Cultural and Social Narratives laboratory (CSN Lab) is a multifarious platform created by a group of independent researchers, scientists, cultural workers and artists aiming to reveal the issues of contemporary social and cultural dimensions, which have an important role in the formation of civil societies in Armenia and South Caucasus in general.
We are convinced that uncomplicated and unrestricted language, and diverse and engaging presentations are endowed with the ability to make humanitarian research even more influential and popular to the general public. This is the reason why our projects are participatory, and based on various research methods and multimedia tools.
CSN Lab has a broad range of thematic areas of activity including, but not limited to memory studies and memory activism, cultural rights (gender studies, queer culture, tangible and intangible cultural heritage etc.), complex past and colonialism, urban and public spaces, conflict transformation (dialogue through culture).
Our projects related to memory studies and memory activism are aimed to discover, touch and examine delicate layers of memory. They carefully preserve and intertwin the past, present and future, shed light on the tangled paths of history, reveal unnoticed particles and beauty of our daily narratives, and make possible future scenarios as transparent and comprehensible as possible. In the last few years, we have succeeded to implement projects that expand the trims of memory studies beyond narrow academic circles and contribute to the formation and development of practice to research urban memory, queer memory, traumatic memory et cetera.
Our programs regarding cultural rights aspire to popularize and contribute to the formation of discourse on artistic freedom, authors’ rights, gender equality and inclusion of vulnerable groups.
South Caucasus is known for its cultural diversity, but also its difficult past and present-day conflicts. One of the main goals of our team is to examine peaceful coexistence in this region and raise awareness of society about it without giving in to the propagandistic and hateful narratives delivered by the media and various political institutions. For us ― one of the main ways of conflict transformation is dialogue, thus we put our efforts to shape the methods and language of the latter.
The complex/colonial past is a mainly unstudied topic in Armenia, as a result of which the cause-and-effect relationships arising from it are often ignored and inconceivable to the broad layers of the society. The deconstruction of the colonial past is aimed at studying and questioning the traces left by the past in the present day. Such projects are about examining the political,social and cultural events taking place in modern times through the microscope of the past.
The reflection of the transformations of public spaces is a unique way to observe urban spaces as pieces of testimonies of diverse social and cultural existence and signs of times. The multidimensional atoms of time, directly and indirectly, connect with each other in public spaces resonating the volume of values and beliefs of the society such as the freedom of expression and peaceful co-existence. We are passionate to dig into not only the past of the public spaces but current alterations. Urban spaces should belong to the public and be accessible, open and affordable for everyone․
During its 5-year existence, the CSN Lab has already issued several books, booklets and publications,as well as web pages, public talks, podcasts, videos, exchange programs for artists and exhibitions.
We highly value local and international cooperation with like-minded organizations as well as individuals who work in the cultural, academic, human rights, and other disciplines, believing that the only way to achieve long-term impacts and changes lies in building bridges, not trapping us in chambers.
Along with ongoing projects, each year CSN Lab hosts international artists and researchers in a framework of residence programs and internships.