Lately, a project team from ZK/U Berlin travelled through Russia two months before the opening of the soccer world cup in spring 2018. The mission: Portray civil society, culture and urban development beyond the well-known capitals in a documentary film.
In the project CETКA (Russian for "network"), together with local partners we took one step further and were guided by the questions: What is happening in regions of Belarus, Ukraine and Russia? Who are the people who stay there and what issues do they deal with? What is the role of arts and culture in the provinces? And how can collectives and civil society actors have an impact beyond their region?
2019 we spent researching, reading, exploring. In the end we came up with 12 cities and local actors: From Vladivostok on the Pacific Ocean to Brest on the polish-belarusian border. From cultural centres to artists collectives to feminist organisations. We called them ambassadors.
In December 2019, all ambassadors met in Berlin. At this kick-off we learned the word ‘sisterhood’, we understood that collectivity is the core and that dealing with local heritage and identity is different in the specific regions, but very similar in approach.
2020 we did not spend travelling. The political and social situation in Belarus meant that our partner organisation Minsk Urban Platform was working out of exile in Ukraine and the lives of all civil society and cultural actors on the ground changed abruptly. In spite of all obstacles, the ambassadors (and the number even grew!) continued to work collectively on the basic values and fields of action of CETКA, were trained as filmmakers and made 3- to 7-minute short films in their cities: with much humour, reflection, thoughtfulness and confidence in the future.
Next to the short films presented on this website, the podcast “Кasha Today” and the sound database “Sprotify” are side-projects of CETКA.
We see CETКA as a platform to grow, develop and change from the inside: In the future we plan on training our ambassadors to work further as film makers and script writers, to research specific topics of their regions and portray them with filming tools. And, we enable them to train the newcomer ambassadors to film their cities and activities. CETКA - the net is constantly being woven from within and on one's own initiative.