In Handy 12:41 11 Oct 2023

Navzayem: the online platform for creative industry workers helps with networking

Nowadays, Ukrainian artists are more interested than ever in promoting their creative ideas on the national and international markets. Rubryka learned from the Unlock Ukraine ideathon how people from the cultural industry can find like-minded people worldwide and spread their creative projects.

What is the problem?

In recent years, Ukrainian artists have experienced many upheavals in their activities. First, there were restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic and bans on organizing mass events, which significantly limited the activities of artists. In addition, communication became more difficult because people lost the possibility of live communication and found themselves in their own information bubble.

The war also significantly impacted cultural activities, further limiting the opportunities for offline events. In addition, some Ukrainian artists had to relocate to other cities or countries. Resuming activities in a new place, often from scratch, without acquaintances and connections, becomes a real challenge for them.


Screenshot from the Navzayem community presentation about the cultural industry issues during the war at the Unlock Ukraine ideathon.

What is the solution?

To restore and create new connections between artists, Tamara Lazarenko, the producer of cultural projects, founded the Navzayem community. Navzayem is an online networking platform for specialists in the cultural and creative industries. It was created to disseminate useful initiatives, exchange of experience, and collaboration between artists and people interested in culture.

The project has existed for two years, and during this time, it has grown from a group for friends, relatives, and acquaintances to a website, pages on Instagram and Facebook, the main community platforms — a job information group and a Telegram chat with almost five thousand participants, as well as an application with the same name, which is already working and being modernized.

The communication and community manager of the community, Kateryna Golovchenko, adds that in addition to work issues, the participants manage to find friends: "It happens that people who have gone abroad get to know each other there and then go for coffee. It seemed that they could be in another country by themselves, but it turns out that they are not alone."

Катерина Головченко

Communication and community manager of the Navzayem community, Kateryna Golovchenko. Photo: Olenka Odlezhuk

How does it work?

Members of the Navzayem community are specialists in culture and art, the public sector, IT, media, marketing, communication, design, and fashion. This variety allows you to get quick answers to requests, find experts, join projects and create your own, try yourself as a mentor, and communicate with like-minded people.


Infographic of the number of participants by sphere. Photo: Navzayem

There, you can find very niche people specializing in something special. For example, a person who can manage the theater's social networks. Sometimes, one person works in several fields simultaneously, explains Golovchenko.

Both beginners and mentors from the cultural industry are on the platform. This allows you to immediately find the right person or someone who will share the right contact.

A small team but a big community

Despite the considerable number of online platforms on which the platform is present, the Navzayem team only consists of two people —  Tamara Lazarenko, the founder of the community, a producer of cultural and social projects, an expert in community building, and  Kateryna Golovchenko, the community's communication and community manager. To our question, "How do you manage with just the two of you?" Golovchenko smiles and says: "I manage to join even other projects, but some nights are sleepless."


Screenshot from the presentation of the Navzayem community about the team at the Unlock Ukraine ideathon.

For a while, there were three people on the team — there was also a community manager. Now, the duty falls on Golovchenko, who also provides communications for the project. Lazarenko mainly works with strategic issues, looks for financing for the project, mostly grants, and develops ideas that will be implemented in Navzayem.

Community educational projects

The activity of Navzayem is not limited to community building on social networks. In particular, the project includes educational and research initiatives:

  • Navzayem Talks is a study of how cultural institutions and organizations have been surviving the war.
  • Navzaem Speech trains managers and artists to present their ideas in English to potential international donors, employers, investors, and patrons.

"Every artist loves their project and can talk about it for hours, but pitching is completely different. People should be able to quickly and successfully explain their idea to potential investors so that they are interested in it and willing to discuss further prospects," adds the community communicator.

  • Cultural management is a community collaboration with the Projector Mentorship Platform and the Plan B festival, which allows participants to find a mentor in the cultural industry for a donation to special operations forces.

Golovchenko also mentions the project that the Navzayem community launched together with the educational platform Projector Institute. Within the framework of the project, students of the platform can help community members develop advertising creatives. In this way, the students, accompanied by their curators, gain the necessary experience for work, and members of the Navzayem community receive a creative boost for their own promotion.

"This is important because education helps the cultural industry not only to develop within the country but also to enter the international space and present important messages," Golovchenko explains.

Achievements and plans for the future

Golovchenko considers the Telegram chat with almost five thousand participants one of the most significant achievements of the community. Such a value is noted by the participants of Navzayem themselves — in the research about the project, interviews were conducted, which noted that this is precisely the Telegram chat that combines news from the cultural industry, allows asking for help, finding interesting people, and launching your project.

"These people came to the chat organically, by recommendation. For us, this is a significant indicator and assessment. However, we also disseminated information on friendly Telegram channels and media and launched targeted advertising," adds Golovchenko.

During two years of work, the team has been able to build a vast network of people from the cultural sphere. It is currently actively working on its own application, which will help you find the right expert in a few clicks and contact them in the messenger built into the application, as well as systematize contacts in a personal contact book. During her speech at the Unlock Ukraine ideathon, Golovchenko noted that the project team is currently looking for like-minded people who will use the application and partners, developers who will join its development.


Screenshot from the presentation of the Navzayem community about their application Unlock Ukraine.

Currently, at the development stage, all application functions are available free of charge. However, the Navzayem team plans to make some of them available for a paid subscription. This is how they want to balance the income for the project and, thanks to this, grow and expand further, providing Ukrainian artists with a platform for networking and putting themselves out there.

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