In collaboration with XWHY consultation agency, Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Lithuania we have explored the space of former church in the old Town in Vilnius and concepts of various groups of interests that are related to it. We were aiming to achieve the change of mindset and processes of how, why and by whom public spaces can be developed, shared. The situation of the site we were working on was favorable - it was just a starting point of development and we saw an opportunity for our team to step in the concept building moment. As well we were aiming to advocate the importance of cross-sectoral collaboration with a cultural sector as a mediator of the process.
Confidence-building formal and informal meetings, pilot research with different stakeholders (Church community, ministry’s representatives, local inhabitants, local businesses, thematic stakeholders (human trafficking): CARITAS, etc.) - we have 9 initial meetings with stakeholders of closest neighbourhood or operating within a church premises - we have informed them about our project, had discussions on how they see the space, what are their expectations for the space.
We have organised the event “Culture against human trafficking” - seminar; forum theatre performance and discussion with the artists; creative session on future actions on human trafficking theme (led by S.Norkute, S.Peciukonyte, A.Gaizauskas (PDA)).
Public event “Gijos: bendrystes diena” - a demonstrational event with few parallel sessions happening at various parts of the church and yards with different agendas and topics explored. We had: a kick off discussion for the competition “Yards of Mind”, which we have organised in collaboration with “Laboratory of Critical Urbanism” represented by S.Liubimov (European Humanities University) and a space exploration activities organised by choreographer I.Ginkeviciute (PDA) for the participants of the discussion and of the competitions; a seminar about empathy and volunteering, creative workshop on unwritten rules led by I.Lukosiene, J. Zelvyte (PDA) accompanied by demonstration of video material (organised by media director A.Bukauskas (PDA)) about human trafficking - student works - results of previuos event “Culture against human trafficking” and collaboration of students with experts; workshop for youth, kids and other participants led by L.Kusaite and S.Norkute (PDA) on visions for the yard including topics of urban ecologies, bio innovations, sustainable living. The event was closed with a reflection session and strategic session for further development of the site. We have organised students competition “Yards of Mind” for concept building of the inner yard - area of former convent of Augustinians. It was a process of creative workshops, open expert lectures, excursions organised by project team and Laboratory of Critical Urbanim led by S.Liubimov. The ideas were presented at the final public presentation of the strategy of Ramintoja on the 18 th of July too.
Participatory approach has made it possible to ensure that more parties are informed and involved in different levels in the process of building a strategic model for Ramintoja ‘s development. We have demonstrated that only aiming at the more equal participation model could bring new ideas, ensure mutual trust and make realisation of them possible.