One of the final activities of the Bigtime Takeover project was the Final Conference organised on 24 and 25 April 2023 in Skopje, North Macedonia. Representatives of all project partners and young people who participated in the national Takeover activities and created the Beens digital project met in the hospitable premises of the Youth Cultural Centre. Most of the young people had already met the year before in Matera, Italy where they had initiated their own international project in digital media as part of training week. Now the young people were able to meet again in person. On the first day of the conference, the highlight was the vernissage of artworks created as part of the North Macedonian project. The theme of these works was primarily ecology, and the urban garden created next to the community centre was the direct inspiration. The art works of the young artists shown were also published in the form of a book entitled ‘Gaia and the Garden’. The vernissage also showcased the artwork of Polish project participant Ida Bieniek. The themes of Ida’s drawings provide a witty commentary on young people’s relationship with digital media. Ida was one of the artists involved in the creation of the Polish project created within the BTTO, namely ARTzin UNKnown.
As part of the opening, we were also able to listen to a short piano recital by Francesco Amato from Italy. Francesco presented his interpretations of several well-known jazz standards in an extremely musical way. The young participants in the project also shared their dreams for the future with the vernissage, distributing sheets of printed sentences as inspiration for their thoughts.
Hosting the opening was Macedonian artist Yane Chalowski, who introduced the young artists in a very warm way. The hostess of the evening was Margarita Arsovafrom the Youth Cultural Center in Skopje.
The second day of the Final Conference of the BTTO project was filled with presentations from representatives of all the project partner organisations. In the auditorium of the Youth Cultural Centre, each partner presented a description of its national project involving young people in the creation of valuable content on the Internet. The representative of the Polish project partner, ARTeria Foundation, was Wenancjusz Ochmann.
He presented the Polish project, which was AZTzin UNKnown. The speaker, as the person who coordinated this project in Poland and supervised the work of young art educators with young people, presented the whole process, from inviting young people, through the division into working groups to the end result, which was the creation of a digital and printed version of the art magazine. All the content in this magazine was created by the young people.
All conference participants were also able to visit the urban garden established at the Youth Cultural Centre in Skopje. This is the first initiative of its kind to be established at a public institution in North Macedonia. In the evening, participants from partner organisations were invited to a dance theatre show. They had the opportunity to see a very interesting contemporary dance performance based on elements of Macedonian folk dances.
The Final Conference in Skopje was the highly successful culmination of the very interesting and necessary in modern times Big Time Takeover project, in which young people from the UK, Italy, Cyprus, Poland and North Macedonia have actually, in many ways, taken over online media and created valuable and interesting content for it.