Room to Bloom brings together feminist artists with a migration background who create ecological and postcolonial narratives of Europe. By associating artists and creators who – too often – occupy a peripheral place in the world of arts and places who are considered to be geographically peripheral (Sicily, Ukraine, Poland, Greece), Room to Bloom aims at building a discourse on European Culture that is fully built on the experience and knowledge of the periphery and to bring it back to the centre.
Whereas migrants and women, from Malevich to Picasso, from Tamara de Lempicka to Sonia Delaunay, famously contributed to the making of European Arts, their access to the world of arts remains extremely limited today.
Beyond a few famous faces, women and migrants struggle to be effectively contributing to the making of the European cultural and artistic discourse, not from a lack of ideas or capacities but because the structural obstacles they face are not of those that one can easily fight individually.
Room to Bloom recognises that it is more than time to build on that and provide artists and cultural operators to navigate patriarchalism and racism in the world of arts and to open up the space for them to bloom in a transnational Europe. The platform promotes young feminist artists and provides them with better tools to operate in the European cultural scene. It focusses on postcolonial feminism and ecofeminism, and is open to all genders and origins.
Cultural director European Alternatives & Studio Rizoma
Communications European Alternatives & Studio Rizoma
Projects Manager Museums of World Culture
Artist, activist, founder Avtonomi Akadimia
Curator and co-funder AthenSYN
New Delhi (India)
Dakar (Senegal) & Paris (France)
Buenos Aires (Argentina) & Berlin (Germany)
Bogota (Colombia) & Palermo (Italy)
The platform partnership involves arts institutions and partners from France, Sweden, Italy, Germany and Greece. It includes informal partners from Ukraine, Poland and beyond.
With the support of the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.
The content of this website represents the views of the authors only and is his/her sole responsibility.
Room to Bloom launches its platform with an open call for applications addressing young artists with a feminist, ecological and/or postcolonial art practice.
The general objectives of the programme are:
Taking place in one of the most dynamic centers of our rapidly changing world, the ecofeminism workshop taking place online and in Athens invites participants to collaborate in defining and enacting a new role of art. The participants will have a chance to learn from and create together with experts on activist, transindigenous, ecofeminist, revolutionary, and therapeutic practices.
Together, we will work on a sustainable communal art world based on an experience of harmonious coexistence with the environment and the role of the feminine in the cycle of life. What can we learn about our future from communities which still, or again, live in an unmediated relation to their, now drastically changing, living conditions? Our trainers are constitutive participants of the planetary transitioning from the patriarchal perception of nature from ‘resource extraction for human society’ to ecofeminist ‘nature as sacred living organism, of which humans are only one part’. We strive to overcome the loss of equilibrium caused by the onesidedness of Western epistemologies rooted in the discrimination of women and others on the receiving end of the extractivist aggression from the socio-political domain by reconnecting art, feminism, witch knowledge and ecological practices.
On the European continent, the transindigenous concept of “good life” is enacted by the diverse movements in Southern Europe, where, due to austerity, many actors of social change have taken the responsibility for creating sustainable worlds with their own hands. So did the diverse inspiring movements in Athens: an ideal climate for our ecofeminist Room to Bloom Athens.
Education is a form of art. Art is a pioneering force to interdisciplinary education. Our series of ecofeminist workshops was developed as an educational experiment and will take place in an artistic environment „Transindigenous Assembly“ by Joulia Strauss, initiator and organiser of Avtonomi Akadimia in the Akadimia Platonos “Jungle”.
Nadje Al-Ali (feminist writer and researcher) defines the postcolonial as being “characterised by a series of transitions, a multiplicity of processes and developments towards decolonisation and de-centring of the ‘West’”. Postcolonial feminism aims to understand and undo the legacies of colonialism within feminist activism. In other words, postcolonial feminism wants to decolonise feminist activism — reclaim it as more than just a pursuit of the western world and its people. Postcolonial feminist academic writing seeks to understand and interpret everyday lived experiences through a postcolonial perspective, de-centring the white, western, Eurocentric experience. This workshop is designed to allow exchange between young artists on postcolonial feminism.
This workshop will examine the most challenging feminist, queer, and postcolonial theories and artistic practices at a global scale. Its approach will emphasize on the multiplicity of viewpoints on this topic and will include the voices coming from different fields, including visual arts, performance, literature, and more. Within a global world in which contemporary art has turned into a transnational space, feminism, acting at the intersections of gender, postcolonial, and queer studies, must challenge the Eurocentric bias. From this plurality of worlds, we aim to open a discussion and peer-to-peer learning process between different disciplines, opening the possibilities of a wide project of construction, de-construction and co-creation.
The workshop includes theoretical learning, peer to peer exchange and discovery of some artists’ works. It will bring together representatives and prominent voices in the field of postcolonial feminism to share their thoughts, work and experiences.
Whereas migrants and women, from Malevich to Picasso, from Tamara de Lempicka to Sonia Delaunay, famously contributed to the making of European Arts, their access to the world of arts remains extremely limited today. Beyond a few famous faces, women and migrants struggle to be effectively contributing to the making of the European cultural and artistic discourse, not from a lack of ideas or capacities but because the structural obstacles they face are not of those that one can easily fight individually. Room to Bloom recognises that it is more than time to build on that and provide artists and cultural operators to navigate patriarchalism and racism in the world of arts and to co-open up the space for new artists to bloom in a transnational Europe.
Room to Bloom aims to create an intercultural platform to empower artists from different backgrounds to reflect and act on eco and post-colonial feminist art. The aim of this workshop is to create a shared understanding of the challenges artists and art institutions face in developing a feminist post-colonial artistic practice, and of the solutions we can find to face those challenges. This workshop is designed to allow exchange between artists and art professionals on obstacles to artists careers and new feminism decolonial approach of arts curation and exhibition. It will provide participants with better tools to operate in the European cultural scene and within international established institutions.
Room to Bloom transnational and intercultural platform reaches Palermo on November 19th -23th. A second training and exhibition will take the shape of The living Pavilion: weaving commons out of time curated by Marcela Caldas. A call for action aiming to promote collaborative learning by doing an approach fostering exchange between artists, art professionals, institutions, and communities beyond frontiers. The online and site-specific program works as an organism aiming to leverage art practices from a transfeminist, post-human, queer, and decolonial standpoint.
The three-day multi-format festival will spatially explore many forms of enclosure that underpin colonial and patriarchal binary mechanisms of exclusion of Capitalism configuring subaltern otherness as gender, class, race, and wilderness. Simultaneously we will be operating within multiple tensions across borders and politics of display building room for a less hierarchical and more horizontal collective agency, reclaiming time and space to re-imagine newer softer porous forms of otherness and togetherness.’The living Pavilion’ navigates daily Palermo’s public space through relational artworks and training led mainly by Room to Bloom network artists produced in collaboration with the local art scene in events hosted by artists, associations, collectives, and activists. Evenings will offer screenings, performances, and discussions with our invited artists in different venues open to the city’s general public, art students and will be streamed online to our extended network.
Feminist artists and artists with migrants background are structurally underrespresented in classic artistic and cultural contexts. Through direct cooperation with alternative biennales established in the peripheries, and the implementation of innovative online formats and exchanges, we aim to provide useful tools to deconstruct such discrimination and invisibilisation.
European Alternatives is an NGO that promotes Equality, Democracy, Culture beyond the nation state. For years already we have developed a strand of work and a strong commitment for a feminist approach of the European Union and of all our activities. We’ve worked on gender equality and feminism in different projects and we are currently running Room to Bloom to increase our network of young feminist artists, developed with a postcolonial perspective and develop a truly postcolonial and feminist practice of cultural events management and organisation.
Studio Rizoma is an international cultural studio based in Palermo and with outreach offices in Berlin and Paris. It has been established by the international NGO European Alternatives, in cooperation with Allianzkulturstiftung, following the curation of the 2019 edition of the Biennale Arcipelago Mediterraneo in Palermo. It establishes contacts and cooperates with Biennales of the peripheries, including Kyiv, Tunisi, Warsaw. Through this initiative, Studio Rizoma aims to increase its cooperation with young feminist artists.
AthenSYN is a non-profit, Berlin-based initiative of artists, curators and cultural agents, founded by art historian Sotirios Bahtsetzsis and cultural scientist Katja Ehrhardt. It builds an infrastructure and a network to foster international cultural cooperation with Greece. Focusing on German-Greek collaboration and communication centered on the capitals with the Berlin-Athens axis, we aim at creating a common policy of international cultural exchange, long-term cooperation between cultural and educational institutions and supporting the mobility and education of art students and art teachers. Since its founding, it has been bringing together artists and institutions from all over the world with Greek artists and institutions in art projects, building and widening the network. In times of migration and globalization, we critically examine Europe in the context of contemporary art and develop joint visions for the future.
Avtonomi Akadimia is an educational assembly and a permanent artwork in one. Founded by the artist and activist Joulia Strauss in 2015, it usually takes place in the Akadimia Platonos, the public garden in Athens where Plato taught almost 2,500 years ago. Here, in the capital city of the European crisis, on the founding site of occidental thought, we seek to overcome the one-sidedness of western epistemologies and reconnect art and Gaia. In numerous workshops and lectures, shamans, masters and curanderos, climate scientists, philosophers and artists hybridise contradictory forms of knowledge and generate an indigenised academy as part of the transformation of the European educational system.
The National Museums of World Culture is a state agency of 4 museums (Mediterranean and Eastern Antiquities museum, Ethnography museum, East Asia museum and World Culture museum) under the Ministry of Culture. The Museums have a mandate to showcase and bring to life the world cultures through our collections. Our international collaboration projects have the mission to promote equality, inclusion, active citizenship, peer-to-peer learning and intercultural dialogue. For example, the Museums initiated two regional programmes: ArtGora – Art Activism for Gender Equality and Mind the Gap Stories.
From 1 to 4 November, Room to Bloom Festival took place in Malmö, Sweden on the theme: Celebrating Postcolonial and Ecofeminist Art & Activism.
Following the artists gatherings organised by Room to Bloom programme in Athens, Palermo, Kyiv and online, our community members (old and new) showcased their art work. What we lived during these days was like a collective momentum of solidarity, healing and celebration of artistic practices fighting promoting an alternative decolonial and ecofeminist narrative of Europe and the world. Nearly 50 artists from Europe, Latin America and MENA region took part in the Festival.
Our programme included: workshops, performances, screenings and artists talks. Our artistic food designers performed for the first time a decolonial and ecofeminist meal.
Many thanks to our host and patient partner, STPLN.
The Festival was open to the public free of charge.
We are the artists of the future. We are storytellers and healers. We are caregivers and children. We believe kindness is an act of revolution. We create kinship through care. We are acknowledged and compensated for our labor. We work out of joy and decide our own wages. We honour, value, and respect amateurs and professionals. We distribute funding with transparency and consensus. We nap at least once a day. We free ourselves from the pressure of production. We work in studios that are playgrounds. We create nurturing, healing spaces for rest and movement. We grow our own food. We make art accessible to everyone through education. We abolish entrance fees and capital accumulation and profits. We are brave enough to deconstruct and interrogate our own intentions. We dismantle dominant power structures. We inspire consciousness and legislation. We bring forth abundance. We listen to the animals and give voice to the trees. We are mountains, plants, and earth. We paint with the colors of the earth. We cry together with the rain. We make art from the moment of birth. We make art to communicate across species. We tell stories about the past. We dance and hold hands and close our eyes together. We swim with the fish deep in the ocean. We communicate through mycelial networks. We merge with the rest of creation. We experience pleasure and pain in a kaleidoscope of emotion. We are everything and nothing. We time travel. We call upon the Earth, Air, Water, and Fire. We call upon the previously oppressed – people who are Black, Brown, Indigenous, women, queer, and disabled. We reclaim and rewrite our own history, identity, heritage, spirituality, cosmology, territory, culture and our body! We reinvent ourselves. We are reborn. We dream of the future and we wake up within it.
– A manifesto for feminist decolonial art by the Room To Bloom network
Edited by Lena Chen