Well today, after the religious holidays, I had my first meeting with Esra and Ece from CUMA, Contemporary Utopia Management, a not for profit arts organisation that in their words "aims to activate urban and rural communities by creating contemporary art projects and acting as a mentor for arts organisations and initiatives".
I really liked their ethos and their approach, and some of the projects they had done, particularly those working with rural communities. They were planning a flash mob event on Saturday, apparently the first in Turkey, and an idea I really like..the Istanbul Complaints Choir. Given the issues around freedom of speech, this seems like a very brave initiative. So I've registered my mobile number and wait to hear where to meet.
They were both really friendly and incredibly helpful, providing me with a whole list of potential people to contact. Just what I was hoping for. As with Bucharest you just need to meet some people on the ground who are open and well connected, and know what's happening and a whole world starts to open up. I couldn't have asked for a more welcoming and perfect start.
Thank you Esra and Ece for a great welcome and such generosity:))
You can find out more about CUMA at www.c-u-m-a.org