Cultivating Collaboration: Artscape’s Strategic Meet-Up with Kulturhuset Stadsteatern

Cultivating Collaboration: Artscape’s Strategic Meet-Up with Kulturhuset Stadsteatern

In a unique collaboration aimed at fostering bilateral relations, cultural organizations in Sweden and Lithuania have united to exchange best practices and methods for empowering refugee youth through art and culture. On January 18-19th, Arts Agency Artscape hosted a strategic meet-up with the cultural organization Kulturhuset Stadsteatern in Lithuania.

Both organizations showcased their prominent projects addressing the refugee topic: Kulturhuset Stadsteatern’s “+93” project in Stockholm, which brings leaders of communities together to facilitate successful outreach and inclusion, and Artscape’s ‘Creative Missions’ program, focusing on bringing arts activities to the most vulnerable children in refugee centers.

Aiste Ulubey, founder, and CEO of Artscape says, “By exchanging best practices and methods, particularly in empowering refugee youth through art and culture, the meet-up aimed to create a two-way street of knowledge exchange. Through the success of the Swedish Project ‘+93’ and Artscape’s program ‘Creative Missions,’ both organizations are not only enriching the lives of participants but also contributing to a broader understanding of cultural practices and empowerment in the global context.”

Beside strategic meet-up session partners visited The Office of the Nordic Council of Ministers and National gallery of Arts.

Kulturhuset Stadsteatern, located in Stockholm, stands as one of Northern Europe’s largest cultural institutions. Hosting various cultural activities such as theatre, debates, art exhibitions, film, dance, libraries, and music, it receives around two million visitors annually. Serving as a safe haven since 1998, offering two-year residences safe from persecution, and participating in the ICORN City of Refuge program since 2007, Kulturhuset Stadsteatern received the city’s mission to host the ‘+93’ program in 2010.

The Department for International Cooperation, including Fristad Stockholm, collaborates closely with former and current hosted residents to produce programs, workshops, and projects focusing on human rights, freedom of speech, and democracy.

Arya Aramnejad, a professional singer and music maker living in Sweden, joined the meet-up, as well. Together with colleagues, he initiated, developed, and ran Project ‘+93′ in cooperation with Studiefrämjandet Stockholm.

Project +93, named after Afghanistan’s country code, gathers young people (18-26 years old) who have fled from Afghanistan/Iran to Sweden, aiming to use music to open doors to Swedish civil society, cultural institutions, musical expression, and critical thinking. The project encourages reciprocity, with hosting institutions learning from the young participants. It involves self-organization through knowledge of Swedish popular education and study associations, using music as a unifying force to provide tools and knowledge on implementing creative ideas.

For Kulturhuset Stadsteatern, the project serves not only to enhance participants’ competencies, life quality, and future prospects but also to learn from their perspective on cultural practice and empowerment. The institution seeks to deepen its knowledge of working participatorily and methodically with multilingualism, reaching out to different groups of young people and sharing the created culture with the people of Stockholm.

Artscape, based in Vilnius, Lithuania, operates as a grassroots cultural organization specializing in visual and performing arts, along with social initiatives in the migration field. Recognized locally and internationally for its innovative and effective projects, ARTSCAPE employs participatory arts, social activation, and collaboration, emphasizing cultural diversity.

In 2022, ARTSCAPE received an award from the European Commission’s social development bank of Europe for its ‘Creative Missions’ initiative, significantly contributing to social cohesion. In 2021, their project HOME was acknowledged as a best practice of cross-sectoral cooperation and innovation within the Creative and Cultural Industries.

The visit was funded by the Sweden-Lithuania Cooperation Fund.

January 25, 2024