Jāzeps Bikše is one of the founders of NGO “Free Riga” and has managed three temporary project houses and is currently working on launching a new space in the old town district in Riga. Jāzeps considers himself a hobbyist sociologist and upcycled furniture designer.
FREE RIGA is a collective that utilizes abandoned buildings for temporary social and cultural use. Since establishment in 2014, over 20 abandoned places have been opened for concerts, exhibitions, performances, workshops, residences, lectures and so on. FREE RIGA is funded by the users who benefit from low cost space while the owners of the occupied property receive tax reductions and see their buildings maintained and in use.
As society progresses, environments for young people become more sterile and planned, but maybe through this care we can lose the spirit of youth and freedom that comes with it? With FREE RIGA we try to offer space for young people to realize their ideas and be together with others outside institutions such as schools, shopping malls or entertainment centers. Young people with FREE RIGA can see how a place from abandonment transforms through their labor and creativity. Having responsibility of just a small room in its essence does not differ of responsibility for a bigger – so we believe it is good to start small and start early.