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       cultural values of european citizenship
  seminar in santiago de compostela : sessions of 4 october 2000  
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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 discover Europe.

The session proceeded in three specific phases:

  • 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 European conviviality".

    This "pilgrimage" adventure, this initiation route constituted a training in living together and discovering otherness.

    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 experience differences".

  • 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 information).

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 organisers.

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 all.

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 more infos ...
 other web sites
 Website of the "Pont de l'Europe"
  Specific pages on the Council of Europe website
 Literature Express Europe 2000
 Les Rencontres Association
  Association of European Cities and Regions for Culture
 Thalys Observatory
 Centre for European Culture
 O.K Center for Contemporary Art
  The O.K Center is an experimental laboratory for exploring art.
 Associate of EICR - CCE
 Asociate EICR - CCE
  english version


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