Blick Trip to Tbilisi Georgia
This blog is by Blick founder Christine
I was delighted to be invited by the British Council to speak at the Creative Industries Youth Forum in Tbilisi Georgia in October. To share my experiences of starting and running a creative hub and working within the Creative Industries in Northern Ireland.
Tbilisi is a beautiful city, a wonderful mix of old and new with an amazing history and culture and a young and vibrant creative scene.
During our stay we were lucky enough to stay in the gorgeous Rooms Hotel which was also the venue for our the Forum. It was filled with all my favourite things, books, plants, history and design.
Day one of our trip we got to head out of the city see the beautiful Georgian countryside and visit Garikula (artists village and arts hub)
A creative space for artists and filmmakers to live and work together, collaborate, share ideas and inspiration. It hosts international arts exhibitions, events and installations. It is a space of extraordinary peace, with beautiful gardens and views and a building with an amazing history (it was previously an orphanage). It even boasts its own vineyard, wine cellar and wine production company.
I loved the ambition of the project in drawing people out of the capital city to come together to experience art and creativity. I also loved that instead of building a perfect new building they have given a beautiful old building a new purpose. The building is still a little rough around the edges, but has so much charm, character, beauty and creative energy and it represents the countries rich culture and complex history and heritage.
We then got to visit a very different but equally as inspiring creative space in the centre of Tbilisi called Fabrika. Once a soviet sewing factory Fabrika has been revived and transformed into a multi-functional urban space and cultural center featuring cafes and bars, artist studios and shops, educational institutions, co-working space, a hostel, an amazing open space courtyard and an exciting calendar of events. Fabrika is designed to bring together like-minded individuals, both locals and travellers to create and share, co-work, learn, socialise or stay.
Fabrika is an amazing space bringing together a wide range of creative, cultural and social activities in the centre of the city to create a space widely used by people of all ages. The courtyard in particular was a hive of activity when we visited with people eating, drinking and shopping and young people and families with children just hanging out and using the space. It was great to have a safe, busy and well lit car free space in the centre of the city for creative and cultural events and activities. It was also inspiring to see a space for a variety of creative sectors and small businesses to come together to share ideas and inspiration and build a truly thriving and inclusive cultural hub.
Creative Industries Youth Forum
Day two was the Creative Industries Youth Forum hosted in the beautiful Rooms Hotel. It was a day full of ideas and inspiration with a mix of Georgian and UK speakers and contributors for the emerging creative industries sector in Georgia.
It was great to see an event specifically for young people at the start of their careers, focusing entirely on their needs. Hearing about the emerging creative industries sector in Georgia was fascinating in particular the emerging fashion industry including More is Love an online store for up-and-coming designers and exclusive goods led by Nino Eliava