Director, Platform TU, Mariupol, Ukraine
The idea of this project came to us during the stressful and desperate spring of 2020, when women were on the frontline of an epidemic, borders were closed, and culture was the most vulnerable on the global level. We wanted to weave the cross-border artistic collaborations when mobility was not possible, and luckily our idea was supported by the House of Europe. Woven Network is not the first art-residency I am in charge of, but it is the first digital international project we are coordinating as a lead partner. Having had such a project in times of epidemic, when culture in Europe gets more and more vulnerable, was a true privilege. It was not only an experiment for 7 brilliant artists from 5 countries, but a challenge for a vivid and diverse team of partners and managers from Ukraine, Sweden and Scotland.
Despite all differences and difficulties of distanced collaborations, we tried to reinvent the hierarchical structure of the internet as a safe space for women across Europe - even though it was just a small group of women. Female artists and managers together have created a unique atmosphere of solidarity, support and safety - something we all lack during COVID-19 times. Exploring the invisible roles of women during crisis and at the same time creating the virtual space where every participant is visible and valuable - this was the most valuable part of the project for me.
The most unexpected effect of the project for me was the growth. Growth of our team skills and expertise - for example, the only male in our team, Oleksii, has grown significantly as a digital manager and "virtual exhibition space architect". Another success story was our project development to the western Europe: our partners from Scotland, Fablevision were granted Creative Scotland support for "Woven network. Scotland", whereas Swedish partners Intercult were supported by Nordic Fund with their project "Woven Network. Nordics". I am very proud that the project that has started in Ukraine has started the development of European network of artistic collaborations, and I am inspired with the potential of weaving hundreds of stories between female artists across the entire Europe.