Farah Makki

2017

From : Beirut
To: Valletta

Gewwa Barrra : A human geography for European cultural heritage beyond

Architecture, Interdisciplinary, Visual Arts

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How did this grant contribute to the realization of your project in regard to artistic exchange, local cultural development and/or the promotion of cultural diversity?

The Cimetta grant supported me in attending the Valletta conference on "Living Cities, Liveable Spaces: Placemaking & identity." It was a significant opportunity to get closer to the controversies and the debates about the role of heritage and local culture in planning the inclusive ECOCs. The issues of political interference and rejection by locals or the provocation of cultural clashes that witnessed the ECOCs history is leading today to question the process of mapping and branding local culture. What is the aim the European capital of culture? Is it to drag outside interest or to give the capital to its inhabitants? Some Ecocs have provoked unplanned gentrification processes leading to the urban displacement of locals and the erasure of the authentic spirit of a place. Is it the aim of the ECOCs? Some interventions during the conference showed how cultural and urban practices could be tailored to local talents and entrepreneurial energies to emphasize the existing welcoming infrastructure. Using city narratives, based on stories collected from the communities are an essential foundation for planning an integrated approach for cultural tourism.

How does exchange, networking and international contacts contribute to the development of your artistic and cultural project?

My travel from Beyrouth to Valletta to take part in the Living cities, Liveable spaces conference helped me in networking with several stakeholders working on challenges related to Culture and building the City image. This moment allowed me to map potential speakers/ practitioners for a future conference/workshop to be held in Lebanon to foster experience and knowledge transfer to locals about the means to use in approaching Culture as a mean for placemaking.

Can you elaborate on the learning and knowledge you have gained and shared throughout this experience?

The Valletta conference on "Living Cities, Liveable Spaces: Placemaking & identity" was a knowledge transfer opportunity to get closer to the challenges facing heritage mapping and city branding in the frame of ECOCs. I’ve got in touch with several questions I continuously raise during my practice as an urban thinker and actor working on mapping cultural heritage and the Co-creation of Urban Value. In the frame of the theory of change applied to city-making, is it be possible to foster Cultural revitalization or urban upgrading without using local knowledge and energies? Is it accurate to talk about branding a place or should we more use the co-building a cultural image that reflects the city communities? Recognizing the plurality of actors and audiences in mapping and promoting culture is becoming a crucial affair in urban placemaking. The conference was a moment to nurture my reflection regarding this dilemma and to get in with experiences revealing the concealed and unseen environments and stories of all.

Please indicate a link to your current work (website/facebook page)

http://www.urbego.org http://www.urbego.org




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