Organizations Working in the Sphere of Culture Met in the Frames of the Clearing House Project

At the meeting in the gallery "Ў"

In April-June 2012 in the frames of the Clearing House project (1) a number of meetings for the CSOs working in the field of culture have been organized. All interested CSOs and initiatives as well as individuals working in cultural sphere were invited to participate in the events.

Already at the first meeting that was hold at the gallery of contemporary art «Ў» the participants defined the whole range of problems that they face in their daily activities: contemporary Belarusian culture exists in the underground, Belarusian culture is ousted by the Russian in media, channels for retranslation of modern trends in Belarusian culture and art are very limited. It is worth mentioning, that this sector is quite diverse and peculiar, and also requires a special approach and attention, as it is represented by independent cultural, civil campaigns (ex., “Budzma Belarusians!”) and initiatives, various online resources and art-portals, organizations and associations.

After the discussion an initiative group composed of the participants of the meeting and the project team was formed. The group decided to plan and organize additional meetings to identify problem areas and priorities of the development of the Belarusian culture sphere. 
Presentation of the European support programmes in the Belarusian Union of Architects
European programmes of support for cultural programmes turned out to be of a great interest for the attendees of the first meeting.  Coordinator of the Clearing House project organized an additional presentation of the relevant programmes at the premises of the Belarusian Union of Architects. The presentation was attended by more than 40 people - students, Belarusian designers and architects, representatives of public organizations, art-portals and film schools. Programmes that are aimed at both organizations and individuals were presented during the meeting. Among them are the programmes of the European Cultural Foundation, Cross Border Cooperation Programme Poland-Belarus-Ukraine 2007 - 2013, the programme of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland, the programme "Youth in Action" (youth exchanges, internships, trainings, the European Voluntary Service), "Non-State Actors and Local Authorities in Development", etc.
The next meeting was held in an informal atmosphere and gathered 15 prominent figures of the Belarusian culture: directors, critics, musicians, designers, writers, poets, editors, coordinators of cultural campaigns, etc. The meeting was held in cooperation with EuroBelarus and with assistance of the Centre for European Transformation and Michael Anempadistov, active member of the initiative group on culture. The participants were also sharing their thoughts about the current state of Belarusian culture, trying to conceptually describe its further development, and agreed on the need to develop a “cultural doctrine”.
Participants will continue their cooperation to develop the cultural doctrine, discuss vectors of development of Belarusian culture, as well as to elaborate on the recommendations for the European Union on how to work with representatives of the Belarusian cultural sector in its priority areas.
(1) The “Clearing House” project is a part of the “Belarus-EU Task Force” project coordinated by the Office for a Democratic Belarus in cooperation with the international consortium EUROBELARUS, Forum Syd (Sweden) and PACT Inc. and supported by the European Commission.  The overall objective of the project is to build the organisational capacity of Belarusian civil society organizations and enhance their cooperation, while improving coordination among Belarusian civil society organizations and the European Union, European donors and international implementers.