A project to set up a Caucasian network of Cultural Policies in Tbilisi (Georgia), Baku (Azerbaijan) and Yerevan (Armenia) was started in 2004. It aims at analysing the main problems and determinants for cultural policy in the region and at developing joint approaches in the development of cultural policies. Round tables on the exchange of experience in the development of strategic plans took place and possible functions of cultural observatories at Tbilisi, Baku and Yerevan are under discussion.
The project “Caucasian Network of Cultural Observatories” has revealed the problems of a regional scale connected with the consolidation of the non-governmental sector and municipal structures for development of the open civil society in the Caucasus; problems related to supporting the coexistence of various cultures in the Caucasian states (these problems are typical in Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia to a variable extent).
Partners from Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Russian Federation, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan work together in the field of cultural industries, with special emphasis on the museum sector and traditional crafts. Round table meetings took place, and the participant co-operate in the production of case studies in the countries involved. (http://www.gaccgeorgia.org/FrCultIndustries.htm).
Since October 2012, the Saturnalia project shows works of artists from Moscow, St Petersburg, Samara and Rostov, either made recently or intended to be created right there, in Georgia itself. It is supported byFoundation Vladimir Smirnov and Konstantin Sorokin from Russia and TRAM (Transform Art Module) Foundation – a Georgian, non-governmental, non-profit organisation, working in the field of contemporary art.
Other cross-border projects in 2012 were:
- The cultural management training in Batumi organised by BIAFF with the support of OSI / OSGF;
- In September 2012 started a workshop for curators named “CURATOR- PROFESSIONAL ID” which was initiated by TRAM in cooperation with TASWIR Projects and with the support of the Goethe Institute. The project will take place in Telavi, Batumi and Tbilisi;
- The Centre of Contemporary Art – Tbilisi organised the 1st Tbilisi Triennial “Offside Effect” (see also http://www.cca.ge/triennial/).
For more information, see our Intercultural Dialogue section.
Examples of good practice
Georgian Arts and Culture Center
2016 – GACC founded Tbilisi 1st International Summit of Crafts and Design “Ethno Fest 2016” gathering crafts makers of all generations from the south Caucasus and beyond. It combines expositions, training, communication and B2B-meetings with international and local buyers and aims to raise awareness on crafts, to support the international mobility of artisans and crafts products and contributes to the crafts market development. http://gaccgeorgia.org/Crafts/Ethnofest.html
YTA Union- Georgian Centre of OISTAT
Tbilisi Biennale of Stage Design is organized by the Valerian Gunia Union of Young Theatre Artists – Georgian Centre of OISTAT www.ytaunion.com
Tbilisi Biennale of Stage Design was created in order to contribute to the development of contemporary art in the Caucasus, and as a new professional edition to the international map of cultural festivals.
The Biennale aims to create conditions for professional development and the exchange of creative ideas amongst young stage designers, as well as to facilitate intercultural dialogue between young artists from the South Caucasus countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia) and Russia.
Partner – Theatre Union of the Russian Federation and Russian centre of Oistat
Supported by – Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia, Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs of Georgia, Tbilisi Center of Cultural Events, South Caucasus Contemporary Dance and Experimental Art Festival in Tbilisi
Intercultural dialogue: actors, strategies, programmes
The Ministry of Education and Science regards the issue of intercultural dialogue as important for educational policy in Georgia. However, at the present stage, intercultural dialogue in Georgia is not considered as a priority of state cultural policy.
National Goals for Education were adopted in Georgia in October 2004, stating the development of intercultural skills for graduates of secondary education as one of its priorities.
One of the third sector unions engaged in the introduction and promotion of intercultural dialogue in Georgia is the Public Movement “Multinational Georgia”.
The Centre for Cultural Relations of Georgia – Caucasian House – is a cultural, educational and peacekeeping institution (it receives state financial support). One of the priorities of the Caucasian House is to protect human rights and establish religious and ethnic tolerance, promote peaceful co-existence of different cultures, support cultural integration of and collaboration with the Caucasian people. In 1999, the Caucasian House, together with other NGOs, created – the Union – Caucasian House, which is situated in the same building and is made up of the following Departments:
- The Caucasian Department: Strives to protect the vanishing, archaic Caucasian languages; cooperates with representatives of national minorities in the cultural life of the country; studies the modern history of the Caucasus, their ethno-psychology, political thinking and the nature of ethnic conflicts; informs the organisations and individuals interested in the issues of the Caucasus;
- European-American Department: Issues the magazine Apra, with Georgian translations of important pieces of western literature, philosophy and theology (since 1997, 11 copies have been published);
- Slavonic Department and the Smirnov Family Museum – The Pushkin Memorial: The Smirnov family collection, granted to Georgia in 1985, includes the furniture of the splendid literary salon of Alexandra Smirnova-Rosset (1809-1882), famed as the author of memoirs, Maid of Honour at the courts of two Empresses. The Slavonic Department collaborates with the Russian community in Georgia, pupils and teachers of Russian schools and arranges literary soirées in the museum; and
- Oriental Department-Centre for studying Islamic culture in the Caucasus: At the Centre for studying Islamic culture in the Caucasus, the Koran is being scientifically translated from Arabian into Georgian, with Shi’ite and Sunni comments. At the Centre, information is provided for scientists, students and individual Muslims living in Georgia who are interested in Islam. Persian and Arabian literature is translated at the Centre as well.
There is a wealth of project supported by foundations to foster intercultural dialogue. Below is an overview of their recent activities:
Current projects supported by the Heinrich Boll Foundation:
- meetings with national and religious minorities and joint cultural activities;
- work of the inter-religious council which also organises seminars and educational work to help prevent religious extremism); and
- Joint Prayer for the Faithful of the Caucasus (once a year, at the same time, people of different ethnic backgrounds and religions of the Caucasus pray for the salvation of the Caucasus).
Current projects supported by the European Foundation HORIZON:
- Sunday school for refugees and socially vulnerable children (since 2001);
- Institute of Caucasiology (since September, 2004);
- Caucasian Peoples’ Folklore (multivolume reference tool);
- Books on the people of the Caucasus; and
- The Centre for studying Islamic Culture in the Caucasus (including translations of the Koran with comments).
The Democratic Commission of Small Grants of the USA Embassy provides support for the Georgian – Abkhazian public and political newspaper “Kavkazski Akcent”.
The British non-governmental organisation “Conciliation Resources” provides support for theRussian language edition of the “Kavkazski Akcent” newspaper, The Life Histories publication which includes stories about the war narrated by Abkhazians and Georgians.