On the first day of discussions two of the four
selected topics for reflection were approached. Each half-day
constituted a session.
Two sessions rich in experience and exchanges
between "professionals of European experience".
symbols of europe and symbolic actions
The morning was devoted to reflecting on the
symbols of Europe and on symbolic manifestations, which engaged the
perception of philosophers as much as that of cultural operators
and persons in charge of the culture of European cities, as well as
that of observers who address directly the citizens eager to
The session proceeded in three specific
- The first was devoted to the "Bridge of Europe", including
among speakers: its "political" initiator Michel Krieger and one of
the forty-one authors who entered the game, the Icelandic Steinunn
Sigurdardottir. We spoke among others about this initiative in
favour of dialogue and mutual comprehension, the Institute having
largely contributed to its success.
- The second part relies on a project of international
co-operation in Europe, the "Train Literature Express Europe 2000",
which was presented by the head of the project, Christiane Lange,
and a Spanish writer, Carlos Casares. This original experiment had
effects on two plans: firstly it aimed at introducing the Europeans
from the cities traversed by this literary train to a sample of the
literary heritage of Europe, at making them discover new authors,
with the possibility of meeting them, all that in a particular
environment due to the many activities organised around the
crossing of the train. For the authors themselves it also was an
occasion to exchange points of view and to discover their common
views and differences: "Through culture it is possible to build
This "pilgrimage" adventure, this initiation route
constituted a training in living together and discovering
The participants in the conference wondered
rightly if literature (and by extension art) could make the world
move; not all agreed on the question but in any case it seems that
all agreed to say with Mrs. Lange that "it is a marvellous way to
- The third part, more general, was interested in the problems of
"Cities and Culture", local communities, and in particular cities,
having over the past few years integrated cultural questions and
their role in the development of citizen behaviour. Realising the
importance of such questions, many communities propose projects of
co-operation with their European counterparts, which exceed the
very old system of twinning.
Catalogue, "Evidence ! Europe reflected in archives"
Mrs. Maria José Justo Martin presented
within this framework the project "Evidence! Europe reflected in
archives", a project of co-operation between seven European
capitals of culture 2000. Mr. Roger Tropeano, Director of the
association "les Rencontres" presented this association, born out
of the will of elected officials in charge of culture in local
communities from several European countries to create a structure
of co-operation, reflection and action relating to the cultural
policy of cities and regions.
In this session also intervened José Jorge
Letria, cultural deputy in the Cityhall of Cascais, Portugal, and
Xavier Parizot, spokesman for Thalys Observatory, an organisation
that proposes comparative data on the ways of life, opinions and
behaviour of Europeans, in order to allow Europeans to know and
understand each other better, beyond prejudices and stereotypes (an
intervention initially envisaged for the fourth session on
contemporary creation as practice of citizenship
The afternoon, also full, dealt with the topic of
"contemporary creation as practice of citizenship", an equally rich
field that concerns creators themselves as much as pedagogues and
This session was animated by Alain Ohnenwald,
director of the European Centre for Culture of Saint Jean d'
Angély, a centre whose activity had already been presented
by its President Guy Pihouée at the opening of the
conference on October 3.
The work of creation was approached from several
angles, in several domains of creation: visual arts by Martin Sturm
(Director of Centrum für Gegentwartskunst, Visual Arts Center
in Linz, Austria), theatrical practices of young people by Pierre
Voltz (President of Theatricals of Young People in Europe), the
work of architectural creation in the context of historical cities
by Franco Zagari (architect, Rome) and contemporary interventions
in rural areas by Claudia Constantinescu (architect, Bucharest).
Piazza Matteotti in Catanzaro, Italy.
Photo Franco Zagari
Francisco M. Castro Allegue of the Directorate-General for Cultural
Heritage of the Region of Galice also intervened within the
framework of this session to give examples from his work.
Creation is a fundamental element in the
perception of citizenship; citizenship cannot be claimed only, it
should be practised. This distinction between membership
citizenship and participation citizenship was already formulated by
Aristotle! More recently, Etienne Balibar says that there is a
"difference between citizenship as granted statute and as process
of emancipation"; all the stakes are there: European citizenship
has to reach the second stage in order to become real, obvious for
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