In A4 we always try to prepare an exceptional programming for our visitors. One of the specifics things we always keep in mind is trying to enrich not only those who come to us as viewers and visitors but also all those who take part in the everyday smooth running of A4. Our team is not only the permanent employees – since 2014 each year a few young foreign volunteers become a solid part of our backstage, coming here to A4 to gain new experiences for their future jobs in culture, event management or arts. Since 2014 we are a part of the project European voluntary service (EVS), that is a part of program Erasmus+. As a part of this initiative we realize our own project called Space for Culture each year. Its successful running and successful graduates are the proof that A4 is not a one-sided institution but a shared creative space that is important for both its visitors and also all that take part in its organization.
The volunteers are an everyday part of the team who participate on all the production processes and activities. Through their involvement we try to share our experiences and know-how and teach them all that has to do with managing an independent cultural centre. This, of course, also works both ways. The volunteers bring new ideas and interesting creative projects to the table as well as cultural specificities and different backgrounds that enrich the community and broaden our horizons.
The voluntary project Space for Culture 2017 ran from September 2017 till August 2018. As it happens each year, it was supported and financed by program Erasmus+ and by the Slovak national agency IUVENTA. Four volunteers from four different European countries took part in its fourth edition of 2017/2018.
During the year the volunteers spent in A4 our team tried to support their ideas and interests and provide a space for their development, which resulted into volunteers developing our programming and our multicultural and multi-genre organization, too. Dorota (PL), Nora (ESP), Natálie (ČR) and Minke (NL) had been interested in working in culture already before arriving and considered volunteering for A4 a great opportunity to gain experiences in a lively and well functioning environment of alternative cultural space. The volunteers took direct part in many of our own projects, cooperated and helped the artists that came to A4 to complete their artistic residencies and continually contributed to the everyday run of the culture space. They helped us with administration, project management, distribution of the promo materials, PR and marketing and event management. They also engaged in their own project that became a part of A4 programming and met a very positive response of our visitors.
All this could have not be done without the coordination of our colleague Ľudo with whom the volunteers created an event called WHATEVS. The event took place once a month and served as a space to connect foreign volunteers currently working in Slovak organizations, its coordinators and also local young people and their communities that are interested in the topic of volunteering. The event became a regular platform for sharing and exchanging experiences and information about volunteering but also a pleasant informal educational meeting that still continues on.
Another project that the volunteers of last year created was the A4 Zine that was published each year together with our programming brochures that could be found around the city. A4 Zine tries to creatively inform our English speaking audience and communicate the current affairs of A4 to foreigners and inform our visitors about the topics of volunteering. The project A4 Zine is closely knitted with the online blog that functions as its additional platform.
Another noteworthy project of our volunteers you can notice when visiting the A4 Café. It’s the information notice board where you can find info about our volunteers and their activities – what is being prepared program-wise but also information on how is volunteering done.
The work of Dorota, Natália, Minke and Nora was beneficial not only for our cultural space but – as we hope – also for the volunteers themselves. As a part of the project they had the chance to gain the practical experiences in culture spaces and on the art scene but also about Slovak language as they took classes for four months. We believe that this experience was enriching not only for us, the A4, but also for the volunteers and our visitors that directly or non-directly witnessed their presence and work in our shared spaces and activities.
Since the successful project is continuing also this year, from September 2018 you can meet new volunteers in A4. As a part of the project Space for Culture 2018 this adventure is still ahead of them. We are excited about the continuation of the project and hope it will be at least as successful as the one before!
Thank you to all of those who took part! Cheers!