Interregional – Essential Findings

By Bente von Schindel, Secretary General,

Kulturelle Samråd i Danmark

The inter-regional dimension

All the examples mentioned refer to cultural activities across regional differences. But what does it mean that the activities are inter-regional? And what do the articles say about what constitutes the activities as inter-regional and what does it mean to bridge the regions?

  • The interregional aspect is chosen as the starting point for the project
  • The interregional aspect arises randomly in a collaborative / collaborative project

Hyphen Danes and Hyphen Germans

In the Danish project about the borderland cooperation between two regions on either side of the Danish/German border the inter-regional consists of the cooperation between the two border countries, thus building a bridge between previously separated regional groups. The bridge building should help to avoid creating disparities between populations; each having their culture and languages, and who previously has been involved in more wars with each other.

Alibi

In the Irish bridge building project – the inter-regional occurs spontaneous and not as arranged. Here it is the desire to explore an emerging form of creative and personal expression being away from the daily routine and environment, but it also means that participants seek together at locations across regions and countries

The 3rd Congress of Regional Culture

In the Polish project it is on the other hand a perfectly chosen choice that people from different regions come together, wanting to solve a common problem across the regions, namely discussing the protection of immaterial cultural heritage and radiating throughout Poland and its regions. Here, therefore, there is no desire to explore the differences, but to agree on a common way how to bring together a result everyone can be satisfied with.

OK: The Musical

In the English project there are groups from two regions around Liverpool that work together, namely Merseyside and Lancashire regions. But as a hidden co-player, one can say that there is also a third region that participates in the collaboration, as OK: The Musical tells the story of a small town in upstate New York, near Albany. The name of the town is Kinderhook, and it is where Chris Kline, the leader of the project, grew up and the idea of telling the whole story and folklore of the town through a musical theatre piece occurred – a musical staged by the participants in the project. The English project was largely guided by the desire to initiate something inter-regional, as in late 2016, an open call was launched that offered an opportunity to devise a collaborative work at Tate Liverpool which engaged with communities from the city of Liverpool and from Lancashire to the north of Liverpool. Which resulted in about 160 entries?

Beskidy Highlanders’ Week of Culture

Regarding Beskidy Highlanders’ Week of Culture, the inter-regional starting point is largely in focus as each year invites several groups from around the world take festival audience on a remarkable, often very exotic journey. Their struggle is evaluated by the International Artistic Council consisting of eminent experts in folklore, ethno-musicologists and choreographers. The best group for the entire presentation is awarded the Grand Prix and six teams receive awards for the individual elements of the program. IMF is held under the auspices of the International Council of Societies of Folklore Festivals and Folk Art (CIOFF). In 2018 there will be around 100 ensembles from several countries participating.

The Madness of Summer – the Askov Event

In the Danish project where people from the 5 Danish regions gather for a week, it is – as mentioned –a coincidence that you exceed the regional boundaries. The reason why you want to take part is the common entrance in the form of participation in an artistic activity. But precisely that form of participation that is centered around a common interest often makes sense of equality from the beginning, and it provides a good base for bridging between people from different regional cultures.

Methods and goals

How do these projects reach the goals described as “bridging social capital” and “promote inclusion, cohesion and trust”?

All the examples mentioned describe cultural activities that should strengthen the participatory and co-creative culture activities in the sector of amateur arts, voluntary culture and heritage in order to

  • bridge social capital
  • promote inclusion, cohesion and trust

Based on the young people’s own experiences from their own region, it is believed that anchoring in own culture is a prerequisite for understanding other cultures (in other regions).

They are in dialogue with everyone about experiences and thoughts in relation to the coexistence between people from different regions/countries, from different minorities/minorities and the majority between them.

Alibi

In the Irish project “Alibi” it is mentioned that you have to fully understand another person which you can do “by stepping into the shoes of someone else and seeing the world through their eyes” and you can build a bridge into understanding of others by having “A fully immersive commitment to the character, a willingness to allow other characters to develop at the expense of your own prominence”.

In the project it is also mentioned that the motivation for the participants are more: Some people took part because they wanted “to push their social boundaries or have an alternative social experience”. Others wanted to understand someone they knew better by playing a character similar to them. It is also mentioned that “the common thread in these motivations is “Understanding””. So you could say that this project to a large extent than many others is based on the virtues needed to build up greed between different social groups.

The 3rd Congress of Regional Culture

In the Polish project it is said that “People living in a common, distinguished spatially or historically area, develop their own, specific culture, distinguishing them from the other regions”. Therefore, it was organized by holding The 3rd Congress of Regional Culture Therefore, by arranging the conference some thematic panels were organized and 10 workshops presenting the culture in different regions.

In addition, the annual conference allowed the switch between different topics that should lead to “a factor of rapprochement, exchange and mutual understanding between people.” The subjects covered were, among others, about the ability to enter into intercultural dialogue, about the ability to regain lost members of the community cemented by specific heritage, and about the ability to assimilate outsiders, which is a real challenge – but also a great chance – in the present era (since the perception of “strangers” may be refreshing and enriching for the community).

OK: The Musical

In OK: The Musical the people attend in view of their professional skills, which help to make them safe at the participation. The starting point and the framework (piece) are known, you are confident that you can contribute to the project. This along with good meals provides a good basis for daring beyond their own limits and building relationships with other teams and groups.

Beskidy Highlanders’ Week of Culture

In the Polish project they also use art and culture as the gathering issue. And as in the Danish borderland project the Beskidy Highlanders’ Week of Culture takes place “on the borderland of closely coexisting cultures: Polish, Czech and Slovakian”. It means that you feel more safe as it takes place in the surroundings you know and therefore it “makes it possible to meet people living in neighbouring towns” in a more confidential way. It sure also has a fuse on the bridge building to the other participants from distant countries as Brazil, Turkey, Mongolia, Serbia.

The Madness of Summer – the Askov Event

Also the Danish project – the summer course for amateur musicians – has art as the unifying. The music – which is an understandable medium for most people – can, as a common point, make communication out of practice easier, a community has already been created which goes far beyond common conditions such as getting there on time, having practiced the music, not playing the wrong notes etc. As a result – unknowingly maybe – bridges while built in this process.

Hyphen Danes and Hyphen Germans

In the Danish border project, both groups – south of the border and north of the border – have the same goal: Building a bridge between former segregated regional groups.

In order to reach that goal they are

  • Spreading knowledge of and an insight into growing up in a minority
  • Spreading knowledge of identity, culture, democracy, prejudices, minorities etc.
  • Help individuals to put both past and present in perspective and relate to other ethnic minorities.