Asociación Cultural Todo por la praxis
Centre d'Art La Panera
La Saleta de la Panera (meal center)
Escola Municipal de Belles Arts Leandre Cristòfol
Some Lleida City Council departments are also partners: Culture Department, Education, Social Rights, Cooperation and Feminisms department and People's Rights Department.
The challenge faced by this intervention is the promotion of cultural democracy through participation and social inclusion of beneficiaries from a meal center in the old town in collaboration with other local cultural agents and institutions. The objective is to set up a collective project capable of generate new ways of performing, relating, dialoguing and showing critical subjectivities between citizens and culture through collective research and collaborative artistic practices.
The project is located in the old town of Lleida, Catalonia (140,000 inhabitants).
In the old town where the project is located, various communities with both social and economic vulnerabilities and with little cohesion between them. The neighbourhood’s urban degradation, the building’s bad condition and the loss of commercial and economic activity have led to a strong stigmatisation of this territory and its inhabitants. In addition, the neighborhood is facing a gentrification process that threatens to expel this fragile population. This situation demands a redistribution of social, cultural, economic, symbolic and community capitals in order to allow rightful democratic interventions and transformations of the communities' social, political and cultural environment.
In the idea, art is understood as production of collective knowledge that functions as developer of the communities' own cultural production while seeking a horizontal and inclusive wisdom exchange concerning the reality experienced by its participants and the means of production, memory and cultural reproductions that are meaningful for the community. It is not a hierarchical or welfare-based process nor does it seek the exclusive reproduction of local reality but its resignification and collective reconceptualization from the means and logics that contemporary art practices allow. It is based on the co-design of grassroot democratic devices and collective meaning construction in order to permeate the institutional practice through dialogue and co-production, democratizing its mechanisms.
The old town is diverse and includes several communities: catalan and spanish, gypsy, moroccan or east african, among others. There are two overlapping layers of the population that live in the neighbourhood. One more rooted and traditional with a more feminine and aged profile and one newer arrived a few years ago from abroad with a younger and more masculine profile. A third layer are the art students who come to the neighbourhood to study.
The project will be carried out in the meal center where different groups come looking for food: the homeless, seasonal workers in agriculture, families at risk of losing their homes, etc. The approach is to strengthen the links between these traditionally disarticulated layers with the canteen as a meeting point.
Starting with food as a connector between the meal center and the regional context, the process is divided in three components:
First, in order to create spaces of critical pedagogy together with users, learning communities are set as environments for collective research and horizontal exchange of knowledge.
Second, citizen laboratories based on co-design methodology for the development of collective projects are started. In these laboratories, other views, other relationships and other knowledge are generated from community designs.
The third line opens channels for sharing and communicating contents in a participatory manner through the Community Cabinet, a cultural device that functions as a physical and digital stand which provides visibility of the different developed processes
First of all, it is expected to have boosted the consolidation of an innovative cooperation process between communities and institutions through a strong citizen participation process, opening new channels and creating resilient tools continuous in time. Second, it is expected to have implemented learning methodologies where urban, spatial, cultural, social and economic dimensions have an important centrality and allow the installation of new capacities in the territory while strengthening replicability processes and sustainability beyond the project. Finally, it is expected to establish a new ‘based on public-social collaboration’ way of doing things in the local administration, re-elaborating the agreement framework between independent entities and cultural and social policies.
The project contribution to strengthening democracy of Europe is the reinforcement of the idea of nobody left behind. In a democratic Europe, we must ensure the right to culture
of all the inhabitants and pursue real and effective equality of opportunities. This is assured in the project through the opening of the doors of artistic creation and institutional practice to groups that normally have no access to it, enabling them to express, communicate and manifest their identity, making their problems visible and destigmatising their way of life.
Our involvement is motivated by our experience in processes where co-production and participation are essential for the transformation of the environment using tools such as collaborative artistic practices and urban, art and community mediation. On this occasion, we are particularly interested in the institutional cooperation dimension and the work with expanded artistic formats in different contexts of the city. Those allow the mediation processes to expand and go beyond, strengthening public-social cooperation through horizontal and inclusive exchange of knowledge, based on daily dialogue, role-playing and continuous negotiation between community, artists and institution for ideas, themes and projects to be developed.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Personnel costs 35000 EUR, Office expenses 5000 EUR, Travel and accommodation costs 3250 EUR, Communication 2500 EUR, Learning communities production 1500 EUR, Citizen laboratories production 3750 EUR, Collaborative practices service contracts 4500 EUR, Evaluation service contracts 1000 EUR Cabinet and cultural activities devices activities 2500 EUR
We want to contrast our idea with similar projects: museums openness to their surrounding context, art mediation, food based art projects, financing mechanisms for this type of process, etc.