RCT Summer School 2022
The first edition of the field school series “Researching Common Territories” took place in the Marneuli region of Georgia, neighboring Armenia, and Azerbaijan from 4 to the 10th of September 2022. The empirical part of the program focused on the fieldwork that aimed to document common everyday practices and spaces in the course of one intensive week. The school brought together participants of different nationalities from diverse backgrounds in journalism, architecture, filmmaking, and anthropology.
The base camp was in Tserakvi village. From there, daily excursions were made to the border villages (Sadakhlo, Shaumiani, and Shulaveri) and the city of Marneuli with the support of local mediators and mentors speaking the area’s languages. The study groups focused on common territories that function as public spaces: quiet streets, struggling market spaces, men-occupied tea houses, and a forgotten library. Each group aimed to understand local daily practices and food culture. They visited the households of villagers to contact women and learn about their domestic life. The villagers welcomed them with great hospitality and showed them some of their traditional dishes. Witnessing multi-ethnic togetherness in the border region, the participants not only mapped the landmarks of the villages but also gathered stories about migration, regional politics, and traditional culture.
As a part of the Tbilisi Architecture Biennial 2022, the outcome of the summer school was presented at Praktika Café in Tbilisi. The event hosted the participants’ observations in different mediums: photo prints, documentary videos, poems, sketches, and research memoirs.
As the final outcome on October 23rd and 24th, the project was presented in Berlin and Frankfurt Oder with cooking workshops, film screenings, discussions, and publication presentation.
Tinatin Gurgenidze (Organizer) Kirill Repin (Organizer)
Stefan Henkel (Organizer)
Onur Ceritoglu (Mentor, Curator & Publication Design)
Klaudia Kosicińska (Mentor) Misha Aslikian (Local coordinator) Roser Corella (Film)
Vani Aslikian, Lala Iskandarli, Saadat Agayeva, Corten Perez-Houis, Hermine Virabian, Natavan Alieva, Sopiko Rostiashvili, Ana Kvichidze, Ketevan Lapachi, Nutsa Lomsadze, Marie-Luise Schega, Maya Perusin Mysorekar, Juri Wasenmüller, Klara Böck, Catherine Steiner, Jan Chrzan, Katya Krat.
Marneuli Municipality, being a Georgian region bordering Armenia and Azerbaijan, is one of the most culturally and ethnically diverse places in the entire Caucasus region. While this is a relatively disadvantaged region in economic terms, it has a huge potential for development, which inevitably requires inclusive strategies for tackling common challenges across the ethnic and cultural boundaries.
With the ethnic majority constituted by Azerbaijanis (approx. 83%), Marneuli has a number of villages inhabited by Georgians, Armenians, and Greeks. The friendly coexistence of the local dwellers and unique cultural heritage are some of the factors that foster intercultural friendships and provide an excellent ground for the common work of artists and cultural activists.
The results of the one week field schools were presented during the various events in Georgia and Germany.
Tbilisi, Praktika Cafe
As a part of the Tbilisi Architecture Biennial, the outcome of the summer school was presented at Praktika Cafe on October 20th at 18:00. The event hosted the gatherings of the participants in different mediums: photo prints, documentary videos, poems, sketches, and memoirs. Prepared by special guests, local food from the region accompanied the presentation as a welcoming gesture to embrace the togetherness of the region.
Berlin, WIR WIR project space
As the final outcome on October 23rd and 24th the project was presented in Berlin with a cooking workshop, film screening, discussion and publication presentation.
In Frankfurt Oder, the presentation of the results of the summer school by its participants took place along with film screening and a small reception.
Poem by Marie-Luise Schega & Film Stills by Hermine Virabian
This publication is a result of a field school that took place in the Marneuli region in September 2022. The publication gathers different perspectives of the school participants in various media, like texts and visuals, and tells stories of their encounters with the region and its inhabitants.
Tinatin Gurgenidze works between Tbilisi and Berlin. She is the manager of the project and the main organiser of the summer school. Tinatin is also a co-founder of the Tbilisi Architecture Biennial.
Kirill Repin works at the European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder), being primarily involved in the organisation of the summer school Viadrinicum.
The Summer School “Researching Common Territories” is an international project realised by Dekabristen e.v. (DE), the European University Viadrina (DE), Tbilisi Architecture Biennial (GE), One Caucasus Festival (GE) and funded by the Federal Foreign Office in the framework of the Eastern Partnership program.