Talk | 10 Treffen: Solidarity Treffen

People without Country. Country without People. Belarusian Cultural Opposition

Solidarity Treffen in Ukrainian in white letters on a black background

The discussion will focus on the current situation of adaptation, transformation and interpenetration of ideas and activities of Belarusian artists and activists into European narratives and the prospects of these processes.

This event is part of the Solidarity Treffen.

Until 31 December 2023 available as videoon demand in the media library

The forced migration of the creative class from Belarus in recent years has had a significant impact on the discourse on freedom of speech and fundamental human rights in Europe. In Belarus, there are almost no tools left to ensure and monitor the observance of basic human rights. The Belarusian protest movement, which, in a situation of intensified and ongoing repressions, went underground, nowaday finds its public continuation in social and cultural projects around the world. Currently, most of the activists and opposition to Lukashenko’s government are political prisoners, but those who have left and live mostly in European countries are going through the process of building a socio-political identity and networking with the hope of someday returning to their home country and implementing their achievements.

Biographies of the participants:

Olga Shparaga holds a PhD in philosophy and taught philosophy at the European College of Liberal Arts in Minsk (ECLAB) until 2021, which she had co-founded in 2014. She studied philosophy in Belarus and Germany and was a fellow and taught in Belarus, Lithuania, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic and the US. Because of her activities in the feminist group she co-founded within the co-ordination council of Belarusian opposition, started by politician Svetlana Tikhanovskaya in August 2020, she was imprisoned for 15 days in October 2020. To escape a looming criminal trial, she fled to Vilnius. Olga Shparaga now lives in exile and is currently a fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna. Her book „The Face of the Revolution is Female. The Case of Belarus” was published in German by Suhrkamp Verlag in 2021.

Antonina Stebur is a curator, art historian and art critic. She works as a guest lecturer at the Berlin University of the Arts (UdK), where she teaches an art activism course. She is co-founder of the #damaudobnayavbytu project on gender discrimination in post-Soviet countries and the research platform Spaika.Media. She is a co-curator of the exhibitions “Every Day. Art. Solidarity. Resistance” (Ukraine, 2021), “Names” (Belarus, 2017), “I Was Approaching the City I Had Not Known Yet” (Ukraine, 2021), “If Disrupted It Becomes Tangible” (Lithuania, 2023), and others. Stebur is a co-founder and curator of – The International Coalition of Cultural Workers in Solidarity with Ukraine. Her research interests include feminism, post-Soviet studies, political art, tactics of resistance and solidarity, and developing infrastructure.

Igor Shugaleev is an independent actor and performer, a graduate of the Belarusian State Academy of Arts. As a student, he became interested in performative practices, and physical and dance theatre. He participated in workshops on contemporary dance, partnering, performance, happening, etc. organised by prominent pedagogues in Europe. As a performer of KARAKULI dance theatre and Korniag Theatre projects, he took part in multiple European dance festivals. He collaborated with Belarus Free Theatre (Minsk – London), TOK Theatre (Minsk), HUNCHtheatre Belarus (Minsk – London), and Nowy Teatr (Warszawa). Starting in 2019, Igor Shugaleev began working on solo projects. Cooperating with artists across creative disciplines, he searches for his own language of artistic expression at the intersection of dance, drama theatre and performance.

Johannes Kirsten is head dramaturg at Maxim Gorki Theater in Berlin. He studied literature and philosophy in Berlin and New York and worked in the independent scene, at Nationaltheater Mannheim, Centraltheater Leipzig, Schauspiel Hannover, as visiting professor for drama at the German Literature Institute Leipzig and as curator for HELLERAU – European Center for the Arts, among others. For years he has had close ties to Belarus and has presented literature, theatre and art from Belarus in Germany in radio features, festivals and other projects.

Olga ShparagaPhilosopher, writer
Antonina SteburCurator, art critic
Igor ShugaleevActor and performer

Moderation Johannes KirstenHead Dramaturg Maxim Gorki Theater

The event is funded by the Federal Agency for Civic Education/bpb.