Study Visit “The neighbourhood – linking people through cultural action” took place in Riga, Latvia, from 7th to 11th April.
The Study Visit permitted all the participants to visit inspirational places in Riga and see how it is possible to link local neighbourhood and people through cultural action, practices and initiatives, and everyone learned new ideas how to improve their local activity future plan.
Study Visit started with getting to know activities, which created friendly atmosphere among participants. After that, group headed to the first place for the visit – Sporta Pils Gardens. Participants learned all about the community gardens, which is a project organized by the citizens of Riga with an aim to open the former Sporta Pils complex territory that is currently inactive and put it to public use. During the territory’s development stage between 2020 and 2023, the gardens are hosting different cultural and educational activities and offer private urban gardening spaces for rent for neighbourhood people.
On the same day group had a chance to visit cultural and social platform Kanepes Cultural Centre, which engages local and international communities, activists, and subcultures for a better, more equal, and diverse world, and learn about their practises on how to engage people through different forms of art.
On the evening we had a time to reflect on what we had seen, heard and acquired during the day. Each organisation talked about strategies and new ways how to take some ideas and integrate them in their own action plan.
Further, participants explored Kalnciema quarter’s market – headquarter of the hosting organisation. They could learn about the history, hear all about Kalnciema quarter’s strategies and how we engage local communities. As it was Saturday, and Saturdays are the weekdays when a local farmer and craftsmen’s market takes place, guests from Spain and Italy could see the market themselves. They had a chance to talk to merchants, through different activities get to know the market better and see how it is organised. Later on the same day during the visit at Pardaugavas creative centre all the participants were involved in very practical activity by the centre’s founder Ieva, where they had to tell each other about what they would like to do with the local community in their country and through community theatre practises come up with some solution. At the quarter, there was a space provided for reflection and each organisation worked and reflected about their future local action plan.
Next day participants went to Agenskalna Market, which is another place managed by hosting organisation, and they have been renovating the historical market building for last 4 years. As it will be huge space for neighbourhood community with lots of engaging activities, community kitchen, events and a place for everyone, the group acquired a lot of new information and learned about our practises and ideas. We also visited the organisation Free Riga and Lastadija on the other end of the city and dedicated evening and next day to work out more detailed action plan for each involved organisation.
After this mobility we established professional and personal links among our organisations even more, and everyone was very inspired by all the visited places and all the seen practises and strategies, and could think of how to implement them in their local action plan. They had a wonderful experience to see Latvian’s culture and take some interesting ideas. The next step is to put this knowledge into practise and organise the local actions.