Fine Arts Faculty Lydia Matthews organizes Intensive Workshop for Post-Soviet Cultural Workers

Fine Arts Faculty Lydia Matthews has organized 2020-2022: Crisis, Critical Resistance, Creative Resilience, an Intensive 3 month virtual workshop for 15 artists, journalists, documentary photographers, curators, writers and activists from Post Soviet countries including Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. Funded by Art Prospect/ CECArtslink and partnering with Parsons Fine Arts faculty Peter Rostovsky and Yasi AlipourParsons ADHT faculty Radhika Subramaniam and Minneapolis-based poet/educator G.E. Patterson, Matthews worked with curators from The Tbilisi State Silk Museum to launch an Open Call in an effort to collectively create a digital archive reflecting on cultural work made in the region during 2020–22.
The workshop centers on the following questions: What demands do contemporary crises place on our creative and cultural responses? What cultural practices deserve greater public attention at this time? How can we engage more deeply with these practices through writing, making, documentary and archival practices? What cultural and creative research methodologies support acts of critical resistance and creative resilience? What impact have the arts had on addressing/alleviating crises in local communities, and what future projects can be collectively imagined?  Participants’ projects have been far ranging, including a podcast series from the Ukranian cultural front lines, a newly formed Museum of Feminism and Queer Art in Kyrgyzstan focused on domestic violence, socially-engaged actions exploring human/non-human relationships, collaborative responses to the isolation of Covid 19, photo essays focused on the refugee crisis brought on through wars, among many other topics. The archive will circulate publicly in early 2023 on the Art Prospect website, and will be followed by additional activities to reinforce the regional cultural network.