The city of Bergamo was running to be the Capital of Culture in 2019, but the application was rejected. One of the reasons stated by the Ministero dei beni e delle attività culturali (Ministry of cultural heritage and activities ed.) for this rejections was the lack of European dimension of the city. That’s the reason AEGEE-Bergamo created a new project for the city of Bergamo, under the name of “Bergamo is Europe”. The three-year project focuses on six constituents of the arts, each of which is developed using three different methods: online, local and European level.
The idea came to light during a sleepless night, caused by the difficulty of sticking to the idea of culture that was outlined by the administration of Bergamo (and also by everyday life) in the application for Bergamo Capitale della Cultura 2019. That night, AEGEE-Bergamo reconfirmed the office at Polaresco (where many AEGEE-members stayed for the NWM) and a new frontier for the local.
“Bergamo is Europe” is a project that starts from crisis and is structured in the crisis and the practises of voluntarily work. It must be held together with the help of those who live in this cultural, social or economic crisis every day. Active culture is immersed in the city, so “Bergamo is Europe” means participation, “Bergamo is Europe” means freedom. For you and your cities all this may be obvious, but for those who live in Bergamo, in a dormitory town, with a certain way of seeing things and a certain way of looking at life, it is not that obvious.
AEGEE-Bergamo decided to organise this particular type of activity because the problem of cultural entertainment is a very salient issue in the provincial and Nordic parts; where in the national debate the only concern seems to be unemployment, the monetary value of things and not to disturb the neighbours. The Northern local is trying to bring a little sense of Europe into Bergamo, because an airport is not enough. The city needs to engage in some social activities seriously and, at the same time, it needs people who are willing to take the risk.
The cultural project started, though it was a little quiet without stirring up the public, it has indeed started. The first public initiative was BERGAMO UNPLUGGED, which applies to – as you would guess – the music in the city. The music is played on the streets, on request, no cover, unplugged, not registered in SIAE [Società Italiana degli Autori ed Editori, the Italian copyright collecting agency ed.] apart from very rare spontaneous occasions, and it is done to get the fellow citizens used to the sounds – even the harsh ones – of house music that always dreams of going beyond “the sacred confines of Adda and Oglio” (cit.). The website is still a work in progress and all the pages will be slowly added. Soon also a crowd funding campaign will begin on the site, ulule.com, where it will be possible to support the project financially.
As the board of AEGEE-Bergamo said: “We hope to see you participate at least in the online initiative or you can even bring your arts to Bergamo. We have seen Europe and Bergamo can also be part of it.”
Written by Lisa Gregis, AEGEE-Bergamo
Translated by Katalin Schlogl