A visit of our dear partners, Venti di Cultura, to Lithuania was a great chance to explore the games as a method in cultural development. Also, because Venti di Cultura holds expertise in implementing the principles of the Faro convention, we saw this visit as a chance to discuss the role of the communities in the protection and development of the cultural heritage and to strengthen the network of organisations, active in this field. We were happy to introduce to our Venetian partners the community activities that Laimikis and our local partners co-develop in the Baltic cities. Therefore, as a host, Laimikis - laboratory for urban games and research, has arranged the program of the visit as consisting of several blocks:
- exploring games: discussions on the adaptation of the games for promoting the heritage, site visits, and visits of game clubs. Laimikis team has tested the preliminary version of the game which Venti di Cultura develops, and also demonstrated the Urbingo game, which the Laboratory developed for the historical sites.
- Co-urbanism 2019 - an annual event, run by Laimikis.lt, which brings the community leaders from the Baltic Sea region to share their methods in participatory urban development. Venti di Cultura has presented the "I_Improve" project and their work for the Venetian Arsenale.
- Exploring Kaunas 2022 and the creative spaces of Kaunas. As Laimikis contributes to some of the activities of Kaunas - European Capital of Culture 2022, and one of the topics for Kaunas 2022 is a river, river communities, and a waterfront, we sought to establish connections between Kaunas cultural operators and Venti di Cultura.
We truly enjoyed the warm company of the Venti di Cultura team, and below we note some of the places that have become a part of the visit:
• Antakalnis city lab - a vibrant community space run by a team of 5 women, with a hydroponic garden inside and community garden nearby. Activity: Co-urbanism conference, where a number of change-makers presented their methods in inclusive urban development, and where Venti di Cultura has presented their Erasmus+ activities and the Game for Arsenal which is in the process of development.
• Šnipiškės neighborhood: rural isle surrounded by the modern city high-rises. Place where Laimikis.lt has been developing most of its initiatives from 2012 till 2017. For this location, an urban game URBINGO was developed - as a tool for accumulating and sharing stories and images of the neighborhood. Activity: the Urbingo game was played.
• Game club Geek Cafe - an informal place for table and computer gamers, mostly of school and early university age. A place run by a small team of hosts, who also run a cafe. Activities: Discussions on the game's design and valuable practical insights about arranging urban games.
• Lithuanian National Commission for Cultural Heritage - located in the historical building with authentic frescoes and peculiar architectural elements. Activities: Visited both for informal excursion and for building further cooperation in the framework of the Faro Convention.
• Kaunas Kiemo Galerija (Yard Gallery) - ongoing art project based on the historical pieces of evidence and everyday life of the residents, that seeks to revitalize the yard and the interconnections between its residents. Activities: exploring the use of art for the socially engaging revitalization of the location. Meeting the change-maker Vytenis Jakas, the artist of this place.
• The office of Kaunas - European Capital of Culture 2022 - meeting the director of international programs who co-programs Kaunas ECoC 2022. The full list of the places and activities in Kaunas is included in the appendix (Day of Happiness) for the program. Activities: To explore the cultural programming and the approaches in the involvement of the local communities in the cultural development of the city. We also had a Happiness Day tour to the local neighborhoods, guided by Greta, a curator of the communities program at Kaunas 2022.
Venti di Cultura experimenting Laimikis urban game
Pictures of the itinerary of Marisa Convento's Urban Game of around the Arsenale