Vita Gelūnienė works as an artist, curator and teacher. Between 2003 and 2009 she was the organiser and the curator of an international art festival called “Kaunas Biennial” (LT). Since 2009 she has collaborated with Ed Carroll. They initiated a cycle of projects in public spaces, addressing issues of conflicts in public and private spaces, the fear of being public, human rights, social justice, equality, placemaking, etc. Since 2011 her art practice has been grounded in the Šančiai neighbourhood. She focuses on dialogical art and relational processes. In 2014, other activists and she established an association called “Žemųjų Šančių bendruomenė” (“Community of Lower Šančiai”). Currently she is the volunteer manager of this community association.
The citizens of Kaunas based in the Lower Šančiai neighbourhood reside alongside a wasteland which used to be a military town. The negative effects of militarization of this site have impoverished the identity, awareness and self‒esteem of the local community. There is an urgent need to change the site into a positive public space that would empower the local community and cherish creativity.
In a process of participatory and engaged cultural practice, the community, activists, artists and experts will develop a design for a productive public space and will seek real transformation of the site. The transformed environment will strengthen the community’s capacity for decision and place‒making, promote human rights, and foster inclusion and social justice.
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