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France 2028, Bourges has launched its bid to be European Capital of Culture

Bourges, cathedral Bourges, cathedral

Under the Christmas tree, French cities have found the announcement which officially opens the race for European capital of culture for 2028. At the moment these are the cities that have officially expressed interest in applying: Reims, Rouen, Bourges, Clermont-Ferrand, Banlieue, Saint Denis, Amiens. Today the EcocNews focus is about Bourges.

“We have defined the first main lines of our bid under a common banner: Bourges, territory of the future. We want to show that cities of less than 100,000 inhabitants like Bourges can test new models. Bourges wants to be an inspiration for cities of similar size in France and in Europe. We also want to show in our project that culture can be a lever against climate change. Finally, we want to question the role of the artist in the European society of the 21st century”, says Louise Tournillon, coordinator of Bourges Candidate European Capital of Culture 2028.

These three axes are developed.

A strong theme emerging from the participatory workshops is its size, associated with its position surrounded by nature. Bourges is a city of 66,000 inhabitants in the smallest of the French regions and strongly anchored in rurality, in carbon balance. In the post-covid era, Bourges offers a differentiated relationship to life, culture and time.

Cities of less than 100,000 inhabitants represent the largest proportion of inhabitants and citizens in France and in the Union (more than 150 million inhabitants). They have often been neglected and weakened by national and European planning and investments which have focused on metropolitan areas, large and medium-sized towns and their peripheries. These are local areas where living together, relationships with others, and hospitality are present.

The size of Bourges and its location allow for short -decision-making processes and more flexible governance. This agility will allow the city to develop prototyping and become a laboratory of ideas_ and innovations able to offer solutions for culture in the Union of the 21st century to a particularly dense network of cities of its size and in a situation of comparable periphery across the continent. The challenge is to develop a project that can be modeled for a majority of European cities in the Union.

As Bourges may have been a modeler in France and in Europe at the time of the creation of the Maison de la Culture by André Malraux, or at the time of the creation of Printemps de Bourges.

A second strong focus developed by local stakeholders during participatory workshops was civic, collective and individual commitment to the challenges of climate change, but also biodiversity and water management. It quickly resulted in the nomination as godmother of the candidacy of Lydie Lescarmontier, personality from Bourges, glaciologist, ranked by Forbes as one of the 40 most influential women of 2021, strongly committed to education for climate change within the Office for Climate Education, an international foundation based in Paris, under the aegis of UNESCO.

It is a question of reflecting on the time of the COP26, at which Bourges was represented, and of the Green Deal to a project of a measured European Capital of Culture, committed to the actions to be taken in relation to climate change and low carbon , in a territory characterized by its positive carbon footprint, its rural character, its biodiversity preserved up to its city center.

From the start, Bourges has anchored its candidacy in ecological transition. This candidacy allows the city to reflect on the currents that cross contemporary European society (environment / climate change, social relations, mobility, services, migration, eco-feminism, governance) and how culture can be a catalyst for solutions.

Bourges also wants to think about ecological ways of connecting its territory.

The rurality in which Bourges is part offers cultural sites far from each other. Because it is far from major trade centers (no TGV and airport), like a majority of cities on national territory and the Union, Bourges is betting on a new relationship to time and living.

A rich cultural history: from the humanist Renaissance to Malraux. Bourges has always been a territory of ambitions and innovations in terms of culture.

At a time when the cultural and creative industries have overtaken the automotive and aviation industries in annual turnover on the territory of the Union, Bourges wants to develop a laboratory of new practices by creating the first European City of Artists. and authors: a unique resource place in Europe developing all the services that artists and the creative industries need to develop, in a European network that is not offered anywhere else.

Reflect on the social rights and copyright of artists, but also on cultural rights, social inclusion through culture, the mobility of artists in Europe, eco-feminism, dissemination and archiving works in the digital age, to climate change, to the challenges facing European society. Take inspiration from the New European Bauhaus and S + T + ARTS, the programs of the European Commission which question the status of the artist in the Union with a specific vision.

Bourges also wants to develop “Villa Europa”, the first European network of sustainable artist residencies, around climate change, by relying on organized and sustainable European networks that already exist.

Heirs to the first Maison de la Culture in Malraux, inaugurated three times, Bourges 2028 wants, sixty years later, to invent the societal role of the artist and the democratization of culture today, new ways of creating the culture of the 21st century. But above all, give the territory a potential for creative, innovative profiles who will be those who will co-participate in its future.

“Today we are launching a communication campaign entitled "Let's choose Bourges 2028 together". We are inviting anyone interested in the project to vote for the future visual identity of the bid. To this end, young graduates from the Orleans School of Arts and Design have created three logos expressing the theme of “Bourges, territory of the future”, particularly in relation to climate change. People will be able to vote until the 6th of February on our website. On the 14th of February, we will unveil the new logo during a Valentine's Day declaration of love to Europe by the people of Bourges”, says Louise Tournillon.

Other information here.

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