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Cultural revival project for the city of Pila | Civic Europe
Community development

Cultural revival project for the city of Pila

City is not only a physical space but a social and cultural one. The knowledge of culture and history of one's own community enhances local identity and increases involvement in social life.


Who is behind this?

Tomasz Janczar

SEMiF Stowarzyszenie Edukcacji Medialnej i Filmowej


Who is joining forces?

The city council of Piła


Regionalne Centrum Kultury w Pile (Regional Cultural Center in Pila)



Idea pitch

We want to activate the residents to revive spirit of the city of Piła and to rediscover its identity. For the most part, it is inhabited by newcomers and foreign population, whose members are not willing to contribute to its social life. We'd like to make series of discussion panels in neighbourhoods and then city. We want to produce video memoirs in which the residents will share their stories and experiences. At the final stage there will be creation of a common digital archive of the city.

Where will your project idea take place?

The city of Pila (population of 75 thousand), Northern Greater Poland, Poland

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

We want to prevent the cultural disintegration of the residents.
- no historical and cultural elements related to the city, no emotional attitudes on part of the residents and no identification with the local community,
- suburbanisation, the residents with culture-making potential leave Piła before they start to contribute to the social life of Piła;
- progressive ghettoisation of space
- uncontrolled dispersion of the city – a very large surface, comparable to Paris, the quarters are very distant from one another and there is no territorial consistency
- residents leave for large urban centres far away from Piła in search of education, entertainment and culture,

Who are you doing it for?

We do it for the residents of Piła of today and tomorrow, who want to live, start their families, work and develop here, as well as for ourselves. We want to inspire other associations to bring people together and motivate them to contribute to local activity. An especially important factor for building civic activity on the local level is the use of endogenous assets, history of a specific location, local heritage and creation of the specific genius loci by the residents. Research shows that the knowledge of culture and history of one's own community significantly enhances local identity and, therefore, increases involvement in social life through the participation in grass-roots initiatives.

How do you plan to get there?

The first stage of the search for local social cohesion will be the search for the identification with the place; the second stage, will be to show the residents the cultural values of the city. The third and the last one – to keep the social and cultural capital of the place, its improvement and extension. We plan on: produce films and video memoirs in which the residents will share their stories, presenting few indigenous residents whose families settled in Piła in the 19th century and newcomers from Ukraine, engaging local artists or such who come from Piła in the project to perform in neighborhood areas (concerts and graffiti live act, with streaming live), a series of discussion panels (district & city levels) with interactive transmission in the internet and local TV.

What are the expected results?

Forming a strong bond between the residents and the city – integration of the individual into the community and strengthening civic cohesion. Co-creation of the new identity of the city and new social leaders. Consolidation of activities of multiple associations and neighbourhoods for one common cause. Respect and proper recording and promotion of the difficult Polish and German history and German cultural heritage. Decreased emigration from the city to other sites, also the neighbouring ones. Assimilation of foreign people, including the Ukrainians.

How does your idea strengthen active citizenship at a local and community level?

The knowledge of the location, the sense of continuation which stems from the history and identity of one's own place in the world, is a valuable element which strengthens civic cohesion.
- increased activity, awareness and local identity of the residents of Piła
- adoption of the multiculturalism of Piła – historically Polish and German and indication of the more important role of the Ukrainian population in the past years
- accentuation of the multiple religions and their denominations in Piła – both in the past and today – Catholics, Jews, Lutherans, Pentecostals, Protestants, Jehovah's Witnesses,
- development of system options for the cooperation of various communities to shape and improve civic awareness, especially including sustainable local partnerships

Why is this idea important to you?

We have prepared two historical docuseries about Greater Poland. They were created in cooperation with local authorities, institutions and residents. The productions were screened in local cinemas, schools and on the national TV. The screenings were accompanied by multiple meetings and lectures. We have always tried to make our activity meet the needs of the residents of Piła. Unfortunately, none of the projects was directly related to our city. Due to its complicated history, it is difficult to find a topic which would lend itself neatly to a project. It got us thinking and allowed us to ask questions about the cultural heritage and local identity of the residents of Piła and, therefore, causes for the lack of their involvement in active civic life on behalf of the community.

€ 45000,-

Total budget

€ 45000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

video production and live transmission 9 000,00 EUR
stage and sound system for small concerts 8 000,00 EUR
public relations 8 000,00 EUR
digital archive online 6 000,00 EUR
project managers & coordinators 4 000,00 EUR
graphic design 2 000,00 EUR
prints (posters, leaflets) 2 000,00 EUR
art materials 2 000,00 EUR
legal support 1 500,00 EUR
office expenses and room rentals 1 500,00 EUR
accounting services 1 000,00 EUR

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

We had a problem with plenty of ideas and a lack of characters to fill gaps. Our project, as our city, has a large surface but we have to select just the best and most important concepts. We put only approx. 50% here, so it may looks chaotic and underdeveloped.


Stowarzyszenie Edukacji Medialnej i Filmowej SEMiF

Idea created on May 24, 2020
Last edit on May 26, 2020

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