Project title: School of Citizen Artist for Social Transformation

Activity Report. 2017-12-31 Ref: NGSLT-436
The innovation of the School of Citizen Artist for Social Transformation is the manner in which art and culture became a driver for civil society from within community. What has become clear from the process of the School is that new community cultural models have now emerged in Šanciai(Kaunas) and Šnipiškes (Vilnius). These are increasingly highlighted in Lithuania as valuable practices and the funding provided to the School of Citizen Artist gave a unique opportunity to critically reflect and exchange ideas about how these models came about and, more importantly, how to sustain the work.

The Project built a platform for solidarity through 3 processes:

(i) formation of local residents (across 5 communities) and creative practitioners (circa 16),

(ii) design and realisation of the first community parade (400 local actors took part with circa 1000 spectators)

(iii) site visits, exchanges and wider dissemination between a circle of 30 artists/activists from Kaunas, Vilnius and beyond.

Objective 1

Democratise art and culture for civil society through community development and placemaking.


1 Community Parade with over 1,000 spectators including local residents and business and employees.

60 people trained in the role of community art in building civil society 1,000+ local residents and businesses take to the streets for parade

1 visit by Council of Europe Faro Network Experts(September 2017) and community accepted as Network member (November 2017).

Gender breakdown:

Direct beneficiaries Female: 44 Male 16 Indirect beneficiaries: Female:800:400

Objective 2

Bus creatively programmed for ‘meeting’ and ‘go-see’ visits.


35 residents took part in Go See visit to Vilnius and 40 residents from Šnipiškės.

6 Community Associations from Vilnius and Kaunas made formal connections for the first time. 1 Baltic partner from Sweden included Kaunas in its planned Bus Tour programme for 2018

Gender breakdown:Participants:Female:26 Male 9.
Community Association Leadership:Female 4 Male:2

Objective 3

6 members of PIE group (Practices, Ideas, Experiences) commit to deliver the School


12 local creative practitioners continue to critical reflect and learn following the parade on three projects: (i) Art for All, (ii) Bus for Children’s Creativity and (iii) Christmas Spectacle.

20 local creative practitioners took part in 1 day workshop on social enterprise for community led by cultural marketing specialist, Josef Winkler (Austria). Excerpt:

Objective 4

Initiate a new platform for community culture practice that is interconnected across 3 Baltic Sea

Gender breakdown: Partners: Female: 3 Male: 3; Creative Practitioners: Female 24: Male: 8


-Increased dialogue between partners about how to continue to grow a Baltic Cultural Network
with a focus on community art, people and place.

-Dissemination of School through Baltic contacts and beyond Director of Intercult, Sweden Iwona Preis, Prosper Wanner and Hakan Demir from the Council of Europe Faro Convention Network and Elena Madison from Project for Public Spaces in NewYork.

Gender breakdown: Female 6 Male:3

Objective 5

Disseminate the results and findings.

-Dedicated wiki page

-Presentations at Amsterdam Placemaking Week(Oct);
Council of Europe, Faro Convention Meeting in Vilnius(Nov),and Creative Europe Flying Carpet Project presentation to 20 young curators(Nov).

-Article for Via Foundation, Czech Republic on Cabbage Field civil society initiative

Gender breakdown: N/A

Result For Civil Society
-Parade attracts unprecedented participation by local community and re-energises local pride.
-Greater clarity among partners on how to showcase bottom-up and community-led development as a theme for Baltic cultural cooperation.
-Connections made between community leaders in Kaunas and Vilnius.
-Plans made across 3 –pathways for sustainable development of the Šanciai Association- (Association, Cabbage Field, Community Bus).
-Know-how developed to equip 30+activists/artists with new skills and capacities for co-creation and cooperation.
-Can-do spirit can transform people and place into a living cultural asset through capacity building.

Result For Public Space

-Demonstrated experiences of publicness have to be imagined and created spaces to increase the bonds between people.
-Community arts is a tool and tactic that effect the inclusion of children/young people,people with disabilities, and older people to be integrated into public view and community life.
-New forms of interaction between institutions(schools,care centres,etc)and community leaders.

Results for Structural Change
- A person-up and bottom-up process as an exemplar for other regions and cities policies and plans.
-Interfacing bottom-up and top-down i.e. municipality approaches to achieving social change.
-Municipal level work is still at pre development stage and cultural changes are required to overcome the barriers to partnership with community.

Key actions undertaken

Planning: June-August 2017 –

-Partners exchanges(skype,email,phone)
-Invite to 4 communities to join the parade (Šnipiškės, Šilainiai, Ožeškienės and Kaunas forts)

-Design, print and promotion of advertising materials

Realisation: August – September 2017

-Workshop process and 5 rehearsals with 15 local groups led by creative practitioners.

-Public Parade involving 25 local creative practitioners from Kaunas, local business and institutional support e.g. Police, Bus Company, etc.

-Participation by partners from Riga, Stockholm and Vilnius.

-Review Day with Exchange of Models from Riga, Stockholm and Vilnius.

-Exploration of how to consolidate work for a Baltic Cultural

-Go See Visits and Exchanges to Vilnius (18/09) and Kaunas (14/10),

Dissemination: October-November 2017

Contact Agreement signed for 2017/8 between 4 community partners

-Faro Experts Visit Šančiai Community as practice site for community arts development.(09-17)

-Placemaking Amsterdam has presentation about Šančiai and plans for Baltic Cultural Network.

-Lithuanian partners ŽŠb / Laimikis showcase their work at the Council of Europe Faro Convention

-Meeting in Vilnius in Lithuania Parliament and Cultural Ministry. (11/17)

Longer term challenges:

-The challenge of developing Agency (Voice + Power) and institutional champions are key to real democratic participation.
-Cultural rights (access to decision making, participation in the production of place) need exemplars like the Šančiai Parade
-Parade was one of the best EU examples of citizen mobilisation in 2017 but sustainability is key. (Comment made by Urban Institute director JonasBuchel to the National Association of Creative and Cultural Industries conference in Vilnius in December 2017.

Information on the achievement of the objectives

Objective 1 - Democratise art and culture for civil society by making community development and publicspace.

-60 people trained in the role of community art in building civil society

-1,000+ local residents and businesses take to the streets for parade

Objective 2 - Community Bus as a platform for ‘go-see’ visits.


-Bus as platform to connect 35 people, 6 communities and places in exchange visits to Vilnius and to Kaunas

-Plans for Swedish partner to bring ‘’ to Kaunas in 2018

Objective 3 Learn collaboratively to co-create through establishing a PIE group i.e.people with Practices, Ideas, and Experiences(PIE).


-Core group(5) explored the basis for a Baltic Cultural Network focused on community, people and place.

Objective 4 Initiate a new platform for community culture practice that is interconnected across 3 Baltic Sea Region contexts:

-Fledgling connections made that can move out from Lithuania through the Baltic partners

Objective 5 - Disseminate the results andfindings in a schedule of public actions


-Council of Europe Faro Experts visit Šančiai on Sept 1 2017

-Dedicated information on wiki platform

-Presentations made about the Parade as a tool to grow civil society:

Amsterdam Placemaking Week(Oct); Council of Europe, Faro Convention Meeting in Vilnius(Nov), and Creative Europe Flying Carpet Project presentation to 20 young curators(Nov).

-Article for Via Foundation, Czech Republic on the making of a civil society initiative.

Has/what impact did the activities produce in society / societal democracy

To address this question we will feedback some comments from the creative practitioners. Kristina spoke about the integration of her students from the Youth Disability Centre who along with several colleagues there made costumes, choreographed a performance and built a moving platform for the parade. The platform was built for free in cooperation with a local furniture factory (Kauno baldai) whose workforce also actively participated in the celebration.

Lina, head of a children’s theater project, emerged as new community leader in taking over the responsibilities of the parade’s communication tasks and choreographing a performance of the community group. She described the School of Spectacle as an important incentive to leave her comfort zone and become more actively involved in local social life: “Before I was just a wife of a Šanciai community member and now I became an active wife of a passive Šančiai dweller.” Finally, Auksė had taken part in protests against the cutting of healthy trees by Kaunas Municipality. Along with her colleagues they developed tactics to show people what was happening in the city and used the harmonica-texts made during the workshop as visual tools for their protest. Both Vytenis and Auksė were arrested during protests and fined but their case will be brought to the European Court of Justice for adjudication.

How has the project strengthened networks of NGOs or capacities of Baltic NGOs

At the level of NGOs and partners we can say that we have

DISCOVERED new processes of knowledge building and communication.

TESTED how community culture can be a new form of cooperation and collaboration.

COCREATED a short term mobile school as a methodology we will use in 2018.

COOPERATED so that people in community are familiar to each other and these linkages can continue to grow in 2018.

Practically, the main target group that participated in the School activities over the core three day programme were as follows:

Nordic Partners: 4

Vilnius/Kaunas Residents: 30

Community Artists: 9

Community Educators: 9

Community Leaders 7


At the end of the Project there was an unexpected outcome involving a workshop on making community actions sustainable through enterprise and this involved 20 local participants and 1 international facilitator from Vienna.

Was there any cooperation with authorities and what was the experience?

Parts of the School were actively attended by

-Eglė Deltuvaitė, the head of the Creative Europe program in Lithuania,

-Ina Pukelytė,member of the Lithuanian Culture Board and Kaunas municipality,

-David Noonan, the Irish Ambassador to Lithuania.

From Egle Deltuvaitė’s perspective, Community art can bring art back as an important part of social life.” She also expressed hope that the international profile of the School will be helpful in reviving the format of the parade, which has been discredited by compulsory state parades during the Soviet era, and make it once again a thing of celebration and connection. In Ina Pukelytė’s view, community art has direct value to the city not only symbolically but also economically. It makes the city visible and attractive by making its communities vibrant and self-respecting. The task of making communities sustainable has to be done at local level and it can only be done over time and with visionary leaders. David Noonan suggested this was really important example of community building using art and culture. Finally, the experience of the local community and its links to others in Vilnius was behind the decision by the Council of Europe Faro Convention Network to send 2 experts to Šančiai in September and to showcase the experience of the community at its meeting in Vilnius in November 2017.

How to speak about future impact of the project and results especially in terms of sustainability and cross border cooperation

The School helped makes real part of the ambition of Agenda 21 agenda for Culture to deliver vitality, identity and innovation for communities. It also brought new energy to civil society.The work between the Baltic partnership (4) and its idea to be connected to others can now grow a Baltic platform focused on community culture participation. What happens to communities with a can-do spirit that tries to transform its people, place and things into a living cultural asset? Through the School we have succeeded in connecting the “experts-on-location” who have participated in the process and have increased their capacity and agency to work together. It is also important to build on the transversal impacts with Intercult in Sweden, with the placemaking group in Norway, and its international links officer, Gabriėlė Sabunaitė who came to visited Kaunas to explore how to cooperate more. In effect the impacts can be listed as follows:

  • Structuring plans for Baltic network that can effect civil society using culture;
  • Capacity-building for artists,leaders and others who want to effect social transformation;
  • Improving the quality of cultural expressions by communities;
  • Creating synergy between communities and various stakeholders
  • Developing community cultural infrastructure and assets.

In 2018 we are now actively planning to organise a follow-up School about the role of Community Arts in Human Rights.

Evaluation Summary– Problems, Successes and Lessons Learned

Between June and November 2017 the School of Citizen Artist was planned, realized and disseminated by Lower Šančiai Community Association supported by, Vilnius, Rattbuss, Stockholm and Urban Institute, Riga. The School drew over 60 leaders and creative practitioners to reflect upon a model of civil society at community level and the potential for a wider Baltic cultural platform. The programme included (i) preparation workshops and exchanges; (ii) 3-day roster of programming including a community parade, a reflective seminar and go-see visits between Kaunas and Vilnius based community associations; and (iii) a series of dissemination and multiplier effect activities.

To sum up, the dynamics described in the creative practitioners interviews and feedback sessions revealed an important aspect of cultural community development. The School is an important milestone of the community process between the partners as it concentrated different individuals and groups enabling exchange of knowledge, breach of personal comfort zones and emergence of new leaders for democratic co-creation. Such cultural activity was especially valuable in its capacity to bring people from different backgrounds together without emphasizing their social, ideological or other differences. The School was a trigger point that turned many watchers into doers (to make a Baltic network feasible). Finally, the diversity of activities parade demonstrated the possibilities of creative cooperation in not only staging big celebrations that provoke new reflections on the identity of the place, willingness to identify with it and act in it, and the power of cultural process to change social process.

Results of published and shared materials

Channel 1 - Facebook

Žemjuju Sanciai bendruomene – 4,500 reached Šanciai paradas "Seat" – - 2,678 reached


Channel 2 – Other Social Media


13:35 “Parade"

Film: Arvydas Liorančas 2017

'Parade Photographs'

Author: Various 2017

Kauno Diena – Gallery

Listen Citizen Reflections:

36:00 Ką mes jaučiausi

09:03 “Ką sakė žmonės”

22:32 Citizen Artist

Read Newpaper Reviews:

Vita Geluniene and Ed Carroll Interviewed by Czech Via Foundation [12/17]

LRT Interview:

Press Release for Faro Convention Network [EN / LT].

Presentation material from the Citizen Artist Workshop in Šančiai Library

Laimikis, Vilnius Rattbuss, Sweden
ŽŠb, Kaunas and
Urban Institute, Riga Watch Benediktas Gelūnas
Salius Dambrauskas

The School of Citizen Artist for Social Transformation was grant aided by the

Nordic Council of Ministry.jpg