In-visible City is Bucharest’s concept in the race for the title of European Capital of Culture in 2021

In-visible City is Bucharest’s concept in the race for the title of European Capital of Culture in 2021


27 October, 2015

Today, October 27, 2015, Bucharest revealed the concept the city entered in its bid to the European Capital of Culture (ECoC) title in 2021 in a press conference that took place at ARCUB Gabroveni in the presence of interim Mayor, Mr. Ștefănel Dan Marin. Bucharest enters the competition for the ECoC title with the In-visibile City concept.


Bucharest is a city of contrasts, often conflictual on cultural, social and urban levels. A large part of the identity and the potential of the city are currently drowned, forgotten, unrealised and unimagined. Admitting the fragmented state of the city, the lack of connection with its citizens, as well as the general lack of trust, the In-visible City seeks to discover what unites the people of Bucharest and what makes them become involved in its transformation, in identifying and using the creative potential of the city, as well as the invisible power of culture as a tool for transforming the city, thus bringing its creative citizens at the centre of this transformation. Through all these, Bucharest2021 aims to make the invisible visible.


The programme’s concept will be developed on three thematic directions:

Lost and found. In this regard, projects will be developed so as to bring light upon the lost, forgotten, invisible history of the city and its inhabitants, to reactivate the collective memory of the Bucharest people, as well as lost ties with the Balkans and the rest of Europe. The programme’s theme aims to emotionally reconnect the city with its citizens and to reshape ties with Europe in the context of the 21st century.


Peripheries: inside and out. The periphery theme is thought out geographically and culturally. Bucharest is at the crossroads of the Balkans with Eastern Europe, and consists of a diverse mix of ethnic and minority groups. Projects built in this key aim to promote the city and make it accessible to its residents, removing invisible, physical or mental, barriers that now separate neighbourhoods, various communities and the obstacles that make the city inaccessible to certain marginalized groups.


Microtopias. Starting with the city’s fragmented structure, reflected in the public space, transport system, individualised arts scene, inhomogeneous cultural life, the Bucharest2021 programme proposes using existing creative energies in these micro-territories – groups of community activism, artistic and social, as well as a visible connection between them, to build a new network of cultural bridges.


„The European Capital of Culture candidacy is, for us, a responsibility, a return to ourselves with a great deal of sincerity: to take a frontal look at our problems and find solutions for the city, through culture. To surface the city’s creative potential. This project allows us to give Bucharest back to its citizens. To learn to be proud of Bucharest once again!”, said Mihaela Păun, ARCUB director.


Bucharest2021 Programme

If Bucharest is designated European Capital of Culture, the cultural programme for 2021 will be preceded by a series of cultural events programmed throughout 2017-2020.


Projects for the year 2021 will be collective and collaborative. Half of them will happen in public space, a quarter will unfold in temporary spaces and another quarter in traditional cultural spaces. Moreover, events will be split equally between the centre and the neighbourhoods. Mobile structures will be built for projects that will take place in unconventional spaces. The intention is to build a temporary and adaptable cultural infrastructure, that will add up to the existing one. The Bucharest2021 programme aims to attract five million visitors around 200-250 projects, that will include 50 events for each type of project.


The Bucharest2021 Budget

The financial projection for Bucharest2021 is 75 million euro. The estimate is based on a calculation of the level of investment needed to ensure a substantial program in terms of quality, diversity and geographic distribution.


It was decided to carry out a program of activities throughout the region and ensure investment in the cultural sector for a period of six years (2017-2022).


“I support and will support the city’s candidacy this year, especially in December, when I am sure we will get on the short list. It is important to know how to promote culture, in the institutions of culture and in administrative terms, the budgetary side, and I agree with this projection made until 2021. The funds will be assured from the our own budget, as forecasted. About 50% of funds will be provided by the Bucharest City Hall,” said interim Mayor, Mr. Ștefănel Dan Marin. “We will not do this only to win a competition. It is important for everyone to find solutions through which all citizens who live in the suburbs of Bucharest will have access to culture.”, he added.


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