Change through Culture through Change
Artistic director: Karl-Heinz Blomann
Project manager: Ralf Schumacher
Project coordination: Emschergenossenschaft
Project idea: Karl-Heinz Blomann, Dr. Arnold Voss, Ralf Schumacher
The development of the new Emscher valley is unique on the European scale. Major international cities such as Amsterdam, Lille and London are also working on enhancing the attractiveness of residential areas close to the water. In the meantime, exchange of experience and mutual consultation have led to the establishment of a closely meshed network. The regular exchanges of ideas on the local authority level and presentation of the results in regional forums set an example worthy of imitation within the European Union. In that context, it is of especial importance for ordinary citizens to be involved more closely in planning processes and in this way given the opportunity to contribute to the sustainable development of the environment right outside their front doors. The “Emscher-Zukunft” master plan is therefore being co-financed with the aid of various projects under the auspices of the InterReg IIIB structural aid fund, as an exemplary venture in the European context. Apart from the aspect of involving local citizens, the development of previously neglected locations is also considered worthy of promotion by the European Union.
The transformation of the region to which the Emscher conversion provides impetus is not only influenced by the values and philosophies of the people planning and implementing it, but it will also, in reverse, change the attitudes and behaviour of those affected by the associated material and non-material consequences.
The “emscher:reloaded” venture picks up this socio-cultural aspect of the Emscher conversion as a central theme and aims to deal with it artistically in various cultural projects.
The central message of the Cultural Capital application, “Change through Culture”, is understood here in the reverse direction and at the same time as a reciprocal interaction, as “Culture through Change”, capable of combining the region’s past and future in a special way and thus reinforcing its identity. In the light of the burdens and drawbacks of the structural change in the economy to which this region in particular was subjected in recent decades and will continue to be in the near future, the forward-looking side of the project must be emphasized. The culture of innovation, of individual and collective creativity and preparedness to take risks is to be linked in the development of the new Emscher valley with the tradition of neighbourly solidarity also rooted in this part of the region, so as to make them applicable to and conjoin them with other aspects of current and future change.
The history and future of migration and immigration and the various other European and intercontinental influences on the Ruhr area and the Emscher zone play an important part in this context. Art, as a non-linguistic and supra-linguistic form of individual and collective aesthetic expression, and also as a manifestation of social identities, is, as “crossculture”, to address the productive conflict between cultures and their mutual penetration or overlapping. With consideration to our twin Cultural Capitals Pécs and Istanbul, immigrants from eastern and southern Europe and Turkey will be at the centre of this intercultural dialogue.