Aug 30, 2021

Our second artistic Baba Residence 2021!

Salash village
Salash village

Dear Baba supporters,

how are you?

Thanks to those of you who answer us and give us valuable feedback - it is much appreciated! 

The last few months our team was focused mostly on the organizing of 2-day volunteering activties in Bulgarian villages, the preparation of the Bulgarian version of this civil toolbox, applying (suprise!) to numerous exhausting in terms of bureaucracy funding opportunities. And - the preparation of this year's Baba Residence edition, which will once again target at artist residents and again - in the lovely Northwest of Bulgaria!

We have a valuable new partner for this edition - The Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation. We decided the topic of this year to reflect on one of the most inevitable changes socities all over the world are experiencing in different ways - climate change and food sovereignty. The future of Bulgarian villages is strongly related to these topics and we would like to research better the ways we can adapt to the changes and support the villages in preserving their cultural and geographical specifics!

The mountain village, which will host 15 artists and creative communicators, is called Salash. It is a torlak village near the border with Serbia, known for its dstinguished cuisine, language and songs.

If you happen to be or to know a Bulgarian artist, who can participate, please, invite him/ her HERE.

We are fundraising while looking for the proper participants of the residency this year, so we will also join the September Little by little campaign!


We wish you all health and more time in nature this season,

Yoana and Ideas Factory team


Photos - Ivo Nedyalkov/ part of the travel fto Salash for the village culinary project Na oko, which we're proud partner of.

Granny Boyka from Salash / local recipe
Granny Boyka from Salash / local recipe
Granny Boyka and Dani / Salash chitalishte
Granny Boyka and Dani / Salash chitalishte
Feb 25, 2021

Baba Marta and a chance to support our grannies


Hello, once again dear Baba-supporter! <3 

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your unconditional support to help us continue do what we do! 

Has you life been slowly starting to set in a more balanced pace? How are you loved ones and your proffesional life recently? Feel free to drop a line and talk to us. The same is valid in case you have some ideas and feedback about our work and personal village stories to share :)

You may have been following our recent adventures on social media or at our website, but if not in general - the past 4 months have been WILD for us. 

We were fully emerged into a campaign for devices for online learing to children from villages and small towns from the NorthWestern part of Bulgaria. The result was more than 600 devices suitable for online learning, collected and sent to families from the region. Then the terlitsi (granny-made wollen socks for winter) season came. And we fully immersed into selling these socks to people all around Bulgaria and to many Bulgarians abroad. Thus we supported 18 grannies from 5 villages with an additional income.

Another huge heart-elevating initiative that we were recently part of is called Warm winter for the Nortwest (" "), together with our partners from 1% change (1 ). 36 poor households from 2 villages in Northwestern Bulgaria were gifted new window frames so that their homes become warmer for the coldest part of winter. This initiative, of course, scratches a very little part of the back of the overwhelming poverty that many people from this region face.

The last month has been devoted to the preparation of the much-loved Baba Marta spring celebration. We've been collaborating with 6 grannies from 6 different settlements who weave or twine martenitsi (traditional red and white accessories, which Bulgarian people wear in celebration of spring and Baba Marta) from natural materials. We sell them at a fair price proposed by the grannies and some of them - with a surplus in support of our Baba Residence in 2021.

Thruth is, we've been functioning as a NGO without money for the team the last month and we lost 2 people from the team because of lack of funding. But despite that, due to some universal logic, our work and support is getting more and more efficient in practice for the communities we work with!

We trully hope for new and better twists this spring.

We wish the same for you and your close ones!

P.S You can find us also at Instagram (trying to be more active there, but still only in Bulgarian).

Be healthy,

Yoana and the Ideas Factory team

Donated devices for children to study online
Donated devices for children to study online
Grannies making terlitsi
Grannies making terlitsi
Granny Svetla making martenitsi
Granny Svetla making martenitsi
Sep 25, 2020

After our first Artistic residency in a village

Hello, dear Baba-supporters!

How have your lives been during the past few months? Hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy, wherever throughout the world you and they happened to be.

We had many difficulties realizing any of our initiatives in villages or other small settlements around Bulgaria. Since the human intergenerational contact seemed as the biggest danger of the spread of the virus, we had the huge responsability to try limit it, but still be open to answer the needs of the rural communities and the elderly we've been working with. We told you about this journey and its difficulties in the previous report. 

However, we had planned to implement our first ever international artistic residency in a Bulgarian village for the summer. It had to be postoponed for the 23rd of August and again because of safety measures.

Radical Imagination Residency in Deleyna village (Vidin) 

What are we searching for through this residency and what issues does it outline?
During 3 weeks in Deleyna, 7 Bulgarian and 4 foreign artists (through online participation) were searching for a working formula for a contemporary living village, nurtured by an access to culture and art. They were trying to “rehabilitate the muscle of public imagination, which nowadays is not able to imagine the village in a modern way," as Yanina Taneva from Ideas Factory summarizes it.

We cannot substitute for public policy, which, sadly, is absent - adds Yanina Taneva. - The trends in the villages are irreversible and this is clear from well known national strategy, written in 2007. Therefore, in order to stop or at least slow down the ones that still can be reversed, lots of common effort is needed. In the villages, there are several main problems: lack of democracy, because people cannot vote for their mayor, in case there are less than 250 people in the village; lack of public health services, no access to education or culture. We believe that education and culture are the foundation that is needed for change. And when the traditional Bulgarian village comes together with the young people from the city, who are carrying a different type of knowledge and culture with them, new solutions and new ways can be born.

The Radical Imagination Residency’s main mission was to rake over the public imagination and the imagination of the selected artists on how a contemporary Bulgarian village might flourish in the future - a village with a lively community, rich intergenerational connections and an active access to culture, art and education.

The final community event, celebrating the end of the residency, was an swer to this search and a massive get-together, showing the artistic results of the participants. It enlivened for a day the abandoned school building in Deleyna village.

The event consisted of photo and ethnographic objects exhibition, cyanotypical exhibition with imagery from local natural elements, audio box with the emotional soundscape of the village, short portrait documentaries, poetry and a performance in the local cultural hub (chitalishte).

The main discovery for the village of Deleyna, where the residency has been happening, is that this vision for a lively village is unavoidably related to the active access to education on a local level. The lively school, where all the exhibitions were happening, became the epitome of the liveliness of the village itself.


Be well and

let's stay in touch,

Yoana and the Ideas Factory team

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