BACKGROUND & EXPERIENCE
Founded in 2013, Xarkis works with cultural agents and communities, involving people from diverse educational, disciplinary, professional, generational and ethnic backgrounds. We are a nomadic, millennial non-profit organization based in different parts of Europe and travelling across communities in rural and urban contexts. We deliver site-specific projects that are inspired by the experience of everyday life in specific localities, employing socially engaged practices in each instance.
Xarkis was first conceptualised as a social experiment, during the course of a Masters project as part of the Communication design program at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London (2012-2014). It was originally intended as a design assembly organised in a rural community of Cyprus (Arsos village, 2013), and was tested as a means to build a communal identity, community cohesion and cultural resilience through creative practices. In essence, this was a creative reaction against the economic crisis which was taking its toll in different parts of the world, including Cyprus. Taking the form of a Festival, we used DIY cultural practices and brought together a range of stakeholders into one big self-organised celebration. The Festival evolved into a transnational exchange, with cultural actors, including residency coordinators, visual artists, musicians, designers, performers, researchers and educators coming from all over the world to engage with the local communities, and participate in its realisation.
Having started with limited assets and with an interest in working with existing opportunities, our mission became the use of local, found resources, skills, desires, needs of people in each given region.
This was achieved through a matchmaking mechanism, which nurtured collaborations between creative practitioners, educators and ‘ordinary’ residents from various walks of life, in cities and rural communities. We are proud to say that we hold these same values today and apply them in all our projects.
As an interdisciplinary team of NGO members, Xarkis specialises in community engagement, creative direction, project management, research, education and practice in the fields of communication design, social design (incl. service design, co-design and design activism), architecture, visual arts (incl. fine art, performance art) and experiential dance), cultural heritage and social psychology, with a strong interest in humans and the environment. We offer design and co-design services as well as curation, production and facilitation of cultural, participatory and socially engaged initiatives.
You can find out more about us here
ACTIVITIES & ACHIEVEMENTS
We organise, curate and manage interdisciplinary art festivals, multi-artists’ residencies, exhibitions, workshops, talks, lectures, communication design initiatives such as communication strategies, campaigns, films, print publications and oral history initiatives, to foster inter-communal dialogue and activate public engagement on different topics.
Yearly activities include Xarkis Festival, (est. 2013) which has been happening for seven consecutive years and roams rural mountainous villages. The Festival assumes its shape through Xarkis Multi-Residency Arts program (est. 2016) that precedes it. In this context, artists in residence come together in a communal environment, and are connected with local and former residents of a selected area to collaborate on their practice-based enquiries and generate site-specific projects in ways that make use of the skills, desires and resources of persons and locations in the region.
Xarkis Festival has been seen through the lens of community empowerment and was featured on TEDx (2014). Xarkis was further showcased in the UNESCO edition of Cultural Expressions and Pluralism: Aspects of Modern Creation in Cyprus (2018), where it is presented as an example of good civil society practice that promotes the objectives of the 2005 UNESCO Convention, alongside Elefsina 2021 European Capital of Culture, Greece, (2019) in the framework of Festival & City exhibition, where the organisers presented good festival practises, with an artistic program co-operating with local communities.
CREATIVE EUROPE AWARD
As of September 2019, our team has won a Creative Europe Award and are now part of a transnational collaborative project titled Contested Desires, which includes residencies led by different partners, and will culminate with Xarkis Festival 2021, with all artists and partners from five different countries (Barbados, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Cyprus) joining us in our Xarkis Multi-residency and Xarkis Festival program. In this context, Xarkis has taken on a dual role: on the one hand as the Residency and Festival partner of the cohort, whereby the two year work generated by artists and producers will inform our 2021 Festival edition, and on the other hand leading the external communication strategies for the entire partnership, including creative direction and management of the visual identity, graphic design, branding, marketing and communication promotion tools via all the project’s communication channels.
You can find out more about this project here
We organise, curate and manage interdisciplinary art festivals, multi-artists’ residencies, exhibitions, workshops, talks, lectures, communication design initiatives such as communication strategies, campaigns, films, publications and participatory web platforms, to foster cross-cultural dialogue and activate public engagement on various topics.
- Xarkis Festival in Arsos (2013-2014).
- Participatory Design Workshops in Nicosia Pop-up Festival, City Plaza, (2014) .
- A new day in Cyprus event, National fair stadium (2014).
- Xarkis Festival in Lofou (2015-2016) .
- Reformulating the museum experience workshop in Tenta Festival, Kalavasos village (2015).
- Xarkis Festival in Koilani (2017-2018) .
- Voicing & Craft Stories at NiMAC, Nicosia, (2017).
- Craft Stories: Pipilla documentary, (2017-ongoing).
- Voicing Stories (2017) social entrepreneurship initiative and crowd sourced oral history library, funded by Youthopia small grants, by Europe.
- Xarkis Festival in Polystipos (2019).
- Xarkis Multi-residency programme (2020).
- Xarkis Festival, Contested Desires co-funded by the European Union under Creative Europe programme (2019-2021).
In parallel, we are delivering new initiatives
- MASA potluck.
- KaFEMio women’s coffeeshop.
Thank you for your time