Iwona Preis
Director, Intercult, Stockholm, Sweden
Culture, creativity and coronavirus- time for action

There have been many urgent issues occupying my brains the recent months, both the world-wide and the more personal concerns connected to the changing living conditions. Due to pandemics the European solidarity get suddenly downsized to your own kitchen table with a view into the data screen. Cultural sector was immediately under threat, health care got an inhuman load of work, education looked for a way to continue teaching, virus threatened elderly care, lock downs threatened services. A chock during the early spring 2020 and quick gathering of powers for resilience. My immediate reaction was: how can we in a structured way engage artists in showing consequences of women workers, especially affected by pandemics in all sectors, for the world around, to document a disaster within a frame of what Intercult is working with? The idea of a project supporting women artists was born. After several months of building up a transnational partnership with Fablevision and other countries, recruiting artists, sharpening the idea, the Woven network was finally ready for first applications. The miracle happened thanks to the successful planting it in Ukraine by Platform Tu and the grant of House of Europe.

The artists got a task to create art works showing with their own eyes the challenges of the pandemics. The first challenge is that the social art works, how beautiful and strong they are, stay at the starting point of creation without supporting structures which engage the network around for dissemination. Artists can initiate a dialogue but other must carry on that conversation further to the society. We are all living in our bubbles of needs, experiences, opinions, occupations, culture and the challenge is to step out of this bubble to let others engage into the discourse. Is the participatory action seeking, be it digital, involvement of the community even possible in the times of Covid social- distancing, with only virtual communication and creation? It is definitely another challenge for socially engaged projects, to understand that without not only audience-oriented art works but also a real connection to the audience there is no or very little impact and legacy. Otherwise, which is not a disadvantage but another way of working with art, not making a statement but art for art's own sake.

In any case, for a project involving artists, it is crucial to have a network around it. It is our responsibility as collaborating organizations to support the process. In virtual times by using virtual platforms, and those tools must really get refined for the fully developed creating and social use of arts.

The Woven Networks 6 months journey is slowly coming to a grande finale on Saturday 12th, with all the art works being uncovered during the following week.

To be continued, so stay tuned.

Iwona Preis, Intercult, Sweden

P.S. I just added Covid to my spelling check dictionary, hopefully not for long.