With a trial process of 18 months (Spring 2022 – Autumn 2023), we wish to foster greater people-to-people exchange between European and sub-Saharan political and cultural communities, providing for structured occasions for Municipalities and Civil Society from across Europe and the African continent to come together. The program is led by Studio Rizoma with the City of Palermo and so far foresees the participation of the European municipalities of Athens, Bergamo, Braga, Dusseldorf, Marseille, Mannheim, Montpellier, and Reggio Calabria.

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Regarding Colonies
Years
Countries

The programme will rotate around five international meetings bringing together municipal representatives, cultural actors and civil society from across Europe and the African continent. We have isolated three specific areas of action:

On Restitution. A programme of debate and cultural exchange starting from the current political debate on the restitution of cultural heritage and involving artists, researchers and activists from Africa and Europe. Introducing a broader notion of restitution, which can refer to tangible and intangible heritage as well as natural resources, they present and discuss decolonizing artistic and political practices and interventions that have the potential to transform the relations between Europe and Africa. This programme is co-curated by Swiss dramaturg Eva-Maria Bertschy and Congolese curator Patrick Mundekereza.

Political Networks. We will work to begin building links between European municipal representatives and their African counterparts, in view of the potential longer-term development of such links into a structured network, as well as links between representatives of social movements and activist groups from Europe and Africa. This program, co-hosted by the Mayor of Palermo Leoluca Orlando, will cut across the other two and imagine concrete areas of municipal and activist cooperation between European and African cities and social groups, including on the questions of restitution and supporting innovative forms of civil society cooperation developed by the two other areas of our program.

New Models of Cooperation. Directly implementable civic exchange spaces that bring together civil society groups, cultural and social entrepreneurs from participating European cities and their African counterparts for structured exchange and peer learning. With a special focus on the practices of migrant-run organisations, the aim is to present and develop models of innovative transcontinental cooperation and exchange that can overcome the existing imbalances between the European and African partners and foster win-win collaborations between European and African civil society, NGOs and social enterprises. The discussions revolve around questions of how project ideas are developed, which interests are taken into account, which approaches are adopted, how budgets are distributed and roles are defined. This involves a critical reflection on the political contexts of cooperation that frames the practices and exchange and on the influence of the funders. This program will be co-organised by one European and one African Civil Society representative.

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