AKTES (Pocket Academy for Arts) is a socio-cultural project designed for small insular areas in order to support the participation of children in community life and development.
Each year AKTES project travels to a different island and invites 2-4 different artists for a series of short residencies during winter months. The goal is to use artistic experimentation as a tool in order for the children to collaborate with the artist and co-create an artistic work that is related to a strategic area of development of each island (for example tourism, culture, environment, etc).
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How does AKTES develops? The project "works" in many and different levels using art as a tool to build a sustainable cycle of community living as children become active citizens, collaborating with a non-local artist, co-creating for their community and learn how to interact with local authorities and businesses in order to present their collaborative project and share their artworks with the locals and visitors promoting their island!
In 2020-21 AKTES travelled to Agios Eustratios island in North-East Aegean and the strategic area of development was visibility of the island.
2020-21 artistic residencies:
The first artistic residency of Paky Vlassopoulou engaged the children (ages 10-17) in a co-creating process of a fanzine.
Through a series of participatory games, the children recorded favourite routes of the island, myths, stories, photos, portraits and objects and while playing automatic writing games they developed fantastic stories, images and a poem.
The artist curated this material and designed the artistic style of the zine.
The children decided to distribute the funzine to the residences and visitors of the island. With the help and support of the local Municipality and the community, the children wanted to present and “promote” their homeland in order to “give more life to the island” and to “encourage and engage more people to visit”.
The second artistic residency of Evangelia Pelentridou engaged the children (ages 5-16) in a co-creating process of handmade bags and post-cards.
The children had the chance to learn about the art of Engraving and different printing technics while also understanding how this form of art is related to the history of the island while used as an exile (no)land.
Through a series of participatory games, the children visualized thoughts, sounds, colours and smells that “represent” the island and with the support of the artist, they co-created a series of motifs and stencils that when then printed (though DIY printing methods) to cloth bags and paper card-postal.
In parallel they self-organized through collective decision-making processes in order to design and implement the presentation, distribution and used of the printed materials.
After the residency the bags and post-cards are available for everyone, locals and visitors, in order to remind everyone “of the creative work that the children and the artist have done together”, “to use cloth bags instead of plastic ones”, “to show that if kids can diy print everyone can do it too” and “to have a memento from AiStratis”.
On the bags you will find:
The map of the island, the (amazing) sunset in the Aegean sea, the old village next to the small port, the (historic) hill of Agios Minas!
On the postcards we printed basically anything that could be printed from the island:
Fishermen nets, flowers, sand, road caps, boat ropes!
** If you find yourself in AiStratis #ask for a bag, a post-card or the funzine in the 3 local super markets!!!
2 artistic residencies
15 children participated
60 CLOTH BAGS
When: 4-16 May & 4-13 June 2021
The project is designed and implemented by the non-profit organization COMM’ON and Cultópia in collaboration, each year, with the local Municipality, the local school and with the support of public and private stakeholders.
Funder by: Ministry of Culture
Under the auspices: Ministry of Culture | Ministry of Tourism | General Secretariat of the Aegean and Islandic policy of the Ministry of Shipping | Agios Eustratios Municipality