European Capitals Of Culture 30 Years - Creative Europe Desk

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From top to bottom, left to right:1. Maribor, Placebo ali Komu potok solz ne lije, Photo: Dejan Bulut2. Essen for the Ruhr, Eröffnung close encounter by Joeressen and Kessner, Photo: Rupert Oberh Ñuser3. Guimarães, CIAJG Center of Arts José de Guimarães, Photo: Paulo Pacheco4. Essen for the Ruhr, Tiger & Turtle, Photo: Manfred Vollmer5. Aarhus, Rethink Landscape, Photo: Thomas Rühlin6. Maribor, Črne maske, Photo: Mediaspeed7. Maribor, Klovbuf, Photo: Pat Verbruggen8. Guimarães, La Fura dels Baus - opening show, Photo: João Peixoto9. Maribor, Chouf Ouchouf, Photo: Mario de Curto10. Marseille-Provence, MUCEM / R.Ricciotti and R. Carta Architects11. Umeå, Old pianos transformed into playable pieces of art by Marc Strömberg, Photo: Eugenio della Morra12. Turku, Parade Carpet by Meiju Niskala, Photo: Tuukka Kaila13. Maribor, Culturel embrassies, Italy, Photo: Miha Sagadin14. Maribor, Gora okrog tube, Photo: MP Produkcija15. Essen for the Ruhr, Symphony of Thousend, Photo: MichaleKneffel16. Guimarães, platform for Arts and Creativity, Photo: Paulo Pacheco17. Turku, Eurocultured Festival, Street Art by Aryz , Photo: Kari VainioiEurope Direct is a service to help you find answersto your questions about the European Union.Freephone number (*):00 800 6 7 8 9 10 11(*)The information given is free, as are most calls (though some operators,phone boxes or hotels may charge you).More information on the European Union is available on the Internet ( CommissionDirectorate-General for Education and CultureB-1049 BrusselsLuxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union, 2015ISBN 978-92-79-43622-2doi: 10.2766/87872 European Union, 2015Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged.Printed in Italy

ForewordTibor Navracsics, European Union Commissioner for Education,Culture, Youth and SportOver the past 30 years,the European Capitalsof Culture have growninto one of the most ambitiouscultural projects in Europe. Andthey have become one of thebest known — and most appre ciated — activities of the Euro pean Union (EU).The original motivation of theproject —started in 1985 on theinitiative of the then Greek Minis ter of Culture Melina Mercouri —is still very much valid: to bringcitizens of the European Union (or the European Community, asit was then called) closer together.By providing opportunities for Europeans to meet and discoverthe great cultural diversity of our continent and to take a freshlook at our common history and values, the European Capitalsof Culture promote mutual understanding and intercultural dia logue among citizens and increase their sense of belonging toa community.The European Capitals of Culture remain first and foremost acultural event. Cultural activity in these cities increases, newaudiences can be reached and the city’s cultural operatorscan acquire a more international outlook and thus improvetheir skills and professionalism. The European Capitals of1Culture also contribute to forging an image of an attractiveand creative Europe open to cultures from across the world.Being a European Capital of Culture can also boost the long-termsocioeconomic development of cities. They often take this opportu nity to regenerate themselves, improve their creative and innovativepotential, develop new and more sustainable forms of tourism andraise their profile. Being a European Capital of Culture can also fos ter social and territorial cohesion within city boundaries and beyond,strengthen citizens’ roles in the city’s development as well as theirparticipation in the shaping and making of cultural expressions.This brochure showcases successful projects in recent Euro pean Capitals of Culture. They show that the European Capitalsof Culture have become laboratories of strategic investment inculture, benefiting our economies and our societies as a whole.The European Capitals of Culture are an integral part of theCreative Europe programme 2014–20, whose ambition is topromote Europe’s cultural diversity and cultural heritage and toreinforce the competitiveness of our cultural and creative sectors.Creative Europe helps artists, cultural professionals and culturalorganisations to adapt to the digital age and globalisation, workacross borders and reach as many people as possible in Europeand beyond. It also supports efforts to improve access to financethrough the setting-up of a new financial guarantee facility.I am pleased to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the EuropeanCapitals of Culture, and I invite you to discover more on thefollowing pages.

Guimarães 2012 —Platform for arts and creativity in a former market —photographer: Paulo PachecoEuropean Capitals of Culture:30 years of achievementsThirty years old in 2015, the Euro pean Capitals of Culture initiativeremains fresh and vigorous, highlypopular with cities and citizens acrossthe European Union. It is now a prestig ious and fully mature year-long interna tional event with an established place inglobal cultural calendars.Over and over again throughout those30 years, the European Capitals of Cul ture have highlighted the richness ofcultures in Europe, and allowed Europe an citizens to share celebrations of theirdiversity. Millions of Europeans havealso been offered a new sense of be longing to a common cultural area —and millions, in the more than 50 citiesthat have taken part, have had the chanceto show off the local places and customsand events that they take pride in.3The European Capitals of Culture can alsodeliver in terms of prosperity and qualityof life for the cities that take part. Culturehas become more closely integrated intothe long-term development of many of theparticipating cities. And the cities have inturn benefited from regeneration and newinfrastructure, a higher international profile,increased tourism — and an enhancedimage in the eyes of their own inhabitants.Participation in the European Capitals ofCulture programme has frequently helpedachieve many policy goals at regional andnational level, too.From its earliest days, it offered a plat form for creativity. The idea of designat ing an annual ‘European City of Culture’was first proposed by the Greek Cul ture Minister, Melina Mercouri, in 1983,long before culture was elevated into anexplicit EU policy. And the first city tohold the title was Athens, in 1985. Glas gow in 1990, Antwerp in 1993 and Co penhagen in 1996, to name just a few,conspicuously demonstrated just howmuch could be done.Progressively, a sequence of refinementsin the processes for choosing cities, andin monitoring and evaluating their perfor mance, have helped to raise the level ofprofessionalism in the preparation and ex ecution of the events. Milestones includethe competitive bid process introduced in1999, and the guarantee since 2005 of aminimum of four years’ lead-in time — adevelopment that has inspired still bolderambition. With the growth of the profile ofthe European Capitals of Culture, the bidprocess itself has become a high-profileevent in its own right. And increasingly,

Guimarães 2012 —Renascer ‘Time to be reborn’ —photographer: José Caldeirathe initiative has fostered the developmentof an aspirational vision that goes beyondcelebration, and embraces transforma tion. Being a European Capital of Culturehas become a catalyst for a wider changein the perception of a city — both by itsown residents, and by the world beyond.At the same time, a trend has emerged foractivities to have an impact that is felt notonly in the cultural sphere, but spreads intothe social, educational, urban-planning andeven economic and regional dimensions.Programmes have deliberately soughtto widen engagement across more diverseaudiences — particularly in parts of a cityor segments of its population that donot represent customary customers forcultural events. Involving local populationsactively in the creation and conductof events has also become a matter ofroutine, and the deployment of ‘citizenvolunteers’ has cemented many of thecities’ programmes into the consciousnessof the local population. The ‘life cycle’of each European Capital of Cultureprogramme has evolved too. Nowadays,six years before their title year, two MemberStates of the European Union inviteapplications from the cities on their territorythat might be interested in bidding for thehonour. Over the course of the followingtwo years, the applications are reviewedby a panel of independent experts in thefield of culture, who recommend onecity in each Member State for the title.These are then formally designated as theEuropean Capitals of Culture four yearsahead of the relevant year, permittingextensive and detailed planning andpreparation. The panel, supported by theEuropean Commission, continues to offeradvice and guidance to designated cities onthe evolving preparations until the hostingyear. Finally, at the end of the EuropeanCapitals of Culture year, an evaluationreport is prepared for and published by theEuropean Commission. EU funding of theEuropean Capitals of Culture initiative hasalso increased over the years. It amountsnow to EUR 1.5 million for each chosencity, in the form of the Melina MercouriPrize, which is awarded in light of theoutcomes of each city’s preparation.

Umeå 2014 —Closing ceremony, Northern light —photographer: Fredrik LarssonRiga 2014 —Chain of book lovers —photographer: Martins OttoDuring its evolution, the programme has en couraged a stronger commitment towardsmore closely-defined and locally-sensitivevision statements. It is important that theprogrammes not only correspond to theambitions of the planners but also sit com fortably with the city’s own population. Thisrequires an acute consciousness of localculture — in every sense of the word — toensure that the content of the programmeand the creation or import of new culturalactivities win the support of local commu nities, rather than generate disruption andassociated tensions.Bringing ‘European added value’ to theevent has always been an obligatorytheme for aspirants. For cities, it meansconnecting their local context with the Eu ropean framework, but also being locallymeaningful while appealing at Europeanand international levels. This has resultedin presenting events featuring Europeanartists, collaborations, co-productions, andexchanges between artists and cultural or ganisations across Europe. At its best, thiscooperation has a strong rationale — often6

Riga 2014 —Musical light show —photographer: Martins Ottobased on a pre-existing geographical, his torical or more personal links. The Europe an dimension can also be explored throughdeveloping European themes and issuesor celebrating aspects of European history,identity, shared values and heritage. Some times this has taken the form of present ing old themes in fresh ways, or revealinghidden aspects of a European connection— or even tackling difficult themes that res onate across the continent. Specific part nerships between cities have also offeredscope for new reflections and new relations.7And of course the promotion of tourismacross Europe, attracting visitors from oth er Member States or beyond, automatical ly reinforces the European significance of acity’s event.Candidates — and winners — have facedup to the challenge of communicatinga vision for the event, and of settinggoals, especially for the longer term, as isevident from the sustainable legacy plan ning that has become a growing feature ofprogrammes.The Directorate-General for Education andCulture, the responsible department of theEuropean Commission, has supported theprocess, producing a guide for candidatecities, and a series of information daysat which potential candidates can learnmore about the logistics of organising abid. It has also fine-tuned the presumptionsand mechanisms at the heart of measuringsuccess for the programme.The programme is already looking aheadto the next 20 years. On 14 April 2014,

Turku 2011 —Colourscape colour labyrinth —Eye Music Trustacting on a proposal by the EuropeanCommission, the European Parliament andthe Council adopted a decision for a newaction for the European Capitals of Culturefor the years 2020 to 2033. The aims arelargely unchanged — to safeguard andpromote the diversity of cultures in Europe,to highlight the common features thatthey share, and to foster the contributionof culture to the long-term developmentof cities. The main features would alsobe retained — equal opportunities for allMember States, geographical balance, astrong European dimension, and the in clusion of all citizens in all neighbourhoodsof the city in the project. There will be anincreased focus on the need for candidateand winning cities to better embed theirEuropean Capitals of Culture project intotheir overall cultural strategy as a way toproduce a sustainable cultural, social andeconomic legacy. And additional supportwill be made available to cities during thepreparation period. It will also be possiblefor a city in a candidate country or potentialcandidate for EU membership to hold thetitle every third year as of 2021.Although it is now one of the longest-run ning EU initiatives, the European Capitals ofCulture remain relevant — as may be seenby the continuing intense interest. In thecompetition for the 2016 edition, 16 Spanishcities and 11 Polish cities expressed a de sire to become their country’s EuropeanCapitals of Culture, and engaged in a fiercelycompetitive bidding process. And the fol lowing quotation from late 2014 — fromAndroulla Vassiliou, the former EuropeanCommissioner responsible for education,culture, multilingualism and youth, on therecommendation of Matera as EuropeanCapital of Culture in 2019 — is self-ex planatory: ‘I congratulate Matera on itssuccessful bid. The competition for the ti tle in Italy was one of the strongest ever,with 21 initial contenders narrowed downto six finalists. This number is a testimonyof the immense popularity of this EuropeanUnion initiative. I am confident that Materawill attract more visitors from Europe andall over the world to discover the city, itshistory and the cultural diversity which isone of the strengths of our continent.’8



Mons 2015 —Opening —photographer: David BomansA high-profile cultural eventThe concept of culture has taken onnew meaning with the EuropeanCapitals of Culture. Not just highculture — although there has been plentyof that. The capitals have demonstratedEurope’s capacity for defining culturein the broadest possible sense — andfor giving it a high profile too. In recentyears, the chosen cities have promotedculture in so many of its facets, fromthe most refined miniatures to the mostspectacular public events. And in givingculture that high profile, it has repeate dly breathed new life into a city’s culturalconsciousness.Marseille-Provence (France) mountedone of the most extensive and wide ranging programmes — culturally andgeographically — of any European Capitals11of Culture to date, creating numerousopportunities for citizens to attend, to takepart in or sometimes also to co-create cul tural events stretched across several citiesand a wide territory. Altogether it featuredsome 950 projects, including an exhibitionof Cézanne, van Gogh and Bonnard inMarseille and in Aix-en-Provence that wasseen by nearly half-a-million people.But Marseille-Provence also took newapproaches to culture, such as moving3 000 sheep across the region in commem oration of the summer tradition of transhu mance, reminding the urban population ofits earlier pastoral roots as the flocks con verged on the city centre in the final stagesof the event. Stavanger (Norway) adopteda different approach to taking advantageof the physical environment — staging anaerial ballet against a dramatic rockface.The more conventional forms of culturehave also featured prominently, but oftenassociated with a touch of modernity. InTurku (Finland), the world premiere of theopera ‘Eerik XIV’, specially commissionedfrom composer Mikko Heiniö, inauguratedthe new main hall for performances. Ap propriately, it depicts the life of the 16th cen tury Swedish king who cherished dreamsof a civilized Europe, once proposedto Elizabeth I of England, and afterwardslived happily with his peasant Finnish wife inTurku castle.In Essen for the Ruhr (Germany), a per formance of Gustav Mahler’s eighth sym phony — the ‘Symphony of a thousand’—was given exactly 100 years after thepremiere, under the baton of Lorin Maazel,

and with more than 800 singers and morethan 150 musicians on stage, including al most all the philharmonic orchestras of theRuhr region and 28 choirs.The balance between high culture and lo cal culture found different forms of expres sion from city to city. Košice (Slovakia) tookcultural events beyond the mainstream ofthe city centre by making imaginative useof a former barracks and of neighbour hood heat exchange stations, renovatingthem for local art events. To maximise theimpact, it began many of these cultural ac tivities during the development phase of itsEuropean Capital of Culture year, as part ofa long-term process that included the useof local groups in innovative art forms. Butother Košice events included celebrationsof the work of the son of Slovakia, AndyWarhol, and gestures of multicultural inspi ration, paying tribute to Slovak–Hungarianand Roma heritage or the Mazal Tov Jew ish festival. There was experimental danceand opera, and there were high-profileperformances, including the Tokyo Metro politan Symphony Orchestra, and worksby Krzysztof Penderecki. And Jordi Savall,the renowned viola da gamba player, con ductor and composer, brought his earlymusic ensemble Le Concert des Nationsto perform Haydn’s ‘Seven last words ofour saviour on the cross’ in St Elisabeth’sCathedral.Most cities mounted events with a spe cific link to their own historic culture. Gui marães (Portugal), closely associated withthe emergence of the Portuguese nationalidentity in the 12th century, and with a richarchitectural heritage, had exhibitions anda competition on architecture, which wasa strong focus of the overall programme.Others moved into entirely new territo ry for culture. Pécs (Hungary) created abrand new state-of-the-art auditorium,which featured concerts of a wide rangeof music and spectacles during the year.And others deliberately courted controver sy, generating vivid public debate aboutthe role of art. The sculpture ‘Embank ment arch’ created in Vilnius (Lithuania)by Vladas Urbanavicius led to widespreadreflections on the relationship betweenlocal people and contemporary art.Perhaps above all, it is the performancesthat leave the strongest impression, and12

Stavanger 2008 —Project Bandaloop aerial ballet —photographer: Asle HauklandEssen for the Ruhr 2010 —Symphony of a thousand —photographer: Manfred Vollmerimprint themselves onto the culturalconsciousness of a city long after theyear has closed — such as Maribor’s(Slovenia) opening production of its yearwith Marij Kogoj’s opera ‘Black masks’performed by the joint ensembles of theMaribor and Ljubljana National Theatres.Taking culture outdoors in huge popu lar celebrations is a frequent element inEuropean Capitals of Culture. Mons(Belgium) opened its year with a cere mony of light, flame and colour — andalthough culture is much more than fire works and lightshows — as Mons, Mar seille-Provence and Stavanger (amongmany other cities) demonstrated, eventslike that can give culture a high profile too.13


Turku 2011 —Eurocultured Festival —photographer: Kari VainioMaribor 2012 —Cultural Embassies, Mexico —photographer: Miha SagadinA European eventThe programme is not entitled ‘European Capitals of Culture’ by accident.It is central to the concept that thecities chosen do not exist in a vacuum: theyare part of Europe too, as their designationaffirms. Every city that is selected has had todemonstrate in its proposal how it intendsto fulfil this aspect of its role, reinforcingelements of Eur

The European Capitals of Culture remain irst and foremost a cultural event. Cultural activity in these cities increases, new audiences can be reached and the city’s cultural operators can acquire a more international outlook and thus improve their skills and professionalism. The European Capitals of

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