Last week I was invited to participate in a Steering Committee team meeting of a new INTERREG V A project officially named “Kunstverbindung/Kunstverbinding’’. The working name used among the partners is shorter: taNDem – where N is the Netherlands and D is Deutschland. Using the name taNDem is a symbol linked to the project’s main idea – to bring Dutch and German forms of art and/or culture together and to provide a space to exchange creative ideas related to a specific form of an art and/or culture in this border region.
This particular project, which is still in a beginning phase, deserves a special attention, since I personally find such a project and especially its results an interesting form of art, connecting two nations, languages, culture, ideas and different perspectives. As discussed in the meeting, every year within the duration of the project (until 2021 ) there shall be a different topic/theme announced.
The topic of 2018 is set as a question: ”Wo fühle ich mich zuhause?” or “Where is my homeland?” linked to migration and refugees.
Let me get back to the Steering Committee team meeting. My day started with extremely strong wind in Enschede and Gronau, which was not that pleasant, but luckily I was able to get to work safely and participate in the meeting, which was definitely an enriching experience for me. Despite the unpleasant windstorm, all the participants arrived also safely to the premises of EUREGIO on the Dutch side of the border.
However, I must say that the storm was so strong, that at some point we all thought that we were to be blown away to the German side of the border! Well, fortunately it has not happened, therefore all the prepared topics of the meeting like diverse work packages, financing, criteria for to-be- Experts Committee for the project proposals, communication channels, networking, as well as an arrangement linked to the upcoming intro event in a form of a BarCamp, were adequately reviewed and discussed.
Altogether there were 12 participants – 7 members of the Steering Committee who are at the same time also project partners and 5 members of the Project group from EUREGIO, including myself. The main or actually the mostly spoken language of a meeting was German, but partly also Dutch due to two project partners from the Netherlands. I must say that to hear both languages in a meeting is for me personally super beneficial, seeing that I am recently learning Dutch and I would like to develop my German language skills further as well.
What I find worth to mention in particular, related to the attended meeting is a BarCamp – an intro event which is already scheduled on 12th April. A Bar Camp is a type of an informal conference, originally focused around technology. In other words, it is as an open participatory workshop where the content is defined by the participants, instead of classic conference with strict rules and the structural program prepared beforehand. Project leader Andre Sebastian explains why the project partners decided to organize BarCamps as following: “Wir wollten bewusst keine klassische Konferenz oder ein Symposium und den Künstlerinnen und Künstlern ein bestimmtes Programm vorsetzen. Sie sind die Kreativen, deshalb sollen sie selber aktiv werden, sich einbringen und den Tag gestalten. Das Barcamp ist das, was die Teilnehmer daraus machen. Und wir können im Laufe des Jahres anhand ihrer gemeinsamen Projekte sehen, was aus den ersten Ideen geworden ist.“ Which basically means that the main idea of organizing this kind of event is to provide an open space for the participants to get to know each other, to exchange the ideas, and/or to look for a partner to start a specific project. In such an event there is no structure needed, as it is expected that the participants are creative enough to make the most of the day in a way they wish.
At the end of the meeting participants agreed to schedule at least two more team meetings during the first year of the project. Afterwards that we had a classic snack time – lekkere broodjes eten (lunch snacks)and informal interactions/networking among the participants. Afterwards, full of new ideas and plans and meanwhile with much less wind outside which by the way continued on its way, blowing further over the border to Germany and further to the east, all the participants returned safely back to work :)
And about me – besides learning a lot about the project itself, I also learned a few new words, in particular, a Dutch word - never heard before -“erfgoed”, which means heritage and which is for the Dutch partners of the project an important word to use linked to the culture, instead of using the word culture alone (in this case it is – cultureel erfgoed –cultural heritage).
What an educative day for me at EUREGIO!
Already look forward to the upcoming ones!
Border(less) Monika, IVY Volunteer