In the next few days I will be attending the “Informed Cities Forum” in Warsaw, where I will be meeting professionals from different fields working with heritage sites. For the past four years I have been involved in different processes at Kaunas Fortress Fort no. 8, which is currently being adapted to community use: historical park for nature, culture and community urban garden. It is a great start, but more work needs to be done in making sure it is sustainable long-term. This is one of the key questions I will be raising at the event.
For the past year I have been working with Šilainiai urban gardeners community, aiming to save and develop urban gardens in Kaunas Fort no. 8. It is a start of a long, hard journey, however this year brought some positive change and respect to senior gardeners, who have been growing food in the neighbourhood for a very long time.
This is a video from this summer events in Šilainiai Urban Gardens at Kaunas Fort no. 8 (middle part in English).
Some of Lithuanian press covering the garden developments:
We’ve had an amazing creative season in Šilainiai this year! The absolute highlight was the collaboration with Vestfold fylkeskommune at Kaunas fort no. 8, during the Fortress festival “Battery”.
Fabula Silvestri – a play by Canardus Horribilis and De Munnfulle invited local community to see the Fortress outside spaces in a new light for the very first time. Almost 1000 people visited the event in two days, which broke all records of community participation at cultural events in the neighbourhood!
Strong, ongoing partnership with Kaunas Fortress Park (Kauno tvirtovės parkas) and Association “Kaunas Fortress” garrison of Fort no. 8 volunteers brought an incredible experience for Šilainiai families.
This event proved beyond doubt the importance of this fort to local community and the need of diverse, accessible cultural events close to home.
International partnerships give us the opportunity to learn from each other and grow together, through culture.
Norwegian and Lithuanian stories and myths shared during this event will stay with us for a very long time and inspire to keep going.
Video: Ričardas Rickevičius
December 29, 15:00 I will be giving a talk at an event called ‘Young Ideas – Inside the Creative Mind’ at ‘Ideas Block’ Vilnius, address: Pylimo g. 60, 01337 Vilnius, Lithuania.
I will be presenting the work done this year and a project continuing in 2019, collaborating with a fantastic team of people passionate about urban gardens.
Be the first to learn about the direction Šilainiai Project is taking next year!
2018 work has been made possible by the Lithuanian Ministry of Culture artist stipend. Thank you.
End of the Year celebration – two days with art, philosophical and material talks, conversations, ideas and coffee at Ideas Block cafe and creative space.
What are the future ideas? How does the young local creative scene look like? We would like to invite you to explore these ideas together with us through the arts and music, creative philosophy, sustainability, technology, the community and more. We’ll be searching for ways they shape our societies. Inevitably setting ideas in motion.
We will talk with a number of guests about the meaning for the creators: touching on culture, creative education and freedom of mind among others. This will be an expedition into ideas and people through different fields and philosophies.
[Young Ideas – a series of cultural and artistic events focused on development of contemporary and innovative ideas, as well as supporting young, up and coming artists, musicians and makers. The project is partially funded by Vilnius City Council.]
The talks will be held in English.
Saturday (29th of December):
Image by Julija Rūkas
Images by Vytautas Paplauskas
Join artist and curator Evelina Šimkutė, along with Rūta Stepanovaitė, to discuss the Šilainiai Project, as well as other socially engaged practices.
As the Curator for the Kaunas European Capital of Culture 2022, Evelina will also discuss her plans to develop a community platform for Kaunas.
Hosted by the Central Saint Martins Foundation Programme. This event was made possible by the Lithuanian Culture Institute. the Lithuanian Embassy in the United Kingdom, the Lithuanian Culture Council and Kaunas 2022.
Arrival from 16:30, start time 16:45.
Directions to our Archway Campus can be found here.
Evelina Šimkutė is an artist, founder and creative director of Šilainiai Project. She is also curator of Kaunas European Capital of Culture 2022 community platform.
Rūta Stepanovaitė, art manager, director of art management platform, ‘Arthesis’ and recently appointed director of Kaunas Artists’ House.
The Šilainiai Project is one of the first to engage with the community in the Šilainiai micro-district – a residential area of multi-story blocks which is culturally separated from the city centre. Since 2016, artists have been invited to stay with Šilainiai residents within the micro-district to develop and create new artworks. The artists are encouraged to make further connections with the local community by exhibiting their work publicly, working with local schools/ community groups and by participating in open meetings at the public library of Šilainiai.
The project engages with the local community, across the various generations living in the Šilainiai micro-district, through open creative social platforms, community and participatory arts and more.
International artist residencies are one of the many activities led by Evelina Šimkutė in Šilainiai, which try to reveal the cultural identity of Šilainiai, one of the last micro-district developed in the Soviet era.
Kaunas – European Capital of Culture 2022 is focused on communities and is currently preparing projects that aim to discover, train and empower local creatives, as well as encourage both local and international artists to engage with community-based practices.
Event is free, but please book tickets on Eventbrite here.