Vital Voices

The war in Ukraine has made it abundantly clear that freedom and human rights cannot be taken for granted. Countries such as Moldova, Kazakhstan, Hungary, Kyrgyzstan, Slovenia and Serbia are located between Asia, Europe and Russia. Even though some of them have joined the European Union, the autocratic threat continues to pant uncomfortably on their necks.

Vital Voices is an initiative from De Balie and cultural entrepreneur Dessy Gavrilova. In January 2023, pro-democratic organisations from Asia and Europe will come together in Amsterdam. Whether political debates, art installations, film screenings or interdisciplinary events, they are fundamental to the protection of human rights and civil society. What can we do for each other? At what points do we get stuck in our work? How can we build a network of like-minded institutions?

On Wednesday, 11 January, we will talk with some of the participants during a public programme in De Balie. What does it mean to be located centrally between the East and the West, especially in times of war and conflict? How does this influence their work? Attend here.

About the participating organisations

Art and Media Hub (Chernihiv, Ukraine)
ART and MEDIA HUB in Chernihiv was created in 2019 as the first Hub in the city. It became a space for raising media literacy, stories from ‘invisible’ groups, independent artists and community-building projects.

Artcom Platform (Astana, Kazakhstan)
Artcom Platform is a feminist, women-led and community-based organisation that is committed to solidarity work with Central Asian ecosystems and communities through art activism, research and education.

Arta Azi (Chisinau, Moldova)
Arta Azi has as main goals to develop and promote education through culture, to stimulate social responsibility and to involve youth in social and cultural activities.

Auróra Center (Budapest, Hungary)
Auróra Center is an integrated community centre where social activism, independent culture and local community initiatives take place.

Bishkek School of Contemporary Art (Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan)
The Bishkek School of Contemporary Art (BiSCA) is a dynamic online and offline platform that offers to accumulate and promote art practices, reflections and experiences in their various manifestations.

Center Rog (Ljubljana, Slovenia)
Center Rog at is a creative hub for innovative and sustainable projects in the areas of fabrication, urban handicraft, applied arts, design and architecture. It is located at the former Rog bike factory (9000sqm in the city centre).

Culture Center Kuduk (Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan)
Culture Center Kuduk is a multidisciplinary space for the art community. Kuduk organises educational programmes in art management sphere, eco art programmes, data art programmes, workshops, theatre, exhibitions and film screenings.

Culture Center LAB (Novi Sad, Serbia)
Culture centre LAB gathers professionals and companies committed to culture, social entrepreneurship and independent journalism and culture. LAB houses a gallery, a theatre and concert venue, a music and photography studio, a co-working space and a library.

Culture Front GRAD (Belgrade, Serbia)
Cultural Front is an independent civil society organisation that offers, among others, concerts, literary, culinary and debate programmes and a residency programme for international artists.

Dawn (Tajikistan)
Dawn is an organisation that works in strengthening youth participation in decision-making processes, promoting the right to freedom of association and combining the efforts of civil society in Tajikistan to achieve the SDGs.

FreeSZFE Society (Hungary)
FreeSZFE Society started as a movement in 2020 in Hungary against the governmental privatisation of the higher education. Most of their members are the former students and teachers of the University of Theatre and Film Arts, Budapest. They founded a society in 2021 in order to create a place for artistic education free from governmental influence.

Georgia’s Future Academy (Tbilisi, Georgia)
Founded in 2015, Georgia’s Future Academy (GFA) has established itself as the major youth hub in Georgia working in the educational field of public speaking and debating with the aim of fostering significant public discussion on pressing societal issues and improving debating culture in Georgia’s public life.

Impact Hub Tbilisi / ZEG Tbilisi Storytelling Festival (Tbilisi, Georgia)
Impact Hub Tbilisi is a professional membership organisation dedicated to individuals, enterprises, start-ups, and organisations making a positive impact in Georgia. Impact Hub Tbilisi focuses on innovative programs, events, and cutting-edge content.

Performing Arts MITOS (Limassol, Cyprus)
The Center of Performing Arts MITOS is an initiative that designs an annual programme of events undertaking their production, research, creation and presentation in Cyprus and abroad. Focusing on contemporary forms of conceptualization and performativity, MITOS collaborates with practitioners from a variety of fields, including the arts, sciences, and technology, as well as members of the community.

Sorry, no rooms available (Uzhhorod, Ukraine)
Sorry No Rooms Available is an international contemporary art residency that creates conditions for artistic practice embedded in the artistic and cultural environment of Uzhgorod and Transcarpathia, Ukraine. In return, residents commit to the production of a contextual project/exhibition in the city of Uzhhorod or in the surrounding region, as well as their choice of an artist talk, lecture or workshop.

Urban Forum (Almaty, Kazakhstan)
Urban Forum Kazakhstan is an institution that aims to contribute to discussions about the urban environment and promote cooperation between the centres of expertise, local government, business sector, non-profit organisations, local communities, and mass media. They conduct cross-disciplinary studies, initiate expert and public discussions and moderate the dialogue between various city-level stakeholders.