/ 9 April 2024

Art Activism in post-COVID Europe


Versopolis is actively involved, directly or indirectly, in many projects that expand the boundaries of poetry and the arts. The latter can also be seen in the activities of our partner festivals, which, while nurturing poetic talent, also encourage artistic innovation and are committed to social causes. An example of such collaboration is the European ArtAct project, which is the result of the efforts of five of our partner festivals: POETAS in Spain, Days of Poetry and Wine in Slovenia, Littfest in Sweden, Hausacher LeseLenz in Germany and Poetik Bazar in Belgium.

Supported by the Creative Europe programme, ArtAct is a forward-looking initiative that addresses the powerful question of how art and literature do more than reflect society – they actively shape a better future. Through its partner festivals, ArtAct has produced a variety of multidisciplinary projects, each demonstrating poetry’s unique capacity to drive social change and cultivate a more engaged and empathetic society. With the release of a documentary highlighting this ground breaking project, Versopolis warmly invites you to witness the collaborative power of our partner festivals and join us in celebrating the transformative power of the arts to effect real-world change.

The project ArtACT (Art Activism in post-COVID Europe: A new agenda on methodology, artistic practices and stakeholder relations) explores how literature and art can change the world for the better and what their concrete effects can have on our engagement in the world. The project aims to show that through the arts we can influence social change through activism.

ArtAct brings together five cultural and artistic organisations from Slovenia (Beletrina Academic Press), Germany (Hausacher LeseLenz), Sweden (Littfest), Belgium (Poëziecentrum) and Spain (UplaB – POETAS) to implement high-profile multidisciplinary projects between 2022–2024:

1) Open Letter to Europe (Slovenia) provides contemporary literary creators with an exceptional opportunity to address Europe’s contemporary challenges in the form of a letter, which is published in major European (print and digital) media and forwarded to political decision-makers within the European Union. In this way, the project has a positive impact on European democracy and gives literary creators the opportunity to express their political opinion on the pressing issues of our time.

2) Poetry for the Planet (Belgium) places social and political responsibility at the heart of the issue of protecting the planet and the environment. In the project’s diverse and innovative activities, it provides young men and women of letters, i.e. future creators in the field of literature as well as political and social decision-makers of the future, with the opportunity to engage socially and politically.

3) Writing Worlds (Germany) aims to promote the literacy of the younger generation through workshops, education and dissemination of knowledge and good practices. In doing so, the project also has a socio-social dimension, as it brings to the fore individuals from different ethical or cultural backgrounds, thus fostering both dialogue and the wider integration of the community (through the power of literature and writing).

4) Universal Poem project (Spain) expands the power of poetry and literary creation in innovative ways, using new media and contemporary technological practices. In this way, it allows literature to make greater inroads into public space and discourse, while at the same time, by using innovative, multidisciplinary approaches in response to the social challenges of our times, it enables artistic activism to be carried out by all structures and generations of the population and it is fundamentally based on the connective power of literature in the social sphere.

5) Čuovga (Sweden) highlights marginalised groups, indigenous voices and is concerned with collecting, preserving and promoting minority languages and cultures. In the project itself, the issue of political decision-making, laws and political strategies concerning minorities and other vulnerable populations also plays a major role in this regard.

Through these projects, presented on five different festivals, Slovenia (Days of Poetry and Wine), Sweden (Littfest), Germany (Hausacher LesenLenz), Belgium (Poetik Bazar) and Spain (POETAS), more than 500 artists from different disciplines have been involved, each contributing in their own way to finding solutions to the central societal challenges of our time. Together, they have enabled the emergence of a new wave of art that contributes to finding solutions to the central social challenges of our time, and demonstrates the potential of art to create social change.

ArtAct was rounded off in 2024 with a film documentary (production: Rusaalka) and a book publication of the results of the research on artistic activism. ArtAct project is funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.