The second phase of the project ‘PlanZ’, which is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany, Goethe Institute Kyiv and ‘Institute of Cultural Policy’ (Vinnytsia), began with several days of meetings in Zhmerynka.

Within weeks of the first module, which was held in Zhmerynka on June 8-13, 2016 there were four practical workshops. Each of the training had its own target audience. The main task of ‘Laboratory of transformation’ was helping activists and state employees to establish a dialogue based on common aspirations of changes in the town and also generate and implement recommendations for creating cultural and economic development strategy of Zhmerynka and give impetus to the physical transformation of public spaces.The first meeting was the seminar ‘Development of cultural and economic concept of Zhmerynka’. It was held by experts Irina Frenkel, YaroslavMinkin and Pavel Tretyakov of NGO ‘Institute for Cultural Policy’. It took place for heads of departments and divisions of Zhmerynka’s City Council. During the second cycle they worked with representatives of budgetary institutions of education and culture. The expertst old about the examples of transformation in small towns in Germany and Poland and great examples of changes in public spaces in Ukraine. Cross-sectorial walk around the town stimulated the imagination and helped to visualize possibilities of development.

Workshop ‘Transformation in Action’ was held for local activists by experts Irina Kats (NGO ‘Cultural Di@log’ (Kremenchug) and Alexander Nikitiuk (NGO ‘Laboratory of Contemporary Art’ (Vinnytsia)). People of Zhmerynka learned a lot from examples of changes in the space of modern Ukrainian cities and international experience in the field. Immediately after listening about the history of Mural Art told by artist from Vinnytsia they decided to investigate urban space and find the location that soon will become the mirror of long-awaited changes.

They investigated courtyards and old abandoned garages, desolated parklands and the famous tunnel near the station. It was decided that the gray walls of the city library and endless fence at the entrance to the city will be colored with art next month. So the real changes are around the corner. The day ended with the movie in the open air - another amusing thing that surprised people in Zhmerynka.

The quintessence of meetings in Zhmerynka was the seminar and workshop of world-class expert Patrick S. Föhl (Germany). The topic: ‘Building communities through the transformation of cultural spaces. Develop ideas for projects’. For this meeting activists who are involved in constructive transformation in their home-towns came from all over Ukraine.

Interesting communication with Zhmerynka’s activists and experts helped the participants develop four projects that will be implemented in small towns and regions of Ukraine in 2017.

Actively working in groups, exploring the town and wisely listening to the advice of experts, they allocated four ideas that are: ‘Contemporary Art Space’, ‘Cultural network of small towns’, two projects for the parks of Zhmerynka and the project encouraging young people through culture and art. Now, these initiatives will start a real cultural transformation coming to life. The extensive collaboration allowed realizing main aims of each project, analyzing fundraising, understanding the needs of the target groups and the terms of implementation of the projects.

After receiving the first results and exchanging ideas, each group working on the project received the task for the next workshop. In order to discuss and develop ideas they created Facebook account called ‘Agents of Change’ that everyone can join. On the official website of the Institute of Cultural Policy and the Goethe Institute one can not only see the results and learn about best practices, but take part at the open competitions for the trip abroad to study the experience of small towns around Europe and get to know about seminars and training sessions.

Also, as of June 14, after the results of the work there were selected six activists who will travel to the German city of Neuruppin in early September 2016 to get acquainted with the cultural and economic changes that took place in this town that once had the status of a logistics node of Eastern Germany. For Zhmerynka and its inhabitants it will obviously be a rewarding experience.

An open competition for young people who want to participate in youth exchange trips between Germany and Ukraine continues. You can register here HERE (‘Platform of Change – ART-DEPO’).

Amazingly interesting and full of events were those few days in Zhmerynka. Active citizens talked about their achievements, shared experience of cooperation with the authorities about those cultural and economic changes, disputing and creating new ideas. The second phase of ‘PlanZ’ will have some more practical meetings throughout the summer and fall and the year-end report on their achievements.

‘This is just the beginning of great changes that await the town of Zhmerynka. For example, we developed a roadmap that will help other small towns in Ukraine in finding their way up at this post-industrial time basing on cultural and human resource. We provide marketing knowledge component with great advice from the experts’ - said Irina Frenkel.

Про цікаві думки активістів з усієї України, ідеї громадських лідерів Далі буде…