Collecting Trajectories

Within the SHAKIN’ project, we conducted interviews for two years (2021/2022) in France, Serbia, and Germany with the aim of understanding the challenges that young professionals in the fields of cooperation and culture face as well as their needs and desires for better and fairer cooperation projects. Based on their expression, we noted that young professionals expect to see “invisibilized” stories and knowledge within academic spaces of knowledge production, in the heritage spaces, in the public space, in archives or performance venues. These expectations can be considered as new forms of politicization of the cultural sector (other readings and other ways of doing culture at the European level).

Young professionals struggle to articulate these objectives of transforming the modes of production of knowledge in a professional environment that is still very hierarchical and conservative. Work environments are becoming more and more specialized, more and more competitive, and more standardized. These situations lead to exhaustion and burnout or to vocational crisis. This process often induces a loss in the meaning of the activities, and their collective, living, political, and social relevance. The question that arises as part of the « professionalization » in the arts and culture fields is the following: what does it mean to be professional and activist?

Thus, we identified different priorities with them

  • The importance of prioritizing social transformation and taking into account the needs that are expressed by beneficiaries (of a project, a space, etc.). Also, the importance of ensuring that our democratic institutions (political, academic, cultural) are able to accommodate other systems of representation of the world than those in which we grew up. The ability to listen, hear, translate from various contexts, and be aware of our positionality seem crucial.
  • The need to affirm ways of working that include accepting our and others’ fragility, confidence, legitimacy, and emotions; processing them experimentally; being able to adapt and adjust, but not as an individual in a neoliberal situation – but rather while being with others, in specific situations, in reciprocal attention.
  • The urgency to link these principles and values to concrete project methodologies and cooperation models, while keeping in mind that they can’t be standardized or “profession-oriented” in a narrow way. Academic institutions have to update teaching methods and contents to address new forms of democracy, including closer attention to care, education, food, hospitality, new narratives on nature and non-humans, etc.

Interview grids

This section provides you with material to conduct interviews about cooperation practices and professional trajectories, from two points of view:

Download the interview grid for professionals

Interview grid for experienced professionals and organizations

Get an insight about how professionals from the field of international cultural cooperation developed critical analysis about the characteristics of the “project” as a working format and hw they included subaltern groups and different (cultural) perspectives.

The interview grid can help you to collect data about these issues and support an overall understanding of what young professionals might face and need in cultural cooperation projects.

Download interview grid for focus group

Interview Grid for focus group with young professionals

Young professionals working in the fields are asking for more equitable cooperation as well as the promotion of subaltern knowledge and methodologies in their working environments.

This material will help you to identify their needs, their values and ideological commitments as well as the challenges that they have faced. Also, it can serve you to adjust mentoring support systems.