Ποιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do






Wednesday 23rd November 2016


 15.30 Registration & welcome coffee

16.00 Orientation visit around Valletta

An optional tour of a number of relevant community spaces around Valletta. Many of these spaces are directly related to the conference and Valletta 2018, as they feature heavily in the Valletta 2018 Cultural Programme.



Orientation Visit 1: Strait Street, Valletta Design Cluster with Caldon Mercieca

Orientation Visit 2: Valletta Covered Market (Is-Sud tal-Belt), Arcipieru area with Pawlu Mizzi



                   Pawlu Mizzi explaining the area around the covered market


     Covered Market refurbished - Symbol of gentrification since the intention is to transform it into a gourmet centre like Coventry Garden in London, and therefore out of reach for locals who will not be able to afford the prizes.



     Typical flight of stairs instead of a street in Valletta


                     Interesting to see that evil is in chains

Former prison, now social housing estate with 150 families living there



      Problem of ownership resulting in unused buildings


Orientation Visit 3: Muza with Sandro Debono

Muza means in Maltese inspiration. At the same time, it reminds of Muse, the Greek term for what makes possible the arts. Unique for this project initiated by the national museum is that it entails community curating. People or leading representatives of communities are asked to add to the collection. During the Parallel Session 3: Creative Revivors - Developing Creative Spaces Kristina Borg explained the meaning of Naqsam il-Muza.

Orientation Visit 4: Mandragg and Marsamxett areas with Marcia Grima


Conference Opening Session

Papers and presentations can be found through link:


King's Own Band Club


17.30 Opening by moderator & Valletta 2018 Foundation


      Graziella Vella, research coordinator at V18, the foundation responsible for the organisation of events leading up to and including all activities in 2018.


                                                             Natasja van den Berg: Moderator View details


18.00 Shawn Micallef The city is our public living room


Shawn Micallef: Editor, author, flâneur View details

From his own home town to Toronto, this resettlement made him approach the city very differently by simply walking even at three o'clock at night to discover new parts. This is how the comparison or reference to the Flaneur comes in.

Thanks to these excursions, and later on walking with others, he developed further ideas on how to promote the city. Small items reflect a special way of branding from T-shirts to cups. He and his friends finally opened a shop. When opening, they had nearly forgotten their magazine. Quickly they brought in a shelve. Normally they would break even and have a little bit of extra money to pay themselves, but the gain has been more of an intangible nature.

In his conclusions he showed the Maltese diaspora having settled down in Toronto. He mentioned that there are nearly as many Maltese living abroad as there are inhabitants on the island of Malta. His family originates from Malta, and whenever he returns especially in the summer, he wonders what it means to be a quasi tourist in a place supposed to be his former home.

18.30 Jonas Būchel Communities reinventing Europe - a chance for democracy?

Jonas Buchel: Urbanist, co-founder Urban Institute Riga: View details

He was most enthusiastic about the prospect of Valletta 2018 contributing to the making of Europe due to its emphasis upon communities. But there are problems which need to be dealt with. One of them are cars. He showed a place called Gunpoint where cars park below the fortification on a natural rock formation. Skillfully he focused on one figure: a man fishing. For Jonas this was the only local person making use of the natural place in a much appropriate way than parking simply your car there. The cars themselves make the rock formation nearly inaccessible. Definitely the cars pose a huge problem both for Valletta but also to all those coming in from other villages for work. Often they do so by getting up at four o'clock just to be sure that they do get one of the precious parking spots.

Jonas Buchel, originally from Germany, ended up in Riga to set up an urban institute where he is less a director since a flat hierarchical organisation exists there. Consequently when arriving in Valletta, he was astonished to see Christmas decoration depicting figures in the snow when there are exists a temperature during the day of 23 degrees.

19.00 Conference way forward

19.15 Welcome reception

A welcome reception open to all delegates will be held at King's Own Band Club.…


21. 30 Quintessence

The participants of the conferences were invited to experience an array of sounds that elicit powerful emotions. It is said that Renzo Spiteri allows with his solo performance to experience "an unparalleled sensitising atmosphere", that is an immersion in sound experience. He deconstructs sound and lets them become characters of a story. It allows for the discovery of other spaces through sound, spaces not usually seen or imagined. City dreams awaken to sound and become in the imagination dancing figures.

View details


Thursday 24th November 2016


08.30 Registration (continued) & welcome coffee at King's Own Band Club


  Maltese going to work early in the morning with some getting up at 4 o'clock in order to catch a parking spot


Plenary Session 1

09.00 Introduction by moderator

09.10 Tania El Khoury The Audience Will Witness



As an artist, she seeks to make visible what the public has chosen to ignore until now in Beirut.

The key question in her mind is about the relationship between the arts and politics. In one video, she showed her action along the coastline of Beirut. She had mapped to whom belonged the properties as it turned out to be politicians in alliance with investment companies. Their properties ended up cutting off people from the access to the sea. There do exist zoning laws in Lebanon, but as long as there is no full public attention given to who violates them, nothing shall be done about it.

Of interest is that her mother upon seeing her action while wearing but a bathing suit and sitting in a boat along with others called it not an artistic performance, but a protest. Tania stated she had nothing against it since it was shown on television and therefore allowed for addressing a larger audience with the issues of concern about what happens along the water front of Beirut. It touches, however, upon the difference between being an artist and a political activist. Always this provokes a misunderstanding when reference is being made especially in European capitals and their respective cultural institutes to 'political art' or 'political artist'. When the playwright Meriam Bousselmi [Tunisia] talked at the Literatur Festival in Berlin (9.9.2016) under the theme »All seasons are good for writing« about the act of writing as subjected to political circumstances, she did not wish to be called a political artist. The arts are far more than that. Naturally when confronting censorship and repression in the freedom of expression - for example, her play bringing on stage women as well as men to sing songs of marriage and of religious tradition, that was too much for the authorities as if an insult to religion, and hence it was taken immediately off the stage the next day - it appears to be a political act. But this is clearly not the intention of artists like Tania El Khoury. This is a lesson to be learned in the West which likes to instrumentalize immediately artists which become known as if the voice of the opposition to the regime in power. Consequently it was interesting to observe throughout the conference what questions Tania posed especially to Nicolas Détrie, director of the "Yes We Camp" initiative. For she wanted to know to what extent this does lead to an instrumentalisation of cultural and artistic achievements and has nothing to do with building up a vibrant community capable of voicing itself vis a vis the authorities.

Tania El Khoury: Artist View details


09.40 Christian Dimmer Tokyo Transition: Citzen Urbanism in non-Western Contexts - hosted by the EU Japan Fest Committee




Christian Dimmer: Urbanist View details


10.10 Paolo Gerbaudo The Dispersed City and the Programmed Crowd


His theory about the crowd being formed in the digital age under quite other premises reminds of Ortega's theory of the masses which prompted Heidegger to denounce the collectivity of people not to be responsible nor innovative. While Heidegger was afraid of the people to be revolutionaries, Paolo Gerbaudo did not go as far as that. However, he did suggest the crowd as being voiceless since the individual will suddenly allow him- or herself to do in a crowd other things he or she would not allow to be done otherwise. Also the crowd is more than the individual and can unfold a force which simply pushes the individual on, thereby leaving him without a choice. Since most theoretical reflections have in mind recent events like the Arab Spring unfolding in Cairo, it is doubtful if such an abstract perception does justice to both the initial moment making people feel free to demonstrate their wish for democracy in a public space or what sophistication of organisational skills are behind use of the modern media to bring about such a historical outburst of energy.

Paolo Gerbaudo: Political & cultural sociologist View details


10.40 Coffee Break


11.00 Giuliana Fenech & Renzo Spiteri Quintessence: Exploring cities through sound and play


Renzo Spiteri and Giuliana Fenech: Co-Founders, Open Works Lab View details

In the introduction, it is said that

"Renzo and Giuliana's presentation considers everyday experiences of Valletta (in an argument that can be extended outwards to any city) through the lens and practice of sound and play. It considers how people are allowed to join in a creative process through which the mundane objects and sounds that surround us are woven into a story, told through words, music and digital technology."

Sounds begin with recalling how taxi drivers swear, and it continues with recalling the sound youth makes when strolling through the streets in excitement. Words and sounds begin then to intermingle due to a careful monitoring of the two sources of inspiration. At first all seems to be free from a definite script, even though Renzo and Guiliana have a well versed interplay. Then, it gets more difficult to follow this performance as the sound dominates by taking everything into abstract spheres. Whether it helps to reproduce everyday experiences of Valletta, may only be answered once it becomes clear through abstraction a sense of beauty can be found in the end. For that to experience, the listener must have patience since the sense of time finds no reference. In the absence of a rhythm, the crossing over from special to general lines of experiences are only helped along by Guiliana moving from swearing taxi drivers to swearing people. It is perhaps an unintended generalization but memory is confronted by such a puzzle. 

Daily experiences in Valletta would have to be something very specific such as the feeling of being closed in by walls and still be surprised what the interior of buildings reveal in terms of space. This can never to be suspected when passing by on the outside. Also the streets are filled by different kinds of movements, the tourists coming closer to what Shawn Mitcallef would call the 'Flaneur', but not necessarily in the tradition of Walter Benjamin, while those stepping out from work to fetch a sandwich linger for a while to chat with the shop keeper. The two converse with such a friendliness that an observant eye would suspect the beginning of a new social relationship. But this hardly the case since such friendliness underlines a basic social fact that in Valletta and Malta everyone knows everyone else. Such an identification pattern as to who is Maltese and belongs therefore to a larger community than the specific local one, that it is most difficult to capture in sound, but to make out such differences even the text based on word associations may not suffice.

It is not that the performance appropriates the theme or intention, but the degree of abstraction due to use of computer based composition leaves only space for the concrete when church bell like sounds can be heard. Since everything has to have a beginning and an end, the extension to which the sound can travel remains a mystery. Rather the temptation is to increase the sound as if to raise the voice, yet the two at the higher volume never coincide sufficiently to reproduce such an effect.

If that is deemed to be a prerequisite for making experiences, then let that be the artistic statement. Whether or not that invites others to participate is, however, questionable because there is an absence of rhythm which would translate, for example, the sounds stemming from rowing boats in the harbour to what can be heard when someone runs up stairs to be at work in time. In short, the sounds and text spoken seem to disappear in a big black hole as if everything is engulfed by one dominant impression of Valletta being the over arching feeling of belonging to one community.

11.40 Nicolas Détrie Yes We Camp - hosted by the Embassy of France in Malta


    Nicolas Détrie: Yes We Camp co-founder View details


12. 10 Panel discussion

12.40 Closing of plenary session 1

12.50 Networking lunch

13.50 Transfer to parallel session venues


14.10 Parallel Sessions

Parallel Session 1: Driving Seats - Community Driven Spaces

Ishani O'ConnorCreating a community-driven cultural hub with residents at the heart. The story of an urban arts development project housed in the Tennant’s Hall of the Draper housing estate in Elephant & Castle, central London

Giulia Lamoni & Margarida Brito AlvesHosting dinners in the street and other intrusive stories Intersections between public and private space in Contemporary Art

Tuba Dogu & Sevcan Sönmez  Curating urban memories in connecting communities


Parallel Session 2: Moving Walls - Community Contested Spaces

Jolene Mairs Dyer Women’s Vision from Across the Barricades: women’s political visualisation of post-conflict Belfast (not given)

Charles Xuereb Valletta: understanding its contested spaces and identity

Panagiotis VoulgarisVessels, A Floating Provider

Katharina RohdeReimagining public spaces and culture in times of crisis


Parallel Session 3: Creative Revivors - Developing Creative Spaces

Annemarie Mayo & Bethany ShepherdNarrative Environments in Creative Communities

Boram Lee - Artists against Gangnam-style gentrification

Kristina Borg - Naqsam il-Muza

Hatto FischerGuernica Youth – Use of Space as challenge for artists and youth alike


Parallel Session 4: City Starters - City Space as an Empowerment Tool

Marie BriguglioCommunity Fora - A case study

Guido RobazzaCo-creation of Temporary Interventions in Public Space as a Tool for Placemaking

Charles Quick - ‘Open to the Public’ - unlocking the city through public art



Parallel Session 5: Community - Online Community Spaces

Elisa Herrera AltamiranoMapping the ‘continuum body-city’ through runners’ experiences in Barcelona.

Melike Özmen - Sikisma: An information design project on the past, present and future of Ihlamur Area, Istanbul

William BondinPress Play: Empowering Creative Communities


15.40 Q&A & discussion

16.30 End of day 1


Dinner & Networking

Graziella Vella introducing the evening



           Part of the crowd at the evening dinner

The evening included stories of Refuge as part of an installation and short film screenings.

19.30 Stories of Refuge installation - Tania El Khoury View details

Stories of Refuge is an audio-video installation that tells the story of three Syrian asylum seekers who fled Syria and sought refuge in Munich, Germany. The participants were:  A twenty-six-year-old man who had been in Munich for seven months. He had not…


20.30 Tafal

Tafal is a collaborative project between ŻfinMalta and Valletta2018, whereby maritime memories documented during Qatt ma Ninsa 2014 were re-told through film in a collaboration between contemporary choreographers, dancers and filmmakers.  Barber to the Royals…

View details

20.30 L.O.M.L (short film)

Produced by Gilbert Calleja and Matthew Attard following a call for proposals for the Poetry on Film project, L.O.M.L. is based on Raymond Mahoney’s poem Tibqa’ Int. The film was made in collaboration with Mimi Cauchi. The poem revolves around love and desire…

View details

2030 Eleġija (short film)

Two women are held together by the emotional distance between them. Faced by the question of creating a new life, their relationship hangs in the balance. Eleġija is a short film by local filmmaker Kenneth Scicluna inspired from Doreen Micallef’s poems El…

View details


Friday 25th November 2016

08.30 Welcome coffee

09. 00 Panel conversation - Co-hosted by the Centre for Mediterranean Integration (CMI)

Promoting creativity in education and fostering youth inclusion within Mediterranean communities

Moderator: Giulia Marchesini, Center for Mediterranean Integration


Hatem Atallah

Executive Director, Anna Lindh Foundation

View details

Mourad Ezzine

Manager, Center for Mediterranean Integration

View details

Maria Pisani

Academic & activist

View details

Miriam Teuma

CEO, Aġenzija Żgħażagħ (National Youth Agency)

View details

A brief comment in retrospect:

My main affinity to V18 and its original bid book when applying for the ECoC title for 2018 was the finding that the youth wishes to have space where they can make mistakes, in order to learn. I am not sure after listening to the panel discussion as to where this youth dimension was still being upheld. I did miss the voice of the youth. There were none of them present. Also I found the concept of education in need to be connected much more to what is amiss in communities with regards to education, and vice versa what those working at university miss out when their journeys to find out what is happening in communities exhaust themselves in methodological questions. Here a most important question is but for whom do they produce these studies? Likewise there is a basic tendency to negate the knowledge being produced nowadays by universities. In some cases, this has led already to an epistemological revolt against the dominance of experts, think tanks and all kinds of policy advisors.

For instance, many people see in the case of handling the crisis in Greece a wrong approach since it amounts much more to a kind of punishment for the debt crisis and has led to tremendous suffrage on the part of the average Greek citizen. Despite substantial criticism of the neo liberal policy being applied, the European Commission and the European Council continue on the same path as mapped out especially by powerful member states like Germany but also Holland who put monetary discipline above everything else, and despite high rates of unemployment indicating the economies are no longer responding to conventional market rules and regulations. In the case of the Brexit vote, it was also a serious omission that universities adopted a neutral stance and kept out of the debate during the campaigns of both the remain and the exit camps. No wonder when no longer substantial arguments are heard.

11.00 Coffee Break

11.20 Transfer to parallel session venues

11.40 Parallel Sessions


Parallel Session 6: Driving Seats - Community Driven Spaces

Bahar DİncakmanCultural traces in the public spaces of Izmir: A study through Event Billboard and Poster Examples

Mitchell MillerArguing with the city: The Dialectogram as participatory artwork and site of debate.

Petra Jansa - Korso Krymska Festival: activism and emancipation of a local cultural community


Parallel Session 7: Moving Walls - Community Contested Spaces

Maria Hadjisoteriou, Sevina FloridouCurating the city: Potentials of temporary urban strategies

Jolene Mairs Dyer - Women's vision from across the barricades, women's political visualisation of post-conflict Belfast

Chris Karelse & Agustina Martire - Social and Spatial Capital in the Contested City: a socio-spatial framework for moving towards socially more inclusive post-conflict cities


Parallel Session 8: Creative Revivors - Developing Creative Spaces

Richard Hayes & Una Kealy - Community theatre and performing urban identities

Övgü Pelen Karelse - Tracing cultural regeneration in the transformation case of the Tophane site in Istanbul

Hiroshi Okano Botanical social design: Multi-cultural, multi-professional and multi-national learning by actors’ network


      Hiroshi Okano evaluating the conference


Parallel Session 9: City Starters - City Space as an Empowerment Tool

Lorena Vicini & Raphael GomideDeveloping identitites to improve the collective: an artistic work with a right to housing occupation in São Paulo

Andrea GibbonsSpace and the creation of connection: St Katharine’s Precinct, London.

Anni Ehlers & Silla Marie Mørch SieversSpaces for social inclusion


Parallel Session 10: Policity - Policy for Active Community Spaces

Jonathan Caruana Social Sustainability, Urban Regeneration and Postmodern Development approaches for Strait Street, Valletta.

Joseph Falzon - Regenerating creative spaces


12.50 Q&A & discussion

13.20 Transfer to King's Own Band Club

13.30 Lunch & closing session


14.30 Community Debate

16.30 Conclusions & reporting by moderators

17.00 End of day 2


19.30 A closing dinner held at the crypt of the Church of St Augustine, accompanied by a performance by musicians from the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra. View details



     Enjoying a meal, Glen Farrugia with ....


 Anna Arvanitaki and Bethany Shepherd


              Annemarie Mayo, Anna Arvanitaki, ..., Bethany Shepherd



 Ishani O'Connor speaking to Anna Arvanitaki


                   Anna Arvanitaki, Boram Lee

 New friendship


               The two from Antwerp and now living in Malta

 Carmel Cassar, Historian at University of Malta, and Glen Farrugia


                    Christabel Catania with a volunteer of V18


   Jonas Buchel in the middle


Saturday 26 November 2016 - Day of Departure

                     Anna Arvanitaki, Maria Hadjisoteriou, Sevina Floridou



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