CORNERS is a platform for artists and audiences, designed and driven by cultural organisations at the edges of Europe.
CORNERS creates opportunities for artists and researchers to produce multidisciplinary contemporary artistic and cultural collaborative projects. The objective is to enable exchange across geographical, political and economic divisions. More than 50 artists and researchers (and the number grows) have met through CORNERS, as well as more than 30 organisations and institutions as partners and collaborators.
CORNERS interconnects artists with different backgrounds – geographical, social, political and professional – and of different disciplines – photography, video, sound, new technologies, dance, theatre, performance, music. CORNERS artists are both both young / emerging and experienced / established. They are chosen based on artistic excellence, on their ability to design protocols for engaging people and on their capacity to communicate interculturally. Sometimes researchers (sociologists, academics, architects…) join the group, which remains open to interdisciplinary encounters.
Artists most often meet during CORNERS Xpeditions, exploring outer regions of Europe – North/Sapmi, Caucasus, Balkans, East, Basque Country, Northern Ireland, North East England, Puglia in Southern Italy and more. Together with researchers and guided by local hosts, they travel within each region, encountering citizens and landscapes. Participants on an Xpedition both observe and animate the places they visit. They prepare collective actions to interact in public spaces, addressing both hot topics from the local context and their specific artistic perspectives. These actions, called sometimes Piazza or Pazar or Stanica, evolve where people commonly meet: squares, markets, train and bus stations. One primary outcome of Xpeditions are the DocuArt works, responses from the artists / researchers – reflections on their own experience in one particular corner of Europe and the process.
From these experiences, artistic collaborations involving two or more artists from different corners of Europe are commissioned and co-produced. Each chosen co-creation is coordinated by two or more CORNERS Partners. CORNERS co-creations are developed across borders of artistic disciplines and have strong cross-cultural dimensions. The task is to communicate with different audiences and communities at the edges of Europe. Artists collect stories from one corner of Europe, re-telling them in another. They use cultural and social diversity to develop fresh artistic values. Giving voice to groups usually hidden and non-visible (children, elderly people, migrants, prisoners…) is often a focus of CORNERS artistic projects.
The co-creations will be presented in unusual places and in public spaces using Partners’ cities as their stages: Umea and Stockholm (SE), Ljubljana (SI), Prizren (Kosovo), Gdansk (PO), Zagreb and Rijeka (HR), Donostia / San Sebastian (Basque Country, ES), Belfast (Northern Ireland), Northumberland and Middlesbrough (England), and more to come.
For our Digital Thread programme Corners will create a purpose-built on-line platform to extend the lives of our co-creations and provide new ways for our audiences and artists to communicate with each other. This platform will create opportunities for audiences from various regions on the edges of Europe to connect and share their experiences. Participants and audiences will be invited to feed into the works, to create and add their own content.
While CORNERS engages in local stories and encounters in outskirts of Europe, its organisation is trans-national – a platform with partners spread around the continent. To reach audiences, involving them in both co-creation and presentation in such a great diversity of local contexts, the Audience Links programme was developed. It will gather fragmented experience and knowledge into a shared approach. Through seminars and workshops, CORNERS focuses on finding tools to recognize public needs, tactics on how to meet them, and formats for interaction.
Cooperation is the basic unit of CORNERS. A number of cultural institutions from the edges of Europe build a partnership designed to last, and based on shared responsibility. CORNERS was initiated in 2010 by six cultural institutions: Intercult (Stockholm), Exodos (Ljubljana), POGON (Zagreb), Drugo more (Rijeka), City Culture Institute (Gdansk), and Umeå 2014 – European Capital of Culture. The project is then further developed together with several institutions, new core partners and associates: Donostia / San Sebastian 2016 – European Capital of Culture, Arts Council of Northern Ireland (Belfast), ISIS Arts (Newcastle), REX (Belgrade), DokuFest (Prizren) and Teatro Pubblico Pugliese (Bari). The list of other collaborating organizations throughout Europe is long, changing and intensely local.