THE SHAKE DOWN - EEZ un Norvēģijas finanšu instrumenti
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Local Development and Culture


Programme Local Development and Culture
Selection Open project
Competition title Atklātais konkurss “Atbalsts profesionālās mākslas un kultūras produktu radīšanai bērnu un jauniešu auditorijai”
Donorstate/international project partner Rosendal International Theatre, Norway (
Project national Nr. EEZ/2021/1/15
GrACE project Nr. LV-LOCALDEV-0008
Contract No. 4.3.1-12-1
Contract Date 08.12.2021
Project title THE SHAKE DOWN
Project promoter NGO "New Theatre Institute of Latvia" (
Start of project eligibility 15.12.2021
Project end 01.06.2023
Total eligible costs 249 635.00€
Grant financing 212 189.75€
National co-financing 37 445.25€
Project status In implementation
Project goal/description The Shake Down is a culture development and artistic exchange project designed to inspire and empower a cohort of young people to work with art, curating and festival making. 10 teenagers, from Norway and Latvia, will participate in a 14 month mentoring that will lead them to co-curating two international performing arts festivals. The project will consist of an online community, formed and maintained by the young people, mentored and inspired by some of the world's leading curators and artists. This online community will meet at least twice a month with workshops and conversations targeting all aspects of festival curation, production, dramaturgy, artist management and design. The online community will lead to two intensive training and exchange periods in each country, with the teens, artist mentors and guest workshops leaders. The Shake Down festivals will take place within the frame of “Homo Novus” (at least 20% of the overall program) and a stand alone festival at Rosendal Theatre in April of 2023. The result of the project: “The Shake Down” is about empowering teenagers to work with curation, the performing arts and festival-making to make a big impact on, if not for a moment takeover, their cities. Through extensive mentoring and training, these 10 teenagers (5 from Norway and 5 from Latvia) will be supported to draw upon different artistic and cultural strategies to make professional contemporary international art festivals. The goal is to support these young people to grab the eyes and ears of their cities through art-making, curating and festival building in ways that amplify their voices, questions, creative visions and desires. The project is built on the idea that teenagers need platforms where their voices are heard, that art can play a vital role in giving people a voice; art can give people extraordinary access to the world; and equally teenagers have all the energy and intellect to do amazing things in the art world (as well as the world at large) if they are given the invitation and the conditions to do so. Also we are confident that new artistic and inclusion strategies need to be implemented: inviting youngsters in active positions, decision-making and curatorial effort would not only allow them to become visible, heard and supported, but also decrease the knowledge, experience, financial and power relation-based gaps that often settles ramifications for the access of cultural and arts events. This mechanism would allow to work in intergenerational environment learning from each other. The cultural product generated by this project is an innovation framework designed to engage, collaborate and work with young people in ways that place young people in the centre. The frame utilizes the existing resources and experience of both collaborating partners to generate a space for bilateral cooperation in developing not only a group of young people, but will transform and expand our existing audiences. The fantastic thing about working with this project across two cities is that while it places a significant focus on ´the local´ and how the young people can really have an impact and an influence on the places where they live their lives, it broadens the horizons of the work. It holds up the notion that while it is important to act locally, it is vital to think internationally, and to remember that the places we live cannot be thought of as separate from global contexts. This bilateral cooperation, with mentors from across Europe, introduces that perspective in a very real and precise way. The design of this project has been generative collaboratively between the NTIL (led by Bek Berger) and the Rosendal (led by Alexander Roberts) both who have extensive experience in engaging with the specific age group of 14-18 and generating extraordinary artistic outcomes. This approach will provide the maximum engagement with young people and using comparable projects as evidence we will see a confidence of culture leadership and artistic curation emerging within these young people. The project will be supported by the extensive and divergence experience of our team of Artistic Mentors, Asgerdur Gunnarsdottir (NO/IS), Santa Remere (LV), Sodja Zupanc-Lotker, Ph.D (CZ), Marta Keil (PL). The artistic mentors will provide a knowledge of art making and festival curation from a global perspective offering an additional international dimension to this project that inturn will provide a global attention. There mentoring and support through the online community and the residential intensives will look at all aspects of culture making including production, governance, curation, administration, sustainability and hospitality. These aspects will also be supported by our working principles which lie within inclusion, self-determination, sustainability and access. To enable this cultural framework to succeed we have designed a multi-strategic approach including: Online Community: Latvian and Norwegian teens will be joined by Artistic Mentors and Guest artists (minimum twice per month / between 28-40 times through the project – meeting on Zoom or similar platform). Emerging from the Covid-19 crisis online platforms have demonstrated that we are able to connect intellectually and emotionally through digital means. “The Shake Down” will utilize this platform to create a regular space in which we can gather to receive workshops from the artist mentors, to share ideas and to plan “The Shake Down” events. The regularity of these meetings are comparable to an extra-curricular sport and work is sensitive to the competing needs of the young people. The online community also allows “The Shake Down” program to extend its reach outside of the direct surrounds of our physical presence and we will be able to engage young people that don’t necessarily live in the city or have regular access to such cultural events. Residential Intensives: – Rosendal International Theatre Artist Residency, Trondheim, Norway - April 2022 – Rucka Artist Residency, Cesis, Latvia - July 2022 Additionally to the online community we do acknowledge the unique qualities of meeting in-person and want to encourage this by hosting two residential intensives which would see the young people travel to each others countries in 2022. Supported by the Artistic Mentors, the Rosendal and the NTIL staff the residential intensives would happen over a five day period and would be centered upon ´making things happen in collaboration with others´. The focus will be on curatorial collaboration and environmental engagement. The young curators will bring themselves and their ideas, questions, curiosities, desires and concerns – and work with the project mentors to experiment with how to translate them into curatorial frames and artistic activity in real space and time. They will be given different tools and approaches to play, experiment and work through following focus points: – how to develop ideas and concepts in collaboration with others; – how to localise ideas and concept to the environments you are working in; – how to think curatorially across the senses; – how to negotiate competing desires in a group; – how interrogate an idea to develop it further; – how to build a festival around your questions, curiosities and desires; – how to build a festival that is responsive to the environment you are working in. The core-group will be visited by guest lecturers that will introduce specific case-studies and approaches as a means of mapping the many possibilities and approaches. “Homo Novus” Festival Programme “Shake Down” The Shake Down will feature as a special project of the 2022 edition of the international festival of contemporary performance, Homo Novus. Dedicating a minimum of 20% of the overall programming to the outcomes and desires of the curation from the young people. In the six months proceeding through the online community and the residential intensives the young people will get an insight into the overall programming of the festival and provide the resources, knowledge and networks to carve their own space in the festival. This program will consist of but will not be limited to programming international and local artworks, artist talks and works in public space. The Latvian teens will work closely online with their Norwegian collaborators to translate ideas into the festival program. The Norwegian delegation of teens, the artistic mentors and the staff from Rosendal will join the festival in person for a minimum of 5 days. The largest performing arts platform in Latvia, “Homo Novus” attracts thousands of visitors a years and has loyal audience that have been following the festival for over 25 years and the passive audience of the city. To achieve the 50,000 audience members we expect for the project will create at least one work in public space that will be visibility for the length of the festival. Such examples of projects are The Questions Project in 2020 or the upcoming project “The Neon Lights of Riga” by Tim Ethcel and four Latvian artists. Upon conclusion of the “Homo Novus” festival’s programme “Shake Down” there will be an extensive debriefing and consolidation of knowledge between the teens, the artist mentors and the partners. Rosendal Shake Down Building upon the knowledge gained at the “Homo Novus” festival programme “Shake Down”, the Rosendal shake down will expand the reach of the format, taking over the entire building. This shift in format allows the teens to consider every element of audience engagement, the invitation, the marketing, the scenography, the lighting - they will be given the opportunity to build something from the ground up. Moving the Shake Down format into a venue allows for a potentiality of forever shifting that space, the locality inspired by young voices, a shift in attitudes towards a physical space. The young people will be provided autonomy and authority of a building and it’s operations for 4 days inspiring new kinds of culture creation and providing the learning experience for the Rosendal staff to engage intimately with the target audience. Over the 4 day festival there will be the opportunity to program the theatre spaces, the foyers, the cafe with the festival also expanding into public space. This spilling out of the venue will generate a greater visibility of the program to the wider community, engaging with those that might not yet have a relationship with contemporary performance strategies. To achieve the expected audience numbers there will be at least one work installed in a high traffic public space that will inspire curiosity for those not yet acquainted with the project. In conclusion of the Shake Down the entire team will celebrate and debrief on the achievements. The online community will continue for an additional two months to ensure extensive reflection but also provide the opportunity for the young people to continue generating ideas for the future supported by the mentors and partners. This timeframe also coincide with several funding applications in which the team will assist the teens in writing. The cultural products that emerge from “The Shake Down” are supported by a number of external factors which have been designed to ensure that we are providing an accessible, intellectually and creatively stimulating environment. This includes: ● Stipendium for each of the participating teenagers. This stipendium ensures that the young people can commit to this project independently of the financial situation of their family. The stipendium will act as an incentive not to take casual work over the summer so they are able to fully commit to the project. As this is an honorarium not a wage the amount offered is equal between the teenagers – not eliminate any perceived financial hierarchy. ● Artistic Mentors as Translators (if needed) we want to ensure maximum participation from all youngsters involved and have designed the project so that we are maintaining and preserving as much connection as possible. For this reason we are currently designing the working language of the project to be English (with marketing and communication across the three languages). We will be working with the Artistic Mentors to ensure any translation is done directly with the young people. Should we need additional translation support the NTIL will cover any additional costs. ● Diversity of Mentors The Artistic Mentors and the Visiting Workshop leaders represent some of the brightest minds in the industry, we have selected a diversity of backgrounds and representative countries in order to inspire a diversity of views and provide the young people with differing strategies. The broad reach of the network of artists provides the project with a significant reach in Europe.
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