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Braga 2027 presented its final bid book

After submitting its final Bid Book for the European Capital of Culture 2027 on October 20, Braga’27 presented the document on the following day at a press conference open to the public, which took place at Theatro Circo.

The conference panel included Ricardo Rio, Mayor of Braga, Cláudia Leite, Braga’27 Mission Team Coordinator, and Joana Meneses Fernandes, Braga’27 Executive and Programme Coordinator.

Cláudia Leite expressed her satisfaction with the final document and underlined the collaborative nature of the work that has been developed so far: “This bid book is a source of pride. It is the outcome of a collective effort and teamwork: from the mission team to all partners, local and international agents, and all citizens. I believe it has everything to be a winning bid book”.

Ricardo Rio, mayor of Braga, reinforced the municipality commitment to the development of the cultural area in the city, which he defined as a “decisive factor in the transformation of the territory in various dimensions, such as the economy, education, social support, inclusion or sustainability”.

On the concept of the bid book “Time for Contemplaction”, Joana Meneses Fernandes, Braga’27 Executive and Programme Coordinator said: “We believe that only a contemplative society can put into action a more empathic and fairer Europe. Spirituality is nothing less than an opportunity to re-encounter essential elements of being human. We believe this concept can represent the main challenges of Europe at this moment.”

The panel recalled the next steps of this process: the jury visit to Braga on November 30 and the hearing before the jury in Lisbon on December 6, and invited all citizens to participate in the jury visit.

“We count on your support to leave a great impression on the jury on the day of the visit.” – Cláudia Leite, Braga’27 Mission Team Coordinator.

From the introduction of final Bid-Book

Time is the most precious commodity in the world.

No matter the amount of material richness one may possess, time is the only resource we are unable to buy, and once lost, it cannot be replenished. In a two millennia city, such as Braga, the traces of the passage of time are present in everyday routines, while the omnipresence of the bell towers ringing reminds us the clock is ticking. Our lives are ruled by the concept and perception of time. Yet is it in our hands to influence its definition? It has already happened in Braga: the unique way we name days in Portuguese has its origins in the city. In the 6th century, the Archbishop Martin of Braga, ruling over Gallaecia (the region that once united the North of Portugal and Spanish Galicia), renamed the days of the week after Catholic liturgy, breaking tradition with pagan beliefs.

Today we hope we may also break new ground in the way Europe acknowledges time. Our European lives are filled with terms such as rapid train, fast food, express checkout, speed dating, quick workout, short break, grab and go… They all show that time is valuable to us, raising the question: are we using it wisely?

 Usually, such a wake-up call happens in moments of crisis and turmoil. That is when we fully grasp how we spend our time and reassess our priorities. We experienced this individually and collectively with the pandemic crisis. But just when we thought we had learned our lesson, the world quickly went back to full speed once again; and with it came a new global crisis, one we had hoped to never again witness in Europe.

Our Time for Contemplaction concept has not changed, for we believe, even more firmly, it is the only path available for today’s Europe. Yet, we realised our journey towards Contemplaction could not be a smooth-sailing one. It needed a haven to deal with the current disquiet of the world, to which we have dedicated a specific temple in our programme. In fact, it is the disquiet that suspends routine, indifference, the mind-your-own-business mantra.

It is when we feel unsettled that we stop to contemplate, to mourn, to celebrate, to heal. In this 2nd part of our journey, we also rediscovered old paths, walked long before borders arose, to find a similar restlessness on the other side of the frontier. From the North of Portugal, we decided to open our doors even wider to invite Galicia and the Euroregion to build up on our programme in a true spirit of shared Contemplaction. Indeed, we cannot undertake this journey by ourselves.

Braga and Europe must address their shared challenges together and we need the ECoC spirit and driving force to be the turning point, the life-changing event that disquiets the trail of indifference, and make us – citizens, artists, policymakers, visitors – stop, reflect and start afresh. Braga is a medium-sized city, similar to so many others throughout Europe.

Our commonplaceness becomes our uniqueness. May this vast European majority, that faces the same challenges, embrace the unease and find their Time for Contemplaction through culture. Because culture is what keeps all doors from closing, whether physical, emotional or spiritual.

Here the Braga 27 Final Bidbook


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