Creating new forms of participation and empowerment for the citizens of a European Capital of Culture

Monday, 17 November 2014: Riga, Hotel Astor, Meierovica Blvd. 10

Every year the European Union highlights two European Capitals of Culture (ECoC) to foster the cultural heritage and the future development of these designated cities on a European dimension.

Already in the preparatory period, the selected cities will analyze their outstanding features in terms of historical background and the environmental, economical and social context of the cities and the region. What are the ingredients for creating a special showcase of the cities' characteristics? What is the golden thread for the storytelling and creativity of these cities? What could have a sustainable, long lasting impact after the European Capital of Culture?

Riga, ECoC 2014, have developed the concept “Tu un tagad”, that means - You now. It is an invitation to the every citizen of Riga to create and to participate in the processes and events in the city, also to take over an active role of creative city making. It is very important to change the understanding of the culture consumption.

Which tools can digital cultures and technologies provide to facilitate the public involvement and to support a bottom-up infrastructure in European Capital of Cultures?

Riga 2014 wants to encourage a local dialogue and exchange as well as present initiatives like 'Connecting Cities', which will furthermore involve the citizens in a translocal dialogue with other European citizens. 'Connecting Cities' is a EU funded artistic research project that builds up a European and worldwide network of media facades and projection walls as platforms and forums for the public audience.

Riga 2014 is partner of the Connecting Cities Network and will host the European Capital of Culture Conference on November 17th.

The conference will focus on the methodology and strategy of how to foster an intercultural dialogue between European citizens by using digital technologies. Based on the experience from the previous and current European Capital of Cultures, we will discuss the potential of the use of digital technologies in the future European Capital of Cultures and possible challenges we will face.

The European community is divers and versatile, a contributing factor is the many different cities and their unique cultures. Nowadays, European cities have become global communities where each citizen understands his or herself as not only a national citizen but also as a transnational citizen. A core issue these cities face, is how to create a democratic and European understanding by empowering the citizens in participatory events. Most people in this day and age are heavily reliant on their mobile devices, making urban screens and media facades serve as new community platforms that encourage city inhabitants to actively and conjointly shape the urban space into a common ground for active citizenship.


10.00 - 10.30 Welcome
by Diana Civle, head of Riga 2014
by Karel Barták, coordinator of Creative Europe
by Susa Pop, initiator of the Connecting Cities Network

10.30 - 11.00 Keynote Speech
Marc Piesbergen Creative City Making

11.00 - 11.15 Coffee break

11.15 - 13.00 Panel discussion
How can digital cultures foster engagement of the public audience at European Capitals of Culture?    
Marc Piesbergen
Karel Barták
Diana Civle
moderated by Neil Peterson, including Q&A

13.00 - 14.00 Lunch break

14.00 - 14.30 Keynote Speech
Daniel Latorre, PPS New York, Placemaking expert

14.30 - 16.30
Panel discussion: Which strategies and methods contribute to a lively placemaking and identity building beyond the European Capital of Culture?
Pascal Keiser
Rolf Noras
Daniel Latorre
Moritz Behrens
moderated by Susa Pop, including Q&A

16.30 - 17.00 Short presentation of Staro Riga festival of light program
Mārcis Gulbis

17.00 - 19.00 Come together / reception
Wine & Snack

19.00 - 20.00 Guided Curator's tour to the Staro Riga Festival of Light & Connecting Cities Projects

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