Free speech! Free action!

3rd - 11th JUNE 2017 in Dnipro (UA)
@ Kultura Medialna


Civic Media Lab 2017

2nd edition “Free speech! Free action!”

Dnipro, Ukraine, June 3-11, 2017



Application deadline: April 23, 2017





Great thanks to all applicants of the Call for Artists – CIVIC MEDIA LAB 2017. We are happy to see your proposals - we've got over 60 of them! Your interest and activity are amazing! Now jury is processing them and preparing for selection.

CML will announce the selection results on
Sunday, May 30 2017.



Kultura Medialna announces an open call for artists for participation in the second edition of the project Civic Media Lab “Free speech! Free action!” that will take place in June 2017 in Dnipro, Ukraine. The project offers selected participants from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Germany, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine a residency opportunity for conducting artistic research and creating new works and projects. All works will be presented at the annual international festival of audiovisual art and new media in urban space “Construction” conducted by Kultura Medialna in June 2017.

Civic Media Lab is an ongoing project initiated in 2016 as a vibrant transregional network of artists, curators, researchers and activists from EU and former USSR countries for creating unconventional dialogue and stimulating long-term collaborations between art and culture professionals interested in contributing to the civil society in the countries of the Eastern Partnership and Eastern Europe.

The theme of the second edition of Civic Media Lab is freedom of media and expression in transforming societies. In the era of information wars, ‘alternative facts’, expansion of multiple propagandistic discourses and increase of censorship in the arts at the global level, we want to gather artistic practices and stimulate artistic projects that deal with freedom of speech and expression on many levels and help connecting artists from different countries despite the political tensions between and within them. The project “Free speech! Free action!” represents an alternative broadcasting channel and a space for reflection upon current sociopolitical issues important for all the participants - from equal human rights to freedom of press, from the role of art in a society in transition to resistance against the challenging of democratic regimes. “Free speech! Free action!” serves as an expanding platform for communication, exchange and cutting-edge artistic, activist and curatorial practices dealing with the subject of free media and information in the public realm including the virtual space. Dnipro, the largest city near the zone of the military conflict in Ukraine, was chosen as a location for the project deliberately. By inviting artists to work closely with the city’s local context we encourage connections between different people that we believe should remain in touch despite the political contradictions and manipulative media narratives.

Civic Media Lab invites artists working with different medium (video, media, sound) and formats (interactive installations, public performances) to submit their proposals. Eight selected participants will be invited to work on the realization of their projects in Dnipro, Ukraine during short-term residencies (up to 10 days) in May and June 2017. Created projects will be presented at the “Construction” festival that will take place in Dnipro from June 3 to 11, 2017. We are especially encouraging proposals exploring and testing new aesthetic and conceptual approaches in digital art and public spaces.

In addition to residencies Civic Media Lab will also organize workshops and artist talks as well as a symposium, where a wide specter of emerging artistic and curatorial practices dealing with physical and virtual public space will be discussed.

Civic Media Lab covers:

  • travel costs to Dnipro (optional two times)

  • subsistence costs (guest flat during the residency before the festival, and guest flat during the festival plus per diem)

  • residency and artist fee (approx. 550 EUR)

  • production and material costs (up to 650 EUR)


Participating artists are expected to:

  • Create a new piece on site in Dnipro during a 10-day residency in May or June
    (dates will be discussed with each participant separately)

  • Present your project at the CONSTRUCTION FESTIVAL
    (between June 3rd and 11th)

  • Participate in artist talks, public discussions and the final symposium


Eligible Countries:

Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Germany, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine


To apply please submit your application to: 

deadline: April 23, 2017


Application form can be downloaded here: 

OpenOffice file or rtf File or MS/Office file or pdf File



CIVIC MEDIA LAB wants to breakthrough negative trends by promoting a trans-regional civil society network between EU, Ukraine and Russia, making unconventional dialogue and organise long term trans-regional collaborations between people working in civil society from the countries in the Eastern Partnership and Russia.

trans-disciplinary approach

: bridges various cultures, art disciplines, scenes
: a low-threshold  "Do-it-yourself" format
: learn there to understand activities as a creative force
: long term, a network of participants in the countries shall be built up
: run by | depart, in cooperation with Kultura Medialna NGO, Dnipro, Ukraine and supported by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany.



Set in front of an unresolved territorial conflict and the friction built up from varying historical narratives of the countries in the Eastern Partnership and Russia, there is an increasing loss of trust among the participants in civil society and a diminishing preparedness to make dialogues and to outline a perceptible collaboration. Trans-regional civil society networks of the kinds that existed in the past are currently hardly there at all. Therefore, the imagery of ‘’the other’’ above all else becomes stamped by national(-ist) discourse. The sense of self and the sense of the foreigner are becoming differentiated more strongly with increasingly deepening prejudice. The obvious weakness of critical voices in Russia in current social and political developments strengthens the process of keeping people apart. The aim of the CIVIC MEDIA LAB is to breakthrough these negative trends by making unconventional dialogue and long term trans-regional collaborations between people working in civil society from the countries in the Eastern Partnership.

Alternative perspectives, and perspectives from outside, as well as involvement in a trans-regional networks make possible the promotion of dialogue and understanding through civil society multipliers, as well as a knowledge- and experience-transfer though a ‘’best practises’’ method. With these possibilities a civil society engagement in the entire region will be delivered with sustainable clout, preventing new conflicts and dispelling friction. In the CIVIC MEDIA LAB, the participants should abandon old ways of thinking by approaching media and artistic practises and interventions that you are not used to: the CIVIC MEDIA LAB stands as an experiment with media and digital forms with common experience in the foreground in order to turn away from traditional presentations of ‘’the other’’. Participants can activate the borderless freedoms of the digital realm and harness them for an engagement with real space and time.

As the body running the project, | depart has established the conception of the CIVIC MEDIA LAB through many years of experience in unique international exhibitions, festivals and events: they commit themselves in their work to both the cultural valuation of interdisciplinary media projects and art production as such, to the valuation and production in whose meanings, regarding forms of expression, they can connect themselves to other cultural practises. With the CIVIC MEDIA LAB a creative platform for self-reflection and for learning at a global level is realised, a platform on which those taking part are urged to discover what is new, to inquire and question each other, to inspire and to challenge. The trans-disciplinary approach builds active bridges between various backgrounds and cultures, art disciplines, scenes and genres. The participants learn there to understand their activities as a creative force that - in terms of their long term dialogues with artists, producers, critics and audiences or publication - contribute in a constructive manner to dialogue and communication overall.

The format was prepared as a low-threshold ’’Do-it-yourself’’ format. The participants should become able to implement their new experiences and experimental methods within their individual specific locations and contexts. After this implementation participants will come together to present and reflect on their results and to analyse with hindsight their success factors, portability and the possible potential for approaches to intercultural dialogue. These results, as well as reports on different experiences, will be collected together in an online portal which shall be freely accessible to other civil society organisations. This media directed project is highly effective in multiplying itself. Digital formats have many possibilities as means of distribution. In this way, the public visibility of this project and its partners is assured within further arrangements like the Info-events of the Project and the public presentations and involvement in the already established event Konstrukcija.

CIVIC MEDIA LAB can be thought of as a pilot project. It should be build up further from the experiences of its first years progress in 2017. Long term, a Network of participants in the countries of the East-European Partnership and Russia should be built up as well as a ‘’best practise’’ principle for an online portal.

Civic Media Lab was initiated in 2016 by cultural managers Cornelia Reichel, Barbara Bernsmeier, Kathrin Oerters & Clemens A. Schöll, and Thomas Dumke.

Aims of the

New perspectives:

international exchange, dialogue and understanding between participants in the progressive political realm concerning common project work.

Capacity Building:

the promotion of creative handling of artistic and media formats and their utilisation for intercultural dialogue and understanding.

To lift up our voices:

the ability of the participants in civil society to present their engagement across regions and to record the impulse for social debate.

To manage new domains:

trans-media and trans-national formats for new forms of engagement and participation.

To take down the borders between networks:

to consolidate longterm the networking of participating multipliers, building up a sustainable infrastructure for independent further development for the CIVIC MEDIA LAB especially in giving impulses to new experimental, critical and media based projects.

To have a multiplying effect on the Internet:

those who can’t take part themselves will be able to reach other participants in civil society through the online-portal.

There are two weeklong workshops planned in the Ukraine and in Germany in which participants in civil society can meet each other to exchange knowledge and experience, and to work together with German and ÖP facilitators and artists on a common network and media project for Place und Online, which will be extensively documented.

Dates 2017

activity 1 - preparation phase - March 27th -

[ April 3rd - 23rd 2017 ]

- CML 2017 »Free Speech! Free Action!« Call for Proposals

[ April 30th 2017 ]

- final information for participation of Civic Media Lab Residency 2017

[ May 2nd to June 2nd (or until June 11th) ]

- Civic Media Lab Residency 2017 »Free Speech! Free Action!«
in Dnipro

[ June 3rd to 11th 2017 ]

- Civic Media Lab 2017 »Free Speech! Free Action!«
during Construction Festival in Dnipro

CML 2017 “Free Speech! Free Action!”
is co-curated by
Maria Veits and Stephan Frank

Maria Veits is an independent curator and researcher, cofounder of the Creative Association of Curators TOK. TOK conducts multidisciplinary research-based projects dealing with concept and use of public space, urban communities, social practice, media and collaborations between arts and social sector. Maria currently works on an exhibition ‘Dreamland Never Found’ for Jerusalem Biennial and continuation of the project ‘Propaganda News Machine’ that will take place in summer in Helsinki 2017 and other projects dealing with current sociopolitical processes. She contributed to the CML 2016 as invited curator and speaker. Lives and works in St Petersburg and Tel Aviv.

Stephan Franck is a Dresden based curator and creative consultant. He has worked since 2008 in the field of curating, publishing and consulting. He is co-founder of the Galerie Stephanie Kelly in Dresden and has contributed to CYNETART 2015 as artist director and curator. In 2016 he has organised the exhibition “potnia theron. the animal in art and science” in cooperation with University of Technology in Dresden. He also contributed last year in Civic Media Lab as both as an expert and curator.

Civic Media Lab was Initiated in 2016 by cultural managers Cornelia Reichel, Barbara Bernsmeier, Kathrin Oerters & Clemens A. Schöll, and Thomas Dumke.

Partners: | depart UG, Germany & Kultura Medialna NGO, Dnipro, Ukraine

Thomas Dumke has worked internationally since 2004, as a freelance Cultural Administrator in the field of New Media Art and for various cultural organisations. He was the director of CYNETART at Festspielhaus Hellerau in Dresden from 2006-2014 and co-funder of the I.C.A.S. Network. Currently working for spectraNEO, HUMATIC, and within the SHAPE Platform – Sound Heterogeneous Art and Performance in Europe, DAVE Festival, Civic Media Lab (in cooperation with Kultura Medialna Dnipro), and dgtl fmnsm (together with Konstanze Schütze & Ulla Heinrich). He is involved voluntarily with the Department of Film and Media in the Office of Culture and Monument Conservation of the Saxon Capital Dresden. In 2016 he founded his own platform | depart.

Kultura Medialna is a team of musicians, artists, designers, architects, curators and cultural managers passionate about media arts, technology and urban development. Working in Dnipro, Ukraine, since 2013. Fundamental goals of its local and international projects are promotion of audio-visual, multimedia and experimental art, international cultural cooperation, support and education of young contemporary artists, facilitation of social innovations and development of creative practice in public space.

further links:
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CML 2017 Partners | depart, Germany

Kultura Medialna NGO, Dnipro, Ukraine

Kulturalna Medialna Logo

Supported by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany.

cml supporters

Julia Ovcharenko, Dnipro, Ukraine
CML project management

Thomas Dumke, Dresden, Germany
CML project management

Website by
Sven Dämmig (Dresden)

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