Carlisle – Thessaloniki What is isolation and how can we overcome it?

Residents describe the northern English city of Carlisle, at the end of Motorway 6 and on the Scottish border, as being rather isolated. Many people who live here their whole lives long have a hard time accepting new ideas and are actually afraid of anything new. Freiraum is working with the Awaz Cumbria community development organization to think about a more open and livable city.


ArtBOX and the Awaz Cumbria community development organization, partners to the Carlisle-Thessaloniki tandem, are planning a joint exhibition to be shown in both cities, reflecting the basic issues raised in their questions: How can we overcome isolation? How can identity become a realm of freedom? This collaborative Freiraum project is all about talking to residents of both cities. The object is to give a hearing to voices that usually go unheard, which is why the project makes a point of including and highlighting the perspectives of minorities and socially marginalized groups. Audio and video recordings of these conversations draw attention to similarities and differences between the two cities.

NGOs and initiatives working on behalf of refugees and other marginalized groups have already been invited to various workshops. At a panel discussion, Awaz Cumbria presented some tried-and-tested practical models and a tentative assessment of the situation in Thessaloniki. Also as part of this collaborative effort, the Goethe-Institut’s Artecitya programme has invited artists Evi Karathanasopoulou from Great Britain and Thomas Koch from Germany to work as artists-in-residence in Thessaloniki. A so-called “speak-easy” event will be held in both cities this winter, followed by the creation of a “Carlisle-Thessaloniki platform” in March. This platform will present video and audio recordings by Evi Karathanasopoulou, selected works by other participating artists, a video documentary and a publication.

(September 2018)

Our Partner

AWAZ Cumbria is a community development organization. It has been supporting and empowering the voices of underrepresented people and marginalized communities in Cumbria since 2005 in order to create a more welcoming and caring place. With its work Awaz Cumbria wishes to make a place where everyone is welcome to live, learn, work, visit and conduct business, where people respect and celebrate ethnic and cultural diversity and maintain their heritage and where all communities work together to tackle discrimination and prejudice and promote understanding.  

Photos from Carlisle
During a three-day press trip, journalists were able to learn more about the project. Together with Johannes Ebert, Secretary General of the Goethe-Institut, the group travelled to Skopje in Macedonia and afterwards to Carlisle in Northern England, where these photos were taken. The programme was dense and diverse: Following the screening of two films – one depicting the urban planning in Skopje, the other one portraying Macedonian immigrants in Copenhagen – a lively discussion was held in Skopje. In Carlisle, an exhibition at the youth centre of Carlisle took place, along with talks with John Stevenson, Conservative MP for Carlisle, and the SpeakEasy event where roughly 40 people from Carlisle presented poems, songs and works of short prose. The event was streamed live to Thessaloniki.
  • Carlisle 1 © Linda Bussey
  • Carlisle 2 © Linda Bussey
  • Carlisle 3 © Linda Bussey
  • Carlisle 4 © Linda Bussey
  • Carlisle 5 © Linda Bussey
  • Carlisle 6 © Linda Bussey
  • Carlisle 7 © Linda Bussey
  • Carlisle 8 © Linda Bussey
  • Carlisle 9 © Linda Bussey
  • Carlisle 10 © Linda Bussey
  • Carlisle 11 © Linda Bussey
  • Carlisle 12 © Linda Bussey
  • Carlisle 13 © Linda Bussey
  • Carlisle 14 © Linda Bussey
  • Carlisle 15 © Linda Bussey
  • Carlisle 16 © Linda Bussey
  • Carlisle 17 © Linda Bussey
  • Carlisle 18 © Linda Bussey
  • Carlisle 19 © Linda Bussey
  • Carlisle 20 © Linda Bussey
  • Carlisle 21 © Linda Bussey
  • Carlisle 22 © Linda Bussey
  • Carlisle 23 © Linda Bussey
  • Carlisle 24 © Linda Bussey

Download the brochure here  
  • Playing with Virtual Reality © George Kogias
    Voyeur’s Reality, 2018, Thomas Koch Installation with sound, video and virtual reality. VR application Bastian Orthmann
  • Game of Shadows © George Kogias
    Voyeur’s Reality, 2018, Thomas Koch Installation with sound, video and virtual reality. VR application Bastian Orthmann
  • Intense Listening © George Kogias
    Air Free, 2018, Evi Karathanasopoulou, Sound work
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