More than thirty years have passed since the organisation of the first “European City of Culture”, Athens, in 1985. What is the outcome of this operation launched with almost general indifference but which is now acclaimed by all the cities of the European Union? In fact, this assessment has not yet been made. Many reports have of course been produced by official bodies (cities, regions, European Commission…). They highlight the successes and positive impacts of the “capitals” on the territories that have hosted them, pointing out some limitations or objectives that have not been achieved. However, these reports are designed on a macro scale and are therefore not highlighting enough local issues. However, when we ask local actors, another face of the CECs appears, which is not only of celebration and satisfaction, but also one of frustration, contestation and resistance. This local reality also illustrates broader urban issues, such as the right to the city and to culture.
Five years after Mons 2015, the Université de Mons, the Université Libre de Bruxelles, the Marc Bloch Centre (Berlin) and the UCLouvain-FUCaM-Mons are organising an international conference in Mons on 22, 23 and 24 April 2020. The conference precisely intends to bring to light these “hidden sides” of the CECs, through three main objectives:
- Give a voice to critical actors, whatever their status and profession (alternative cultural operators, artists, architects, residents, researchers…), and have them interact with official actors;
- To question events with regard to the challenges specific to extremely diverse cities such as Mons, Brussels, Marseille, Lille, Essen (Ruhr) or Pecsz (Hungary);
- Collect original documentation made up of press articles, videos, films, blogs, etc.
However, it is not a question of being in a position of denunciation: what matters to us is much more to show and hear a plurality of voices, points of view and visions in order to reflect the extreme diversity and complexity that CECs represent.
Organising committee :
– Pierre Cornut, Faculté d’Architecture et d’Urbanisme, Université de Mons (UMONS)
– Tatiana Debroux, IGEAT, Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB)
– Boris Grésillon, Centre Marc Bloch, Berlin
– Fabienne Leloup, UCLouvain-FUCaM-Mons