Europe’s Capital of Culture

Good morning Xplorers!

This week’s readings for my International Cultural Management Class discussed Richard Florida’s, Rise of the Creative Class (2002). In case you would like to learn more about Florida, I have listed a few of our readings here:

  • Mackenzie Baris’ Book Review of Richard Florida The Rise of the Creative Class
  • Cool, funky and creative? The creative class and preferences for leisure and culture by Trine Bille (p467-496)
  • The Helen Clark Years: Cultural Policy in New Zealand (1999-2008) by Michael Volkerling (p96-104)

My class post this below discusses the European Capital of Culture. Enjoy!

Marseille’s France was recently featured in a New York Times article titled, Known for Crime and Poverty but Working on its Image. Marseille is Europe’s Capital of Culture for 2013. In order to fulfill this role, Marseille repurposed 10 old abandoned buildings as cultural sites, built some brand new buildings, and planned exceptional programming for its existing museums.

This video explains the title of Capital of Culture and the expectations for the capital. States must propose a year of exceptional cultural programming that imports European culture to their city and exports their culture to the rest of Europe. “The idea is to ensure long-term development of the city” through the enhancement of the city’s cultural offerings.

Steven Erlanger writes, “Gaining the title, designated by the European Union annually since 1985, is something like winning the Olympics. It gives Marseille, France’s second-largest city, a chance to remake itself, reclaim its gorgeous port for ordinary citizens and to reshape its image.” Gaining the title of Capital of Culture is a way for a city to expand upon their creative industries. New Zealand’s former Prime Minister, Helen Clark, said “a nation a can be rich in every material sense, but if it fails to provide for and nurture expression, it is impoverished in many ways. Our arts, our culture and our heritage define and strengthen us as a country, communities, and as individuals” (Volkerling102).

The development of a community’s cultural industries is not just a cultural policy, it is an economic policy. Richard Florida, author of Rise of the Creative Class, would claim that the new institutions, programming, and activities developed by the capital of culture, make the city more attractive to the “creative class.” If more members of the creative class moves to Marseille, the city will experience further growth as this class of people create new jobs or bring new companies to the area. In the short term, Marseille’s designation as the capital of culture will attract more tourists. But in the long term, Marseille will be the home to more members of the creative class therefore greatly strengthening the economy and changing the dynamic of the city.



Culture and Development

Hi Art Explorers! This is my first week using a “reposting” my class post. Our class readings this week were focused on the theme of culture and development. In case you are interest, the two readings noted in my post below are “The Social Dimenstosn of Culture and Contemporary Expressions” by Ali Mazrui and The Challenge of Holistic Vision: Culture, Empowerment, and the Development Paradigm.

Authenticity and Tradition–Modernity and Change (Jongmyo Shrine)

The Jongmyo Shrine, located in Seoul Korea, has been standing since the 16th century. It is the oldest and most authentic of the preserved Confucian royal shrines. The shrine is dedicated to the forefathers of the Josean dynasty (1392-1910) and stores tablets with the teachings of the former royal family.  Ancestral worship rites still take place at the shrine today. UNESCO listed Jongmyo shrine on its World Heritage list in 1995. Below I have embedded a video of the beautiful shrine.

In his presentation, “The Challenge of Holistic Vision: Culture, Empowerment, and the Development Paradigm,” Ismail Serageldin states that an effective cultural framework should be rooted in authenticity and tradition. (19) The Jongmyo shrine is a celebration of the unique history of the people of Korea and a memorial to the practice of Confucianism. Today, Koreans can visit the shrine and witness the traditional music and dance that have survived the test of time. The shrine is a part of their cultural identity; it serves as both a window to the past and a symbol of inspiration for future generations. Ali Mazrui notes that “symbols of past stratification become symbols of current identity” (18). The Jongmyo shrine is a monument to Confucianism and the royal family but it also honors the men and women of Korea that helped to build the shrine, preserve the shrine, or worked within the shrine.

It is important to point out that while Serageldin emphasizes the importance of authenticity and tradition, he also stresses the need for openness to modernity and change.(19)  While the Jongmyo shrine tells the story of Confucianism in traditional manner, new institutions such as the South Korean Summer Camps, pass on the teachings of Confucianism in a more modern way. The BBC video, Confucian Summer Camps take S Korean Students Back to Basics, demonstrates the importance of cultural preservation through adaption. These children are no longer required to learn the lessons of their forefathers during the school day, but their parents are able to send them to a summer camp that offers a glimpse of the past. Hopefully as these children get older, they will think of new ways for the teachings to evolve for the next generation.