Work plan: Art for the Young, the Queer, the Feminists of Eastern Europe

Project background

One of the fields that CDN, as a capacity building network, prioritises to tackle in the Central and Eastern Europe is gender: gender roles, patriarchy, sexism, women emancipation, LGBTQ+ rights, queer theory, these are some topics on which gender working group aims to raise awareness and empower the youth on. The importance of Gender issues are especially vital in the Central and Eastern Europe. Gender working group has been active for almost a decade now and this project is an idea of the members.

The Central and Eastern Europe is still very conservative and patriarchal compared to Western Europe. According to the data of countries that make their data available through Eurostat, the worst domestic violence and femicide situations across Europe is Montenegro, Latvia, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Hungary, Bosnia and Croatia. Countries like Serbia, Ukraine, Poland, Turkey or Caucasus countries are not included in the data set but it is a very well know fact, that the situation is not any better in those countries. The public and private spaces are not safe for women. Looking at the political representation, only 6 of the 52 leadership positions in Eastern Europe are occupied by female leaders as of 2019. The progress towards gender equality is so slow that even Council of Europe only recently adopted guidelines to its 47 member states on tackling sexism, including the first internationally-agreed definition. Looking at the LGBT+ rights, members of the LGBT+ community in Eastern Europe don’t have safe public spaces to express their gender and sexual orientation openly. The Gay Pride is mostly banned in Eastern European countries and where it is not banned, it can only take place under heavy security, limiting the LGBT+  access to political spaces as well.

What will we do and why?

This project has the goal of tackling the gender issue and representation in private and political spaces in Eastern Europe from both female and LGBT+ perspectives. However, with this project we would like to firstly enlarge the local, closed safe spaces with young activists of different genders and sexualities from the Central and Eastern Europe. Through international youth activities we will provide a bigger, intercultural space for young people of various genders and sexualities to interact with each other, share struggles and learn from each other. In the last phase of the work plan, we will carry the safe space to public space. We will enable the activists to interact with wider public through using art as a communication tool.

Our AIM with this workplan is to understand power dynamics in patriarchal and cis-heteronormative societies in order to empower young women, trans-women, trans-men, non binaries and LGBT+ community to broaden the safe space and claim more private and political space through non-formal education and art.

By providing the platform to discuss the shared experiences and counteracting strategies, we would like to: 

  • Build understanding in the group about the different ways in which power can operate in society and reflect on possible unaware perpetuation of the existing power relations; 
  • Create safe space for young Eastern European activists from gender- and sexual orientation minorities where they share experiences of daily private and political struggles from different contexts; 
  • Consider different strategies for challenging dominant power relations and equip them with tools and techniques to vigorously stand up in their respective struggles; 
  • Explore using art as a tool to expand the safe space in providing visibility to gender and sexual orientation minorities; 
  • Explore and establish cooperation with the initiatives / organizations / individual activists on international level dealing with the same issues locally.

Project summary

This project consists of three activities, with which we would like to stress the importance of art, inclusivity and human rights. The project target group are the young people from the Central and Eastern Europe (Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Kosovo*, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine).


1st phase –  Art as a shelter: A room of our own

The first event of the Work plan is a 5 day international training aiming to understand power dynamics and how power operates in patriarchal societies in order to empower young women to broaden safe space and claim more private and political space through art.

Date: April 2020

Duration: 5 full working days

Location: To be announced

Call for Prepteam

Call for Participants


2nd phase – Good, Bad or Queer

The phase two is an organic continuation of the phase one and draws attention at challenging cis- and heteronormativity as a dominant power and aims at engaging  and  mobilising  LGBT+ young  people  in  taking  ownership  in  advocating for their rights in their national contexts; We want to contribute to overcoming the binary understanding of gender and sexuality and maintstream this discourse in the (Green) youth organisations.

Date: July 2020

Duration: 5 full working days

Location: To be announced

Call for Prepteam

Call for Participants


3rd phase – Art for freedom: Free Yourself and the Rest will Follow

The final phase which comprises of Local Actions in the project countries, that will be partially developed during the previous phase aims to broaden the closed safe spaces of young women, trans-persons, non-binaries and LGBT+ community by visibilising their identities and the struggles to wider public using non-formal methods (i.e. art) as a communication channel in order to challenge the normativity in the society.

Date: September/October 2020

Duration: Optional

Location: Participating countries

Call for local actions

Methodology

The program will be based on the principles of non-formal education and intercultural learning. We strive for active, inclusive and direct communication and transfer and sharing of knowledge. Sessions will be balanced between theoretical inputs, training, workshops, discussions, reflection, planning, brainstorming and other interactive methods of learning.

This Project is supported by the European Youth Foundation of Council of Europe.

*All references to Kosovo, whether to the territory, institutions or population, in this text shall be understood in full compliance with the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1244 and without prejudice to the status of Kosovo.