ForwArt activities
The occassion of the UIA officer Isabella Schneble's visit to Tilburg North provided an opportunity to have a glimpse into the artistic activities within ForwArt. Local youth and artistic partners of ForwArt are engaged in a long-term process of talent development in many different ways. This photo essay shows the different facets of this process.

We are at the Ypelarpark community building, after a long day of meeting with different partners, officials and the citizens' meeting about the future use of the "Urban Factory" art centre and community building has just finished. It is well over 9pm as we set down in the lobby with 3 city officials, Maudy Keulemans, the dreamer of the ForwArt project, and leader of a city-wide innovation programme called PACT to strengthen the most challenged neighbourhoods, Ludo Hermans urban planner and Ulco Mes from the cultural department with a glass of beer to analyse the reactions of the meeting, to evaluate ForwArt's development, where we stand and how to manage the investment process. And mostly to figure out how to balance between seemingly opposing interests, to include all needed activities within the new physical space but also to earmark a specific area for cultural and art activities.  When we apart at 11pm as i bike back home towards Tilburg city centre I wonder if there is any other parts of Europe where  city officials are so enthusiastic and devoted about their work. 

Tilburg is one of the most pioneering municipalities in the Netherlands in developing methods for social integration. ForwArt is one of the flagship projects in this innovative spirit, which offers youth at risk from the area of North Tilburg wider perspecitves and alternative, more self-satisfying pathways.  Culture for the project ForwArt and for the city of Tilburg is understood as the process of discovering, strengthening and exhibiting the identity of oneself. Thus while all project partners have a key role in the social transformation of the area the role of the partners from the art scene is essential.

Het Zuidelijk Toneel, Corpo Maquina and Fashion Clash have been working with youngsters week-by-week to create new performances, new shows and new creative outputs. During the workshops the young people experience, design, build up relationships and trust in others and in themselves. And most importantly they build up their self esteem. The workshop at Verdiplein and the gym at Belaveld are providing room for experimentation and a safe environment for trial and error.  

When Isabelle Schneble, UIA officer was planning her visit to the city of Tilburg, the partners of ForwArt became all very excited to show what were they working on. Thus the visit at the beginning of May became really packed for both Isabelle Schneble, the UIA project managers from Tilburg, and for the UIA Expert as well. We had a tour around Ypelaer park with Wesley Zwart explaining the process of planning the new art centre, had a visit to see the rehearsals of young children with the Corpo Maquina team in the gym of Belafeld, had a meeting with Marianne Linde, director for sustainable city Tilburg at the municipality, had an interesting discussion with Astrid Huijgen at Tranzo about the challenges of monitoring and evalution of such a soft and innovative project. We also visitied the art workshops at Verdiplein, where all the ForwArt activities started with the designation and refurbishment of the workshop, where now Het Zuidelijk Toneel (The Southern Theater Company) and FAshion Clash organises their weekly workshops.

Isabella summarised her experiences like this:

The art engagement approach of the ForwArt project is a new way to define the term culture. It aims to lead to diversity in cultural activities in particular in the type of performances and the representation of different classes of society. On the one hand youngsters can discover their talents and build up self-confidence to take different paths in the future. On the other hand social cohesion is strengthened and a creative community is developing in North Tilburg leading to more trust in each other as well as in public services.

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About this resource

Author
Zsuzsanna Kravalik
Project
Location
Tilburg, The Netherlands 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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