Ποιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do

Kids' Guernica and European Capitals of Culture

Takuya Kaneda donating a new canvas for a Kids' Guernica action in Wroclaw to Adam Chmielewski, director of Wroclaw 2016. This was done in the presence of the Alderman of the City of Gent, Rudy Coddens and participants of the Kids' Guernica conference which took place in Gent, February 18, 2011.

Adam Chmielewski with the canvas having the same size as Picasso's Guernica (7,8 x 3,5 m)

Photos: Kevin Cooper

Wroclaw 2016

Adam Chmieleski is proposing to include Kids' Guernica in the cultural program as a major event. This unique Polish city is biding to become in competition with four other Polish cities the European Capital of Culture in 2016. There is a strong connection for Kids' Guernica to that city since Picasso drew there his famous pigeon on a napkin while in that city and it is where the man responsible for the bombardment of Guernica came from. The dimension of redemption is an integral part of Wroclaw insofar there is kept in mind what happened in 1945 when the entire German population was forced out of the city and replaced by a Polish population. Redemption needs cultural sensitivity and therefore a moral practice of forgiveness as practical element within the peace dimension. Linkage between Ghent and Wroclaw shall be underlined by the one day conference in Ghent insofar as this city received children from Guernica after the bombardment in 1937 and which is told by a powerful film developed out of the story by Manuel Gonzales since his father was one of the 200 children adopted by a family in Ghent. Thus Manuel Gonzales grew up literally in 'the shadow of Guernica'.

For information about Wroclaw 2016 see http://www.wro2016.pl/en/



Kids' Guernica interacted with the ECCM Network at the Symposium "Productivity of Culture" held in Athens 2007 organised by Spyros Mercouris and Hatto Fischer (Poiein kai Prattein). At that time, Dusan Sidjanski made the recommendation all European Capitals of Culture should include in their program Kids' Guernica. He noted especially the mural of Nepal as an outstanding example of a new dialogue in need to be followed up, namely between urban and rural children. See



Framework conditions for ECoC- contributions to the Kids' Guernica and European Capitals of Culture conference, Feb. 18th, 2011

1. Experiences of Nicole Hohmann in Ruhr 2010 - within the concept 2 - 3 streets further

Nicole Hohmann reaccounted her experiences as a writer spending one entire year in Essen, her former place of childhood to which she returned after years of absence in order to join the concept of Jochen Gerz 2 - 3 streets over. It meant writing about changes observed over this entire year. It is another way of describing and evaluating the impact this one year of being a European Capital of Culture has upon a city and its people.
Note: her own text shall follow

2. Some further thoughts about ECoC after experiences in Linz '09

by Tanja Brandmayr

Die große Unverhältnismäßigkeit in Produktionsbedingungen: Das ist ein Hauptpunkt, der vor allem freie Kunst- und Kulturschaffende betrifft. Das betrifft einen grundsätzlichen Ausschluss von freien Gruppen, auf jeden Fall die einzelnen Projekte, und besonders den Aspekt der Nachhaltigkeit: In Linz wurde zB. immer mit Nachhaltigkeit argumentiert – andererseits auch gesagt, dass „kein Strukturaufbau“ gemacht wird (zB. Theater).

The huge disportionate relationships in conditions of production: This is a main point which concerns especially all free artists and creators of culture. That concerns a basic exclusion of free groups, in any case the individual projects, and especially the aspect of sustainability: in Linz it was argued, for example, with the term 'sustainability' - but on the other hand stated, that there shall be no 'structural development' (for example, of the theatre).

Vermittlung über den Auftrag der Kulturhauptstädte – auch über deren Geschichte, und auch bereits im Vorfeld: Es ist dringend notwendig, dass über den Sinn und vor allem die Geschichte von Kulturhauptstädten gute Vermittlung betrieben wird, die auch durchdringt. Das beinhaltet auch bereits die Kommunikation der jeweiligen Stadt im Vorfeld der Besetzung einer Intendanz. Bzw. sollten die Verantwortlichen der Intendanz auch kommunizieren, was sie ihren Kunst- Kulturschaffenden im Vorfeld versprochen haben. Beziehungsweise, da dies alles kommunikativ zu schnell eigene Dynamiken entwickelt, vermehrt auf Aufklärung über „Kulturhauptstadt“ setzen, als auf Versprechungen.

Communicaton about the task of Capitals of Culture - also about their history, and this already in the forefield: There is an urgent need, that a good mediation about the purpose and history of Capitals of Culture takes place, becomes an integral part of the new concept. That matters already also to how things are communicated by the respective city and this before even selecting an artistic director, or rather the responsible ones should communicate to the artistic director what they have promised beforehand to the artists and creators of culture. Or rather, since all of this communication tends to develop very quickly its own dynamics, to emphasize much more an enlightenment as to what 'Capital of Culture' entails, then to set everything on promises.

Ausschreibungen und Partizipation: Jeder kann alles einreichen – das klingt zwar im ersten Moment überaus offen, ist in Wahrheit aber nur eine zufällige Möglichkeit auf Teilnahme. Seitens der Intendanz, bzw. ihrer Verantwortlichen LeiterInnen der diversen Sparten müssten Kriterien und Vorstellungen vermittelt werden, in welche Richtungen die jeweilige Programmierung gehen könnte. Das wäre die echte Herausforderung für eine leitende Person und eine Auseinandersetzung mit Region und ihrer Kultur, die die Bezeichnung „Auseinandersetzung“ verdient. Einreichkriterien, die lauten „Jeder ist eingeladen, alles einzureichen“ setzt in Wahrheit weder Bedingungen und Rahmenbedingungen noch Kriterien für eine Teilnahme fest. Das verunmöglicht jede Nachvollziehbarkeit sind und führt beinahe unvermeidlich zu den tausendfach zitierten „Kommunikationsprobleme“, die eigentlich aber vorprogrammiert sind.

Call for projects and participation: Everyone can hand in everything - that sounds indeed at first to be quite open, however the truth of the matter is that it amounts to a mere coincidental possibility of participation. From the side of the artistic director or the responsible directors for the diverse categories (i.e. literature, performing arts, media etc.), there have to be communicated criteria and concepts, in order to indicate in which direction the respective program could head towards. That would be a truthful challenge for the responsible person and for coming to terms with the region and its culture, and deserve to be called 'coming to terms'. Criteria for submission which begin with "everyone is invited to hand in everything" do not pose as a matter of fact either conditions and the framework condition nor criteria for participation. That makes it impossible to follow what is happening and leads almost unavoidably to the thousand times quoted 'communication problems', which are factually pre-programmed.

Amikaler Ton: Das ist ein kleineres Ärgernis, das aber sehr bezeichnenderweise verschleiernd wirkt – im Sinne dessen, dass sich Kunst- und Kulturschaffende in den Dienst der gemeinsamen Sache stellen sollen, wenn es um den Prozess und die Ideenfindung geht. Letztlich aber dann über die Austeilung (oder Nicht-Austeilung) von Geldmittel zumeist sehr wenige (wenn nicht überhaupt nur ein einziger Intendant) entscheiden.

Tone of generosity: That is a small problem, but which masks significantly a great deal - in the sense that the artists and creators of culture should put themselves into the service of a common interest, when a matter of the process and finding of ideas. However, when in the final end it is decisive as to the distribution (or not distribution) of financial resources which are often decided upon by a few (when not indeed solely by one artistic director).

Kultur für Alle“ vs. „Kultur der Vielen“: Meiner Meinung nach DER Irrtum schlechthin, dass „viele“ zu „allen“ gemacht werden. Auch im Sinne des europäischen Leitsatzes soll es um Vielfalt gehen und nicht um ein fiktives „alle“, das letzten Endes nur gesichtslos sein kann. Vielfalt ist europäische Realität, die Vielheiten sind in den modernen Gesellschaften gesellschaftliche Realität. Das betrifft gerade auch die Kunst- und Kulturschaffenden vor Ort, deren Diversität ausgestellt werden muss – und nicht eine Vereinheitlichung im Sinne einer völlig leeren Vorstellung von „Internationalisierung“.

'Culture for all' compared with 'culture of the many': In my opinion it is THE mistake par excellence that 'many' is made into 'all'. According to the European guideline it should be a matter of diversity and not about a fictitious 'alll', which can remain in the end without any face. Diversity is European reality, the manifoldedness is in modern societies social reality. That concerns in particular the artists and creators of culture in particular places, whose diversity must be exhibited - and not a unificiation in the sense of a completely empty image of 'internationalisation'.

Das Bekenntnis zur Kunst: Sinngemäß möchte ich Godard zitieren, der gemeint hat dass „Kultur“ das Regelwerk repräsentiert, es jedoch in der „Kunst“ um den Bruch im Regelwerk geht. In diesem Zusammenhang wäre es besonders wichtig, nicht nur die Kulturinstitutionen einzubinden, sondern gerade den freien KünstlerInnen vor Ort Stimme zu verleihen – da sie aus dieser Position heraus besonders prädestiniert sind, zum Gelingen einer relevanten Programmierung beizutragen.

The commitment to the arts: here I wish to quote Godard directly who was of the opinion that 'art represents the regulatory work, nevertheless in the 'arts' it is a matter of breaking the rules. In this connection it would be especially important to include not only cultural institutions, but especially to give a voice to the local free artists - since they are in a special predestined position to contribute towards the success of a relevant program.

Linz 17.February 2011



Eventful Cities: Cultural Management and Urban Regeneration

Reference: Third study by Greg Richards and Bob Palmer in cooperation with Diane Dodd under the title of "Event Cities".

As cities become increasingly alike in their physical characteristics, how do they distinguish themselves in the global competition for resources, attention and investment? The answer increasingly seems to be – stage events. Organising or bidding for events has become a major industry worldwide. If you can't get the European Capital of Culture, then try for the World Design Capital, or the Olympic Games, or the World Cup.

This trend is underlined by the number of cities calling themselves ‘festival cities’, ‘cultural capitals’ or ‘eventful cities’: Seoul,  Montreal, Edinburgh, York, Edmonton, Dubai and a host of others all use such brands. The current competition to stage the European Capital of Culture (ECoC) in Spain in 2016 underlines the desirability of events. No fewer than 15 cities entered the race, six of whom (Burgos, Córdoba, Donostia-San Sebastián, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Segovia and Zaragoza) made it through to the second round, with final decision expected in mid 2011.

Why are events so popular with cities? Events seem to have become a quick fix for many of the problems cities face today: they generate media attention, build brand image, attract tourists, support the economy, develop social cohesion, increase cultural participation and infrastructure and can even regenerate large areas of the city. Unlike investments in architectural icons such as the Bilbao Guggenheim, events are usually cheaper to stage, they are more flexible and the theme can be changed from year to year. These are the kinds of benefits which will persuade cities to invest large sums of money in developing their event portfolios.

The book Eventful Cities: Cultural Management and Urban Revitalisation by Greg Richards and Robert Palmer takes an in-depth look at the way in which cities create events, and events in turn create cities. The basic argument of the book is that events must be seen as more than a one-off spectacle or a chance for citizens to party. Rather than thinking about events in isolation, they argue, cities need to think about the development of ‘eventfulness’ as part of the cultural DNA of the city.  If approached as part of a long-term strategy, events can provide a catalyst for re-thinking the city and its cultural and social life and making it a better place to live in.

Utilising their experience of organising and analysing events such as the ECoC (Robert Palmer was Director of the events staged in Glasgow in 1990 and Brussels in 2000), the authors explain how cities can go about creating new cultural programmes and developing them into effective tools for urban revitalisation. They consider issues such as programming, managing and marketing events, developing an event vision and strategy, measuring the impacts of events and legacy planning. They also identify a number of critical success factors for eventful cities, such as:

The authors stress there is no magic formula for developing the Eventful City, and each city really needs to start building an event programme from its own strengths and cultural identity. But with a more strategic approach, many cities could compete more successfully to stage to events such as the ECoC, and employ the resulting beneficial effects to improve the lives of their citizens as well as boosting the local economy.

Richards, Greg and Palmer, Robert (2010) Eventful Cities: Cultural Management and Urban Revitalisation. Elsevier, Oxford.


Interview with Greg Richards by Lidia Varbanova, Lab for Culture




Greg Richards

Department of Leisure Studies

Tilburg University

PO Box 90153

5000 LE Tilburg

The Netherlands

Tel +31-13-466-4069

Fax +31-13-466-3002


e-mail: G.W.Richards@uvt.nl

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