a network for art, activism and solidarity

2019 - 2022

The platform CETKA (Russian for 'net'), launched by ZK/U Berlin, is a place beyond national borders and ordinary cartography: It advocates for social change through artistic and cultural practices and forms the basis of an active civil society in the regions of Belarus, Ukraine, Russia and Germany. 

CETKA takes us on a documentary journey into the independent scene in Dnipro and Kirov, highlights participatory urbanism in Vologda and artistic self-organization in North Ossetia. We discover how LGBTQI* activists in Kaliningrad and Belarusian NGOs in exile work and why garages are indispensable for artistic life in Krasnodar. 

The exploration of non-formal education brings Brest on the Polish-Belarusian border and Vladivostok on the Pacific closer together. Local identity and architectural heritage play a role in both post-socialist Eisenhüttenstadt and the ancient Russian city of Yaroslavl. CETKA's navigation works through collective themes, common challenges, and a consensual desire to transform cities for the better. 

All ambassadors, films, themes and city portraits can be found here

A podcast format is also part of CETKA. In Kasha Today, Barbara Anna Bernsmeier and Jürg Andreas Meister talk about everyday phenomena and life in the Russian province. Find the podcast on

Background and method 

December 2019: 12 CETKA Ambassadors* meet at the ZK/U Berlin, develop ideas how their regions and their work can be presented in film and what holds the network together internally. Extensive filming trips from the Dnieper to the Pacific Ocean were planned for spring and summer.

December 2020: A worldwide pandemic caused all trips to be cancelled, meetings were held only in online space, entire teams were quarantined. But also that we could (virtually) expand our network and activate local forces. The political and social situation in Belarus meant that our partner organisation Minsk Urban Platform was working out of exile and the lives of all civil society and cultural actors on the ground changed abruptly. In spite of all obstacles, the ambassadors continued to work collectively on the basic values and fields of action of CETKA, were trained by Linda Vierecke (DW) as filmmakers and made 3- to 7-minute short films in their cities: with much humour, reflection, self-confidence, thoughtfulness and confidence in the future.

September 2021: CETKA is expanding! On board are 11 new Ambassadors from the Ukrainian, Belarus’, Russian and German regions. More trainings, more documentary films and cross-border solidarity and exchange are happening in online and offline formats. 


Charta of CETKA Network

CETKA Ambassadors advocate for social issues using artistic and cultural practices. They form the basis of an engaged civil society in Belarus, Russia, Ukraine and Germany. They are collectives, independent cultural spaces and non-governmental organisations as well as activists. They are concerned about the future.

CETKA Ambassadors’ working approach is process-oriented, open for discussion and inclusive. They embrace the complexity of social life and use site-specific and democratic strategies for tackling local challenges.

CETKA Ambassadors are interested in an active reflection of history in all its layers. Cultural diversity and tolerance are core values of CETKA ambassadors. They stand for reducing inequalities and increasing social acceptance of the marginalised. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination have no space in the CETKA cosmos.

CETKA Ambassadors are committed to social justice: they promote equal opportunities for participation in political, economic and social life. 

CETKA Ambassadors are willing to share their experiences and knowledge, aiming at strengthening educational and civic institutions.

CETKA Ambassadors are environmentally aware. They are concerned about climate change, soil contamination, waste-management and other ecologically relevant issues and actively seek sustainable solutions for local and global challenges.

CETKA Ambassadors create open and vivid public spaces and stand for a considered reflection of urban heritage.

CETKA is implemented in cooperation with Minsk Urban Platform, Kultura Medialna from Dnipro and the 5th floor Kirov Cultural Centre and is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office.

Project Lead: Barbara Anna Bernsmeier

Artistic Directors: Matthias Einhoff

Thematic Consultant: Miodrag Kuč 

Coordination and curatorial assistance: Olesia Vitiuk