European Capitals of Culture
The initiative exists since 1985, but it was first brought up in 1983 by Greek Minister of Culture Meline Mercouri. The initiative was designed to highlight the richness and diversity of cultures in Europe, celebrate the cultural features Europeans share, increase European citizens’ sense of belonging to a common cultural area and foster the contribution of culture to the development of cities. The chosen cities can also raise their international profile, enhance their image in the eyes of their inhabitants, breathe new life into a city’s culture and boost tourism.
Cities interested in participating submit a proposal for consideration, which is later reviewed by independent experts. The experts will make a short-list of cities, which will then be asked to submit a more detailed application. The European Capital of Culture will be formally designated four years before the actual year. The criteria for becoming Capital of Culture state that cities should prepare a cultural programme with a strong European dimension, which will be of interest to the citizens and will also, attract visitors from the whole country and Europe. The programme must have a lasting impact and contribute to the long-term development of the city. Four years are used for planning and preparing, while the panel of experts will be monitoring and advising the preparation. At the end of the preparation process, the panel can recommend the European Commission to pay the Melina Mercouri Prize (1.5 milion euros funded from the EU Creative Europe programme). So far, the European Commission published an evaluation report on the outcomes of the European Capitals of Culture, but since 2019 the cities will make the evaluations themselves and send it to the Commission.
The Port of Diversity
Rijeka applied in 2014 for the title with eight other Croatian cities and two years later in March 2016, Rijeka was announced, together with an Irish city Galway, as winners of European Capital of Culture 2020. The title of the programme is „The Port of Diversity“, aimed at creating a city of culture and creativity for Europe and the future. The planning of the whole event included seven program headings: 27 Neighbourhoods, Times of Power, Kitchen of Diversity, Children’s House, Lungomare Art, Dopolavoro and Sweet & Salt.
Find more information on official website here.
In March 2019 a promo video ‘Luka različitosti’ (eng: Port of Diversity) was presented in Art-Kino Rijeka. The video was made by a famous Croatian director Dalibor Matanić and in short time, the video caused different reactions – while some people loved it, others wanted it to be removed as soon as possible. The video is consisted of motives from Rijeka – you can hear a song by a band Johnatan from Rijeka, a girl wearing symbols of Paraf, band from Rijeka which played in the 70s, an astronaut representing a famous song by song writer Urban from Rijeka, a diver fighting the rainy days (since Rijeka is famous by its rainy days), etc. But one scene was controversial for many – it was a scene of a young man dancing in a ballet dress in ruined factories of Rijeka. Many attacked Matanić, saying he dedicated the video to promote transgender community. Despite the negative comments, the video is still online and many defended it saying that Rijeka is exatly that – a mixture of different diversities that live in a unity.