Culture, Heritage and Diversity

 

Intercultural Cities programme launched: Intercultural Cities conference (1-3 May, Liverpool)

 

Do diverse cities really have an advantage over culturally homogeneous ones and what can they do to benefit from this advantage? Has multiculturalism failed and what is interculturalism actually about? How can the different cultures present in European cities be encouraged to interact, mix and hybridise to generate a richer common culture? What is the right balance between emphasising difference and celebrating common values? How can media, official political discourse and community actions help create a pluralistic city identity? How can we breed intercultural leadership and innovation? How can we bridge the gap between the insights of the thinkers with the practicality of the doers?

 

This is only a small sample of the questions debated at the Intercultural Cities conference held in Liverpool from 1 to 3 May.

 

The conference served as a launching pad for "Intercultural cities – governance and policies for diverse communities": www.coe.int/interculturalcities

 

"Although the project only started in January, it has already had an impact in Lublin", says Dariusz Jachimiwicz, Director of Culture in one of the pilot cities. "Discussions involving citizens and professionals have taken place about our vision as an intercultural city and minority groups now are more actively taking initiatives and participating in the city’s public and cultural life. And even more crucially, minority groups now feel they can legitimately re-appropriate their own culture and share it with others”.

 

Quotes from informal conference discussions:

 

"We really must find a way to reinvent ourselves as a part of a new economy".

 

"Spiritual inequity is now as great a problem for our cities as material inequity".

 

"Good intentions when dealing with someone’s culture always lead to distorted power relations".

 

"There is a limit to plurality and interculturality. Interculturality should not become a new religion".

 

The programme, presentations, photos and conference blog of the Intercultural cities Liverpool event, which was co-organised by Comedia and EUCLID, are accessible at http://interculturalcities.wordpress.com/