If you want to visit a real grassroots project in Russia, you should defenitely go to see TEXTIL space in the city of Yaroslavl. It's a social and cultural center in outskirt of Yaroslavl on the territory of a legendary Textile Factory.
Yaroslavl has a population of 600,000 and is located in a distance of 300 km north from Moscow. The town has long cultural history and poses rich heritage. The old town, mainly built in 19th century, has been well conserved. TEXTIL is aimed to bring value to interpersonal communications and to support small local creative businesses and communities in Yaroslavl. The humanitarian mission is the revitalization of the whole area of Krasny Perekop and the work with perceptions and stereotypes connected with this district in Yaroslavl.
"In Russia administration and state cultural institutions - cultural centers, libraries, concert halls - mainly follow the universal, federal cultural agenda and ignore what is going on in a specific neighborhood," says Julia Krivtsova, "Our project started with the urban and social research of the district. We wanted to feel the life and the beat of this area, to catch its main features and archetypes".
TEXTIL holds exhibitions and concerts, flea markets, conferences, even tea parties, where people bring sweets and food and sit all together at a big table. They also make excursions to the district in order to show its residents (who often don´t know the history of the place they are living) and other people from the city the traditions, interesting places and, of course, problems. The founders of the center have got support from local volunteers, mainly students. These young people are sincere and open, interested in the history of their town and also in learning experience from other countries and towns. TEXTIL established cooperation with institutions and cultural organizations in Poland and Sweden and the members of TEXTIL community could visit these countries and exchange their experiences.
Soon Yaroslavl Textile Factory turns 300 years of its history. This unique ensemble of buildings has a big velue as object of industrial and anthropological heritage. These building and the area received the status of a monument at the regional level, but they have not been repaired for decades.