@johncoate Actually we had fears they want to demolish the building so when approaching the Ministry of Culture we had a special approach, something like "We know you appreciate the history and the importance of preserving the architectural heritage of Stepanakert, NOT LIKE Yerevan does(they are demolishing many old buildings in Yerevan). " Basically we played with the feeling of competition between Yerevan - the capital of Armenia, and Stepanakert, the capital of Artsakh/Nagorno Karabakh, AND we implied only a fool would demolish this kind of a beauty with so much history, so the local govt was like sure, you are right, we are not going to demolish it and we are going to find funds to refurbish the building and bring back the theatrical troupe.
The deal is: we are refurbishing the areas we will use for exhibition and the workshops that will take place during the festival and then the Jazz Orchestra will move in for a while, before the government finds the funds to refurbish the whole building including the stage area.
So I think the building is safe for now, and the second floor of it is used a dance studio, which proves it is not falling apart.
@noemi thanks for bringing up the projects I'm planning to work on in the future. I forgot to mention two of them, "Conscription, military patriarchy and the way it affects the society" and "Collective memory: stories of the peaceful co-living of Armenians and Azerbaijanis before the conflict". Both are in research phase now, and I am uncertain when I will be able to actually work on these highly sensitive topics, taking into consideration the fact that the official peace process is stagnating and nationalist rhetoric is fuelling, rising tensions between the societies both in Armenia and Azerbaijan. Revanchist and military rhetoric has become widespread in recent years through the targeted introduction of enemy images into people's consciousness, and even the idea that it is genetically impossible for Armenians and Azerbaijanis to live side by side has been aired.
Members of the younger generation who have no experience of inter-ethnic interaction (since the societies became mono-ethnic as a result of the war in the early 90s) are particularly vulnerable to propaganda. Many of them see the other side as demonised, abstract, and not possessing the same human qualities as themselves. Thus it becomes easier to justify one's readiness to fight and hurt this "other". All that remains of warm relations between neighbors are the memories, and documenting and passing these on to the next generation is a pressing task.I also aim to investigate the way the ongoing conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan affects the people living on both sides of the border.
Glad you have the privilege to be in a sabbatical, you definitely needed that, being the hardworking multitasking bee that you are <3
It is definitely going to be a challenge to fundraise for the festival, but there is the almighty Armenian Diaspora, that loves Artsakh so much, so I hope they will prove their love through actions now. Otherwise it is true that the intl agencies prefer not to operate in the region because of the geopolitical situation and to be on the safe side.
I also got a support letter from the Ministry of Culture of Artsakh last week, which will help me to fundraise, but as I do not have much time to fundraise, I am postponing the event till fall(end of September/beginning of October). Thus I will have enough time to organise the event and make it as big as possible.