Le Rendez-vous de Aarhus
Thursday 31 August 2017

14-15 SEPTEMBER /2017

Throughout its [R]evolutionary year, LIKE - the network of European cities and regions for culture - organises 6 events with specific focus on four special issues to culture in Europe : solidary cooperation, multi-stakeholder governance, sustainable funding of culture and the future of European Capitals of Culture. After the first three events (Brussels, Lisbon and Leeds) and before visiting Paris in October and Berlin in November, LIKE will settle in Aarhus ECoC 2017 (Denmark) on September 14 & 15 for a critical assessment of the only EU cultural strategy oriented at LRAs : European Capitals of Culture (ECoCs).

As committed defenders of a Europe of territories and culture, the issue of European Capitals of Culture has always been close to the heart of the members of LIKE. What are the impacts of ECoCs on winning and losing cities – on communities and cultural actors on territories – on the EU itself?

As much as we highly value the beneficial impacts of ECoCs on winning LRAs, our network is all the more interested in a critical assessment of the policy and proposals to increase the scope of ECoCs' beneficial impacts. How to favour the collaboration and the dissemination of knowledge between winning cities and candidates, from the past, present and future candidates? Our objective: to give added meaning to ECoCs.

LRAs are warmly invited to contribute to those reflections during Le Rendez-vous d'Aarhus – what kind of Capitals for culture?, on 14 and 15 September 2017. The programme includes official presentations by Aarhus ECoC 2017 and related cultural activities, contributions by EU decision-makers, visit of Godsbanen as well as 5 thematic workshops during which participants will be encouraged to testify about their experiences.

Working language : English.


Thursday, September 14
@ Godsbanen (Skovgaardsgade 3, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark)

09:00   Welcome of participants (coffee, tea)

09:30   Welcoming words
Michaël Moglia, Chairman of LIKE

10:00   Presentation of Aarhus 2017
RETHINK: it is one of the main themes of Aarhus ECoC 2017 but also the guideline of Le Rendez-vous d'Aarhus – what kind of Capitals for Culture? To open our discussions, Aarhus ECoC 2017 will give us the pleasure to introduce the project they have been working on, thinking and rethinking for many years.

Organisation, strategy, documentation and legacy
Rina Valeur Simonsen, Head of Strategy and Operations Aarhus 2017

Programme of the ECOC Aarhus 2017
Trine Bang, Programme Coordinator, Aarhus 2017

11:00    Keynote 1
“How does the European Commission work with European cities and regions on cultural issues, and what are the prospects for the future? The exemple of European Capitals of Culture”
Sylvain Pasqua, Team Leader – Coordination European Capitals of Culture, DGEAC, European Commission

12:00     Networking Lunch
               @ Spiselauget

13:30     Workshops

/Workshop 1
“Rethinking the objectives of ECoCs: what are the expected outcomes when engaging in the contest?”
Animated by Dinah Clark, Programme Manager for Leeds2023 (UK)

City Council of Leeds (member of LIKE) was invited to animate the first workshop of Le Rendez-vous d'Aarhus, and they delegated Dinah Clark, member of the bidding team. Although the UK is negotiating its way out of the EU, without any security that UK cities will by entitled to continue running for ECoC in 2023, and within a general context of global distrust towards the EU, Leeds has maintained its bidding campaign. Why? What are the arguments that convinced Leeds to keep running? What are the expected outcomes of being ECoC? Are they taken into consideration in the objectives of the programme?

/Workshop 2
“Rethinking the scale and scope of ECoCs: a city, a region, a country, the EU?”
Animated by Lene Oester, Regional Manager of Aarhus 2017 (Denmark)

Including witnesses :
Harald Petermichl, Head of Culture, Municipality of Feldkirch (Austria)
Andrei Ando, Director of Stategy and Communication, Arad County Council (Romania)

Regional collaboration is key to the success and sustainability of Aarhus 2017. Aarhus 2017 is indeed more than solely the City of Aarhus – it has been thought and implemented jointly with 18 other municipalities of the Midtjylland Region. Notwithstanding selection requirements (that demand that one city only leads the bid), this will of rooting the ECoC in profound intercity cooperation changes not only the scale, but also the scope and the governance of the ECoC organisation. What were the reasons to make the bidding process even more complex that it already is when it is about one city? What have been the successes and failures in organising regional cooperation for Aarhus 2017? What has been the strategy for succeeding in making Aarhus 2017 a regional priority?

Cultural programme Aarhus 2017

17:30     About UP! presented by ProKK
              Association of Professional Artists and Artisans

Artists from Aarhus and Hamburg created and developed works for specific public places in Aarhus city. The artworks are exhibited both on street level and high above our heads, on the city’s rooftops, balconies, terraces, stairways, lamp posts, windows, etc., urging us to lift our gaze and look up while we will be walking around the city. Including the following artworks:

@Vester Halle

Havfruegrisen / Mermaid Pig”
@City Hall of Aarhus

“Bang - You’re sweet”
@Train Station

“Speak Up!”

19:15    The Chalk Factory by Mikhail Karikis
              @O Space

World premier of the new audio-visual installation by Mikhail Karikis: The Chalk Factory. Karikis’s practice embraces moving image, sound, performance, and other media, and emerges from his long-standing investigation of the voice as a political agent. He often collaborates with communities to orchestrate performances to camera in order to highlight alternative modes of human action and existence. The Chalk Factory looks at the cultural history of disability through the history of a Japanese chalk factory and a workers’ rebellion. The artwork is accompanied with debates and talks. It is presented at “O” Space, a temporary exhibition space on the sea.

20:00    Open participatory dinner
              This Red Door - UP! Edition
              @Institut for X / Godsbanen

Friday, September 15
@ Godsbanen (Skovgaardsgade 3, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark)

09:00     Welcome of participants (coffee, tea)

10:00     Continuation of Workshops

/Workshop 3
“Rethinking failure in ECoCs: how to overcome disappointment?”
Animated by Rarita Zbranca, Programme director of Cluj Cultural Centre (Romania)

The hazards of every competition: there are winners and losers. Gone, all these years of intense work, financial, political, and human investment? Or could we rethink the way unselected cities can deal with the failure? Cluj Cultural Centre, from unselected City of Cluj-Napoca 2021, has thought this over. They will tell us about the experience of the competition, give us insight into the potential setbacks and the resource they have needed to find to overcome the negative decision. Shall we give up on the implementation of the bidding programme after the decision is made? Does the negative decision really mean there is no benefit to the bidding process? How can unselected cities capitalise on those positive outcomes beyond the horizon of the selection?

/Workshop 4
“Rethinking competition: should we aim at incitement or inclusiveness?”
Animated by Graziella Vella, Research coordinator of Valletta 2018 Foundation (Malta)

Including witness:
Davor Buinjac, Policy Advisor, City of Ljubljiana (Slovenia)

Only after rethinking failure is it possible to grasp what competition brings up in terms of intercity relations. The day before, Aarhus 2017 will have told about intercity cooperation in the framework of their common bid. What about national pre-competitions? Since 2013 indeed, more than just one city per country can apply to become ECoC – the justification being that competition enhances the quality of the strategies and the programmes that are later presented to the selection panel. Is competition however only beneficial to the bidding cities? What kind of intercity relations does ECoC competition install, but deteriorated ones? After competing against each other for such long years, how do cities work to restore fruitful and positive relations?

13:30    Networking Lunch

14:30    Visit of Godsbanen & Exhibition IN&AT + Institute for X

Godsbanen, a former freight station, gathers many cultural operators as a cluster of Aarhus's cultural vibrancy. Two steps away from there, Institute for X concentrates in about ten pavilions, collectives of artists and civil society organisations. We will be visiting the two places in order to get an understanding of the relations they nurture.

Presented by San Sebastian 2016, Aarhus 2017, Paphos 2017 and Hull 2017

Engaging with people from across Europe provides us with a wonderful opportunity to see our cities and ourselves through the eyes of others. The In&At project has invited six photographers from San Sebastian, Hull, Paphos, and Aarhus to undertake a series of residencies in search of what the cities have in common, through their identities, poetry, and people. The result of the artists’ observations from these four corners of Europe are presented in a joint exhibition at Godsbanen.

16:00    Continuation and end of workshops

/Workshop 5
“Rethinking the link between ECoCs, communities and Europe: how do ECoCs engage with the European crisis of legitimacy?”
Animated by Imanol Galdos, Assistant Director of Donostia Kultura (Spain) (tbc)

More and more, culture is considered as an essential tool in resisting the europhobic wave that has been developing on the EU territory. Since culture is indeed capable of creating emotional attachment, the sector is increasingly responsible for creating “new narratives for Europe”. Is there a similar imperative for cities which actively engage in cultural issues through ECoCs? The latter do benefit from the "European" brand; but how do ECoCs give back to the EU? What is the place for Europe within European Capitals of Culture? How do cities engage with their European responsibility?

17:30    Conclusion and vote of the Statement of Aarhus

18:00    Friendly drinks