe Lab” gathered a group of 70 young professionals and volunteers from Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Macedonia, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Russia, United Kingdom, Ukraine and other countries. They work in NGOs, think tanks, universities, business, public administration, cultural field and media.

“Europe Lab” 2018 took place at the Pitești Prison Memorial – a place where young students became political prisoners and were exposed to a barbaric re-education experiment, aimed at erasing their beliefs, their hopes and their future. A little more than 40 years later, within these same walls, young Europeans can take the future in their own hands.

’Wow! What is especially heart-warming for me is that dedicated young professionals from all over Europe seek to bridge differences and find alternative solutions for the biggest societal problems,’ says Ralph du Long, Board Chair at the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum. ‘“Europe Lab” truly is worth its name.’

The participants took part in workshops dedicated to such topics as gender issues, documenting historical memory, peace building and civic education. They further discussed how to take into consideration voices of minorities, strengthen vulnerable groups, develop grass-roots initiatives and reflect personal stories, in particular those of young prisoners.

‘We at the Memorial were eager to host this year’s “Europe Lab”, since it was an exceptional opportunity for our team to share our values and ideas with young professionals from different countries,’ pointed out Maria Axinte, Director of the foundation and the museum. ‘We would like to become part of this wider network rooted in memory, civic action and communities, and we hope to continue making an impact in our own community by joining together in innovative projects.’

The evening programme of the Forum was as intense as day activities. Representatives of the Romanian civil society and civic movements provided insights into the current debate in the country – about corruption, propaganda, same-sex marriages, etc. Another evening was a glimpse of “Pilorama”, a civil festival in the Russian region of Perm, where “Europe Lab” (then “Pilorama Lab”) was born in 2012: Yulia Balabanova, singer, poet and now Director of the “Triumph” Private Philharmony in Perm, was remembering “Pilorama” and singing her songs about freedom and captivity, war and peace, love and hatred.

At the closing ceremony, the outputs of the workshops were presented. A special feeling was corresponded by a documentary theatre piece, a result of the workshop “Stories of Never-Ending Past“. Workshop participants, at the same time performers, were reading three stories of young prisoners from different times in their native languages – Polish, Romanian (a story of a detainee of the Pitești Prison) and Ukrainian.

‘I see people are returning to “Europe Lab”, and this is an inspiring personal experience for me,’ told Kristina Smolijaninovaitė, Deputy Director at the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum, which organised “Europe Lab”. ‘We hope to strengthen the alumni platform, which currently counts 220 people, and look for possible synergies and activities in different formats within our organisation. Young and active citizens is what Europe needs, and we are eager to make our contribution to their development and the development of the continent.’

The next step for the participants shall be submission of their project proposals until 16 August 2018. An independent jury will have selected best projects by 6 September 2018.

The Forum for Young Professionals “Europe Lab” 2018 was organised by the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum in cooperation with the Pitești Prison Memorial, INLAR, DRA / German-Russian Exchange, Competendo and the University of Pitești. The Project was supported by the European Commission and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom. The media partner was the WECHANGE Platform.

“Europe Lab” alumnae and alumni

We were happy to see “Europe Lab” alumni proudly present their projects at the 8th General Assembly of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum in Sofia, Bulgaria!

We hope that their projects continue to grow and affect change, and that future “Europe Lab” alumni join their ranks with new exciting endeavours!