• Phono: Lita Millere

Survival Kit 13: "The Hearing Voices Café" Public Programme Announced

The contemporary art festival Survival Kit 13 which will take place this year from September 3 to October 16, announces an ambitious program of events in cooperation with the Goethe Institute. The festival will focus on an evaluation of the concepts of democracy, freedom of speech and expression in Latvia during the Awakening, in the context of the Ukrainian war and contemporary political diversity. The Hearing Voices Café program will take place in a pop-up cafe at the festival venue which will be open throughout the duration of the festival in cooperation with the "Borscht - dinner with Ukrainians" team.

The recent events in Ukraine and the political situation in Russia, clearly show the need for a society that consists of informed and critically thinking, socio-politically active individuals who are aware of their role in building democracy. The Hearing Voices Café is a call for critical listening and analysis of the situation, thoughtful and individual action and opposition to a mindless following of the status quo. The consequences of the lack of the above, is what we see in the politics of Russia and Belarus today. This program of events is designed to recognize the local and historical cornerstones of democracy - various forms of freedom and liberation, emphasizing the importance of art and culture in building and maintaining a democratic society, both historically and today. Remembering the experience of the Awakening in Latvia and taking into account Europe’s current reality, this cycle of events will focus on the problems and issues related to the nature of democracy, politically responsible, free and ethical behaviour, all being topics whose relevance is heightened by the context of the Ukrainian war. By looking for the common and the different in temporally and spatially separated experiences, the program aims to create a more internally united society and promote mutual understanding, involving people of different generations, nationalities, and cultures in dialogue.

The name of the program of events and as well as the pop-up cafe is borrowed from a project started by the artist Dora Garcia, which has already been realized in many places in Europe and North America and will take on a new form as part of the Survival Kit 13 festival. The model of The Hearing Voices Café project implemented in Latvia, curated by the philosophy student and publicist Sofija Anna Kozlova, will include not only an especially designed core program for the Ukrainian community in Latvia, but also a wide variety of diverse experiences for people of different ages, social and ethnic groups, each week.

More about the history and creation of The Hearing Voices Café project is available here:

In close cooperation with the artist Dora Garcia, the basis program of The Hearing Voices Café in Latvia will be created by peacemaker, conflict resolution mediator and communication process architect Ilze Dzenovska together with the Ukrainian artist Marija Zenkova. They have envisaged a series of five events for Ukrainians and friends living in Latvia, in which Latvian and Ukrainian musicians and artists, together with project participants, will explore hidden memories, unspoken experiences and concerns through creative activity. The events of the main program will be held in Russian, and if necessary, translations into Ukrainian or English will also be provided.

If you want to join the community or have any questions regarding the programme please contact us via an email ( or come to the events directly.

Follow the programme on our social media channels.

Every Tuesday at 2 pm, the festival will host seniors' mornings called Art for Life, where there’ll be an opportunity to not only see the main Survival Kit 13 exhibition in a quieter and calmer atmosphere; but also to participate in a tour led by specially trained art mediators. Getting to know the works of art on display will be followed by a chance to participate in a shared conversation about the content, the contemporary and the historical.

On Sundays at 1 pm, there will be a special program for families called Children – All-Loud. Every Sunday, except for September 4, families will have the opportunity to go on an excursion, designed for children, with mediators. In addition, they will be able to participate in a creative workshop, which will be led by a different artist or researcher every week.

On Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, the festival will invite everyone who is interested to listen and participate, to a wide program of discussions, concerts, cinema and other activities, thereby exploring their own unique freedom and understanding of freedom.

A pop-up cafe created by the restaurant "Borscht - dinner with Ukrainians" team will be open not only on the days of the events, but throughout the festival, offering dishes - cakes and pies - prepared by Ukrainian chefs, and a chance to linger over a cup of tea or coffee.

Full list of events and more information about the programme:

The Hearing Voices Café is a project of the Goethe-Institut incorporated into a comprehensive package of measures for which the Federal Foreign Office provides funding from the 2022 Supplementary Budget to mitigate the effects of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine.

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