In recent years, responsibility for international cultural collaboration has been distributed on the central level mainly between the following agencies:
- Ministry of Culture (cultural organisations and events, arts and cultural education, exchanges, heritage, diaspora, minorities, cultural values, international collaboration and intercultural dialogue);
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs (promotion and international relations; coordination of international multilateral programmes; Ukrainian Institute);
- State Committee on Information Policy, TV and Radio Broadcasting (media, TV, advertisement);
- Ministry of Education and Science, Youth and Sport (student culture and education, youth culture, intercultural dialogue, sport); and
- Ministry of Information (communication policy, information security).
The Ministry of Regional Development, Construction and Municipality is empowered to develop international cultural collaboration on the regional level, especially, in the area of the cultural economy and cultural heritage. At the same time, regional or local authorities can develop international collaboration independently or with support from central governmental agencies e.g. organising artistic tours, festivals, conferences, etc.
During 2016-2017, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Academy for Diplomacy of Ukraine and the Kyiv Office of the Kennan Institute held three Forums on Cultural Diplomacy, in which different stakeholders, from local and national culture and civil society organizations to foreign and international institutions and foundations, took part discussing different aspects, challenges and methods of cultural diplomacy under modern conditions (https://kennankyiv.org/).
The Ukrainian Humanitarian Development Foundation (see chapter 3.2), jointly with the Kyiv Office of the Kennan Institute and the Institute for Social and Economic Research” (ISER), a non-governmental think-and-do tank, introduced the initiative “Diplomatic breakfast”. The first of such events was held on 5 April 2017, under the title “Humanitarian default as a thread to the national security of Ukraine” where diplomats from 12 countries and public activists participated.
International cultural agencies and institutes play a very important role in the Ukraine, by developing cultural dialogue and supporting Ukrainian artists through different projects. Besides artistic events (e.g. concerts, exhibitions, master classes, film weeks), the British Council, Goethe Institute, Swedish Institute, French Institute, European Cultural Foundation and the Polish Institute support linguistic, educational and culture business and arts management courses, organise cultural events and conferences, study tours and exchange visits.
In 2013, the Swedish Institute supported several initiatives in Ukraine related to traditional and modern art as well as improvement of cultural governance and development of intercultural dialogue. For example, one of the projects was initiated by the Development Centre “Democracy through Culture”, city councils of Lutsk and Pavlograd (Ukraine) and the municipality of Botkyrka (Sweden) under the title “Breaking down stereotypes” and was aimed at discovery and collecting existing traditional stereotype images and perceptions in Ukrainian and Swedish communities which could be expressed further by means of art. In 2014, representatives of Pavlograd and Lutsk visited Botkyrka, taking part in workshops and cultural events and discussed possible common projects. In May 2016, representatives from Botkyrka visited Ukraine (Lutsk) realizing joint artistic projects (dance and film-making) – https://www.facebook.com/pg/breakingdownstereotypes/videos/?ref=page_internal.
The British Council/Ukraine launched the Programme “Creative Enterprise Ukraine” in 2015. Over two years, they have delivered 8 training sessions for 179 young entrepreneurs in 6 cities across the country. Participants come from business or startups in the following sectors: publishing, design, fashion, architecture, visual arts, music, theatre/dance, film, radio/TV, photography, video games, digital media, festival management, creative hubs, IT solutions for cultural/creative initiatives, crafts, etc. Supporting the development of Ukraine’s creative economy was one of the programme’s key objectives. Creative Enterprise Ukraine was designed for entrepreneurs at the very start of their business career. It was recommended that participants were either established entrepreneurs with no more than 2 years of experience, or people at a pre-trading stage, with a creative idea which they wish to turn into a business.
In 2016, the Ukrainian EFFE Hub was established at the Development Centre “Democracy through Culture”. The EFFE project was launched in 2014 with the support of the European Parliament and European Commission. It is an initiative and brand of the European Festival Association (EFA), the umbrella organisation for cultural festivals across Europe and beyond. On 18 October 2016, the European Festivals Association (EFA) and the European Commission confirmed the next two editions of the EFFE Label and the EFFE Award for the years 2017-2020 in a contractual agreement. EFFE – Europe for Festivals, Festivals for Europe has received the support of the European Parliament for 3 years with an annual work plan and budget to be approved by the Parliament and the European Commission. The EFFE Hubs remain the core partners in this next phase of the EFFE Community. The aim therefore is to further develop the EFFE Community by renewing the existing or establishing new partnerships with an EFFE Hub in each of the 28 EU Member States and additionally, Norway, Iceland, Serbia, Albania, Bosnia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and Israel (countries participating in the EU Creative Europe programme). In 2017, three Ukrainian festivals received the EFFE Label 2017–2 018 as ‘remarkable festivals’ in Europe GogolFEST (Kyiv), Faine Misto (Ternopil) and Yavoriv Fun (Yavoriv, Lviv region): (http://www.effe.eu/festivals?title=&date%5Bmin%5D%5Bdate%5D=&date%5Bmax%5D%5Bdate%5D=&country=537&genre=All&sort_by=field_festival_date_value&sort_order=ASC).
For the last ten years Gogolfest has been Kyiv’s main outlet for contemporary and experimental arts. The EFFE jury said, “in a country with no tradition of contemporary culture… this festival has a huge impact on Ukrainian society. These festival makers are fearless and courageous. The companies who perform at the festival often cover the costs themselves. They perform because of the ethics of the festival.” Gogolfest includes, or is happy to include almost every genre of work that falls outside the mainstream, from circus to rock music to street theatre and performance art. “It’s a kind of guerilla festival,” said the EFFE jury.
The impact of Gogolfest has not just been on the streets of Kyiv, however, or in the fact that it has provided a space for experimental work outside the still old fashioned state structures. Oleksandr Butsenko, who is a spokesman for EFFE’s Ukrainian Festival hub, says Gogolfest has gained its importance because it has become a symbol of the country’s energy in contemporary culture and is representing that to the world.
For those who have been part of the journey of Gogolfest’s growth over the past decade, the importance has been even greater. Simon Mundy stated in this context for EFA: “Many of the artists and performers effectively started their careers in the festival as participants and then have gone on to start their own activity. Gogolfest is starting to have an effect all across Ukraine – not only directly but indirectly as well.”