Login to your account

Username *
Password *
Remember Me

Clermont – Ferrand 2028, Culture is also solidarity

Open stage - dance - during Sommet des Sommets, May 2022 Open stage - dance - during Sommet des Sommets, May 2022 Photo by ©CFMC2028

In France, many cities have decided to participate in the competition to become the European Capital of Culture in 2028 together with a city in the Czech Republic.

With EcocNews also for 2028 we discover which are some of the candidate cities and how they are moving to involve citizens and to change the destiny of their cities. Also in this circumstance we asked all the French candidate cities the same questions. After Rouen and Montpellier today we discover Clermont – Ferrand.

Clermont-Ferrand is a university city in central France, bordered by the volcanic Chaîne des Puys mountains. Near the fountains and statues of Place de Jaude square are the Gothic Notre-Dame-de-l'Assomption Cathedral, constructed from lava stone, and the Romanesque Basilica of Notre-Dame du Port, with mosaics. Northwest of the city is the volcano-themed Vulcania amusement park and museum with interactive shows. 

Strolling around Clermont's old quarter, visitors will also see Rue Pascal street, which is lined with elegant houses, the picturesque Rue des Gras and Rue des Chaussetiers streets, and pretty lava stone fountains like the fantastic Renaissance Fontaine d'Amboise.

A must-see is the immense Place de Jaude square with an equestrian statue of Vercingétorix by sculptor Bartholdi in its centre – it's the liveliest square in Clermont-Ferrand and the heart of the city's shopping district.

The Bargoin archaeology museum located near the pleasant Jardin Lecoq gardens houses prehistoric and Gallo-Roman collections of objects unearthed during excavations in the region, including a striking group of 1st-century wooden votive offerings found in a shrine at the mineral springs known as the Source des Roches (rock spring) in Chamalières.

Events not to be missed: the famous international short film festival, which takes places each year at the beginning of February, and the Montferrand medieval festivals every June.

The interview is with the team of Clermont - Ferrand 2028. 

Why did your city decide to apply for the European capital of culture?
This is a long-standing commitment, made by the mayor Olivier Bianchi in 2014, with the conviction that the work, the bidding process would allow for in-depth work to structure the region's cultural offer.

In 2015, we organised a general meeting on culture, which allowed us to start thinking collectively about what the main lines of our candidacy could be. It became clear that even though only one city should apply, in this case Clermont-Ferrand, the territory should be extended to the Massif Central. This is a real territorial dynamic, that reflects the desire of a very rural area, to be at the heart of the European process, an area that has sometimes been on the margins because it is more isolated, more mountainous, and harsher. Our candidacy has created hope of thinking differently about the question of culture, for example around mobility. We are wondering, for example, about the place given to artistic creation in all the territories, from a metropolitan area like Clermont-Ferrand to the smallest villages in Corrèze, Creuse, Northern Lozère, Cantal...

Through this candidacy, Clermont-Ferrand and the Massif Central are ready to play a full part in the European identity. And in fact, there are many other "Massif Central" regions, we are a sort of European paradigm.

What do you think are the keywords of your application?
Certainly "solidarity", solidarity between urban and rural areas, with territories that sometimes feel "on the fringes" or forgotten by major national or European policies. And yet these territories have a lot to say, to share... they are alive! We are convinced that the label, and we see this in the application work we are doing with the inhabitants, is a formidable lever for getting everyone back on the table. This particularity, the extent and diversity of the territory, is behind this unique application, combining metropolises, suburban areas and rural zones. It’s the first time, to our knowledge, that a European bid concerns such a vast geography. If we win, we will be a real laboratory for European Union, with new challenges such as keeping young people in the country through culture.

How are you involving citizens in this competition?
We already have made good progress by acting in many schools listening and talking to children, or objby organizing more than twenty workshops “Les Manufactures” with professionals, to meet the economic environment. Our goal is to mobilize all the driving forces of the Massif Central, those who live there and make it live. Thanks to a partnership with La Poste, we have also questioned more than 3,500 people, especially in rural areas, to identify their expectations. This unprecedented survey will help us to a great deal, concerning the application form preparation and the programming. Meanwhile, immediate benefit of these meetings is that Massif central inhabitants are now aware how credible is our candidacy.

What are the next steps on your journey?
This summer, we are taking the roads of the Massif Central with the “MuMo x CentrePompidou” mobile museum. With the exhibition "Les animaux sortent de leur réserve", 25 works from the Centre Pompidou are going directly to meet the public, in suburban or rural areas. The MuMo and Centre Pompidou partnership is a perfect example of a system that deals to the problem of cultural mobility in a sometimes-isolated territory. We are also in the application file writing process, with a strong desire to continue the consultation work with actors and inhabitants of the Massif Central.

What are your thoughts on the European Capital of Culture competition?
At a time of crisis, of increasing archipelitisation of our societies, of European separatism temptation, there is an important public policy challenge to show that together we can be strong and creative. Becoming a European Capital of Culture is a formidable lever to fight against economic and social determinism. It means allowing everyone to become emancipated. Culture offers this possibility.

Attached the interview in French

Serafino Paternoster

Ecocnews Founder, Journalist, repentant jazz guitarist, music critic and film lover.

Latest Tweets

RT @perifeeries2028: Conseil d'Influence : les habitant•e•s de @PlaineCommune ont illustré à la perfection la formule "Ville monde" avec un…
RT @perifeeries2028: Conseil d'Influence Ville Monde : après la table ronde, rendez-vous à 18h15 au théâtre Jean Vilar de L'Île-Saint-Denis…
RT @reims2028: #reims2028 applaudit la signature @VilledeReims de l’appel à agir de @lillefrance pour une culture moins carbonée et plus in…