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About The Conference

ENCC Shortcut Europe conference – Bury 2016
Cities and territorial challenges: the role of cultural centers in resilience and development dynamics

Representatives of ongoing social, political and economic transformations, European cities have to re-invent their mode of development and sustainability, taking into account democratic, social, economic and environmental challenges ; they need to connect to local issues as well as to globalized dynamics. What role do artistic and creative stakeholders, and specifically cultural centre, play in this landscape of development and change ? How do they offer spaces for experimentation to engage citizens  in new forms of participation, of economic, social or environmental resilience? How may they contribute to the interconnection of their local territories at a European and international level? What are the benefits and challenges of developing new relationships with local and international cultural centre and stakeholders? These are some of the issues that will be explored during the forthcoming ENCC conference in Bury – UK, February 2016.

Bury – UK is an interesting example of such challenges and dynamics. The city has focused on its cultural sector as one of the main assets in its development strategy, with Bury Arts Museum playing a key role in this process. In recent years Bury Arts Museum has prioritised building strong and productive partnerships with international culturalcentres, including those in China, Japan and Taiwan. Bury is therefore a fascinating example of a cultural centreworking internationally whilst also negotiating a myriad of local issues – while developing their model of international working Bury Art Museum have had to engage local authorities, partner organisations and local audiences, clearly informing them of the benefits of this model and how it contributes to the town’s territorial development.

The conference is co-organised by Bury Arts Museum and ENCC. It will provide participants an opportunity to meet people from across the cultural sector around the main topic, including local and international cultural stakeholders, policy makers, activists, academics. The event will also follow previous ENCC meetings by providing a forum for networking, capacity building and engaging in analysis and debate.


Lucy Neal on Playing for Time – On arts and building connections for change

This book has gathered up those stories with over 60 people giving voice to that narrative of change through the artwork they’re making. ‘‘Being an artist’ you become a circuit breaker, interrupting the familiar to create a different way of looking at things. The arts and being an artist create emergent space for us to do that. That’s precisely what Transition’s doing – presenting us with a new context to live our lives and a coherent narrative.’

Read more on this book.

Four tips on how to run a smart city demonstrator

– Nesta, December 2015

Manchester has just been announced as the winner of the £10m Internet of Things city demonstrator competition. While few details from the winning proposal have emerged so far, essentially the UK government is funding Manchester to install sensors across the city, to demonstrate the ability of the so called ‘Internet of Things’ to address challenges that cities face. According to the press release, the project will cover everything from healthcare and transport to the environment and community.

Read more

By Tom Saunders

Urban regenerators Assemble become first ‘non-artists’ to win Turner prize

– LSE /Urban Age, December 2015

A direct action collective described by one member as “sort of architects, sort of not, sort of maybe” has won the UK’s most prestigious art prize with an urban regeneration project. The 18 members of London-based Assemble were named winners of the 31st Turner prize on Monday night, receiving their £25,000 prize from the Sonic Youth co-founder and artist Kim Gordon at an awards dinner broadcast live on Channel 4 from Tramway, Glasgow. Assemble are the first non-artists, in the strictest sense of the word, to win the prize. They were nominated for their work tackling urban dereliction in Toxteth, Liverpool, the aim being to use art and design to improve houses and the lives of residents living in an area called Granby Four Streets.

Read more

Three members of Assemble inside A Showroom for Granby Workshop, created for the Turner prize show
Three members of Assemble – Lewis Jones, Amica Dall and Fran Edgerley – inside A Showroom for Granby Workshop, created for the Turner prize show. Photograph: Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty

by Arts correspondent

Narratives of Inclusion: Can cities help us live together?

– The Guardian, December 2015

Cities are booming. But who exactly is it going well for? Eminent urban sociologist Richard Sennett and author Suketu Mehta raised questions of identity, grounding and belonging in the contemporary city. By exploring the urban experiences and narratives of migrant communities and their inextricably linked connections with both their new and their home environment, this debate considered one of the greatest challenges for any city builder today: how do we form a community within these enormous, historically unprecedented, and continuously mobile agglomerations of people? Can we create cities and neighbourhoods which perhaps are not fully inclusive but at least are not exclusive to particular groups? How can we live better together in the 21st century city, these 10…20…60 million people living side-by-side, and on top of each other?

This conference was one of the series of five public Global Debates celebrating ten years of the Urban Age programme. ( link here)

Speakers: Suketu Mehta, Richard Sennett
Chair: Tessa Jowell