European Capitals of CultureΠοιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do

Time line for Marseilles 2013

Once Marseilles was selected to be European Capital of Culture in 2013, it has evoked a lot of expectations.

For instance during the ECOC celebration in Brussels, March 23 -24, 2010 Bob Scott as head of the selection committee stated Marseille has set a new standard in terms of bid made by a city.

The very concept plus the approach adopted can indeed lead to expectations that Marseille will not merely upgrade the institution of European Capitals of Culture, but provide Europe with a model for the future. This is because its intended 'atelier' to link Europe with the Mediterranean region is based on philosophical and literary premises. They could well counter the usual commercial and image promoting concepts usually adopted by cities which have been designated the title.

If that would be the case, it could bring to fore a new model based on bringing different cultures already living together to a new level of sharing and compability. At the same time, such a realization would depend upon naming the real and hard issues. If that would happen, then Marseilles 2013 would be like a fresh breeze in a world. One indication thereof of a change would show itself in the communication strategy. For to initiate a dialogue between Europe and the Arab world, another dialogue not based on empathy as presumed by the 'intercultural dialogue' has to be initiated and receptivity of a world used to all kinds of modern PR and propaganda techniques be altered into a willingness to discuss 'hard questions and difficult issues'.

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One prime aim of Marseilles is to make out of the entire city a 'cultural landscape'. This includes transforming the seaside front into an elongated kind of museum for all Mediterranean countries. Equally within various areas of the cities, new architectural buildings are going up.


Thes structural projects have following budgetary requirements:

€ 660 million for a new cultural landscape. The new cultural facilities planned for 2013 have been made possible by public financing and private support. In total, € 660 million will be invested in building or renovating facilities. This money has been contributed by:




Positive outcomes are already to be observed in terms of urben refurbishment:

"The 2013 project has also led to investments in urban development, infrastructure, tourism, conference and leisure facilities."

The aim:

"The Marseille-Provence project is about developing art and culture to bring about a lasting regional transformation based in part on new activities and jobs."

Still, there is the protest as articulated by Marseilles 2013 OFF and which has to be understood in terms of how different the official program is in terms of the original bid. With 2013 the time line in need to be traced has started to become a lived through reality.


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