Our biggest UrbCulturalPlanning project event of this year – the Conference “Urban Transformation through Art and Culture” on July 4th – 6th July 2019 in Kiel, Germany, brought together some 170 participants from Germany, Poland, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Denmark, Sweden, Russia, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Romania, Italy, Brazil and the UK. It was a meeting time of art and city planning as well as other specialists, providing presentations of the leading professionals and experts, valuable insights and ideas along with the time for debate.
For three days dozens of distinguished leaders and experts presented their opinions on the most touching issues of cultural planning and beyond. Keynotes were given by Charles Landry (UK), the author of the “Creative City” and Prof. Markus Bader (DE), an architect and the co-founder of Raumlabor who provided the theoretical cornerstones of the conference as well as Prof. Dr. Arne Zerbst (DE), the President of the Mathesius Academy of Fine Arts and Design (MKH) and Prof. Christan Teckert (AT, DE), the Professor of Spatial design Kiel, founder of the Office for Cognitive Urbanism.
The third day of the conference was introduced by the keynote of Tina Saaby (DK), the former Architect for Copenhagen City Council and Prof. Dr. Franco Bianchini (IT, UK), the founder and director of the Culture, Place and Policy Institute at the Hull University. Nine breakout sessions and workshops engaged participants in different angles of cultural planning: including artistic action and transformation, participation, engagement and activism, as well as more policy and planning related strategies and models. Panel discussions provided new perspectives and gave new insights to trigger change.
Enabling Neighborhoods – Creating Communities
Eight cases of Art and Culture driven Social Innovation from neighborhoods in the BSR Region were presented and discussed. The workshop focused on the shift from local activist groups to actual change in policy. The empirical source of knowledge was provided from the context of Riga (LV). The focus was on how to enable the creation of communities and the role of local neighborhoods. How to engage citizens? How urban resilience can be strengthened in a time of multiple crises? The workshop explored the potential of an “intentional transformation towards sustainability,” which is mainly bottom – up, driven by “unconventional alliances” (including between citizens and institutions) at the local level. The issue of transferability of the Riga experience was discussed in the Baltic context, where tradition of engagement does not build on traditions and requires additional commitment, and this is where a cultural planning approach is the way to go.
Cultural Activators for a vision of a Sustainable City
The role of the artists and creative practitioners in the development and sustenance of Sustainable, Creative Cities was the focus of the Workshop on culture and the arts. The workshop addressed the roles of artists and creative workers in the evolution of globalized cities, assessing how an “artistic mode of knowing” can contribute to a transition from creative cities to sustainable creative cities. The workshop was led by Sacha Kagan, a researcher and writer on the transdisciplinary perspective of „arts and (un)sustainability.”
Urban Walks in Kiel
A practical approach to cultural mapping was experienced through specific city walks, which were designed and conducted in cooperation with the Muthesius University of Fine Arts and Design (MKH), the City of Kiel as well as with other networks, working at the intersection of art and design and urban society. The participants had the possibility to select one out of several parallel 2,5 hours urban walks.