NEWS

WHAT ROLE FOR CULTURE?

19 March 2022

Emergency, Influence and Practice is a series of dialogues on culture and climate action, which started in Nicosia on 19 March 2022, and considers how the arts are addressing the climate crisis, and how we are measuring our own impact. 

We dedicate this series of conversations to friends and colleagues in Ukraine, with whom we have had many difficult conversations over the past two weeks.  

We believe that culture is vital to building social cohesion and environmental consciousness, and that through the arts we can communicate across languages and cultures, build confidence, reveal perspectives on heritage and better understand the impact of climate change on our communities.

A brutal autocrat many thousands of kilometres away helps sharpen the mind on man’s impact on our fragile world. Across Europe, our heavy dependence on fossil fuels sees sovereign states rush to find alternatives to the Russian supply line. In Germany over 30% of gas and oil supplies come from Russia and across Europe we now rush to cement friendships with other oil rich autocrats, ignoring their infringement of human rights at home and abroad. These extractivist sources of fuel shake our democracies, damage our land, our air and our future sustainability as a planet. If there was ever a cry for homegrown, renewable sources of energy, should it not be heard now?

Meanwhile here in Cyprus that distant war sees an immediate impact on supplies of grain. 

This little island consumes some 600,000 tonnes of grain each year where only 50,000 can be produced locally. This meat eating nation uses 90% of all grain to rear animals. Is it not time, here and elsewhere, to question our reliance on the most carbon producing of food sources? (i)

Geopolitical fragility, market driven economies and our relentless desire to consume more, is driving the destruction of our planet. Temperatures are rising. With devastating heatwaves, water shortages, loss of biodiversity and risks to food production, the UN has now identified the Mediterranean as a climate change hotspot. (ii) This is not a problem, it is a crisis. We need to collectively raise our environmental consciousness. And we at D6:EU, alongside our friends and colleagues in the the cultural sector and beyond, stand ready.

(i)  https://cyprus-mail.com/2022/03/06/no-magic-wand-to-quickly-secure-grain-supplies-clock-ticking-down/

(ii) https://www.france24.com › France 24 › Europe

INTERVIEW WITH ARGYRO TOUMAZOU, D6:EU FOUNDING BOARD MEMBER

We interviewed founding board member, Argyro Toumazou to find out more about her and why she wanted to be involved with D6:EU.

​Argyro, can you tell us about yourself and previous projects you’ve worked on?

I have always drawn inspiration and reflection through daring arts and culture in all forms. Back in 2003 I revived the Cyprus Chamber of Fine Arts works and came up with the many challenges facing artists as practising professionals and in particular in group and community projects.

Passionate for art development and social advancement I organised innovative artistic projects around Nicosia, like Open Studios within the Walls, Nicosia Documentary Festival, European Night of Museums, Basking Musicians Walk.

I pressed on to re-inhabit and re-view social/political taboos and barriers through coordinating and producing  bi-communal art projects, between communities in a still divided in Cyprus, using of multiple venues within the Nicosia buffer zone  to enable  community engagement. Projects like «Leaps of Faith» May 2005,  Art-Attack Art-Competition, May 2007, Weavings-Υφάνσεις-Dokuma Art-Competition 2008, Little Land Fish, Istanbul 2010, UN Revolving Art Exhibitions 2009 – 2011, UNCOVERED 2011,  enhanced my expertise and experience as an independent cultural consultant, strategist and producer undertaking creative design, artistic curation and coordination of cultural activities in Cyprus, in close collaboration with local authorities, UNDP Cyprus, European Union programs, and Cypriot & European Cultural Institutions, bodies and communities.

Naturally growing in international scope, I co-organised the European Cultural project for Bilateral Cooperation in Cyprus Confrontation through Art, 2014–2018 together with T/Cy colleague and Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot NGOs Rooftop Theatre Group and European Mediterranean Art Association, and engaging Cypriot & European artists in creative workshops and exhibitions, residencies in Athens and Berlin, and a children’s workshop exchange in art and animation.

I currently participate as Local Coordinator, cultural producer and partner in the Creative Europe program Contested Desires 2019 – 2021 combining its capacity building thread with artists/producers residencies, and bringing together the Cyprus Xarkis Festival with whom I cooperated for the first time in 2016 in organising a bi-communal artist’s residency in Lofou.

Co-founder and project manager of Multi-Arts Crossings (MAX) since 2012, I kept up with the Cyprus theatre scene and wrote regular theatre criticism to TimeOut Cyprus and the Wiz Urban Guide, 2005-2018.  In 2020 I have joined the group initiative Gardens of the Future in Nicosia, which was recently voted as the best idea in the Pusulas Platform, and currently planning its Cultural programme.

What interested you about setting up D6 EU?

Meeting Clymene and the D6: Culture in Transit team and Board, there was a familiar resonance of work culture and ethics, and I felt I could cooperate, contribute and learn so much more from international cooperation. I was delighted to invite the D6 EU to station in Cyprus, in a step up to develop further international art programs with a great team, in structured and collaborative processes which foster open discourse, human interaction and social progress.

I envision that D6 EU could provide expertise, consultation and knowledge transfer regarding European collaborative projects in Arts and Culture to Cyprus artists, groups and NGOs.  Our varied expertise could support artists and cultural workers to participate successfully in the European Cultural domains and programs with meaningful benefits.

As strong believers in social inclusion and community engagement, we can enhance both artists development within urban/rural communities with exchanges as well as training of groups and communities in designing, participating and implementing larger programmes in collaboration with key policy making partners.

In a local reflection, we would also focus on the neighbouring Levant region, with research and development of opportunities for collaboration with artists and communities to explore common history and different narratives.

What will D6 EU bring to artists and audiences in Cyprus?

​Artists can enjoy the professionalism of the D6 EU team in creating possibilities for creative exchange and the development of cultural partnerships with innovative opportunities for contributing to both local and global debates.