June 23

A4 visited the TEH Conference Meeting #93 in Prague

On 26-29 May 2022, the 93th Trans Europe Halles (TEH) Conference took place. Among the more than 300 participants, also four of our A4 staff members were present at the conference. Studio ALTA in Prague was the hosting organisation of this edition of the conference. The topic of this meeting was cultivation. Studio ALTA describes the topic as “a process of development, education and future. It offers a motivation to survive, learn from past mistakes and start anew, better. It brings the need to care more thoroughly for one’s as well as others’ environment.” This topic was reflected in the programme’s meetings, workshops, and other educational activities. 

But let’s start at TEH. This is a network of grassroots European cultural centres that are housed in repurposed (abandoned) buildings. Besides organising two conference meetings each year, hosted by one of the members, they connect their members through collaborating regionally and thematically through Hubs. Throughout the year, TEH organises training workshops and seminars, and amplifies the voice of the cultural and creative sector in Europe. The conferences are the main moments of the year for all the TEH members to meet and exchange knowledge and they are always very inspiring and educational, as was the first meeting of 2022 in Prague.

Our four A4 staff members were present for all days of the conference and two of them even before the conference started. This was because they did not just participate in the programme, but also volunteered to help Studio ALTA organise the conference. Anyway, the most important parts of the meeting were the educational programme, the artistic programme and the networking sessions with other organisations. The core of each educational programme section was an intensive five-hour-long block in which a theme was explored from multiple perspectives and branches of knowledge. Those themes were: ‘Programming the Symbiosis’, ‘Space Is the Case Is the Space Is the Case’, ‘We Should Care About Each Other’, and ‘Utopia, Really?’. The artistic programme consisted of three projects: ‘Florent Golfier /tYhle: Walk with Atlas’, ‘Alica Minar & Col. & RAUM4 E. V.: Permeance’, and ‘Ras Spielraum & Collective Waves: Under The Surface Project’.

Among our participating staff, we tried to distribute among different programme elements, so we could experience as much as possible. As always, we attended the general assembly, where the TEH Board shares their updates on the current financial situation, projects, and this is also the moment to vote on new members. One of the highlights of our experiences was the Arts Education Hub meeting on the second day of the conference. Here we discussed the future of the platform, its direction, priorities and funding possibilities. Especially interesting was that this session was open to everyone, not just members of the platform itself. Those external voices proved to be valuable to the discussion. Another highlight was the EastHub meeting. In the spirit of the topic of the conference and its connections to care, we discussed here how we could help Ukraine and Ukrainian member organisations of TEH. Of course, we could not miss the tour of Studio ALTA’s Invalidovna building. Unfortunately, they have to move out of the building very soon. Nevertheless, it was very inspiring to see how they dealt with the situation of managing a cultural centre and hosting a conference at a previously abandoned building without proper infrastructure for water, electricity and heating. 

TEH conference #93 in Prague was very successfully organised. We learnt about care, we networked, we were inspired by the artworks, discussions and workshops and it was therefore a very fruitful meeting. This can also be read in the official meeting report, as published by TEH and Studio ALTA. 

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The TEH membership and the attendance at the meeting was supported using public funding by Slovak Arts Council.