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Culture Next Conference

Elefsina, Greece
June 9-11, 2023
About Culture Next

Culture Next is an informal, friendly and relaxed network dedicated to mutual support and collaboration between European cities currently or formerly in candidacies for the European Capital of Culture title. 

Five years after its founding in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, Culture Next involves 29 cities on the continent. In 2021 the network received a grant from the Creative Europe programme of the European Commission to scale-up Culture Next and improve its capacity to work with more European cities.

About our Member Cities
Our members are cities or organizations representing various cities: former and future title holders, cities which continued their cultural programmes even without being selected as ECoCs and cities which intend to do this.
Many of our members represent cities which are current candidates, interested in developing European connection and sustainable cultural programmes which can be implemented independently of the jury decision.
About the Conference

Designed as a networking and inspiration space for cultural managers and public representatives in European cities, the Elefsina Conference is the perfect framework in which we will meet and connect with each other, share good practices and challenges that we are facing.

The 9th Culture Next Meeting will be held during SYNIKISMOI – A Festival, one of 2023 Eleusis key legacy projects, a festival that redefines the relationship between creator and viewer, focusing on the experiential dimension while pursuing a twofold action: the integration of art in contemporary society and the engagement of the community in contemporary art and beyond, promoting cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue and greater mutual understanding.

We highly recommend arriving earlier for Mystery 79 Beyond the Obvious Conference, the annual meeting of Culture Action Europe that will be hosted in Elefsina on 8th & 9th June 2023, with a focus on Culture for Social Well-being. All needed info is here.

Registration Open Until May 14, Midnight

Culture Next Full Member Cities can be represented by 1 or 2 participants on the Network’s expense (accommodation, meals, and conference costs included and a travel cap of 150 euros per person reimbursed). Accommodation will be supported for a maximum of 2 participants for 2 nights. 

Culture Next Observing Member Cities can be represented by 1 or 2 participants of their own travel, accommodation, and meals budget. Conference fees are covered by the Network’s budget.

Non-member cities can also register with 1 or 2 participants on their own travel, accommodation, and meals expense, and have to pay a conference fee of 250 euros per person. Participation in Culture Next Conference for non-members is only possible once, then they are invited to apply for membership if interested in future conferences and other Network activities.

Registrations are open until May 14 at midnight (CET).

Details about accommodation options, transfers and other logistics, as well as the final conference agenda will be sent after the registrations close.

This is the Conference Agenda
The conference per se takes place on June 10 (Saturday) and June 11 (Sunday). However, a gathering moment is planned for the evening of June 9 (Friday), so that we get to spend more time together. Welcome to the 9th Culture Next Conference.
June 9

17:30 - 18:00 Transfer from Siagas Beach Hotel
Address: Agioi Theodoroi 200 03 (in front of the hotel)

All conference participants who arrive at the Siaga Hotel before are transferred to Elefsina. The others are invited to join us directly to Elefsina, arriving on their own.

18.00 - 19:30 Reception drinks at Mikro Vissino Bar
Address: Nikolaidou 64, Elefsina 192 00

Mikro Vissino is a nice bar in Elefsina. We all meet there to join forces: the ones transferred from the Siagas Hotel, the ones who arrive a bit later and make it on their own to Elefsina and the ones already in Elefsina (such as the Board and the Executive Team members).

19:30 - 20:30 MYSTERY 38 Music From the Inside, Kalympaki neighbourhood
Address: Athanasiou ke Anastasiou Mouriki, Elefsina 192 00

Routes through the city’s communities/neighbourhoods featuring selected music coming from the houses, radiating into public space through doors and windows. A white plastic chair on a doorstep. An image enhanced by music from within. At least one tenant simply sat outside their home or stood at a window. Each route is planned
to culminate in a happening of some kind (musical or other), in a square or some other open space within each neighbourhood. Music is selected in partnership with the residents of the participating houses. The formulation of each route also constitutes a kind of musical composition. House − Story – Hero(ine) − Song: the route unfurls like a spool of thread leading from one house to the next.
Curation: Adrian Frieling

20:30 - 23:00 MYSTERY 49 Symposia, Kalympaki neighbourhood
Address: Sant Demeter Church Square, Spetson 24-26

Nutrition and food are some of the most important elements of cultural history; it’s not only what we eat, but how we eat it. From the selection of raw material and the journey it makes to reach our plate to the way we process and serve it, but also from the traditions, taboos, conditions of coexistence and conversations that accompany our meals, one can draw valuable conclusions about ourselves and our lives. Or, as Jean-François Bergier says, time and geometry, goods and people – it is all reflected on the plate. Through a series of activities in the form of extended public banquets enriched by local folk music, we focus on food and the cultural exchange that accompanies it. Each time, participants invited from the human geography of Elefsina draw inspiration from a specific theme and specific recipes from rich folkloric traditions. Mystery 49 Symposia is an opportunity to meet and eat together; to exchange gastronomic traditions, stories, and manners; to come a little closer to each other through our most unpretentious yet most sensuous daily habit. The activities are organised in collaboration with local folklore associations of Elefsina. 

CONCEPT & CURATION: 2023 Eleusis - General Artistic Department

In collaboration with the island folklore associations of Elefsina: the Elefsina “Archangel Michael” Symian Cultural Association, the Thriasian Plain Corfiote Union and “Saint Spyridon” of Megara, the “Saint Markella” Elefsina Chian Union, the “Archangel Paermiotis” Dodecanese Association of Elefsina.

23:30 - 00:00 Transfer to Siagas Beach Hotel
If you want to leave earlier or miss the transfer, being in on purpose or not, you can take a taxi

June 10

08:00 - 08:30 Transfer from Siagas Beach Hotel

08:30 - 09:00 Welcome Coffee at the Workers Union
Address: Workers Union, Charilaou 28

09:00 - 10:30 Introduction
Words from the Elefsina hosts and the CN management, presentation of the meeting’s agenda and objectives, round of hellos and presentations from the cities present, and a presentation of Elefsina and 2023 Eleusis cultural programme.
Moderator: Andras Farkas, Culture Next Executive Team.

10:30 - 12:00 Culture Next Network Plan
Updates and discussions on internal projects and network development

12:00 - 13:00 Lunch

13:00 - 14:00 Keynote speech: Beatriz Garcia on the Impact of ECoCs
A former chairperson of the ECoC Jury, Beatriz Garcia has been at the forefront of debates about culture-led urban regeneration since 1999. Her pioneering work on the cultural impact and legacy of mega-events has informed city strategists around the world, from Sydney to Liverpool and from Taipei to London.

14:00-14:30 Coffee Break

14:30 - 16:00 Workshops

#1: A cultural boost in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, with Marta Llobet, UCLG Committee on Culture
This workshop will present the interlinkages between culture and the SDGs, deepening the role of culture as an enabler of sustainable people-centred development. An innovative analysis on the positive and negative interaction of cultural elements in the SDGs will be presented as an approach for the design and implementation of rights-based sustainable cultural policies, but also to show, synthetically, how strongly cultural actions, programmes and policies influence the achievement of the SDGs. During the workshop, participants will have the opportunity to discuss and exchange local initiatives related to the topic.

#2: International mobility today: exploring mobility challenges and promoting mobility schemes, with Fanny Bouquerel, Roberto Cimetta Fund
This session will be articulated into two parts: it will first give the opportunity to introduce the activities of the Roberto Cimetta Fund, which supports cultural mobility across the Mediterranean area. Drawing on its "Manifesto for the mobility of artists and culture professionals in the Mediterranean and worldwide" (https://www.cimettafund.org/blog/2022/11/28/manifeste-en-faveur-de-la-mobilite/) we will address some major issues that are challenging mobility today in the aftermath of the pandemic, with a focus on sustainable mobility and ways to promote inclusive mobilities. The second part will be dedicated to practical ways to translate these issues into mobility schemes - participants will be welcome to share examples, questions and challenges they have met to design and/or answer mobility schemes.

16:00 - 16:30 Sharing after workshops

16:30 - 20:00 Walk around the city by 2023 Eleusis team
The walk will introduce to the CN network’s members the concept, philosophy and mission of the 2023 Eleusis “Mysteries of Transition”. Its Mysteries focus on three distinct and interconnected central programme themes – People | Society, Environment, and Labour – reflecting the unique features of the city and the contemporary challenges facing both Elefsina and Europe. Therefore, through the artistic programme, the city is led away from its prevailing public perception as a disadvantaged industrial city and into its next phase, strengthening its position on the cultural map at a regional, national, and international level. The Walks compose the multiplicity of narratives and collective experience in the city, with the different elements of the urban landscape and the works included in 2023 Eleusis programme.

20:00 - 21:00 Visit at Mystery 144 and Mystery 142
MYSTERY 144 Leave What You Loved Once, Canteen Square / Fonias

"Leave What You Loved Once" is an interactive installation that invites the public to contribute personal objects they no longer cherish. Composed of transparent cell box units, it creates a floating display against the backdrop of Elefsina, allowing the objects and the landscape to become the artwork themselves. Asking people to let go of things, is a symbolic action with multilayered meanings. It captures objects in the moment of transitioning from their functional, individually-owned, indoor existence to the public domain, sparing them from becoming trash. The growing collection of personal objects becomes a monument hosting the leftovers of society and a symbol of coexistence across divergent entities. Locals and visitors are encouraged to participate in a collective action, creating a mélange of kilometer-zero objects and ones coming from afar. "Leave What You Loved Once" aspires to touch upon critical issues such as property, production, consumerism, democracy, changing Mediterranean landscapes, historical and contemporary remains and current environmental and anthropological crises. A call for collaboration and inclusivity, prompting participants and viewers to contemplate and reexamine the relationship with the material world, inviting us to recognize the potential for new histories and narratives through the objects we leave behind.

ARTIST: Elena Demetria Chantzis (GR)

PRODUCTION: Wild Reeds (Panos Giannikopoulos) (GR)

MYSTERY 142 Oh So Now Eleusis Is Growing Wheat!, Filomila 3 (Karaiskaki & Kanellopoulou)

The subjects of this audio installation are the Arvanites of Elefsina, the awareness of their identity, and their contemptuous relations with other Arvanites, such as those from Corinth and Mandra. The work takes the idiomatic expression “grurë edhe Lepsina bëri” – or “Elefsina grew grain too” – as its point of departure. The work highlights the relationship with language and minorities in the context of contemporary Elefsina.

TEAM MEMBERS: Sofa Dona, Dimitris Theodoropoulos, Yoko, Elsa Kiourtsoglou, Alexia Sarantopoulou, Ilan Manouach, Nina Pappa
COLLABORATORS: Mihalis Eleftheriou (language transfer), Eirini Tountasaki (anthropologist)

21:00 - 23:00 Dinner at Stratos Restaurant
Address: Kanellopoulou & Miaouli 1

00:00 - 00:30 Transfer to Siagas Beach Hotel

June 11

09:00 - 09:30 Transfer from Siagas Hotel

09:30 - 10:00 Welcome coffee

10:00 - 11:00 Culture Next Network Plan
Updates and discussions on internal projects and network development

11:00 - 13:00 ECoC process workshops // CN Network projects
Representatives of different Culture Next member cities share their experiences and insights on different stages of the ECoC process/

#1 Bidding with Trencin 2026 and Oulu 2027
#2 Implementation with Matera 2019 and Leeds 2023
#3 Legacy with Leeuwarden 2018/2028 and Elefsina 2023

13:00 - 14:00 Lunch

14:00 - 15:00 Network member project pitch
10 pitches of 5 minutes each in which partners will present projects they are developing or plan to develop in the future and are interested in finding international partners.

15:00 - 16:30 Conclusions and goodbye words

16:30 - 18:00 Free time (visit the archeological site, have a drink…)

18:00 -19:00 Cultural visit 1: Special guided tour of MYSTERY 139 Alienation by the local photographer Vangelis Gkinis, Leonidas Kanellopoulos Exhibition Centre Indoor Space

Alienation is a photographic project on the attrition/disaffection of working people in Greece. In the 21st century, physical wear goes together with disaffection as a result of workers’ alienation from their task, which leads to alienation  from other people and ultimately from themselves. The project researches working peoples’ physical wear: the dozens of professional ailments and workplace accidents as the price paid by labour whose aim is to produce the tangible, intellectual and moral goods required to meet human needs. Vangelis Gkinis will travel all over the country to photograph workers in all main labour sectors, starting from heavy industry (energy, shipbuilding,
construction) and going all the way to contemporary professions such as sales, telecommunications, retail, hospitality, etc. The workers’ photographic portraits will be accompanied by photos of work areas as well as the workers’ living spaces, and/ or photos of their personal possessions. Once the research is finished, the material will be presented in an exhibition as well as in the form of posters in the city’s public spaces.

PHOTOGRAPHER: Vangelis Gkinis (GR)
TEXT BY: Maria Paschalidou
LINE PRODUCTION: Christina Kalligianni (GR)

19:00 - 20:00 Cultural Visit 2: Visit of MYSTERY 134 Persephone, the Red Carpet, Youth Park

A work of urban scenography and social art to be rolled out in Elefsina in June 2023 with a view to revealing the possibilities for transitioning from a fractured city – in
terms of its history, urban fabric, and social tissue – to a cohesive city capable of dreaming about its future. By stirring up primal myths within the imaginations of local residents via the contemporary challenges facing an industrial city, and by fostering public participation, the work seeks to reconcile the future with the past, acting as a model for similar European cities with comparable attributes. The red carpet – 40 metres long and 1.5 metres wide – functions in such a way as to connect with the symbolism of grandeur and formality while also differentiating itself from such aspects, transforming into a democratic symbol while still maintaining its artistic sanctity. The work will be unfurled in various Elefsina settings and neighbourhoods, for five days at a time in each place, and will evolve into a “blank page” upon which the
emotions it generates will be recorded. It will be open to both local residents and people passing through, of all ages, genders, and ethnicities. The carpet’s arrival will be heralded by a fanfare composed by the trumpet player Andreas Polyzogopoulos, joyously galvanising each neighbourhood.

CONCEIVED & REALISED BY: Collektif MASI (GR, FR) (Madlen Anipsitaki, Simon Riedler)
MUSIC: Andreas Polyzogopoulos
SOUND ENGINEER: Yiannis Antipas

20:00 - XX:00 MYSTERY 69 Greekies, Nikolaidou Str. & I. Dragoumi Str.

The leads of this work – the Greekies – live within the broader urban fabric of a capital city expanding haphazardly at a dizzying pace, with little regard for the ecological footprint this development brings, creating pariahs and isolated individuals living on its margins. Audiences of this work are made eye-witnesses of unfamiliar landscapes and themes; as a result, further interactions are activated, creative public discourse with different population groups is mobilised, critical social issues are spotlighted, and inventive and innovative educational programmes are created. Døcumatism and Menelaos Karamaghiolis are forging a synchronic landscape of mysteries and social sculpture across the broader area around Elefsina with on-site screenings – a nomadic festival and alternative “museum” that “journey” freely, launching wide-ranging arts activities that create inventive ways of interacting with the public: inaccessible lead characters are made “guides” of a nomadic action/installation that activates in situ, is easily transportable, and combines on-site experience with traditional and new technologies that cancel out constraints

21:00 - 23:00 Dinner

23:30 - 00:00 Transfer to Siagas Beach Hotel

Useful information
Accommodation: Hotel Faro
Adress: Praça D. Francisco Gomes, nº 2, 8000-168 Faro Portugal
Website: www.hotelfaro.pt
Promo Code for CultureNext Reservations: CAPEUR21
Single room price: € 65.00
Price in a double room: € 75.00
Any current or former ECoC candidate city is eligible for participation, no matter if they were or not previously engaged with the Culture Next network. What matters is your interest to be engaged from now on.

Please use the form below to register for the Elefsina Conference before May 14th at midnight. 

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