Support the Local is a capacity building project between Moldovan organisation Urban Spirit and Swedish organisation Nordkonst. The aim of the project is to analyse the state of youth cultures in Moldova and find solutions for their future development. The project was supposed to start in 2020 but because of the global Covid-19 pandemic, the project was postponed to be realised in 2021-2022.

Nordkonst in Chisinau meeting with the local community

The inspiration for the project comes from Nordkonst’s previous collaboration with Pskov Hip Hop Center XO, which was focused on the increase of the visibility of Hip Hop culture as a driver social change in smaller cities, where youth is lacking platforms for self-expression, training and communication. Pskov’s successful example of developing a wast network of smaller dance schools with a center in city of Pskov itself and including both parents and local businesses into the development of youth and children’s training was seen as a know-how that could be put into the basis of similar development in Moldova. Given very similar economic and social conditions in Pskov region in Russia and Moldova, the experience of Pskov Hip Hop Center XO seems rather useful for the development strategies in Moldova.

Founders of Hip Hop Center XO Kristina and Kirill Kochnev at conference for NGOs and youth workers in Chisinau

Apart of the sharing the know-hows with the leaders of the local communities, youth houses and NGOs, Nordkonst members and Pskov Hip Hop Center XO travelled to Falesti, a town close to Rumanian border, where they gave master classes in Hip Hop and Breaking to the local young people training classical dance styles at the Falesti House of Culture.

Kirill Kochnev gives a master class in breaking to Falesti kids who try this dance style for the first time

As the majority of Moldovan Youth houses lack teachers in the modern dance styles as well as contemporary crafts and activities, the majority of the kids are attending classes that can be offered by the teachers living in Moldovan provinces. Usually the choice of activities boils down to ballet, national traditional dances and some type of battle arts. Many of the kids that train at Falesti House of Culture live in the nearby villages and attending activities and events at the House of Culture is pretty much all entertainment they get.

After the class and the very first dance battle

Urban Spirit, who was the main organiser of the event in Falesti, usually has a tight contact with the youth workers in different Moldovan provinces and visits them several time a year with graffiti and sketching master classes and battles. This time, when Nordkonst, was part of the event, young people could also paint and try themselves in graffiti art.

Doing graffiti in Falesti

As the main goal of the project was to share experience, knowledge and study Moldovan context, together with partners we thought that Urban Spirit can learn a lot from seeing and knowing how youth organisations function and develop in other countries. As the collaboration was launched between Moldova and Sweden, we decided that getting to know how youth culture is supported in Sweden might give Urban Spirit some ideas that they can later use in their homeland.

Fryshuset, Stockholm

Stockholm city has a vast network of different youth houses and public spaces where young people can train, spend time, communicate and learn something new. Urban Spirit has visited Fryshuset, Stockholms Stad Bibliotek, Studio 44 and Kulturhuset Lava studios in order to make connections for the future collaborative projects and to learn about funding schemes, how to run a youth center and what problems can arise when one launches a youth center and a cultural space in a city.

Besides the networking Urban Spirit members also learn about different areas of Stockholm city, their development and local places of attraction. Being guided by Dokument Press, the project members learnt a lot about initiatives that Stockholm city launches in the outskirts of Stockholm as well as private and collective initiatives aimed at preserving non-commercial public spaces.

The result of the project is a built network created between Moldovan and Swedish organisations working with young people and children, which has already applied and received funding for one project and currently applies for the second large project which aim will be to further work with the development of youth cultures in Moldova.

To know more about the project view here

The project is supported by Swedish Institute.