ArtsLink Assembly

An annual convening of transnational artists, thinkers, and activists working with culture to create a better world

The ArtsLink Assembly is a gathering of ArtsLink Fellows, artists, curators, cultural organizations, philanthropists, thought leaders, activists, and academics to share perspectives on transnational cultural exchange, civil society, and the role artists can play in building a better world. With a focus on community based cultural practices and socially engaged art, the Assembly explores the powerful role creative interventions play in civic life and offers inspiration and strategies for social change.

A two-day gathering of key artists and cultural leaders in Ukraine and those displaced abroad together with key international partner organizations, foundations and supporters in the new independent cultural space Jam Factory Art Center in Lviv. The Assembly will share critical ideas, build networks of support, develop implementation plans and initiate a new cultural ecology for Ukraine and its diaspora.

Perspectives from leading artists rooted in their communities around the world and key figures in cultural policy and practice, philanthropy, and social justice:

  • How can we better understand histories of colonization and how they persist in current practices around the world?
  • How do we build an equitable cultural field and best implement a process of unsettling and repair?
  • How should we all better support artists and cultural communities in fostering local voices and building cultural identity?
  • How can we nurture transnational artists in their vital work on the front lines of social change and transformation?
  • How can each of us work towards ensuring the future is not what it used to be?

ArtsLink Assembly 2022 is a platform for Ukrainian artists, curators, and cultural leaders to share perspectives and ideas for the future of the cultural life of the country. ArtsLink Assembly 2022: Greener Grass? Cultivating Transborder Connections Between Ukrainian Cultural Communities is curated by a specially convened group of independent artists and curators from across Ukraine. With commissioned work, dialogues, presentations and panel discussions, the ArtsLink Assembly 2022 brings together over 40 key Ukrainian artists and cultural leaders to reflect on what needs to happen now, and what strategic decisions are needed for the future. Produced by CEC ArtsLink and the Ukrainian Institute, Kyiv, Ukraine, in partnership with Open Place, Kyiv, Ukraine.

November 1 - 19, online

ArtsLink Assembly 2021 focuses on 10 independent artists and arts leaders building new networks locally and transnationally to support and sustain independent artists in a post-pandemic world. Through dialogue with each other and independent cultural hubs and sharing practices, the Future Fellows are exploring inspirational new models for artists working in community and public contexts. They are proposing a new arts ecology for the 21st century. The ArtsLink Assembly 2021 presents their manifestos in dialogue with the ArtsLink International Fellows from 9 countries. 

October 12 - November 13, online

The central intention of the ArtsLink Assembly is to advocate for our core mission, the vital importance of transnational cultural mobility. In 2020, we focused on the current need for all of us to re-imagine how we want to connect with our fellow citizens across neighborhoods, countries, and continents. The upheavals of the pandemic have brought this need into a sharp focus. How can artists help us to think and act beyond walls and borders? What actions can we take individually and collectively, nationally and transnationally to welcome and support each other? What can radical hospitality look like, and how do we practice and promote it?

November 13, Baruch Performing Arts Center, City University of New York, New York

The ArtsLink Assembly 2019 focused on the Anthropocene, the emerging concept of a geological epoch defined by the impact of humanity on natural development. The Assembly brought together key practitioners of arts and social practice including CEC ArtsLink’s Fellows, alumni, and Art Prospect Network, in dialogue with peers in the US and abroad, arts and social justice organizations, media, academics and foundations. Topics included ecology, social inequality, cultural activism and mobility, artists in exile, rising nationalism, and food justice.

November 16, Lenfest Center for the Arts, Columbia University, School of the Arts, New York

At the pilot ArtsLink Assembly, the central issue was the exploration of the impact of international cultural exchange and the artists’ growing role in social justice and building an open democratic society. Presenters included the Lenape Center of New York; arts policy leader Simon Brault (Director, Canada Council for the Arts); Priit Raud (Estonia, ArtsLink Alumnus); artists Leyya Tawil and Mike Khoury; a panel of key foundations funding international cultural practice; dialogues between the 2018 Fellows; Noor Zafar from the American Civil Liberties Union; academic Izabel Galliera on the need for social practice in times of crisis as well as officers from the State Department and the NEA.

ArtsLink Assembly livestreams and video archives are produced and supported by HowlRound TV.

HowlRound TV is a global, commons-based peer produced, open access livestreaming and video archive project stewarded by the nonprofit HowlRound. HowlRound TV is a free and shared resource for live conversations and performances relevant to the world’s performing arts and cultural fields. Its mission is to break geographic isolation, promote resource sharing, and to develop our knowledge commons collectively.