Following the UN General Assembly resolution of March 2nd the UNESCO reaffirms its commitment to the “sovereignty, independence, unity, and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders, and it demands that the Russian Federation immediately cease its use of force against Ukraine.” Consistent with its mandate, UNESCO demands the immediate cessation of attacks on civilian facilities, such as schools, universities, memorial sites, cultural and communication infrastructures, and deplores civilian casualties, including students, teachers, artists, scientists and journalists. These include women and children, girls especially, disproportionately impacted by the conflict and displacement. The UNESCO Executive Board will hold a Special Session on 15 March to examine the impact and consequences of the current situation in Ukraine in all aspects of UNESCO’s mandate.
A report, edited by Pelin Çakır and introduced September 2021 by Martin Roth-Initiative (MRI) and Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (ifa), Germany, explores risks and restrictions for artistic freedom and mobility beyond the Covid-19 Crisis. By learning from the recent experiences, and particularly from restrictive contexts such as Turkey, Learning from the Pandemic explores how to support artists and maintain spaces of artistic freedom despite these circumstances. The full report is now available in English.
The Slovenian Ministry of Culture slashed co-funding to NGOs by nearly 50 percent from € 6.4 to € 3.6 million. The move comes as the ministry records its largest budget since 1991. 8 organisations remained in the funding programme. Among the structures who were cut from funding for the next four years are groups with excellent international reputation which had been funded through the ministry for decades: Glej Theatre, Maska Institute, Delak Centre, City of Women, Carmina Slovenica, Nomad Dance Academy Slovenia, Ars Ramovš. The policy of cutting funds for those independent art institutions has been implemented in Slovenia during the last years but has been rejected successfully until now. The removal of national funding also destroys the ability of these NGOs to receive funding from EU co-financing programs. Maska writes in an open letter: “We therefore consider the withdrawal of funding as part of a long-term strategy to shrink the space for the development of professional non-governmental organisations. This act is a continuation of the Ministry’s degradation and destabilisation of the sector, which has always been one of the most vibrant and progressive fields of contemporary art.”
In June 2021 Slovenia was placed on the Civicus Monitor Watchlist, which issues warnings regarding countries where civic freedoms are rapidly vanishing. the right-wing administration withheld also the Slovenian Press Agency as well as other media covering or expressing views in conflict with those of the ruling party. No funds were also allocated for environmental projects for 2022 or 2023. The climate fund for which environmental CSOs are eligible has been slashed by 70 percent.
Monday, January 10, Kirill Serebrennikov arrived Hamburg (Germany) and is directing now rehearsals of Chekhov’s “The Black Monk” at the Thalia Theater. The director was surprisingly allowed to leave after he was convicted of fraud in Summer 2020 and sentenced with a three-year travel ban. Since then he conducted rehearsals throughout Europe only by video conference.
At its annual meeting the members of the German ITI have discussed the reports about the recent closure and sealing of the EMBROS theatre in Athens. With the background of the global economic pressure on public theatre spaces as it has been shown in Tirana or Ljubljana the German ITI members declared their solidarity with a letter to the artistic team. “We, the members of the International Theatre Institute Germany, protest against the closure and the sealing off of the EMBROS THEATRE in Athens. Since 2011 the EMBROS THEATRE has become an important location for alternative art and cultural exchange in the heart of Athens. It serves as a hub of creative innovation, integration and free expression for its neighbourhood and its city. It is an important point of international cultural collaboration with guest artists and companies visiting from all across Europe and beyond. With its collective artistic and management direction it is also a role model for the future with a non-patriarchal and democratic organisation-format of cultural institutions. The EMBROS THEATRE is an important institution for the promotion of the freedom of art. ITI Germany demand the reopening of the theatre under the artistic direction of its original team.”
The Taliban has admitted to the killing of the famous comic Nazar Mohammad, known as Khasha Zwan, in the country’s southern region. Khasha, who earlier served in the Kandahar police, was picked up by from his home in southern Kandahar and shot dead. A a video, widely shared on social media, showed Khasha getting slapped and abused while he was held by two men in a car. Nazar Mohammad’s body, shot multiple times, was found in Kandahar end of July.