Ljubljana Pride Association
Artists in Slovenia have been living in increasingly precarious conditions, and that is doubly true for young LGBTIQ+ artists. With the added pressure of the pandemic and the current political situation in Slovenia, we need to address the lack of resources available. We want to create a network of young LGBTIQ+ artists that will offer support for their artistic careers and help them address the pressing societal issues through the universal language of art.
The project will connect people from all around Slovenia.
Young LGBTIQ+ artists living and creating in small towns around Slovenia often decide to stay in the closet due to the very real fear of homophobic and transphobic violence, rejection and professional doors closing. The situation is a bit better in Ljubljana where there is an active LGBTIQ+ community, but that centralization only reinforces the status quo in the rest of the country.
The attitude of the current government both towards LGBTIQ+ people and artists has been increasingly hateful. Art and culture have been characterized as worthless and not deserving of governmental support, and artists expressing criticism have been targeted and persecuted.
In these circumstances it is becoming increasingly necessary to create support for the survival and expression of young LGBTIQ+ artists.
The target group of the project are young LGBTIQ+ artists and cultural workers, living all over Slovenia. Especially during the pandemic, a lot of them were forced to return to their hometowns and in many cases return to the closet. Outside of Ljubljana, there are no support mechanisms in place to support young LGBTIQ+ art and the vast majority of them do not have an established career in their local environments, nor are they familiar with the paths to publishing, exhibiting, performing, receiving funding, applying for local grants etc.
Artists have been especially affected by the pandemic, losing more than 40 % of work. The current political situation in Slovenia is further preventing their work and putting them in increasingly precarious positions financially as well as creatively.
First, we will reach out to young LGBTIQ+ artists all over Slovenia (through our network, social media, partner organizations …) and invite them to join the support network. Through meetings and questionnaires we will learn more about them, their art, and their specific needs, on which we will base our further engagement.
We will offer individual support to any artist with applications, official communication, event organization and other areas that we have rich experience in (e.g.: communicating with the municipality about exhibition opportunities, applying projects or grants, applying for self-employment status, getting published in local newspapers …). We will teach these skills to our participants either individually or, if possible, though a series of workshops. With that, we will empower young artists to become independent in these areas and mentor others.
We will encourage the artists to connect, establish mechanisms of peer-to-peer support, and collaborate in their artistic careers. We will create opportunities for them to express themselves, reach a wider audience, and establish themselves as artists. We will organize cultural events around the country and depending on their forms of expression and their wishes - publish a poetry collection, organize an exhibition, record an album, or produce a performance … as well as distribute and promote the finished product.
The project result will be a book, album, exhibition, or performance ... But more importantly, by offering the needed support to young LGBTIQ+ artists, we will help several marginalized and vulnerable young people to grow, learn, and become more independent and secure. We will offer them opportunities to express themselves authentically as LGBTIQ+ people in their home environments. As they will establish themselves as artists, they will be better connected and more financially secure. They will learn new skills which they will be able to use and teach others.
Through cultural events, addressing LGBTIQ+ topics in rural or small town environments where such topics are taboo, we will give the local community the opportunity to listen, learn, widen their horizons and become more accepting.
The project aims to strengthen active participation of young LGBTIQ+ people in local and community cultural contexts. LGBTIQ+ topics are inherently political and politicized, so cultural participation necessarily means political participation as well, especially in times of increased push against LGBTIQ+ issues by political forces. Besides this, we focus on supporting young LGBTIQ+ people in learning about local institutions, decision making structures, funding mechanisms, policies etc., which is the basis for advancing their artistic career, but is also crucial in enabling their political engagement.
Additionally, our initiative strengthens people’s awareness of the importance of human rights by providing them the much-needed contact with people with diverse identities through art.
We are a team of diverse LGBTIQ+ individuals from different Slovenia regions who have firsthand experiences of the non-existence of support and understanding in those areas outside of Ljubljana. Now, with knowledge and skills we have gained, we want to bring that back to the places we grew up - and facilitate change.
We are very experienced in advocating for LGBTIQ+ people and their interests on local, municipal and national levels. We also have many years of experience in organizing and creating cultural events, concerts, performances, literary events, publishing, as well as mentoring young artists, promotion, psycho-social support and many other skills. We have experienced again and again that art is the best tool for connecting people and fostering acceptance and understanding.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Project coordinator - part time employment: 11 000 €
Cultural events: 5 000 €
Production of final results (book/album/exhibition...): 5 000 €
Promotion: 1 000 €
Transport costs: 1 000 €
We would love to hear about good practices of opening a discussion on "taboo" topics in rural/small town areas.