Project journal
Edit 22 March 2024
by Ileana Toscano, UIA expert

CAMINA - Journal 3 - Civic curators - Social Laboratories for Cultural Participation in Almeria

Cultural event in Almeria
Cultural event in Almeria
Ileana Toscano, UIA expert, in this 3rd Journal, focuses on the “Civic Curators”, the collaborative laboratories to co-design and implement cultural projects, embracing the values of cultural integration and solidarity promoted by CAMINA. An update of the seven implementation challenges is also provided.

CAMINA through a cultural participative approach has co-created the Novel Collective Narrative of Almería’s Cultural Landscape through the active participation of experts and citizens living in Almería. The Novel Narrative has been the foundation element to shape the methodology of “civic curators”, the social laboratories for cultural co-designing aimed at co-creating and co-implementing innovative cultural programmes to be deployed in the three districts of Almedina, La Chanca-Pescaderia and the Centre that the Municipality of Almeria has been regenerating through the project CAMINA and other initiatives. The cultural nodes (Katiuska cinema, Museum Doña Pakyta and Mesón Gitano), located in the three districts have become lighthouses of the novel cultural approach promoted by CAMINA, by hosting the participative meetings for civic curators and cultural events co-created through the CAMINA cultural participative process. The Narrative also supported the design of a Cultural Circular Route (called Open-air City Museum) aimed at re-connecting the three targeted neighbourhoods of Almedina, La Chanca-Pescaderia and the Centre with the rest of the city, through physical and ICT solutions.

0. Executive Summary

The third Journal of the project “Community Awakening for Multicultural Integrative Narrative of Almería – CAMINA” analyses the activities progress from February 2023 to March 2024. The content is based on project documents and online meetings with MUA and delivery partners.

This journal focuses on the activity called “Civic Curators” that are collaborative laboratories to co-design and implement cultural projects in Almeria, embracing the values of cultural integration and solidarity promoted by CAMINA

The chapter 1 focuses on the civic curators-social laboratories for culture, summarising the participative methodology and the laboratory development.

The chapter 2 provides an overview of the cultural events realised by the civic curators in Almeria, sharing activities and pictures.

The chapter 3 concentrates the attention on the challenges encountered by CAMINA offering a comment on seven typical challenges for the implementation of innovation projects that the UIA Initiative has identified.

1. The “civic curators” - Social Laboratories for culture to engage with Almeria’s citizens

The “civic curator” is an innovative concept promoted by CAMINA, that has been involving cultural users, local associations and citizens to co-design the novel Cultural Programme of Almeria through participatory planning workshops and collaborative culture initiatives. The Civic curators - social laboratories for culture have been active between March 2023 and February 2024.

To select the members of the civic curators, the Municipality of Almeria launched a call for participants on the 15th November 2022. Twenty-two Local Associations applied to take part at the social laboratories to co-design and implement the novel cultural programme in Almeria, twelve local organisations (applied as a consortium and sometime involving also individual artists) were selected and grouped in six civic curators.

As already shared in the Journal 2 and in a project article, the Municipality of Almeria together with the delivery partners did a huge effort to innovate the public procurement to launch a call aimed at engaging cultural organisations and individuals to co-design the cultural programme of Almeria through a participative methodology. 

The civic curators have co-designed cultural activities, that have been realised in the three “cultural nodes” and their urban surroundings located in the three target neighbourhoods: the Katiuska cinema in La Chanca-Pescaderia, the Museum Doña Pakyta in the Centre and the Mesón Gitano in Almedina.

The Novel Collective Narrative of Almería’s Cultural Landscape, developed by CAMINA in the first project stage, guided the work of the civic curators, as a visioning scenario of Almeria Citizens .

Three art forms have been delivered by the civic curators representing the three Narrative concepts matched with the cultural nodes mission:

  • Performative art – Cultural node 1 – Mesón Gitano – walking into the past;
  • Fine art – Cultural node 2 – Museum Doña Pakyta – walking into the present,
  • Audio-visual art – Cultural node 3 – Katiuska cinema – walking into the future.

 

The partnership developed this activity as follows:

  • Eptisa, delivery partner, has been in charge of coordinating and facilitating the civic curator’s activity, guiding the achievement of the project milestone, supporting the timing respect, the logistics and civic curators needs to realise their project. Eptisa has been responsible of reporting the work in progress to the Municipality of Almeria as activity coordinator;
  • the University of Almeria (UAL) has had the responsibility of monitoring the innovative process setted up for the civic curators as well as supervising the project’s objectives and the social impact of CAMINA

 

Each civic curator has a delivery partner as a laboratory coordinator:

  • Fundación de Arte Ibañez Cosentino, that promotes fine arts exhibition, is the responsible of civic curator 1 (LCC1);
  • Junta de Andalucia - department of Alcazaba Cultural Heritage (Conjunto monumental de la Alcazaba de Almería ) is the responsible of civic curator 2 (LCC2);
  • EMMA, Municipal School for Music and Arts , is the responsible of civic curator 3 (LCC3);
  • KUVER, audio-video producer and musical events organiser, is the responsible of civic curator 4 (LCC4);
  • Diputación de Almería is the responsible of civic curator 5 (LCC5);
  • Junta de Andalucia - Andalusian Center of Photography has the responsibility of civic curator 6 (LCC6).
infographic about civic curators
Infographic summarising the civic curators work and the cultural programme co-realised by them
 

 

2. The CAMINA cultural events realised by the civic curators in Almeria!

Between September 2023 and February 2024, several cultural events have been organised in Almeria, thanks to the work of civic curators.

To promote the rich calendar of events, the CAMINA website was activated together with the project social media.

Thousands of people participated in dance, music and theatre performances, urban walks, talks, exhibitions, artistic and photography workshops. School students were involved in video-making activities and laboratory experiences.

Many people had the opportunity to visit the neighbourhoods of La Chanca-Pescaderia,  Almedina  and the centre of Almeria, learning about the potential of these places and the importance of their heritage. Through the cultural activities spread around the three neighbourhoods and the cultural nodes, CAMINA achieved to attract people in places considered marginalised and deprived, places where people do not use to go due to fear or simple misinformation. CAMINA has triggered a process of de-stigmatisation of the targeted neighbourhoods, fostering the social inclusion of the people living there.

The huge participation in the CAMINA cultural events demonstrated the power of cultural participation and the important role of culture as a sound tool for inclusion and social cohesion.

“CAMINA seeks to generate social cohesion by breaking the social barriers that still remain in Almería and connecting people socially and economically segregated through cultural participative projects and interventions in urban space”

Cristina Martín Heras, project coordinator for Eptisa, delivery partner

The six civic curators shared their events, laboratory, exhibitions developed through the participatory methodology of CAMINA.

Civic curators
The six civic curators

Following, an overview of the cultural events realised by each civic curator-social laboratory for culture 

 

The Fundación de Arte Ibañez Cosentino, an organisation promoting fine arts exhibitions, has been the responsible of the civic curator 1, collaborating with the local association called “Yo soy el Otro”.

The activities were implemented in the Museum “Museum Doña Pakyta” and in the neighbourhood of La Chanca-Pescadería and Almedina by organising exhibitions in the Museum and open-air activities like guided visits to temporary exhibitions, workshops for children, families and all citizens.

Among others, they organised:

  • Three temporary exhibitions in the Museum Doña Pakyta (in the museum area refurbished by CAMINA): “La Chanca in the imagination”,“La Chanca de  Pérez Siquier” and “La Chanca en el Imaginario II Miradas Cruzadas” (follow-up on Journal 2) and open-air activities like guided visits and workshops;
  • Active engagement of families and students from La Chanca-Pescaderia through the cooperation with schools and Museums;
  • Urban walks, called “Mujeres Camino”, organised by a community of artist women around La Chanca-Pescaderia neighbourhood and other Almeria sites;
  • Three talks with artists and experts: 1. How is to be an artist in Almeria and survive, 2. Art and inclusion, 3. Memories of Arts in La Chanca;
  • Three sessions of artistic laboratories: 1. arabic writing, 2. mapping and plastic workshop 3. Co-creation of a collective murales(street arts).
Artistic workshop - civic curator 1
Artistic laboratories

Moreover the civic curator 1 developed a webpage https://almerife.com/ to map cultural organisations, artists, cultural experts, practitioners of Almeria to empower collaboration and participation between cultural stakeholders. 

Camina map
Map used in the artistic laboratory for drafting different personal routes

 

Junta de Andalucia - Department of Alcazaba Cultural Heritage , responsible for the civic curator 2, worked with the “Asociación Socio-cultural La Guajira”, “Clasijazz” organisation and the artist Julio Bejar to develop the following activities:

  • Different types of music performances
  • Street performance and first concert of the chorale foundation;
  • Audio Barrio project”: a Sound Route inspired by people’s story life with 16 audio tracks corresponding to 16 stops to play and listen;
  • Baazar Andalusí, as a recreation of a XI century and 3 different type of concerts about Mediterranean music.
  • Light and music festival Al-Andaluz.
El Andaluz
“Al-Ándaluz” Music performance with light art at Alcazaba

 

chorale
“Al-Ándaluz” Music performance with light art at Alcazaba

 

chorale training
Chorale training session

 

EMMA, Municipal School for Music and Arts, responsible for the civic curator 3, collaborated with the associations “INDANZA” and “A toda Vela”.

The activities developed by civic curator 3 are:

  • Dance performance with video mapping installation about Indaliano movement;
  • Dance performance “Sed, la magia del agua” to represent the importance of the water worldwide and especially in Almeria, a territory where the production of vegetable, exported in all Europe, is the main source of income;
  • Theatre performance realised outdoor/rooftop of the cultural node Meson Gitano inspired by Almeria history;
  • “CAMINA Urbano”: urban performative exhibition  that involved several dance performers of hip hop, freestyle, etc.

EMMA launched also a casting activity for theatre, dance and music beginners to engage Almeria citizens.

indaliano dance
Indaliano Dance Project
casting
CAMINA casting
CAMINA Urbano
CAMINA Urbano promotional material

 

KUVER, audio-video producer and musical events organiser, as a responsible of Civic curator 4, coordinated the work done with the associations  “Amigos de la Alcazaba de Almería”, “Federación Provincial de Peñas Flamencas de Almería” and “Federación Almeriense e Teatro Aficionado (FEALTA)”. They implemented the following activities:

  • Theatre, dance and music performance inspired by the main milestone of Almeria history from the population perspective “Almería a través de la historia”;
  • Short-film- documentary about the Ancient Almeria named “Las Tres Medinas”.
theatre
Theatre dance and music performance inspired by Almeria history

 

Presentation of the video- documentary about the Ancient Almeria
Presentation of the video- documentary about the Ancient Almeria

 

Diputación de Almería is the responsible of the civic curator 5. The delivery partner collaborated with the association “La Oficina Producciones Culturales” and the professionals Evaristo Martínez and Francisco Luis Aguilar. The cultural activities developed by the civic curator 5 are:

  • Training on Cinema and video- making for school students (CINEMA LAB I);
  • Photography for cinema and urban art training for school students (CINEMA LAB II);
  • A documentary film about the whole Civic Curator process and activities, with students testimonials.
  • Set up of an Archive (physical and online) of images collection of people live in La Chanca Pescaderia neighbourhood involved in the cinema industry and movies;
  • Route with six urban street art performances (poster of actors/actress from the Archive) in La Chanca-Pescaderia neighbourhood.
Urban street art in La Chanca Pescaderia
Urban street art in La Chanca Pescaderia

 

street art
Urban Street art performance
memoria del cine
Promotional material of the exhibition: Memorias del Cine

 

Junta de Andalucia - Andalusian Center of Photography (CAF) is the responsible of the civic curator 6 that was developed with the Grupo Indalo Foto association.

The activities implemented are:

  • A training for citizens  on photography using their mobile devices and facilitated by a professional photographer.
  • Photography competition for training participants and Almeria citizen
  • A photography exhibition in the Art Schools of Almeria.
  • An exhibition of photography in walls and facades in all the three targeted districts and in the scaffolds of the rehabilitation works at defence wall of Alcazaba complex. The selected photos put in the exhibition have been taken by training participants and by the professional photographer Jose Maria Mellado.
photos with small devices
Training for locals on photography using mobile devices

 

photo
Photo exhibition

 

 

 

3. Implementation challenges

The deadline to finalise the CAMINA project was postponed to June 2024. Indeed, some delay with the public procurement process and the need to finalise the investments in the cultural infrastructures required more time than expected. Following some details dealing with the most relevant challenges.

Challenge
Observation

Challenge

1. Leadership
Challenge level

Observations

CAMINA has strong political support. It has been conceived as an implementation activity of the socio-cultural objectives fostered by the Almería 2030 Strategic Plan and followed directly by the Presidency area of Almería City Council. The project leadership has been facilitated by being managed directly by the Presidency area of Almería City Council, which allows easier connections with Municipal Departments and external stakeholders.

The collaboration with the delivery partners and the local stakeholders is going smoothly and the project leadership is well-recognised by the delivery partners and beneficiaries.

Challenge

2. Public Procurement
Challenge level

Observations

During the last year project, huge efforts have been done in delivering several public procurements to implement the project works:

  • The public procurement to engage the agency of Communication to support the project dissemination and capitalisation. The agency in this project period was essential to promote the work of the civic curators and invite Almeria’s citizens to participate at the cultural events realised between October 2023 and February 2024.
  • The public procurement for the rehabilitation of Katiuska cinema. The works started on December 2023and it is expected that they will end in June 2024.
  • The public procurement for the virtual reality digital application to be realised in the roof terrace of the Meson Gitano and the 3D cultural experience in Doña Pakyta Museum launched on March 2024 and will end on 4 April 2024.

As already shared in the Journal 2, it is important to highlight that CAMINA contributed to innovate the public procurement in the Andalucia Region dealing with the engagement with local organisations and the private sector willing to work in the field of Culture. This procurement was fundamental to launch the innovative work of civic curators.

In the following weeks the MUA will launch also:

  • The public procurement for the 3D cultural experience in Doña Pakyta Museum.

Challenge

3. Organisational arrangements within the urban authority (cross department working)
Challenge level

Observations

CAMINA has been contributing to enhance the ability of Municipal officers to collaborate to achieve project results. The project has been benefiting by being managed by the Presidency area of Almería City Council, because it is a strategic department able to work with other municipal areas as well as it has sound political support.

The overall political support offered by the Mayor of Almeria facilitates the organisational arrangements within the Municipality of Almeria.

Challenge

4. Participative approach for co-implementation
Challenge level

Observations

The participative approach for co-implementation of project activities is the hearth of the project CAMINA. Delivery partners have been working together to set up the  civic curators - social laboratories for culture and share a participative methodology.

Steering committee meetings are organised every six months involving all delivery partners to share project implementation. Further coordination meetings are organised when needed to discuss financial issues. Small groups of delivery partners work costately together to implement project activities, following the Work Packages framework.

This journal project period was a real challenge for testing the participative approach for the co-implementation of CAMINA. The civic curators activity with a budget of 2 Millions Euro has been the most innovative and sound participative activity. It involved all delivery partners, local associations, artists and urban practitioners. The partner coordinator (EPTISA) did a great job with a huge effort to coordinate the six civic curators and follow the several cultural initiatives they proposed.

On the 20th February 2024, all Civic curators met together for an exchange and learning activity, where they did a peer review of their work.

Challenge

5. Monitoring and evaluation
Challenge level

Observations

The methodology for the mid-term project assessment was developed by Khora and Univeristy and the University of Almería delivery partner, in collaboration with the Municipality of Almeria andEptisa delivery partner. It is focused on the impact of CAMINA as cultural project aimed at fostering the social cohesion through cultural participation. The Mid-term assessment methodology foresees to spotlight on the civic curators’ activities to assess three Mid-Term objectives: 1. Fostering participation and culture access; 2. Promoting social integration and social cohesion; 3. Encouraging citizens in visiting the targeted cultural heritage neighbourhoods to demolish the stigma. The assessment will be finalised in the following months.

Challenge

6. Communication with target beneficiaries and users
Challenge level

Observations

Thanks to enrolment of the communication agency started on August 2023, during this project year, the activities of CAMINA have been divulgated by several communication channels: the website of CAMINA project https://almeriacamina.es/ and CAMINA social media https://www.instagram.com/almeriacamina/. CAMINA initiatives were also disseminated through local television, radio and newspapers.

Moreover, several participative initiatives were launched to engage with Almeria’s citizens in the development of cultural activities, that helped the sound dissemination of CAMINA. Among others: the work with students, the casting for locals to become performers of CAMINA, the urban walks and so on.

Challenge

7. Upscaling
Challenge level

Observations

Thanks to the good collaboration with the Provincial Level – Diputación and the Regional Level, Junta de Andalucia ,, CAMINA has already had  the possibility to be upscaled. This fruitful collaboration at multilevel governance approach provided a political framework for project implementation that could be consider innovative and unique (never seen before) for this territory, demonstrating that culture can bridge people and places and trigger a process of cultural participation.

Indeed, the Regional Government “Junta de Andalucía” is willing to grant other processes of cultural co-design following the experience of the social laboratories – civic curators of CAMINA.

It is forecasted to organise International Cultural talks to spread the voice about the successful CAMINA approach and boost novel possibility of project upscaling and transferability. 

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