PROJECT OF THE HEART OF EUROPE, HE- ART
2. EVENT: LARISSA (GREECE)
20th – 22nd June 2018
EVENT TITLE: CULTURAL TOURISM AND INTERCULTURAL DIALOGUE
WEDNESDAY, 20/6/2018, DAY 1: LOCATION MILL OF PAPPAS
09:15 Gathering in the hotel lobby.
09:30 Arrival of participants and guests to the location.
09:30 – 10:00 The welcoming speech by the representatives of the municipality, and a discussion about cultural tourism. In Larissa the representatives of the Heart of Europe project partners were first welcomed by the representatives of the Municipality of Larissa, Evangelia (Lia) Gkountroumpi and Maria Nikolaidou, who broadly presented the Greek legislation and the emerging tourism in the province, including Larissa, in the context of it. They presented the work of the committee, comprised of various associations, including organizations that take care of cultural heritage and in fact for the whole tourist offer, that is led by experts: including a professor from the University of Tourism and travel agency leaders. The deputy mayor of the Municipality of Larissa would participate in the implementation of the project in the next few days. A new Tourism Office was going to be set up, which will also take care of the implementation of the Heart of Europe project, He-art, which will be included in the strategy for the next five-year period, in which European programs, networks of cities, tourism and culture will be linked.
Anka Kolenc and Lovro Lah presented the initial thinking of the leading partner of the Association Theater Kolenc about cultural tourism: The phrase ‘cultural tourism’ has established itself over the last decade and has received numerous interpretations. In the Family Theater Kolenc we did not use it. Since 2000 we have been using the term touristical tour of the cultural heritage through art and nature. Since we started to take on the activity of tourist tours in our area, we were convinced that it is only logical that tours be defined in terms of content with cultural heritage, as it comprehensively covers the culture and lifestyle of each particular area. Only this contentual approach seemed to us to be a real option for greater understanding and acceptance of diversity at the international level. When we now comprise these two terms they, in spite of different interpretations, seem to us equal in substance, or, at least, very similar. The Heart Point of GEOSS is therefore also linked to cultural tourism.
Practical experience have shown us that creating a Heart Point is a project that must be lasting, if we want to achieve the mission of peace, connecting, compassion, acceptance of diversity, friendship …. that must be passed on to newer and newer generations. Therefore, we suggest that the completion of the first phase of the project, the part financed by EACEA, Europe for Citizens, be concluded with the signing of a memorandum on the permanent and sustainable cooperation of all partners in the Heart of Europe project, He-art. The noble qualities contained in the heartbeat are, by themselves, galvanizing, and provide a sustainable way of life: peace, love for the environment, for nature, respect for natural resources, gratitude and admiration of all the things that are granted to us for our survival and development.
In such a form, we proposed it to all partners with a partnership agreement, and this is what our joint development is supposed to be in the future. To this end, we proposed partnerships with municipalities, which would integrate the programs of the Heart Points into their regular activities. In our programs we want to create cultural events that would connect us internationally. We have already made some international cultural connections in the heart of Slovenia, at GEOSS, in our initial Heart Point of the Heart of Europe, He-art, and many more will be made in the future:
- The foundation of the cultural connection with all nations of the world of the heart of Slovenia, GEOSS, dates back to the early days after its birth, to 1981, when we, 10 years preceding Slovenian national independence, took a part of the beautiful Zdravljica – the poem of our greatest poet France Prešeren created in 1844, that connects and welcomes all the peoples of the world who wish for peace and friendship – as our gospel; today it is a Slovenian anthem.
- After building a number of other cultural connections, in 2017, we prepared The Project Heart of Europe, He-art, with which we plan to build a number of similar noble and hearty cultural connections and a number of successful intercultural dialogues, during which we will try to get to get to know each other as much as possible, so that we will with greater ease, and more respectfully, represent and connect.
- 10:00 – 11:00 Summary of the information from the first event in Slovenia, the cultural heart of Larissa in Greece, the creation of the logo. From the 20th to the 22nd of April, 2018, we were getting to know each other personally, and almost consistently carried out the program of the first event of The Project Heart of Europe, He-art in the center of the heart of Slovenia. Thanks to one of the members of the Italian partner Comitato 10, Stefano Delia, his project Face of Europe, which with its integrated photo-linking view offers additional support to our hearty project, was being created at this time as well.
FROM THE FIRST EVENT WE SHOULD SUM THE FOLLOWING: The goal of our meeting and of the project is to promote the awareness of love, the spread of interpersonal love, friendship, compassion, acceptance, and supporting diversity while preserving one’s own identity, everything that is also the mission of our center of the heart of Slovenia. We believe that this is the only way to sustain life on our planet. In this way, we, with our partners, would like to create hearty and noble environments, Heart Points, on international level, first in each of our countries, and then in every country of the world. There was no following in-depth discussion about the nature and functioning of Heart Points in the partners own environments. They felt that the meaning, the purpose, and the functioning of Heart Points in their localities needed further thought, and deepened connections.
11:00 – 12:00 In place of an expert from Europa Direct Greece, who was unable to attend the event, Vasilis (Bil) Mitsios (cc), external consultant for European projects for the Municipality of Larissa addressed the gathered. At the public presentation, he presented a number of problems of European citizenship, that were already included in the project Heart of Europe, He-art; at the same time he listed a number of supporting administrative facts that will help to realize our joint project all the way to its final phase, the reporting.
Some of the information was added by the representatives of the Spanish partner as well. They outlined the festivals and the event, which the Spanish partner was preparing in Medina del Campo, where we would be actively involved with the Heart of Europe project, He-art.
12:30 – 13:45 In the following, we devoted ourselves to thinking about how to organize a cultural event that would have connective characteristics in cultural tourism. We have found out that: if we nurture our cultural heritage with respect and love, we will be able to meet and connect on every level: personal, national, and international.
When we are talking on a personal level about nationality nowadays, for various reasons awareness of national identity is very blurred due to migrations, since the identity is often composed of several national backgrounds. All must be lovingly present in our consciousness ! A healthy love for oneself always facilitates love for everyone around us.
When we spoke about cultural heritage, we determined it was material and immaterial (spiritual) wealth that we have inherited from our ancestors. This wealth is not only around us but also within us. It’s impressed in each single cell of our being. If we are aware of it, it supports us in our development; if not, then it hinders us. It turns us into base survivors and plagiarisers of ideas of others. Cultural heritage is the basis for self-discovery, and in our theater, with the energy of art, through experiencing performing the meaning of heritage, we encourage this awareness to deepen and help in the healthy development, and in fulfillment of one’s meaning of life. It is our great pleasure that in this way, in the year of European cultural heritage, we can build the Heart of Europe together. That is why we use every occasion of our municipality for hearty promotion of our heritage, we invite into our company poets, writers, theater actors, who will shape attractive stories and cultural events from the heritage. We will present them – each in our own country – as well as internationally, so that we will get to know each other as much as possible, and thus accept, connect, and become spiritually richer.
In the following, Lia and Maria led us on a guided tour of Larissa. We visited many sights, from the Mill of Pappas in which the Heart Points of Greece will be established, to the ancient Greek theater, the city center, and many other sights, from which the FUTURE connective ideas of cultural tourism in Larissa were evident.
16:00 – 20:00 Visit to Pinios Festival and participation in the activities of Action Painting.
After lunch we all visited the Pinios River Festival, a wonderful cultural and recreational event, where the municipality of Larissa will now also participate with the Heart Point of Project Heart of Europe, He-art. At the Pinios River Festival, all citizens of Larissa, representing a variety of activities of national, regional or urban significance, are actively included. For the Project Heart of Europe, He-art it should be pushed to be only a bit more thematically connected into cultural tourism, to create a common group identity, to breathe into it the group heart. The heart is what connects the dispersed phenomena to a shared current of enthusiasm, identity, and belonging.
We see the heart in a joint body, originally described by the Evangelia (Lia), a committe that will take care of cultural tourism and of the heritage which is the tale of Larissa’s identity in the past and present. Through tourism, this heart will always present, beat, in the country as well as internationally. With the Heart of Europe project, we also partook in the art workshops, where we made an approximately 15 m2 large canvas, which with many colorful decorations and slogans reflected many hearty project thoughts and wishes, that will expand their compassionate warmth further.
After an exceptionally hospitable dinner, all partner organizations continued to spend the night on the hearts of friendship and cooperation that came to the realization of the project.
THURSDAY, 21/6/2018: DAY 2: (LOCATION MILL OF PAPPAS)
9:30 am – 11:00 Workshop: Awareness of Identity and of Cultural Heritage The following day, we first discussed the proposal of the leading partner organization, the Association Theater Kolenc, to prepare various events that support us in our identity, support what we are, in the Heart Point. Healthy self-love gives us the biggest capability to admire others and those different.
These can be events related to the historical heritage of the city and of the Municipality, presentations of the culture and way-of-life of the citizens at an everyday level, events related to statehood, the philosophical thoughts that connected the ancestors, we can be heartily enthusiastic about the Greek wisdom, which was admired and attempted to be achieved by all denizens of today’s Europe … we can prepare the festival of ethnological film, and present the most truthful and hearty film as a tourist point of interest of Larissa … Part of the regular practice almost should be the magic that we have been running since 1981 at GEOSS .
At the Heart Point we, of course, collect and prepare events that can be linked to the promotion of EU values; in addition to the project film satire Here Comes Jemima, which presents ‘positively solved problem’ of the immigrant Jemima, there are also wonderful films that warn us away from stigmatization – for example, Miracle with Julia Roberts in the main role – and more. Of course, in all efforts to keep beat of the Heart Point, we must also keep in mind the media coverage and the constant promotion of events and plans.
The ideas and initiatives of the Greek partners, our hosts, followed. They were mostly associated with the Pinios River Festival, which is also likely to be one of the biggest events of Larissa in the future as well.
11:00 – 12:00 At the round table, open for public – how to attract and raise the people’s interest in cultural events, and the importance of tourism in spreading and promoting culture, hearty culture, and cultural heritage – we have summed up the key findings: When we serve content related performative or any other art whilst teaching in pedagogical work, we give energy, enthusiasm, passion, and life to the content! What awakens and informs us, and awakens our interest! The Heart Program should be linked to the events that are the most popular and the most visited!
- In each organization it is necessary to find the holder who would accept the Heart Point as a permanent responsibility (permanent activity in the company or permanent activity in the municipality, which would be a part of the annual plan in order to ensure at least the minimum support means for the permanent operation of the Point)
- To find permanent supporting activities (tourism, culture, ethnological professional organizations)
- Tourism has an extremely important supportive role in spreading and promoting culture. Tourists are attracted by attractions, stories, intimacy in learning about the way-of-life …
- To embed the heritage into the presentation and operation of the point and enrich it with the energy of art
- To accept our diversities and promote them as a unique feature, a delight, to be gladly admired by the whole world
- To face self-acceptance also in those features that we do not like about us at (to forgive them, to mock them in theater, to explore them – find out of which environmental conditions they were created …)
- Especially at such attributes, ones that we do not like – to use art with experiencing, and to hold up a mirror to them, to accept, understand, and even come to love them (for example, with us, gossiping, excessive mistrust, even hypocrisy, so that we could survive)
- To search for and be enthusiastic about the wonderful features, to present them and promote them with heartiness and warmth, to present the conditions for their emergence
- Present our love
- Make a personal ID card of our features
- Learning how to love with the idea: to love or to be told you’re right?
- To preserve the identity and integrity, the special ethnological features,
- In all areas, to promote the awareness of our culture and of our way-of-life
- To connectively include our wonderful distinctive features and attributes into the Project HEART OF EUROPE-HE-ART.
13:00 – 13:30 Workshop: Connecting a cultural event with an already established cultural Heart Point for everyone into the permanent offer of Municipalities, into the cultural tourism offer. At the next workshop, we looked for approximate starting points for the implementation of the project for each individual participant’s country: Partners made some examples for their environment and focused on the following activities:
- In the duration of the project, a plan for permanent activities needs to be made – each participant considers the best approach that would be appropriate for them – in their environment; but it is certain that at each established Heart Point they should have a permanent program protocol that would radiate the identity of the country, and the local.
- Cultural tourism – the creation and re-creation of works that heartily represent their own, and European problems (the Jemime example) Festival with this topic … hosting with partner organizations …
- Synchronous creation of a common performance (for example, same problem, but with ethnologically varied approaches ...
- A group website, event notification,
- Annual joint video event with the support of some TV channer company
- Annual video conferencing
- Monthly meetings through Skype, Viber, or Messenger
13: 30-14: 30 A walk through Larissa Under the guidance of Maria, we continued our tour of Larissa with a short walk. We looked closer at the features of antique theater and some other attractions. We also discussed the currently undeveloped general tourism awareness of citizens. As an example, in stores, it’s not possible to find a touristic Larissa t-shirt. In one of the stores we found, with some difficulcy, a T-shirt with the English inscription “Greece”, all other inscriptions were a variety of English slogans … The awareness of identity in Larissa seemed rather globalized at first glance.
At 17:00, after a late lunch, we visited the Pinios River Festival again. We saw quite diverse activities, for children and adults; we admired colorful dance and ballet creations, with the participation of the townspeople Larissa and their children that were non-folklore. The festival was full of various sounds of contemporary ensembles and groups, all of which were at the time of our visit in English; the latest books, for children and adults, were presented; on beautifully decorated stalls, it was possible to buy a variety of street foods, where baked corn seemed to be the most popular … The cold drinks offer, for children and adults, was also very diverse. There were also a lot of sports events: table tennis, running, shooting at targets. Fun games were lined up for children and adults …
The heart of Europe finally found its creative corner in the art workshop. Here Larissa’s ethno identity came to life as well: we collaborated in the creation of postcards (CardPostals) and paintings – watercolors with various motifs Larissa – in cooperation with the Museum of Folklore and History of Larissa. We later talked about this after a rich and pleasant dinner, at 8 pm – lasting long into the night.
FRIDAY, 22/6/2018 DAY 3: LOCATION THE MUNICIPAL HALL
On the morning of the 3rd day we began the screening of the film Jemima. First, the representatives of the leading partner organization, Association Theater Kolenc , Anka Kolenc and Lovro Lah, adressed the audience. They presented the 25-year work and mission of the Kolenc paedagogic theatre; the participating Slovenian partners, the GEOSS Society, the Litija Municipality, the Society for the Support of Civil Society; and the mission of their latest project, Heart of Europe, He-art. In a few words, they also presented the satirical movie Jemima, which should serve to deepen the mutual understanding, compassion, connection, acceptance, and gratitude of the newcomers and of those who accept them … FOLLOWING WERE THE PROJECTION OF THE FILM JEMIMA, AND OF THE FILM OF MATA-MALAM THEATRE, DANS LA GUEULE DU DESTIN … FOLLOWED BY the discussion about the films and the project activities of the Heart of Europe project, He-art in the near future. The guests were then welcomed by the Deputy Mayor of Larissa, who thanked all participants for their cooperation in the project and gave them the Sigil of the City of Larissa. He agreed with the project orientation that, even if we do not see a solution in the given moment, we have to constantly actively search for them , connect, and get ourselves involved. Subsequently, the final thoughts on the implementation of the project, the impressions and plans of the participants took place. The discussion on the influence of art on compassionate thinking and action was best promoted by Valentine Cohen the representative of the French partner, Mata-Malam Theater, who promised to produce an additional film creation for the project. In the informal gathering after lunch, the participants exchanged impressions and plans, and we also filled in guidance questionnaires to ease the design of individual project points.
Then we – much more heartily connected than we were after the 1st event in Slovenia – parted ways with love.