People: Focus on three STEP Beyond Travel Grantees

In the 10 years of STEP Beyond Travel Grants publication, we are using audiovisual materials to profile the STEP Beyond Travel Grants programme through the eyes of some of the people who have been awarded a travel grant over the past ten years.

In a short film, we feature three grantees who explain what receiving a STEP Beyond Travel Grant has meant for their work and how it has helped them to forge sustainable working relationships with colleagues in other parts of Europe.

 Sophia Lapiashvili in Eliava Market in Tbilisi ©Nicola Mullenger

Sophia Lapiashvili in Eliava Market in Tbilisi ©Nicola Mullenger

Sophia Lapiashvili (from Georgia) has a strong commitment to environmental issues. She works with GeoAIR, which uses culture as a tool to question and respond to problematic topics in society, in Tbilisi. Set up ten years ago, Gair is the first and currently the only organisation in Georgia’s capital providing a residency for international curators and artists to work in the region. It is also part of a new project, the Green Arts Lab Alliance (GALA), which launched in Maastricht in 2013. Sophia used a STEP Beyond Travel Grant to attend the launch meeting with the other project partners from over 15 countries (including Julie’s Bicycle, a leading cultural and environmental organisation). The film includes footage from two cultural collaborations GeoAIR worked on at a local market in Tbilisi. They used different methods including sound and film to engage market stall owners and to help them become more aware of the pollution created in their work environment.

 Daniel Han in central Wrocław ©Nicola Mullenger

Daniel Han in central Wrocław ©Nicola Mullenger

Daniel Han (originally from the US but relocated to Poland seven years ago) travelled to Bosnia & Herzegovina in 2010, inspired by his university master’s research. Through his experience, he helped to create an artistic approach to working with marginalised communities in Poland, initially with mentally disabled adults and young people from Roma communities. He formed the Jubilo Project together with other international artists to engage these communities through artistic projects and long-term interventions. In 2012, he travelled from Wrocław to Tuzla with other artists from the Jubilo Project to work with a community of refugees. He worked specifically with women and young people affected by the Balkans conflict who had been traumatised by losing their homes, families and part of their identity. Daniel has continued to work with disabled groups and different Roma communities in Wrocław and is now travelling to commissioned projects throughout the world using the ‘model’ he devised, which aims to build trust within communities using physical movement, singing and dance. He has a unique vision about how the connection between people and the use of the arts can transform lives.

 Cosmin Manolescu in central Bucharest ©Nicola Mullenger

Cosmin Manolescu in central Bucharest ©Nicola Mullenger

Cosmin Manolescu (from Romania) was an early recipient of the STEP Beyond Travel Grant in 2003, which helped to develop collaborative projects abroad. He now heads up the Gabriela Tudor Foundation and the ZonaD — Serial Paradise Studio, a new art space dedicated to contemporary dance and arts in Bucharest. He is a renowned collaborator and instigator on international dance projects. In 2006, he collaborated with Kira Riikonen and Roberto Casarotto to produce Don’t Ask the Blond — a performance that came about through the STEP Beyond Travel Grant. In 2013, he created a video to support the campaign of Nicuşor Dan, an independent candidate running for the job of Bucharest mayor, which is shown in the film. Cosmin is a passionate believer in promoting the arts in Romania and creating change and societal democracy through that shared experience.

More people

Watch this short clip filmed during a workshop held by the STEP Beyond Travel Grants programme in Baku, Azerbaijan, which illustrates the capacity building work we have carried out under the funding stream.


Special thanks goes to the Open Society Foundations, our partner for STEP Beyond travels for the Southern Caucasus and Turkey, for co-funding this publication.

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