Project 2004-2006, with the support of the European Union Culture 2000 Programme
For the historic monuments that are re-used for creative cultural and artistic projects and research, interaction with the local community plays an important role in forging links with the territory. This interaction underlines the social importance of these monuments today, especially for young people and the socially deprived. It also justifies other possible functions for the monuments intended to smaller social groups, as researchers and artists.
By local community, we mean all the people who live near monuments and relate to them in an emotional way linked to physical proximity and memory.
Eight European institutions from various countries around the continent that work on the re-use of historic monuments with complex contemporary projects wish to work together on this common dimension of their activity to expand their methodological approaches and improve their practice. Their aim is to render their work more socially efficient and share the results of their efforts with other professionals and the public.
These institutions are:
- Grand Hornu Images – colliery, 19th century – Belgium
- Schloss Bröllin – manor, 13th century – Germany
- Santa Maria la Real Foundation – monastery, 12th century – Spain
- Royaumont Foundation – abbey, 13th century – France
- Josef Karolyi Foundation – mansion, 19th century – Hungary
- Malopolska Culture Institute, with Nowa Huta – steelworkers’ estate, 20th century – Poland
- LandKunstLeben – landscape park, 18th century – Germany
- Association of Cultural Encounter Centres – head of network – France
- Contributing, in each partner country, to raising local awareness of the historical, intellectual and emotional links existing between the local communities and the monuments, and of the skills that people could bring today to protect and enhance the monuments; contributing to make them discover how important the same links are on other historic sites in Europe, at the same time different and similar.
- Sharing, amongst managers of historic monuments re-used for cultural, artistic and research projects in Europe, a whole range of well-known practices and new experiences concerning the relationship between a monument, its territory and the local community; defining common methodological approaches through sharing and assessing experiences specific to each site.
- Widely disseminating the results of these experiences, be it among professionals of monument re-use (methodology) or towards the general public (activities).
Each partner site has defined an original experience in order to foster its specific monument-local community relationship:
- Schloss Bröllin (Germany) : a theatrical project on popular memory and scientific memory of a monument.
- In the landscaped park of Steinhöfel (Germany) : artists and local communities to work together on the influence of the monument upon the development of local identity.
- Santa Maria la Real Foundation (Spain) : rural population to embrace and enhance Romanesque heritage.
- Malopolska Culture Institute (Poland): new population to revitalize the workers’ city of Nowa Huta, following the end of the steel industry.
- Joseph Karolyi Foundation (Hungary): the residents of the village of Fehérvárcsurgó will recreate the French formal garden in the park of the castle.
- The Contemporary Arts Museum, which opened on the site of Grand-Hornu in 2002 (Belgium), will conduct new experiences of interaction with local communities.
- The Royaumont Foundation (France) will investigate popular rumours about the monument in order to integrate them into an original artistic work.
While undertaking these experiences, the managers of the sites will choose whether they will improve their usual practices towards the local community or, on the contrary, if they will abandon them.
OBJECTIVE: improving and renewing the work carried on with local communities around monuments.
Details of Part 1: Encouraging local communities to make use of the historic sites
This project proposes a great diversity of approaches to involve the local communities, living close to the seven partner sites, in the revival of the monuments, and to impulse original and varied exchanges between these partners.
a) Grand-Hornu Images and the links between the historic monument and contemporary visual arts.
Grand-Hornu Images has, for almost 20 years now, raised the local community’s awareness of its daily environment and encouraged the residents to contribute to the new life of the former colliery. The association will undertake new experiences, in partnership with the new Museum of Contemporary Arts (MAC’s), operating on the same site. It includes the publication of a “local newspaper”, resulting from writing classes, in which neighbours of the site took part, and particularly, residents of the workers’ housing estate built to accommodate the families of the miners. A local writer will be invited to publish detective stories in this newspaper, with the solutions to riddles within the stories hidden in a detail from the monument or from an art work being exhibited. The residents of the area will contribute to enriching the plots of the stories. After two years of periodical publications, the association plans to publish a book (the group of authors will receive it for free) and make a video with testimonies.
TARGET AUDIENCE: the residents of the workers’ housing estate in Boussu, close to Grand-Hornu (Walloon Region, Belgium).
– end 2004 – Sept. 2005: collecting texts, editing and publishing the first four issues of the “Local Newspaper”.
– end 2005 – 06: editing and publishing the final book that summarizes the different phases of the project, launching and disseminating it during mid-December event; showing the residents the testimony-video.
b) International theatre research location at Schloss Bröllin and the erased memory.
Schloss Bröllin uses “tales” as a medium to deepen the relationships between the historic site and the local community. Several groups of social actors (the young and elderly, etc.) who live around the old manor house (used as an agricultural cooperative during GDR times and therefore almost forgotten as a heritage site), together with researchers or artists, will conduct several sociological surveys on “the memory of the place and the memory of the residents”. The results of this collect of information will be used as raw material by a group of artists, selected in the framework of this European project, for the creation of a theatre production that will deal with “popular collective memory versus the history of the monument”. At the same time, four workshops for young people will adapt the results of the research into amateur theatre plays, using new technologies. The whole process will be documented to feed the database (pictures, videos, publications).
TARGET AUDIENCE: the residents of the village of Bröllin and of the region of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Germany).
– end 2004 : preparation of the research and artistic work;
– Summer 2005 : theatre productions and later, workshops for young people; research, documentation.
c) Malopolska Cultural Institute and reconquering of Nowa Huta by its population
The Malopolska Cultural Institute has chosen the “new town” Nowa Huta (built in the 50s close to the steelworks of same name, near Krakow) as a “Living Heritage site”. The institute will set up three laboratories with some groups of residents of Nowa Huta – often unemployed steel workers-, and some residents of Krakow. The intention is to develop sustainable bonds between these two communities and to invite them to look differently at the historical and cultural heritage of Nowa Huta.
The first laboratory, entitled “Poster”, will produce a poster that will take into account Nowa Huta’s past and present. It will be designed as a business card for the new town. The second laboratory, entitled “Map”, will draw a map that will take account of the history and imagination of Nowa Huta. The map will be hung all over the city. The third laboratory, entitled “Agora in statu nascendi”, will occupy a small square – the so-called “market square”, situated in the neglected “Villas’ district”, in the historic centre of Nowa Huta, and will proceed in three phases.
A group of observers will stay on the spot to observe and take notes on the everyday life of the square. Lively exhibitions of pictures of Nowa Huta will be installed in turn every Sunday during 6 months, for which volunteer guardians will distribute interactive tickets. At the end of the project, a series of events will be proposed in turn: the residents of the area close to the square will be invited to open and expose suitcases that have not been opened since their arrival in Nowa Huta; an installation of several layers of maps will help better understand modern Nowa Huta.
TARGET AUDIENCE: the residents of Nowa Huta, especially those of the “Villas’ district”, Krakow, Poland.
– “Poster” Lab from October 2004 to March 2005;
– “Map” of the city and role-playing game from June 2005 to June 2006;
– “Market Square” from the beginning to the end, more intensively from April 2005 to June 2006.
d) Santa María la Real Foundation and the reviving of Romanesque heritage in a rural environment.
After extensive experience working on the relationship between Romanesque heritage and the rural environment (“Enciclopedia del Románico en Castilla y León”, 2002), the Santa María la Real Foundation is hoping to open up this heritage through the education of local intermediaries, in order to help the residents, mostly ageing, small farmers, regain their ability to protect and promote their heritage. Three pilot villages in different provinces have been selected for this project. Each of them has to choose a social and/or cultural actor to open a dialogue with the population on patrimonial values. Educative conversations and collection of information on the memory of this heritage (oral traditions, pilgrimages, popular and sacred music, private documents, old photographs) will contribute to creating new cultural productions (records, Miguel Martín’s pictures) that will enrich the exchange at European level.
The main aim is that the residents become aware of the heritage value of their surroundings and involved in the development of their cultural heritage, thus contributing to make it accessible and to preserve it. They will thus be invited to propose guided tours of the Romanesque heritage.
TARGET AUDIENCE: the rural community of the regions of Castilla y León and Cantabria, Spain
– October 2004-March 2005: training in the three villages;
– April-August 2005: first heritage guides, collection of material;
– November 2005-March 2006: evaluation and update of methods/population, collection of material to go on;
– March-August 2006: preparation of a photo exhibition in the region, info put online in the database.
e) Joseph Károlyi Foundation in Fehérvárcsurgó: the village, school and French formal gardens
As an extension of its cultural project (Cultural dialogue between Hungary and Western Europe), the Joseph Károlyi Foundation, based in Fehérvárcsurgó Castle (80 km from Budapest), is restoring its French formal garden – a prime location for walkers visiting the park. This will be done with the contribution of a group of young unemployed volunteers, who will receive practical training in gardening. This project will be followed by an exchange of experiences at European level (with associated partners such as Lavoûte-Chilhac and La Borie-en-Limousin, in France). Pictures taken by children from the local school (located in the park of the castle) to document this process, and research on French formal gardens in Central Europe, will be used for a didactic exhibition and for the report on the monument-population interaction, to be shared with the other partners of the project. The aim is to attract the attention of the underprivileged local population to the historical, cultural, tourist and economic value of the garden and of the park surrounding this 19th century castle.
TARGET AUDIENCE: the residents of the village of Fehérvárcsurgó, near Székesfehérvàr, Hungary
– end 2004-beginning 2005: theoretical training for gardeners, preparation of exhibition by pupils;
– May 2005: garden preparation work, exhibition on French formal gardens in Hungary;
– June 2005: beginning of garden restoration and pupils to capture process in photos;
– Summer 2006 : garden official opening and exhibition on its creation process.
f) LandKunstLeben Association and the past and present of landscape design
LandKunstLeben is working on the immaterial memory of the region of Brandeburg (between Berlin and the Polish boarder) and on the 250-year-old historic garden which sits adjacent to the protected landscaped park and the castle of Steinhöfel. This park will host a botanical and artistic garden in the coming years. In the framework of the aforementioned project, the “garden stories” play with the mythological and mental relationship between gardeners and artists. Next to the official history of the great gardens, there are also stories from oral culture, identified by customs and practices related to the gardener’s work and figure. International artists and garden specialists will deal with local stories, knowledge, customs and legends about the garden. They will work together with regional garden specialists and writers in collective workshops and will disseminate their results through conferences, an exhibition and a database. A common European approach of the various ways of involving local communities in re-using gardens on historic sites may also contribute to creating a new regional identity, though it is still difficult to feature it.
TARGET AUDIENCE: the regional public, Brandeburg, Germany; schools, artists
CALENDAR: mainly 2005 and end 2006
g) Royaumont Foundation and the legendary rumours about the monuments
The Foundation, established in the Royaumont Abbey, will investigate the memory of a heritage site through the project “Rumours about Royaumont”. Actually most of the residents from the neighbourhood are reluctant to visit the monument, an attitude that in turn nourishes many fantasies on what happens inside the building. This project will see the production of several artistic events based on materials collected together by a team of artists, scientists and residents from two local villages. They will collect testimonies that make rumours circulate and grow, and will conduct workshops entitled “Invent a Rumour” with two classes from the primary schools. The artistic-scientific team will analyse and select the richest elements and create small artistic works that will be shown to the public: street storytellers, fake guided tours, testimonies on the process.
TARGET AUDIENCE: mainly the residents from two local villages, Ile-de-France
– first encounters with residents – end 2004;
– artistic productions in 2005 then shown to the public, including the residents of the two local villages.
Each site will receive, within the framework of its own project, the visits of representatives of two other partner sites (professionals, social workers, artists). In return, its own representatives will travel to two other sites. Subsequently, the participants will question and share methodology and results. Evaluation meetings will allow them to identify what they have learnt from each experience, to find new ways of improving this knowledge and of disseminating it as well.
OBJECTIVE: exchange of knowledge and know-how in Europe; mobility for social actors, artists and professionals.
Details of Part 2: Know-how exchange between professionals; mobility of artists, social actors and professionals
1) During the project, each partner will welcome the managers and social actors or artists from two other partner sites, in order to develop a better understanding and critical analysis of each partner’s work. Each partner will in turn visit two other sites with social actors or artists involved in its own project. The participants of the overall project will exchange know-how, methodology and experiences, according to work issues, possible correspondences between partners and to the calendars of the local programmes.
After a few days of analysis on the spot, each site will organise an evaluation meeting gathering together the European partners and the regional public, in order to identify opportunities for future collaboration and to initiate common cultural, artistic and social projects.
Several groups of interest have already popped up, for example around storytelling (Bröllin, MIK, Santa Maria la Real and Fehérvárcsurgó) and around gardens. At this stage of the project, the Lavoûte-Chilhac Landscape Centre and the La Borie-en-Limousin European encounter centre, associated partners to the project, will also intervene.
2) A meeting gathering together the managers of the sites, open to the public, will be held in June 2006 at Fehérvárcsurgó Castle in Hungary. This meeting will put an end to the activities undertaken on the seven sites, and will be the occasion to make an intermediary evaluation of the exchanges, to present the technological platform to the people concerned by this tool, and to concretely prepare the simultaneous multimedia exhibition to be organised three months later (September 2006).
TARGET AUDIENCE: professionals, artists and social actors who are directly involved in the projects on the sites.
– April 2005-mai 2006: organisation of exchanges between partners;
– June 2006: Partners’ meeting in Fehérvárcsurgó (Hungary)
Meanwhile, the project leader (ACCR – France) will develop an interactive multimedia database entitled PROXIMA, in order to create a documentary platform. The participants themselves will collect the results of the various experiences conducted on each site, using any kind of support appropriate to the nature of the activities (text, sound, picture, film). The leaders of each project will directly update the database with these documentary materials (they will be provided specific training for the occasion). National languages are always present in the documents. English and French are used as common languages for a large diffusion.
The PROXIMA database will thus serve as a tool to store and share the records of these experiences (as far as methodology and contents are concerned).
OBJECTIVE: collecting, archiving and disseminating the popular collective memories related to the monuments, in order to share them at European level; training professionals in using new technologies and becoming familiar with this cheap and efficient tool for dissemination.
Details of Part 3: Documentary platform for network exchanges: the PROXIMA database
“PROXIMA” will be a platform for documentary exchange, built to address the need, expressed by the partners, for debate, for visibility and for exchange, on the theme of “heritage, memory and the local community”, and to reveal the cultural and social dimension of the projects. Accessible from each site and on the internet, this platform will document all the activities locally organised by the partners. It will present, detail and comment the partners’ projects, but will also include testimonies and documents giving a rich and diversified picture of local practices. Texts, films, pictures, music, visual and sound traces, written documents and commentaries will complement each other to provide a lively account of the monument-local community relationship. It will be a multilingual documentary database: the texts will be presented both in their original version (Polish, Spanish, French, German, Hungarian) and translated into English for a better dissemination.
Everybody will subsequently have access to all the documents. Each centre will directly and autonomously update the database with documents produced during the activities. Researchers, students, creators, cultural and social actors will have access through the internet to classified and indexed documents, and will have the opportunity to discover those European initiatives and to complement their research online. As the leader of the “PROXIMA” project, the ACCR, Association of cultural encounter centres, will coordinate the process by bringing the structural and technical basis of the platform, by supporting the partners with dialogue and training to help them develop their technical autonomy and also by following up the way they update the information. The whole project is a stage in the implementation of a sustainable tool for exchange and dialogue, basis for an open and dynamic collective memory of the heritage sites.
TARGET AUDIENCE: professionals, but also the general public interested in the heritage-population-monument relationship.
– October 2004 – defining the structure of the database (final specifications);
– From November 2004 to July 2005 – developing the platform: creating a remote update software for the partners, creating a software to store the documents received by the server, installing the server on the host site;
– From April to September 2005 – developing the graphical user interface, creating the website for online access;
– From July to September 2005 – training employees of each site in using update tools;
– From October 2005 to September 2006 – follow up and phone assistance.]
OBJECTIVE: using new technologies to better share the results of the experiences undertaken all over Europe with the general public; making people aware of the contemporary value of the monuments; encouraging the less advantaged social groups to make use of them. It is a two-year project (October 2004 / September 2006). The budget amounts to 389.110 euros.
Project prospects: PROXIMA
The PROXIMA database should logically continue to live after the end of the two-year project, as a sustainable tool for reflection and exchange, updated with new experiences. The long-term results that are expected are: for professional partners to widen the scope of their reflection to different social, historical and geographical contexts; for the European general public to better know the monuments and their lively relationships with local communities and therefore to better foster them; for monuments to be better integrated into contemporary life as support places for human memory, creative imagination and collective action.
There are lots of historic monuments in Europe and they are part of its identity. Today, it is important to consider these monuments as a chance rather than as a burden. The experiences that have been undertaken to develop an active relationship between monument and population are for this reason essential.
It is necessary to collectively and ambitiously reflect on these issues at European level, so that local activities can become even more relevant.
Details of Part 4: Simultaneous multimedia exhibitions at the sites
At the end of the two-year collaboration and on the occasion of the European Heritage Days in September 2006, the partners of the “PROXIMA” project will organise a common and simultaneous exhibition of the results of the local activities. Each partner centre will be a door to the exhibition, thanks to a multimedia installation that will allow a large audience to discover the projects that have locally been developed, as well as the experiences conducted in other partner centres in Europe.
For example, the Santa María la Real Foundation (Spain) will install a large screen on the square of the village, in order to show a multimedia projection (fixed and animated images, sound) of the documents gathered together in the “PROXIMUS” database. The event will bring together the professionals, the amateurs who were involved in the activities and the general public as well. It will be for all of them an opportunity to discover in a lively way what has been achieved around Santa María la Real, but also what the other six partners of the project have developed. The other sites will simultaneously propose a similar event. It is this simultaneity that will make the event.
The aim of this exhibition is to share with the general public and professionals of the Heritage sphere, the memory collected and the methodology developed during these two years,
- by each partner, through interaction with local communities,
- then at European level via exchanges between partners, implying social actors, artists and local communities.
More than in the frame of a classical itinerary exhibition, it will be then possible to share the experiences among the partner centres and with the public far beyond the six partner countries, and this for an unlimited period thanks to the internet. It will also be possible for others to make use of these experiences as “good practices”.
As project leader, the ACCR will ensure the promotion and the dissemination of the results, with the collaboration of every partner and as widely as possible.
TARGET AUDIENCE: the public at large and the local communities directly involved.
CALENDAR: June 2006 – preparation of the meeting in Fehérvárcsurgó (Hungary), September 2006 – exhibition.