Can you imagine a village with only 600 inhabitants that has its own cultural centre with a very vibrant cultural scene? I couldn’t imagine this before I went to Salakas in the very Northeast of Lithuania. Thanks to BECC, a Europe-wide staff exchange program for cultural workers, I spent 10 days with Rasa Lukosiunaite in the Cultural Centre of Salakas, took part in her workshops and rehearsals, and met with her colleagues and participants.
The BECC exchange program aims to enable cultural professionals from all over Europe to exchange knowledge and good practices, acquire new skills and establish long-term partnerships and cooperation between cultural centres from different European countries. In June 2013, 16 chosen cultural workers met in Aarhus (Denmark) for a preparation seminar where everyone got to know the cultural centres of the other participants and the matching process took place.
It was in Aarhus that the decision was made for me to go to Lithuania in November. At first sight upon my arrival, I was surprised by this tiny little village named Salakas and after getting to know its cultural centre, I’ve become even more astonished. Salakas is a very small village with a huge interest in culture.
I was given the chance to become familiar with their activities and projects by performing job shadowing: weekly classes for traditional or modern dancing, traditional and modern music, choir ensembles, and learning how to weave, just to mention a few. Furthermore, the cultural centre has its own library and music school.
Besides the Cultural Centre of Salakas I also was given the opportunity to meet the cultural centres in Zarasai and Daugavpils. After presenting each other our organisations and work, we brainstormed about possible co-operations. And of course, I also had the chance to dive into the Lithuanian culture by visiting a village fair and dancing traditional Lithuanian dances to traditional Lithuanian music.
Now I am back in Rendsburg, and I’m looking forward to pursuing their work and my own, and see what will grow out of these contacts.
I’m also looking forward to hosting one other participant of this years BECC exchange: Dorte Kerstens from Godsbanen in Aarhus (Denmark), who will stay with ARS BALTICA from 04. till 11.12.2013.
"Culture includes not only culture and arts, but also the way of life and system of values. In this sense culture becomes the major power for intellectual renewal and human perfection." (European Council Report on European Cultural Policy)