Civic curators group
On 21st February 2023 the Municipality of Almeria officially launched the activity of “Civic Curators - Social Laboratories for co-designing cultural activities”, which has been developing until December 2023.
The Civic Curators initiative is the most innovative and important experience of CAMINA: it aims to co-produce cultural projects through the involvement of Public Institutions, private organisations and citizens that work together in a participatory way to innovate the cultural sector in Almeria.

CAMINA through a cultural participative approach has co-created the Novel Collective Narrative of Almería’s Cultural Landscape through the active participation of experts and citizens living in Almería. The Novel Narrative has been the foundation element to shape the methodology of “civic curators”, the social laboratories for cultural co-designing aimed at co-creating and co-implementing innovative cultural programmes to be deployed in the three “cultural nodes” (Katiuska cinema, Museum Doña Pakyta and Mesón Gitano), located into the three districts of Almedina, La Chanca-Pescaderia and the Centre that the Municipality of Almeria has been regenerating through the project CAMINA and other initiatives. The cultural nodes will become lighthouses of the novel cultural approach promoted by CAMINA that actively engages all citizens in cultural participation. The Narrative also supported the design of a Cultural Circular Route (called Open-air City Museum) aimed at re-connecting the three targeted neighbourhoods of Almedina, La Chanca-Pescaderia and the Centre with the rest of the city, through physical and ICT solutions.

The “Civic Curators - Social Laboratories for co-designing cultural activities” match Public and Private Institutions with citizens and artists

“Civic curators” have been testing in Almeria an innovative approach to produce culture through co-creation. They involved local associations, cultural users and citizens to co-design the cultural programme (2023-2024) of Almeria, guided by CAMINA's cultural delivery partners.

Civic curators have the responsibility of co-creating and co-implementing cultural activities to be realised in the three “cultural nodes – lighthouses” located in the neighbourhoods that CAMINA is willing to regenerate and re-connect with the whole city of Almeria. The three “cultural nodes – lighthouses” are: the Katiuska cinema in La Chanca-Pescaderia, the Museum Doña Pakyta in the Centre and the Mesón Gitano in Almedina. The civic curators will co-design artistic and cultural initiatives to animate the urban public spaces of the three neighbourhoods, linking to the idea to transform the whole urban area in an Open-air City Museum.

Civic curators launch
The Civic Curators launch

The Civic Curators are six social laboratories for co-designing cultural activities, focusing on performative, fine and audio-visual arts.  A call for grant was launched by the Municipality of Almeria in November 2022 to select the members of civic curators. Thirteen were selected among twenty-two applicants, including local organisations and individuals, that participated as a single association or in consortium. The selected members were grouped in six laboratories, each of them guided by a CAMINA delivery partner.

The delivery partners working on culture have the responsibility to lead the work of civic curators with a role of mentors of cultural co-production. They are:

  • Fundación de Arte Ibañez Cosentino, that promotes fine arts exhibition, is the responsible of civic curator 1;
  • Junta de Andalucia - department of Alcazaba Cultural Heritage is the responsible of civic curator 2;
  • EMMA, Municipal School for Music and Arts , is the responsible of civic curator 3;
  • KUVER, audio-video producer, is the responsible of civic curator 4;
  • Diputación de Almería is the responsible of civic curator 5;
  • Junta de Andalucia - Andalusian Center of Photography has the responsibility of civic curator 6.

Moreover, Eptisa delivery partner is the coordinator of this activity, while the University of Almeria has the role of looking after the social objectives of the project and assessing the work of civic curators through a monitoring system active during the whole lifespan process.

The Novel Collective Narrative of Almería’s Cultural Landscape is the visioning scenario that has been inspiring the work of the civic curators.

For more information see the Journal 2 and zoom-in 1

 

A creative co-design process that involves youth, local communities and citizens.

The six Civic Curators have been meeting every week and have already shared objectives and drafted project ideas. A synthesis of the civic curators’ framework is provided follows:

CIVIC CURATOR

DELIVERY PARTNER, RESPONSABLE OF THE CIVIC CURATOR

CULTURAL NODE

LOCAL ORGANISATIONS AND COLLABORATORS

LOCAL ORGANISATIONS AND COLLABORATORS

1 Fundación de Arte Ibañez Cosentino (FAIC) Museo Doña Pakyta “YO SOY EL OTRO” association Artistic workshops and talks with artists
2 Junta de Andalucía - Conjunto Monumental de la Alcazaba Museo Doña Pakyta “ASOCIACIÓN SOCIO-CULTURAL LA GUAJIRA” in partnership with Clasijazz and the artist Julio Bejar Street performance and chorale
Route inspired by people’s story life
3 Escuela Municipal de Música y Artes (EMMA) Mesón Gitano “INDANZA” association in partnership with
 “A toda Vela” association
Dance performance with video mapping installation
Theatre performance to be realised in the cultural node Meson Gitano inspired by Almeria history
4 KUVER Producciones Audiovisuales (KUVER) Mesón Gitano “AMIGOS DE LA ALCAZABA DE ALMERÍA” cultural association in partnership with
“FEDERACIÓN PROVINCIAL DE PEÑAS FLAMENCAS ALMERÍA” and
“FEALTA FEDERACIÓN ALMERIENSE DE TEATRO AFICIONADO”
Theatre, dance and music performance inspired by Almeria history
Fifteen minutes video-documentary about the Ancient Almeria
5 Diputación de Almería Katiuska cinema ASOCIACIÓN LA OFICINA PRODUCCIONES CULTURALES with Evaristo Martínez and Francisco Luis Aguilar Training on Cinema and video-making for school students
Archive of extras that lived in La Chanca Pescaderia neighbourhood
Urban art performances
6 Junta de Andalucía – Centro Andaluz de Fotografía (CAF) Katiuska cinema ASOCIACIÓN CULTURAL GRUPO INDALO FOTO
ASOCIACIÓN CULTURAL COLECTIVO FOTOGRÁFICO DESENCUADRE
FUNDACIÓN MANUEL FALCES
Training for youth on photography through mobile devices
Photography exhibition

 

The activities promoted by the Civic curators aimed at engaging with the local population of Almeria with particular attention on the people living in the three targeted neighbourhoods.

Among others, a training on cinema and video-making for high school students was organised by the civic curator number five. The training held from January to June 2023, as a course of two hours a week in eight schools of Almeria, involving a total of 160 girls and boys. On the 9th of May 2023, in the occasion of Europe’s Day, 1-day workshop called “Cinema Lab” was organised for the attendants all together that had the opportunity to exchange and learn about others’ experiences. The training was a success because it was able to involve young people living in the targeted neighbourhoods and others from different districts of Almeria. It has been a starting experimentation of the “idea CAMINA” to reconnect people and neighbourhoods of Almeria through cultural initiatives.

Cinema training
A frame from the short video produced by students during the "Cinema training"

 

Piloting Civic curators with a permanent assessment mechanism

Civic Curators are piloting activities for Almeria. The Municipality did a great effort to trigger the participative approach to co-design cultural programmes. Before launching the call for grants, the Main Urban Authority and the delivery partners of CAMINA worked together to shape an adequate public procurement, allowing to engage with cultural and civic associations for being enrolled for working in a cultural collaborative dimension to perform cultural activities. This process took a long time because it was needed to review the local public procurement. Generally, the public procurement is launched to call for cultural proposals, where the budget includes projects and realisations of well described artistic or cultural interventions. In the case of the call for civic curators, participants are engaging and paid for working together, through the methodology of social laboratories to co-design the cultural programme and co-realise artistic initiatives, that have been not already shaped in the application, but will be the result of the collaborative workshops.

A monitoring programme has been set up to evaluate the ongoing process of civic curators and collect qualitative data of this experimentation. The University of Almeria (UAL) is responsible for monitoring and mentoring the work of civil curators with the aim to foster the development of cultural project ideas that must remain aligned with CAMINA's objectives. The evaluation is focused on recording the functioning of the laboratories, identifying the challenges and strengths that arise during the process. To meet this objective, two evaluation strategies have been designed:

1. Evaluation of the process based on the own observation of the UAL researchers

Eighteen indicators have been set up to monitor the good functioning of the Civic Curators. The UAL researchers participate at the working sessions of civic curators and at the end of the meeting, through the indicators, assess the work of the civic curator. These indicators are organised in four categories: (a) representativeness of all the members of the civic curator; (b) dynamism of the session, (c) emotional environment during the session, and (d) progress of the cultural production.

2. Evaluation of the process based on the perceptions of the civic curator members

A short online survey has been designed for civic curator members to be filled at the end of each working session. The survey is anonymous to encourage the free expression of opinions, but there is an algorithm that follows the opinions of the members to monitor the perceptions of each laboratory. The survey includes a likert scale questionnaire related to the perceptions of the participants about session effectiveness and cohesion and cooperation between members of the laboratory. In addition, two open-ended questions are included to provide the possibility to share difficulties and successes of the working session.

On the 15th of March 2023 it was organised in Turin a Culture and Cultural Heritage Cities Event organised by UIA experts in Cultural Heritage (Haris Biskos, Zsuzsa Kravalik, Chiara Lucchini, Levente Polyak, Ileana Toscano) aimed at connecting UIA Cultural Heritage cities and local experiences developed in Turin. This initiative was conceived as a side event of the Cities Forum organised by the European Commission in Turin on 16th -17th March 2023, that called Cities, Politicians, and urban practitioners to reflect about the Sustainable Urban Development of European cities.

The Culture and Cultural Heritage Cities Event consisted of a “walkshop”, ​​an itinerant study visit, to discover cultural initiatives around social districts of Turin, aiming at providing inspiration (and possible networking) for UIA cities and urban practitioners and a “talk” to share the experiences of UIA Cultural Heritage cities and local experiences of Turin.

Study visit
The study visit in Turin

The cities of Almeria, Halandri, Kosice, Ravenna, Tilburg, Ujbuda - Budapest funded by the Urban Initiative programme had the possibility to share their achievements, obstacles and possible upscaling processes. The Culture and Cultural Heritage Cities Event was an important occasion of dissemination and networking for all participants to make a step forward of possible collaborations after the end of project implementation.

talk
The talk on Culture and Cultural Heritage

 

About this resource

Author
Ileana Toscano, UIA expert
Project
Location
Almeria, Spain Small sized cities (50k > 250k)
About UIA
Urban Innovative Actions
Programme/Initiative
2014-2020

The Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) is a European Union initiative that provided funding to urban areas across Europe to test new and unproven solutions to urban challenges. The initiative had a total ERDF budget of €372 million for 2014-2020.

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