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Place making - spirit waking! | Civic Europe
Arts and cultural activities

Place making - spirit waking!

Multidisciplinary art project and cross-sectoral cooperation for social inclusion and increasing civic engagement in Shipka, Bulgaria.


Who is behind this?

Yuliya Ivanova

POdLEZNO foundation


Who is joining forces?

Iliev Dance Art foundation


Narodno chitalishte "Svetlina-1861"


For 160 years now the community center is working in the community partnering with the school, the kindergarten and the Municipality.They will help us attract the locals to participate in our project.


Idea pitch

Art is a powerful tool for addressing sensitive topics such as democracy, human rights, inequalities. It’s successfully used for social inclusion, because of its strong level of engagement with the audience, that has a long lasting impact. Unfortunately this is not true for everyone. We want to change that by improving the access to art to the residents of underprivileged territory through the realization of multidisciplinary project at a local level and involving youths and segregated groups.

Where will your project idea take place?

We will work in Shipka - a small town in Kazanlak municipality, Stara Zagora Province, Bulgaria

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

Shipka has no NGO sector and no local civic initiatives.The sole community center provides limited services due to insufficient funding and it fails to attract the teenagers because it lacks modern look and diversity of cultural activities.The local events are mainly historical and folklore oriented. Although named "festivals", they are mostly trade shows of manufacturers.The young people from the town go to Kazanlak to seek entertainment and cultural life.Furthermore,in Shipka there are a lot of Roma children coming from the nearby villages who are not included in the town`s life and are segregated from Bulgarian students.The local population fails to find a dialog between the two ethnic groups which is a prerequisite for generating xenophobia and radicalism,especially amongst youngsters.

Who are you doing it for?

We target the Bulgarian and Roma teenagers of Shipka and the surroundings. Part 2 will include youngsters who are active and inspirate to make a positive change in their community, but have fewer opportunities in terms of financial and social status. Part 1 and 3 aim to engage the Municipality, the parents, the business and the Roma people.This way we will exhibit a wide range of opinions and will provoke discussions on topics such as civic rights and responsibilities (e.g.freedom of expression), diversity and locally rooted issues.We’ll use the art performance as an ice breaker, because we believe that the experience can contribute to increasing empathy, breaking stereotypes and shaping a common language.Thus, the apparently diverse group will unite in one common cause - a better future.

How do you plan to get there?

-1 informative campaign-to attract the youngsters and to promote the showcase
-5 creative workshops with professionals (visual and dance arts) and 5 reflections
-1 discussion before-to give the locals the power to decide which place they want to renovate and how
-1 transformed space through placemaking-work with the local youngsters-this process will engage them and grab their attention on the topics the art installation will address
-1 performance-dance is a powerful tool for starting a discussion about sensitive topics, that’s our goal
-1 discussion after the performance-we’ll use the energy of the showcase and the possibility people with different opinions to start a dialog
-sharing the results-1 short video showing the whole process-from the workshops to the final discussion

What are the expected results?

- The locals will be equipped with a new model of collaboration and a new way of thinking their role as active citizens and facing societal challenges
- The young talents interested in dance and art will be empowered to co-creating their environment and raise their voice, which will give the know-how and inspiration for future initiatives.
- Increasing the involvement of talented individuals in Bulgaria with art and culture by improving their knowledge and skills for realization of independent projects in the creative industries and increasing their experience for a more successful realization on the labor market.
In the long term, the impact of the results of local intervention will transform the location and the community towards new cultures and reinforce European vision and identity

How does your idea strengthen active citizenship at a local and community level?

The project addresses the problem, interlacing topics such as multiculturalism,tolerance,equality and human rights by collaboration between 3 organizations and the local community
We will create together an outdoor creative space,a professional showcase and will set up the stage for mixing cultures.
Part1: Discussion on the deeply rooted local issues to encourage civic engagement
Part2: We will conduct graffiti and dance workshops where the participants will create their own environment. We aim to create an iconic place that will raise awareness long after the end of the project
Part3: Creative event which will emphasize European identity and promote cultural diversity
Our practice shows that when you give the people a platform for expression, beautiful transformations are possible.

Why is this idea important to you?

In the time where we can be "citizens of the world," we need to belong and we choose to identify ourselves with places,communities,groups, and societies that conform to our beliefs, values, and make us proud. In this sense, the biggest cities in Bulgaria are preferred for all the opportunities they offer, but the smaller settlements with rich history and amazing nature are forgotten in a sense of cultural life and equal opportunities for development.
We met the community center`s management 2 years ago and we were amazed by the unrealized potential of the town and the community,so we decided, as a part of our mission and strategy, to bring the knowledge, best practices and successful models of cooperation to Shipka`s citizens to empower them to create their own local positive change.

€ 49600,-

Total budget

€ 49600,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

- Project manager - €5 400,00
- Project coordinator - €3 600,00
- Travel and accommodation (for the team and dancers) - €11 200,00
- Visual specialists - €4 000,00
- Dance teacher - €2 000,00
- Visual intervention - €10 000,00
- Choreography - €5 000,00
- Dancers - €5 000,00
- Costumes - €800,00
- Visual effects - €1 000,00
- Production of a video for the project - €1 000,00
- Advertising - €600,00

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

We`ll be grateful to receive ideas of how to integrate Roma population in the community and overcome segregation.
Do you know any good practices of uniting different ethnic groups through art and culture?
What do you think can be improved in our project?
Is anyone interested in future partnership


POdLEZNO foundation


Idea created on May 26, 2020
Last edit on May 27, 2020

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