Wood is Cool 2018-2019

The seed money project is addressed to the preparation of a bigger project in Archangelsk in 2019, aiming at the creation of a new cultural center for the youth, located in one of the old wooden buildings in Archangelsk. The preparation comprises one visit and event in Stockholm in October for putting together professionals (architects, social scientists, artists and cultural activists) from Russia, Sweden and other Northern countries. At that background another visit and event will take place in Archangelsk in November 2018, where connected professionals actively will attend a workshop, Wood is Cool, within the one-week event Arctic Art Forum 2018. The Forum is aimed at the preservation of cultural heritage through a strengthened involvement in urban planning. This will be achieved by mobilizing young creative people and empowering these for engagement in creating own cultural spaces by providing feedback on public policies, enhancing social innovation and social sustainability in and through maintaining cultural heritage and realizing its value for the future. By implementing the actions we expect Connection of different knowledge for preservation of a cultural heritage (in broad terms Wooden Archangelsk) through creative processes for urban development and an upholding and strengthening of democratic accountability among local inhabitants, especially by mobilizing young people for engagement against destructive transformation of the urban space and its cultural heritage of old wooden buildings. The expected result is to create a feeling of ownership of the cultural heritage and not only to preserve it but also transform the buildings to public, modern cultural spaces.

The project will strengthen awareness of the built environment and cultural heritage as a resource for urban development and an enhanced democratic participation and democracy through civil society, culture and creative processes. It will engage young people across gender lines as agents of change, in alliance with professionals and operating actors in cultural heritage, sociology, art and cultural activism.

Participants from Sweden:

Background of the project
Archangelsk has many interesting wooden buildings from the XVII century, buildings with historical, cultural and architectural value, as well as economic value in relation to wood as a resource for the economy of the region. Many buildings have unfortunately during the recent years been demolished. Current processes of gentrification, a deterioration of urban infrastructure, as well as challenges in tries for maintaining old buildings in Wooden Archangelsk have all played their roles. The buildings are marginalized; wooden blocks are gradually being destroyed and have become unusable. The study visit and seminar in Stockholm and study visit/workshop in Archangelsk will focus on current needs and challenges for participatory urban development and ways to change cities through cross sector and intergenerational collaborations and trans-gendered cultural activism. The project seeks to develop professional knowledge and raise public awareness on the subject of cultural heritage and active participation in urban development. The aim is to deepen the respect for the value of historical wooden Archangelsk and its wooden buildings, push for the acknowledgement of the use of wood even in modern construction, and especially to mobilize young people around issues of the value of cultural heritage in urban planning and a sustainable urban environment. Young people should know and value the connection between the past and the presence, and be empowered for planning of the new use of the spaces. Hereby also strengthening their engagement, democratic participation and democracy as such.

Project North, Arctic Art Institute, Ryssland

Wood is Cool is financed by the Swedish Institute within Creative Force Russia.