de / en
Platform East: Generation in-between?
Social and Political Views of Young People
15.04.

Discourse
English

An event of the transcultural festival POSTWEST

In cooperation with

Funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation


Platform East
Which forms of civic engagement exist in Eastern Europe? Which agents are participating in the restructuring of public space? How has collective memory changed in the post-Soviet era? The new series Platform East will raise these questions and many others as part of the transcultural festival POSTWEST. Academics, artists, and activists from Central and Eastern Europe as well as various experts on Eastern Europe will address the socially relevant issues that affect their everyday lives: the freedom of art and media, the politics of memory and the construction of identities, generational relationships and conflicts as well as protest against political systems. Bringing together these different professions will produce mental collages that expand epistemic horizons and serve as the starting point for diverse future scenarios and a collective utopia of POSTWEST.

The series Platform East is a collaboration between the Centre for East European and International Studies (ZOiS) and the Volksbühne Berlin. Through panel discussions, films, lecture performances, and other formats, the series will function as a platform in the truest sense: at the intersection of art and science, it moves past the existing homogenous images of Eastern Europe and offers space for political, societal, and cultural diversity.

Past Activities

Platform East: Fragmente meiner Heimaten. Russischsprachige Migration in Deutschland

An event of the transcultural festival POSTWEST

I. Performance

Sarah Maria Sander: Die Geschichte meines Vaters (My Father’s Story)

In 1946, Ibrahim Nadzhafow was born in Kharkov. His mother, a young Jewish woman, leaves her father, an Azerbaijani officer, after the birth and refuses him any contact with the son. He grows up longing for a father and gives himself the name Aleksander. In a distant country beyond the Soviet Union, he promises himself a future, a different, better world. Aleksander is stuck between eras and cultures, between searching and not-finding. Russia becomes alien, Germany remains unfamiliar even after years. Home becomes a utopia.
Many years later, Sarah grows up in Germany. She too is haunted by the question of home and identity. For her 18th birthday, her mother gives her an old wooden box. Inside are letters, postcards, and telegrams from Alexander’s confidants, telling his story from their point of view.

II. Panel with Tatiana Golova (ZOiS), Svetlana Müller (PANDA Theater e.V.) and Sarah Maria Sander (Volksbühne Berlin)

Russian-speaking migrants in Germany are often perceived as a homogenous group. Their places of origin, their routes, and the status they received upon arrival in Germany differ considerably. Their stories and memories appear in artistic forms of expression. Are these passed on to the next generation as part of identity? What do cultural and meeting places mean for migrant communities? How do new cultural projects beyond nostalgia emerge and how far do they involve people outside the community? Building on the performance Die Geschichte meines Vaters by Volksbühne ensemble member Sarah Maria Sander, sociologist Tatiana Golova explores these questions in a conversation with the artist and with Svetlana Müller of PANDA Theater. In doing so, she examines the political dimension of migrant identity projects and the role that entanglements with countries of origin still play today.

Tatiana Golova is a sociologist at the Center for Eastern European and International Studies (ZOiS) and works on transnational migrant networks on social media.

Svetlana Müller chairs the non-profit association PANDA nicht nur russisches Theater e.V., which has developed into an interdisciplinary art, political, and cultural platform in recent years.

Sarah Maria Sander is an actress at the Volksbühne. She grew up in Germany and Russia. In 2015 she was a guest student in the master acting class at Semen Spivak Theatre Academy Saint Petersburg, Russian State Institute of Performing Arts. From 2015 to 2019 she studied at the Ernst Busch Drama School in Berlin.

In cooperation with

Funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation

Platform East: An Unholy Alliance? “Christian Values” and Anti-Gender Politics in Central and Eastern Europe

An event of the transcultural festival POSTWEST

With: Regina Elsner (ZOiS, Berlin), Radoslav Stoyanov (Bulgarian Helsinki Commitee, Sofia)
Moderation: Patricia Hecht (taz, Berlin)
Input: Elżbieta Korolczuk (Södertörn University, Stockholm), Kristina Stöckl (University of Innsbruck)

Today, right-wing populist movements and authoritarian governments worldwide use “Christian values” to promote conservative social policies. They proclaim to represent what is supposedly “real" civil society, as opposed to the elites. In countries such as Russia, Poland or Bulgaria in particular, the anti-gender and pro-family agenda of right-wing parties strengthens those who are nationalist and critical of Europe. However, these movements are also part of international ultraconservative Christian alliances that view Eastern Europe as a new bastion for the defense of their values. For instance, these links are clearly evident at the World Congress of Families (WCF), where ultraconservative Christian groups and individuals gather to defend a traditionalist understanding of the family.

What are the driving factors behind this “unholy alliance” of religion and politics, in which gender is equated with demoralization? What role do the Catholic and Orthodox Churches play in this process? How do the different denominations of the Christian church position themselves and engage in this conflict of values?

Regina Elsner is a theologian and a researcher at ZOiS. Through the project Morality instead of peace, Regina Elsner is investigating the dynamics of Russian Orthodox social ethics since the fall of the Soviet Union.

Elżbieta Korolczuk is a sociologist, commentator and women’s and human rights activist. She works at Södertörn University in Stockholm and teaches at the American Studies Center at Warsaw University. Her research interests involve: gender, social movements and civil society. She published numerous texts, e.g. on the women’s movement and its relation with neoliberalism, on new forms of citizenship, politicization of reproduction and anti-gender mobilization in Poland and abroad.

Radoslav Stoyanov is a Bulgarian human rights activist with a focus on LGBTI issues. As a gay activist, he litigated many cases before the national equality body regarding public hate speech against sexual minorities. He is acting as a watchdog for right-wing conservative activities in Bulgaria. He is currently working as an expert in the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee and is pursuing a master’s degree in law.

Patricia Hecht worked for radio and print in Germany, Mexico and Colombia, before she joined taz in 2012. She was editor on the Berlin desk and for the front page and is now gender editor on the politics desk, working for example on reproductive rights and antifeminism. She was part of the international research team Europe's Far Right, reporting on strategies and networks of European far right politics.

In cooperation with

Funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation

Platform East: Urban Activism in Eastern Europe

An event of the transcultural festival POSTWEST

With Alexander Formosov (Dekabristen e.V., Berlin), Zuzanna Hertzberg (artist and activist, Warsaw), Sasha Kurmaz (artist, Kyiv), Lela Rekviashvili (Leibniz-Institut für Länderkunde, Leipzig)
Moderation: Tsypylma Darieva (ZOiS, Berlin)

One often hears people speaking of weak civil societies in the Eastern European context. The image of citizens intimidated into political passivity still persists all too stubbornly. Yet anyone taking a closer look is bound to notice that resistance to neoliberal and authoritarian structures has been stirring up in many Eastern European cities. This resistance is expressed in creative forms of protest, artistic interventions, and the (re)appropriation of urban space. Using photos and video material, activists, artists, and social scientists will show how diverse and dynamic contemporary urban activism in Eastern Europe is: from grassroots actions in Russian Murmansk and the mobilisation of street protests against construction projects in Tbilisi, through to artistic interventions in Ukrainian and Polish cities. They will discuss the various forms and effects of urban activism in Eastern Europe, while also assessing their regional specificities and global connections.

Alexander Formozov studied History, European Ethnology and Political Science in Moscow and Berlin. Alexander's main focus is on transdisciplinary projects and international exchange in the areas of urbanism, culture, non-formal education and civil society in Eastern Europe. He is currently working at the Dekabristen e.V. as a project coordinator of the educational project ACT|UP.

Tsypylma Darieva is a social anthropologist and a senior researcher at ZOiS, Berlin. Together with Carola Neugebauer she edited the forthcoming volume Urban Activism in Eastern Europe and Eurasia. Practices and Strategies, DOM Publishers.

Zuzanna Hertzberg is a painter, author of installations, performative actions and artivist. She deals with subjects of memory and body, as well as issues related to a broad sense of identity and geopolitics. Zuzanna earned her PhD degree at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts (2018) and participated in a number of exhibitions in Poland and abroad. She is member of Antifascist Coalition as well as co-founder of Jewish Antifascist Block.

Sasha Kurmaz is a post-conceptual multi-disciplinary artist with a graffiti background. In his artistic practice, he uses photography, urban intervention, and performative situations through which he analyzes the social and political interrelationships that address themes both poetic and political. His work is at once direct and open to interpretation.

Lela Rekhviashvili is a post-doctoral researcher at Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography, Leipzig. She is interested in political economy of post-socialist transformation(s), urban informality and mobility, and social movements. Her publications theorise intersection of marketization, social embeddedness and informality. Her upcoming research project will look into counter-hegemonic thought and practice of civil societies in former Soviet peripheries.

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Which forms of civic engagement exist in Eastern Europe? Which agents are participating in the restructuring of public space? How has collective memory changed in the post-Soviet era? The new series Platform East will raise these questions and many others as part of the transcultural festival POSTWEST. Academics, artists, and activists from Central and Eastern Europe as well as various experts on Eastern Europe will address the socially relevant issues that affect their everyday lives: the freedom of art and media, the politics of memory and the construction of identities, generational relationships and conflicts as well as protest against political systems. Bringing together these different professions will produce mental collages that expand epistemic horizons and serve as the starting point for diverse future scenarios and a collective utopia of POSTWEST.

The series Platform East is a collaboration between the Centre for East European and International Studies (ZOiS) and the Volksbühne Berlin. Through panel discussions, films, lecture performances, and other formats, the series will function as a platform in the truest sense: at the intersection of art and science, it moves past the existing homogenous images of Eastern Europe and offers space for political, societal, and cultural diversity.

In cooperation with

Funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation

Platform East: (De)constructing Stereotypes. Media Images in the European Press

An event of the transcultural festival POSTWEST

With: Alice Bota (ZEIT), Dóra Diseri (n-ost), Tamina Kutscher (dekoder), Dariya Orlova (Mohyla School of Journalism)
Moderation: Gesine Dornblüth

The media shapes our perception of political events, people, public debates, countries – and the stereotypes associated with them – within society. When we think about Eastern Europe our judgments are also inevitably influenced by imagery constructed by the media through pictures and texts. But how accurate are these images and between what tensions are they created?

This event focuses on the representation of Eastern Europe in Western European media outlets and vice versa: What ideas does Germany have about Eastern Europe and how do they view “us” there? To what extent do reports in the media influence our perception of East and West and the construction of the stereotypes associated with them? What role do political and economic factors play? What level of responsibility do foreign correspondents have with regard to the dissemination and maintenance of stereotypes and what new challenges are they facing?

In this discussion, journalists and media experts use these questions to approach the status quo of the media landscape in Europe. Against the background of a perceived East-West divide, they identify influential factors and talk about possible future scenarios and the conditions they would require: What would media coverage that's free of the continuous construction and reproduction of stereotypes look like?

Dóra Diseri is a Berlin-based Hungarian journalist and project lead of the European cross-border grant program “Reporters in the Field” at n-ost (Network for Reporting on Eastern Europe). Until October 2018, she was the Berlin correspondent of the Hungarian news channel HírTV. She studied journalism, cultural and Eastern-European studies in Budapest, Leipzig and Berlin. Before moving to Berlin in 2012, she worked as a multimedia journalist and reporter in the news department of the Hungarian Public Television (MTVA) in Budapest.

Gesine Dornblüth is a journalist and was the Moscow correspondent for Deutschlandradio from 2012 to 2017. With her doctorate in Slavic Studies, Dornblüth has reported primarily for radio reports and features from Russia and other former Soviet countries since the 90s.

Tamina Kutscher is a trained journalist, historian and Slavonic studies scholar. In 2016, she became dekoder’s editor-in-chief. dekoder is an online platform that connects the public spheres in Russia and Germany: It publishes translations of articles and reports in the other country’s language and also provides context and expertise from universities. For this combination of journalism and scholarship, dekoder was honoured with the 2016 Grimme Online Award.

Dariya Orlova is a Senior Lecturer and Deputy Director for Research at the Mohyla School of Journalism (National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Ukraine). She holds a PhD degree in Mass Communications from Autonomous University of Barcelona. Her major academic interests include: media transformations in transition countries, political communication, journalism culture, media and national identity. She has also served as an independent media expert and researcher with NGOs and international development agencies and worked as a journalist prior to her academic career.

In cooperation with

Funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation

www.kulturstiftung-bund.de

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