Fostering the Human Foundation of Equal Collaborations

Fostering the Human Foundation of Equal Collaborations

This dimension focuses on promoting language equality and human connections in transnational cultural practice. It encompasses initiatives aimed at developing shared working languages, building trust, and prioritising human-to-human cultural exchanges to promote deeper collaboration and understanding.

Transnational cultural practice is moving towards a paradigm where language equality and profound human connections lay the groundwork for diverse artistic outcomes. Through workshops and dialogues, practitioners in the Globus cohort are actively renegotiating the languages employed in their artistic collaborations, in an effort to amplify the voices and cultures that have been marginalized. This endeavour involves a conscious recognition of colonial legacies, the diverse histories of languages, and the unique cultural tapestries that these languages represent. Simultaneously, cultural practitioners underscore the significance of place-based interactions and invest time in them. They advocate for genuine human connections and the opportunity to discover the artistry interwoven into the fabric of everyday life. By spending dedicated time together, beyond the constraints of virtual spaces, they bridge cultural divides, allowing the convergence of unique creative narratives.

The challenges
(Non) awareness of colonial legacies, histories, and cultures in different languages and geographies.
The connection between accessibility and fluency in dominant languages.
Navigating the diversity of lived experience and embodied knowledge versus knowledge gained in classical art education/culture.
Working internationally does not automatically mean encountering a more diverse audience. Often, connections are established between like-minded people and with similar kinds of audiences even though the countries are different.
The choice of language determines how artists can operate and navigate across borders in areas or contexts with geopolitical tensions, censorship and conflicts.
Explore the pathways

Within transnational collaboration, the connection between language and accessibility plays an important role. The dominance of English as a common working language can influence participants' comfort levels, serving as an initial barrier to navigating systems and engaging in international careers and collaborations. However, language within transnational practice also extends beyond practicalities and into creative production itself, where the translation or interpretation of creative works and dialogues risks losing nuanced meaning.

Moreover, different meanings of work across cultural contexts necessitate the establishment of a common working approach and method as a distinct form of language. Within the Globus cohort, we see the development of a theatre piece that employs the challenge of different languages as a method for creating a unique cross-cultural experience. Other projects suggest including interpreters as part of the creative process, allowing for creation through multiple languages rather than prioritizing one over the other. These approaches aim to establish a shared language and practice, not just as a means of overcoming linguistic barriers in collaboration but as a fundamental tool for nurturing creativity, mutual understanding, and the cultivation of long-term transnational relationships

Creating together across three different languages can be hard. Often complex ideas are simmered down to simple, even cliché ideas so that we can understand each other [...]. Perhaps, however, there will always be different interpretations of creative work—from the writers to the actresses, and to audiences. And this can be a beautiful thing—we do not all need to see the same thing in a text/performance. We do not need to see that as a problem. Everyone can have their own interpretations.
The Wedding

Observed signals of change

Interview / Translating different 'types' of language

Understanding the layers of different language styles connected to work, education and culture

"I realised that we have many different languages in the process, work language and also cultural language.  So there are many ways of translating.Translation has many layers and that is exciting, but also a bit confusing."

– Source:
The Wedding

Interview/ Interpreters as part of the collaboration

Interpreters must understand and take part in the creative process when bridging different languages skills

"It's very real to have a collaboration with somebody who speaks very little English and not only that but also when you have interpreters. And so what we understood is that the interpreters need to be part of the working group, the collaboration. They need to understand them and they need to understand us. And for that, we have one more fee to pay, to include an interpreter.  So we don't exclude people. In Tenthaus, we always say that language skills have nothing to do with knowledge because we all have different language skills, right? It doesn't translate the knowledge that you have inside. So the thing is that to be able to include those voices too, we need to include the interpreter and we need to include that interpreter that understands both parties, but also understands art and we've been very lucky because we have managed to find that too."

– Source:
Unfolding the Universe

The meaning of “work”

Clarifying working habits and language as an asset to working globally

"We experience that the concept of “work” and how the action of working looks like in different cultural contexts differs. In our recent trip to Asia visiting Tokyo, Seoul, Singapore and Jakarta it became obvious to us how necessary it is to clarify the meaning of work when we initiate a collaboration with other groups. We realized this issue is also related to the general use of a second language as a working language, English, of which the meaning does not necessarily convey the nuances one intends.

Collaboration is also about sharing an understanding of the differences within foreign working habit. Being clear about these areas can be an asset to establishing a solid, long-term relationship."

– Source:
Unfolding the Universe

Working across borders involves diverse cultural, social, and economic factors, making communication and collaboration complex. Mediator roles are vital in navigating these complexities.

In transnational practice, where working with others can be one of the main goals, relationship-building must be actively facilitated long before production or funding comes into play. This is a process that takes time and tends to be outside of the official project trajectory, demanding both professional and personal investment to lay the foundation for ongoing cooperation in future projects.

Such collaborative roles should be indispensable for artists and funders alike. It is essential for funders to be aware of the importance of trust and relationship-building, extending beyond the project development itself to foster empathy, address power imbalances, and create an atmosphere where both parties appreciate each other's perspectives and are open to experimentation.

We have encountered initial resistance from groups and organisers to allow us to reach out to people who have been abused or are in vulnerable situations. A first reflection has shown us that the best way to approach them is to ask what they think they need and thus, little by little, get closer to building trust and being able to ask the necessary questions and receive valuable information without even having to meet with the people who are in potential danger.
Ghost Agency

Observed signals of change

Interview / Job shadowing between funders and artists

Allowing artists to understand funding systems, and funders to understand surviving as an artist - Could funders reflect a more empathetic understanding towards working as an artist, through developing processes and systems that protect against precariousness and nurture potential? And on the other side could funders invite artists into their world to better understand the language and requirements of institutional or bureaucratic hurdles?

"I was thinking about job shadowing practices between funders and artists, as the artists often don't understand the funding system and the rules and the obligations that the funders have towards different stakeholders. Allowing artists to job shadow in the system could perhaps improve the knowledge in the artist field that if funding institutions do something, there might be a reason for it. But also the other way around. I think that not many of the art institution people have ever tried to survive as an artist."

– Source:
Interview with Seeds for Solidarity

Building trust to work with organizations

How to manage to work with organizations responsible for people in vulnerable situations?

"An important part of our project consists of working collaboratively with feminist groups and organizations to find technical solutions to common problems related to information security. However, we have encountered initial resistance from groups and organizers to allowing us to reach out to people who have been abused or are in vulnerable situations. A first reflection has shown us that the best way to approach them is to ask what they think they need and thus, little by little, get closer to build trust and be able to ask the necessary questions and receive valuable information without even having to meet with the people who are in potential danger. One of these approaches happened when one of these organizations asked us to give a workshop on cyber security, since they have been hacked before by criminal groups."

– Source:

Interview/ Building trust with collaborators

Trust as enabling micro-funder thinking towards projects

'The curatorial practice that we have now for Seeds for Solidarity is based on our prior working experience with all the participants in the Seeds for Solidarity project. So we have actually worked with all of them before. So we already have some kind of a working relationship with them. And I think that has also enabled perhaps a loose micro funder kind of thinking towards the projects, as we have already built this trust towards them. And we have also been thinking how to kind of give them the freedom but also the support that is needed to realise these projects. We have probably been in Punos slower than the processes and projects by our collaborators, with our Taiwanese partner there is a full-year program of exhibitions and publishing processes that has already started, and it's super active. '

– Source:
Seeds for Solidarity

Bridging the distances inherent in transnational work requires a blend of both on and offline engagement, with face-to-face meetings most often in the beginning and end stages to lay the groundwork or provide closure on a project. However, we see that allowing the space for more spontaneous human-to-human connection in coming together emerges as a vital means to decenter power relations in transnational collaborative efforts.

Informal meetings outside the structured working space strengthen understanding and serve as a counterbalance to challenges, such as the lack of access to formalized artists' spaces faced by those operating independently or outside of the normative framework. Artists and practitioners who are limited to digital participation due to barriers around mobility, or who are unable to participate in any form due to limited technological or internet access, miss out on building connections that contribute significantly to initiating collaboration and expanding networks. Therefore, allowing for exposure to different cultures outside of work and time spent together in everyday settings through transnational working can foster a deeper integration into projects and funding opportunities.

The fact that we had time for research in the beginning, which meant that everyone started on the same page is especially important when you're dealing with really different worldviews and world experiences. But also the fact that we live together. We weren't just meeting in the rehearsal room; we had breakfast, we had dinners. All the things that happen outside the rehearsal space, it's so valuable. Especially when you're dealing with people who are so foreign to each other in terms of culture.
The Wedding

Observed signals of change

Interview / Sharing daily life as a Working methodology

Living together as a way to generate personal, novel and place based art

Getting to know each other requires time and funding. Separate support for purposes such as getting to know the culture and people by living together could be a good way to start projects with smaller fundings that can then be extended. The concept of living and working together for a few months implies a form of experiential learning, where practitioners engage directly with the cultural, social aspects of the country and very personal stories. This type of learning could lead to a more profound understanding of the communities that come together to create art. The focus on generating art that is based on a particular place and its people indicates that the methodology involves taking inspiration from the specific location and context where the practitioners are living and working. This approach could lead to art that is deeply connected to the local environment and culture.

– Source:
Interview with the Wedding

Organising international research trips

Planning for the unplanned

"Recently we had our design team come to the refugee camp for a research trip. In this process, we debated on how much to plan vs. how free a schedule we should have. We opted for a loose programme, to allow 'on the spot' creative research ideas to be explored. The research trip in itself was also a semi-spontaneous idea. For it to be realised, we had to have a flexible dynamic budget to accommodate this."

– Source:
The Wedding

Interview / The value of IRL

The ease, energy and effectiveness of meeting international collaborators in-person

"...the distances are very real, and the differences in currencies are very real. So, to be able to host and to have the time to work and collaborate in going and then coming here... for me, the surprise is how effective it is to be in the same room and to be able to afford it. Whenever you arrive in a place and you actually feel the openness of the partner to be part of the project, and from that little seed, then something else comes, and then it becomes real. You can do a lot of things online, but that kind of vibe created between people working together is different."

– Source:
Interview with Unfolding the Universe
Opportunity spaces

Viewing transnational collaboration as an exercise to develop tools and methods for establishing common languages that encompass diverse worldviews and cultures.

Build more durable funding opportunities/systems for international exchange that ensure time and space for building trust as the key enabler for collaboration and autonomy.

Offer support for informal human interactions even before a project begins. This can be facilitated by allocating smaller budgets for meetings, mobility and research.