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

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“Art Space Connect” is a 2020 collaboration of Internationale Gesellschaft der Bildenden Künste (IGBK), GeoAIR (Tbilisi) and Centrala Berlin with a focus on independent art initiatives and artist-run spaces in Central and Eastern Europe and the Caucasus.

As cooperation partners, we strengthen the exchange amongst civically engaged artists, curators and an interested audience 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?

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 of directors)

2nd digital talk of "Art Space Connect" on the 1st weekend of October 2020

This event is a cooperation with the Leipzig based art space festival LindeNOW 2020, which takes place digitally this year. The talk will be streamed as part of the festival.

Alicja Kaczmarek from Centrala Birmingham will moderate this talk with artists and project space operators from the Caucasus region. The discussion will focus amongst others on the current conditions for the international mobility of artists and independent art initiatives.

More information on the event here from mid-September 2020 on.

Register here for the IGBK Newsletter to be informed about further update on "Art Space Connect".

"Art Space Connect" final conference in November 2020

The final conference of "Art Space Connect" will take place on 6 and 7 November 2020, which will include international guests on site as well as other representatives of independent art initiatives and producers' galleries in digital form. At this event we are guests of the Netzwerk freier Berliner Projekträume und-Initiativen at KUNSTPUNKT BERLIN, Schlegelstraße 6, 10115 Berlin.

  • Friday evening panels and presentations: Specific profile of independent art initiatives and artist-run spaces; Reaching the audience; Status Quo on the international exchange; Regional perspectives and political frameworks
  • Saturday daytime workshops: Focus on mobility after COVID19; Focus on alternative ways to support artists initiatives and project space

Selected funders and actors from the non-cultural sector will be invited to the conference. It is our aim to conclude with a short recommendation paper on new ways to support independent art initiatives and their international exchange.


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 (BBK) and Moira Zoitl (Deutscher Künstlerbund) from IGBK are the projects leads 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 established as branch of 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. Centrala is a powerful advocate 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.