Our first festival was tested as a design assembly during a Postgraduate Program in Communication Design at Central Saint Martins University of the Arts in London. The first event constitutes a social experiment, created as a means for building community identity, social cohesion and cultural resilience through creative practices. We do practice DIY culture practices and bring together teachers, artists and community members in a self-organized celebration.
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.