Neighborhood Festival : Mikrorayon Future

NGO Krytychne Myslennya
Vasylysa Shchogoleva
Bohdan Volynskyi

with the support of
Oleksii Lyah

Kharkiv, Ukraine

Year: 2015

Financial support:
Heinrich-Böll Foundation in Ukraine

Photos in this post belong
to Joe Plommer

This project became a logical continuation of my Master thesis “Revisioning Sleeping Blocks” and our discussions in the NGO “Krytychne Myslennya” which aimed to revive the life of the neighborhood and test the idea of “community”.

It was supported by the Heinrich-Böll Foundation in Ukraine, as well as received “green light” from the city administration.

It can be seen as a test and experiment with a prototype of 1:1 scale that has been implemented in the existing open space which used to be a place for public gatherings and open cinema evenings during the Soviet time.

Unfortunately, during the 90s most of the metal frame structures have been robed and exchanged for money by unknown.

Today, you still can find a block of concrete and two rows of benches. The 2000s brought some market economy in the face of kiosks selling beers, snacks, and bread. During the day space belongs to kids from a nearby playground and in the evenings the benches are occupied by people enjoying beer and ice-cream. Also, it’s located just next to one of the inner pedestrian routes for the locals, bringing them from the bus station into the heart of the mikrorayon to their homes.

It was a perfect place to act since it already had a place, history, and people.

The decision was to bring back life to the former open-air cinema by adding missing pieces out of wood, in a shape of: stair with the help of which one can get up and use concrete block as a stage, wooden frame which will serve as a base for the cinema screen and a few seating places.

The construction was planned to serve as a starting point of gathering the community around the common activity and later on conducting a festival for 3 following weekends.

As a result, our main community was formed out of children between 8-13 years old, who by the beginning of the project were at the summer vacation and they were looking for something interesting to do outdoors. They created their own part of the festival program, which consisted of singing and dancing concerts for which they invited their parents and friends. Parallel to that, there were few movie nights, a jazz concert, presentations from activists from other Ukrainian cities, as well as workshops.

At the end of the festival, the structure remained at the place till today.