Enabling Change Through Transnational Art Practices

Enabling Change Through Transnational Art Practices

This dimension focuses on transnational artistic practice as a means to address global challenges from local perspectives. It also emphasises the role of cultural practitioners in driving sustainable transformation through activist approaches, highlighting the importance of sharing underrepresented narratives, engaging with local communities, and the need for long-term, sustainable collaboration.

Art has been at the heart of culture since time immemorial, crafting ideas and values and reflecting the inner workings of communities and societies. In today's world, where we urgently need to move towards planetary and societal well-being, transnational cultural practitioners can help imagine the transformation of our societies, whether this concerns Indigenous self-determination, undocumented migrants, gender equality, or climate justice.

Intermediaries, like transnational practitioners, play a pivotal role in translating local ideas, facilitating a two-way flow between the global stage and the particularities of local settings. The Globus projects show how this can not only facilitate the exploration of underrepresented narratives but also enable the co-creation of artistic expressions with local communities. Their unique position allows them to collaborate and serve as knowledge brokers between culturally diverse social realms.

Transnational funding models offer a distinct opportunity to empower practitioners to lead sustained community engagements and bring about tangible change through their contributions to arts and culture.

The challenges
New forms of privilege are being created in favour of artists and cultural professionals who already possess digital collaboration skills and tools.
Erosion of Local Commitments: If responsibilities to local relationships can't be kept.
Transnational practitioners face challenges in securing funding for long-term projects, which can jeopardise the trust and responsibilities that come with community engagement.
Ecological neglect due to excessive travelling in unsustainable ways.
Exclusion of those who cannot or choose not to be mobile, either due to visa issues, socio-economic context, or other reasons.
Leveraging travel and exchange as a means to enrich diversity in artistic practices and understanding, while preventing the homogenization of art or the imposition of a specific Western perspective.
Explore the pathways

Transnational artistic practice involves understanding and conveying meaning across borders, grounded in the real experiences of specific places and people. Through this approach that speaks to local stories and global issues simultaneously, we see great potential from both the perspective of local sustainability and a global diversity of ideas in tackling the major challenges we face today.

Collaborations that focus on underrepresented location-specific stories are particularly valuable, with utmost importance required in the careful preservation of their meaning and perspectives when shared globally. Some artists participating in Globus-funded projects grapple with self-censorship due to geopolitical concerns or the disregard of certain narratives in their local contexts. However, when these stories are brought to a global stage, their impact can be greatly amplified. The value of this approach can already be seen, where transnational artistic practices are becoming a form of activism and communication channel from a local to a global scale, emphasizing the voices of peoples and communities that are often excluded from dominant narratives. Here, the sparking of conversations and instigation of change or impact is possible to go beyond traditional art spaces, reaching individuals and structures directly affected by the subject matter.

In the long term, we are interested in how collaborations around narratives that are under-represented—meaning being truthful to the narrative itself, but also supporting the narrative to go beyond its local boundaries—into a global narrative, in order to be understood.
The Wedding

Observed signals of change

Interview / Transnational Art as enabler for activism and activists in exile

On how the discussion of location-specific issues in foreign contexts draws attention to them and, in turn, affects the issue in the place of origin

Transnational collaboration can become a space for activism that enables the view from a different unsensitised perspective. The interviewees recognize the transformative power of art as a means of communication and activism that has organically emerged  and came earlier in the process then anticipated.  Furthermore, the interview reveals that the Mexican partners involved in the projects expressed great enthusiasm about collaborating with the artists and being actively involved in the design of the artworks. They see this collaboration as an opportunity to have an impact beyond Mexico's borders, raising awareness and creating connections with other institutions that focus on social activism. Some of the women even expressed a need for political protection and potential exile due to the persecution they face as activists.

– Source:
Interview with Ghost Agency

Local Stories on World Stage

Find meaning and relevance across borders

"In Denmark, sits our Danish co-director. In Borj el Barajneh sits our two playwrights. I sit in a nearby in a village in the mountains of mount Lebanon - as an outsider and an insider. Together we are trying to create a piece of theatre that speaks truth to a particular experience - that of multiple generations of refugee women in a camp - but that can have meaning and relevance to Danish Audience. What we are finding so far is that a lot of the story anecdotes, are so particular that they are hard to understand for people who are not from the camp.

In the long term, we are interested in how collaborations around narratives that are under-represented—meaning being truthful to the narrative itself, but also supporting the narrative to go beyond its local boundaries—into a global narrative, in order to be understood."

– Source:
The Wedding

Interview / Building global ideas and local collaborations

Sowing seeds on global and local scales to address the crises of our times

"If we talk about the environmental crisis or the climate crisis and cultural understandings of the reasons behind those crises or the solutions or changes needed to tackle the crisis, then global connections enable understandings that can potentially solve it. This could disrupt the current power structure where the wealthiest countries or the wealthiest people in the wealthiest countries get to decide what suits them as a solution. With global connections, it's possible to create global thinking and global ideas that are not as one-sided as national or locally produced ideas. So, in thinking big, that's where I would go — trying to build global ideas. It will be interesting to see what kind of local collaborations will be built within the Seeds for Solidarity global project. That's also very valuable from a sustainability perspective — projects can simultaneously be local and global. Perhaps that's something we should try to emphasize. We have our global network, and let's call them now leaders of the individual Seeds for Solidarity projects. With the funding that we provide them in this context, they will start building their own networks in their own regions and attract a local community surrounding their initiative and process...we send out a seed, and it will bloom somewhere else."

– Source:
Seeds for Solidarity

Transnational artistic collaboration plays a vital role in offering audiences access to creations from different parts of the world, for a more balanced cultural exchange and a diverse cultural landscape. To achieve this, it is essential to actively involve communities in the local contexts where the works originate.

Transnational collaboration offers the opportunity to learn directly from practitioners immersed in particular sociocultural environments that may be challenging to access or lack representation. The value of artistic practitioners then becomes actively engaging local communities, encouraging creative expression and participation to gain insights through a more inclusive cultural dialogue. Ultimately, a key goal for the Globus program should be to work towards the development of principles and strategies that enable practitioners to more effectively engage with communities and maintain a connection with the people and places they aim to represent or impact, providing space for their contribution to cultural and societal development through the arts.

Working towards developing a set of principles that allows established but also young institutions to reach their communities relatively quickly and yet effectively should be the goal of a global network.
Now Soon Over

Observed signals of change

Intergenerational perspective

Encouraging youth participation

Young people are often on the forefront of decolonial artistic interventions and the decolonize movement. Involving and encouraging the local youth artists and activists in the network events will be essential to Encourage participation and creative expression by young artists and cultural workers, Value the perspectives of young people and their contributions to societal development by involving them in the discussions of the symposium as active speakers and not just audience members, Encourage young people to collaborate and learn from different perspectives.

– Source:
Reparative Encounters

Community Engagement

How to develop common strategies across regional differences in a global network.

How does a contemporary art institution reach its local and regional audience is a topic in itself. But how to learn from other, international partners, who perhaps move in completely different sociological-cultural environments. Working towards developing a set of principles that allows established but also young institutions to reach their communities relatively quickly and yet effectively should be the goal of a global network. The core idea behind Now-Soon-Over is to help generate a global collaborative platform that initiates exchange between a new generation of arts institutions.

– Source:

Open calls as a resource to strengthen networks

How can the open call system be a platform, a tool to strengthen networks organisations are working with or trying to generate further projects with?

Open calls are a process that requires a relevant amount of resources from a small/medium size institution. If they could be carried out as a resource to work on nurturing existing and new networks, it might be a practice more accessible and sustainable to these types of institutions too.

– Source:
Unfolding the Universe

Many arts and culture funding models adopt a linear approach: funds are allocated, the project unfolds, and a report is generated before the next cycle starts. This project-centric mindset frequently results in the neglect of valuable networks, knowledge, and insights once a project ends. Such an approach not only restricts practitioners from achieving a meaningful impact through their work but may also create distrust and apprehension among participants and collaborators due to its short-term focus on outcomes.

Through transnational collaboration, there is a potential to empower practitioners in leading long-term and continuous engagements, providing an opportunity to gather, track, and build upon the ways in which arts and culture can contribute to tangible change and transformative works. We see that transnational practitioners aspire to create enduring collaborations, and it is through this long-term perspective that practitioners can explore, innovate, and catalyse lasting positive change in our global society.

I really like this mentality of the Globus initiative because you are actively doing things to build the next steps [...], bringing the projects together and having these interviews, getting these learnings out. Because I think that the typical art world project model is that funders give money, things happen, they are reported, and then repeat, repeat, repeat. And people, of course, take the learnings with them, but I'm interested in how to kind of keep those learnings within an entity, an organization that could then also learn something from what has been done before and apply those learnings in the future.
Seeds for Solidarity

Observed signals of change

Interview / Long term support for continued learning

How to keep, apply and build upon different project learnings rather than losing this along the way

"Then, for the question of why (projects) should be supported more long term. In these project-based models that we are currently living in, in most fields of society, it seems that projects are often forgotten after they've been finished.I really appreciate the mentality of the Globus initiative because you are actively taking steps to build on this, bringing the projects together, and conducting these interviews to extract and share the learnings. The typical art world project model involves funders giving money, things happening, reporting occurring, and then repeating the cycle. Of course, people take the learnings with them, but I'm interested in how to preserve those learnings within an entity, an organization that can then learn from what has been done before and apply those learnings in the future."

– Source:
Seeds for Solidarity

Engaging participants in a hostile environment

Long-term participation in areas like refugee camps

"Our project is in partnership with a theatre that is based in a refugee camp. The all-woman theatre ensemble has been working for 6 years, in an area where long-term engagement in projects is not common. The women in the project are constantly being pulled away - by the men in their lives, their other duties in house/community, sickness...TOur project has an engagement commitment for at least a year, which is difficult to uphold, in an area that is full of short-term humanitarian projects (projects that do not last more than a month). Life circumstances has also pushed many in the camp to think short-term - a live day by day mentality cupelled with no access to education, and jobs makes long-term thinking difficult."

– Source:
The Wedding

Interview / Understanding how art changes as the world changes

Measuring 'qualitative' aspects - such as themes and knowledge - to track change in artistic practice

"...what we've been thinking about lately is that usually, the results you get will correspond with what you decide to measure. So, how could we perhaps find more qualitative aspects within the projects and the processes? How can we verbalize what is actually happening (within art) and where it will lead? We won't know yet, but we also recognize that we sort of choose it when we choose the questions that we want to research or delve into; then that will also guide how we will present the project and the outcomes. At the moment, it's challenging to think beyond the project model, beyond this cycle of production. How can we delve further into the themes and knowledge located within the art that is being created, instead of taking this more numbers-based approach? On a deeper level, with the problematics of the world at this moment, huge changes are required."

– Source:
Seeds for Solidarity
Opportunity spaces

Reorient national cultural policies toward a stronger inter/transnational perspective, grounded in a renewed understanding of the role of art, culture, and artistic activism in fostering sustainable societies.

Strengthen the ecosystem (nationally and internationally) for protecting and improving artistic and cultural rights to tackle increasing threats to practitioners working at the intersections of art and activism.

Establish frames for responsible and meaningful connections with the local environment and communities within the constraints of frequently short project timescales, while also promoting sustainable, long-term engagements.

Shift away from (short-term) project-centred frameworks in funding and support through cyclical projects with embedded knowledge-sharing structures.