Strengthening international exchange with independent art initiatives and artist-run spaces in Central and Eastern Europe and the Caucasus

Logo Art Space Connect in different Colourways

Art Space Connect is a 2020 collaboration of Internationale Gesellschaft der Bildenden Künste (IGBK), GeoAIR (Tbilisi) and Centrala Berlin.

As cooperation partners, we want to strengthen the exchange with and amongst independent art initiatives and artist-run spaces in Central and Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, asking:

  • What is the specific profile of independent art initiatives and artist-run spaces and how do they develop and reach their audience?
  • What is the status quo of international exchange amongst those initiatives? Which structures are relevant and how does international cooperation help?
  • What are the regional perspectives and political frameworks to consider?
  • What will mobility come down to in the aftermath of the COVID19-crisis, which new ways of digital and regional audience development will remain?
  • How do we find creative and alternative ways to support and finance independent art initiatives and artist run spaces in these countries and the international exchange amongst them? What are the new tools and solutions for support?

Information on all Art Space Connect participants in 2020

Art Space Connect 2021

In February 2021, the project partners jointly published a paper on the 2020 Art Space Connect conversations and set out their demands for 2021.

What independent art initiatives and artist-run spaces do: They provide opportunities!

In February 2021 the project partners published a short review paper on the 2020 Art Space Connect talks.

Independence means “coming from the ground” and “being closer to you”.

But there is a high level of self-exploitation. Small organizations have weaker structures and face more obstacles in obtaining funding.

  • More international exchange is needed, with long term partnerships and substantial cooperation, to share knowledge from different regions and to create a support system. This needs to happen on an eye-level. It is important to listen to each other and not to start with a fixed formal framework.
  • Exchange must be developed in such a way that forces can be truly joined and resources shared. For this, promoting a network could help as a basis, with a funding period that allows sustainable relationships to be established. Eventually, a project space exchange residency program could be developed.
  • Furthermore, fast accessibility to funding is needed for small structures, with small and highly flexible open calls. Cooperation can be more effective by taking out the middlemen.

Read more about the results of the Art Space Connect talks and our demands for 2021 here (PDF paper).

Art Space Connect conference on 06 and 07 November 2020 in Berlin

The final conference of Art Space Connect took take place on 06 and 07 November 2020, with international guests joining us digitally and in Berlin.

View the program of the conference here.

View here a list of all Art Space Connect participants - speakers, workshop experts,... - in 2020.

06 November 2020: On the specific profile of independent art initiatives and artist-run spaces

The opening of the conference with a talk on the specific profile of independent art initiatives and artist-run spaces was streamed from KUNSTPUNKT Berlin, where we were guests of the Netzwerk freier Berliner Projekträume und-Initiativen. (Program and Speakers)

06 November 2020: The importance of exchange and regional inputs

The afternoon of 06 November continued via zoom with regional inputs and conversations about international exchange amongst independent art initiatives. (Program and Speakers.)

07 November 2020: Which new set-ups can we imagine?

On the 2nd conference day, an additional workshop was organized, from which the results were brought back into the conference. View a video here, also with further reports from representatives of the European Cultural Foundation, the Creative Europe Desk Germany and the Allianz Kulturstiftung. (Program and Speakers)

"What's up with international mobility today?" - 2nd digital talk of Art Space Connect on 03 October 2020 at 2pm CET, in collaboration with Leipzig based LindeNOW Festival

Alicja Kaczmarek from Centrala Birmingham met digitally with the armenian curator Anna Kamay, the artist Ara Petrosyan (a.o. Artlabyerevan) and with Marie Le Sourd from the Cultural Mobility Information Network On the Move.

The discussion focussed amongst others on the current conditions for the international mobility of artists and independent art initiatives.

ASC Petrosyan

This event was a cooperation with the Leipzig based art space festival LindeNOW 2020, which took place digitally this year. A recording of the talk was streamed online as part of the LindeNOW festival on 04 October 2020 at 2pm CET.

View a recording here of the talk with Anna Kamay, Ara Petrosyan, Marie Le Sourd und Alicja Kaczmarek


Opening talk on 04 July 2020, alongside the IGBK annual delegates meeting

On 04 July 2020 the opening discussion of Art Space Connect took place. The talk was part of the digital IGBK delegates' meeting 2020.

In a discussion moderated by Sophia Tabatadze (GeoAIR), Tinatin Gurgenidze (Tbilisi Architecture Biennal) and Dr. Marika Kuźmicz (Arton Foundation/ Warsaw) reported on current digitization projects and audience strategies, on international cooperation and on the financing structures of independent art initiatives. This was followed by a short question and answer session with the participants.

Introduction: Marcel Noack (IGBK board member)

View some notes from the opening talk (PDF)

View a recording of the conversation amongst Tinatin Gurgenidze, Dr. Marika Kuźmicz and Sophia Tabatadze


IGBK was founded in 1957 as the German National Committee of the International Association of Art (IAA), an NGO in official partnership with UNESCO. IGBK unites Germany's three most important artist associations (BBK, Deutscher Künstlerbund and GEDOK) and represents more than 14,000 visual artists in Germany. It engages in European networks such as Culture Action Europe and On The Move and advises artists on questions of international mobility. Furthermore, IGBK organizes symposia on the international conditions and perspectives of contemporary art. Marcel Noack and Moira Zoitl are the projects leads from the IGBK board for “Art Space Connect”.

GeoAIR was founded in 2003 in Tbilisi/ Georgia by Sophia Tabatadze (director). It organizes and supports international exchange projects by bringing together artists/curators from different cultural backgrounds and finding relevant contexts for them to work in. GeoAIR has three interconnected directions: collaborative cultural projects, self-directed residency program, and Archidrome – Contemporary Art Archive. GeoAIR constantly develops its activities to be more research-based, inclusive and engaged in the specificity of the given environment. In its interdisciplinary curatorial projects priority is given to socially engaged projects in which, through close collaboration of local artists, audiences and communities, they share experiences and ideas.

Centrala Berlin is a new association for Central and Eastern European art based in Berlin, affiliated with Centrala in Birmingham (UK). Set up in 2014, Centrala Birmingham has gone onto establish itself as a nationally and internationally recognized centre for Central and Eastern European art and artists. The
mission of Centrala Berlin same as in Birmingham is all-embracing: powerful advocates for social integration, bringing together diverse audiences to share, explore, debate and connect with high quality art and events. Berenika Partum, Alicja Kaczmarek and Agata Lisiak are co-founders and directors of Centrala Berlin.

Logos Art Space Connect Partner

Art Space Connect

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