Living in the Medieval City of Rhodes is challenging. The monument, an acknowledged World Heritage Site, consists of many layers of culture, needs, visible and invisible aspects. The way it lives, even the way it continues to stand depends on the conversations that need to happen amongst its residents, authorities, professionals, citizens, visitors – all who are hosted by it and all who one way or another contribute to its life now and in the future. We want to make these conversations possible.
This project will take place in the Medieval (Old) City of Rhodes on the island of Rhodes, Greece.
The Medieval City of Rhodes consists of the biggest inhabited Medieval Town in Europe. It is a place of multiple challenges ranging from the preservation of the monument (a whole town in its essence) to the quality of life for its residence and all stakeholders involved in its life, i.e. shopkeepers, visitors, public services, local authorities, citizens of Rhodes. In this city, constructed in a very different time in history and having undergone layers and layers of transition, we meet many paradoxes and we witness conflicting interests and rhythms, often resulting to further polarisation while interdepedence is key for the wellbeing of all. This is a UNESCO heritage site but it is also a vibrant living organism asking for active citizens engagement for contempory, collective solutions.
We are aiming at creating spaces of civic engagement within the Medieval city of Rhodes offering conditions for real dialogue, connection, listening, engagement beyond debating, creative interventions. The consultations we envision are fertile soil for respecting, cultivating and thriving of beauty, co-existence, awareness and creativity. Implementing this idea will involve tapping into memory and stories of the past as well as interacting and witnessing the present with care and vision. This project is creating various on site workshops where people meet, interact, have conversations, co-create. The workshops thus are spaces of engagement and participation, purposefully designed and skillfully hosted by integrating participatory leadership methodologies in this special local context.
This is a project involving multiple stakeholders for activating the community potential. This means a living human and non human system which seeks to highlight the interdepedence of all aspects for the thriving of all. Specifically the project is developed for the benefit as well as contribution of the following agents:
Residents of the Medieval City of Rhodes
Local Authorities (Municipality and Regional Government)
Public Services (i.e. various Archaelogy departments based in the Medieval City)
Tourist/visitors/Users of the Monument
Artists & Craftsmen/Women
Shopkeepers - Businesses
Public & Private Institutions
Museums & Sites
Pansions & Hosting Places
Restaurants & Cafes
Citizens of Rhodes
We start with ground work in the community with interviews and story telling being our key tools in the "Preparing the Ground" and creating "maps of social skills and potential" while conducting the needs analysis in parallel. Main phase is the Participatory Consultation phase in which tools from the Art of Hosting Methods are used, Participatory Conversations spaces take place (i.e. World Cafes, Warm Data sessions), Storytelling & collective story harvest, neighbourhood co-creative info events across the Medieval City take place.Next steps feedforward in a loop: collaborative projects aiming at quality of life, protection, creativity assisting regenerative economic activity at appropriate scale, artistic expression-productions, further civic engagement in public and private spaces.
The big picture of what the Medieval City is and can be will be owned by all its main owners, i.e. the residents, the business people, the visitors, the City of Rhodes as a whole.
This means the contact, communication and collaboration amongst these stakeholders will be be visibly better and more constructive resulting to an improvement of the quality of life in the Medieval City and its aesthetics. In other words when connection, awareness and conversation improve then authenticity and creativity shine in the community.
This project idea actually offers ways for authentic civic engagement through participation, dialogue, conversations that matter locally in this specific period of transition. It therefore provides a first hand experience of democracy, participatory leadership and decision making. It can showcase a unique example in this very special context which doesn’t lack complexity and yet it can highlight the community elements that can make itself reliant and thriving. It is a beautiful example of "Unity in Diversity" bringing forth European Heritage in a local and translocal context.
What motivates us is both the intensity of the issues and challenges as well as the power of participatory processes of consultation and participatory leadership as a vehicle for systemic change. This possibility of transforming relationships in the Medieval City in order to transform the whole of its field (from economic activity to the everyday life of the residents and the quality of visitors experience) is extraoridinary. Employing participatory consultation is key in bringing people together. It requires passion, rigour and commitment. We think we do "own" what it takes to motivate and move things forward, seeing and activating critical connections for catalysing change. This is an idea that radiates values and builds on values. And: The time is now.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Office expenses: 2000
Communication expenses: 1000
Design and Consultation Phase A: 5000
Design and Consultation Phase B: 10000
(includes harvesting/documentation and materials)
Participatory Events Organising Expenses: 1500
Personnel Costs: 4000
Public Relations: 1500
We would appreciate any feedback to all aspects of this idea. Particular interest in interventions in a living heritage context and bringing diverse stakeholders together to co-create not only solutions to problems but to synergise, enhance their collaboration especially in times of crisis.