European Capitals of CultureΠοιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do

Strategy for Sibiu 2007 Cristian Radu

Any strategy is finding the right concept to be put place for the future.



In our understanding, the designation 'Capital of Culture' is an open concept, finding a home in various environments and contexts and promoting an idea capable of many interpretations, rather than the mere nomination of a place. We believe that there is no universal solution and each designated city is free to arrive at its own understanding of the concept. Sibiu is inscribing itself in such a process: for us the dialog begins with ourselves - but it does not end with us. One over-riding duty of a designated city is to respond. We understand that it is not sufficient to go through the year as if it was a normal festive year, promoted a little more at home and abroad. We intended to respond to the designation with a solid platform of partnership, both with the artistic and social communities of the city, as well of Romania as a whole. Through such partnership we discover ourselves: we find Europe at the heart of our own cultural being.

1. Mission Statement

As well as recognising the city's existing cultural excellence, 'Sibiu European Capital of Culture 2007' is designed to encourage the City of Sibiu to develop and innovate through cultural action.
The Programme is designed to promote cultural cooperation and to celebrate the European destiny of Sibiu, through a cultural programme with European dimension and significance.
'Sibiu European Capital of Culture 2007' will offer opportunities for social inclusion and cohesion, business, education, tourism, heritage and urban regeneration at every level. The Programme puts culture at the heart of city life and seeks inspiration to drive it forward.

2. Objectives of the Programme

  • Raising the international profile of Sibiu
  • Long term cultural development
  • Attracting international visitors
  • Enhancing feelings of pride and self-confidence
  • Growing and expanding the local audience for culture
  • Improving social cohesion and creating an economic downstream
  • Improving cultural and non cultural infrastructure
  • Developing relationships with other European cities/regions and promoting European cultural cooperation
  • Promoting creativity and innovation

3. Cultural Programme

Sibiu has always been a place for the spectacular. The squares of Sibiu were always the places where historic events took place, where grand architecture was constructed, where big decisions were made and where art was produced. Yet the city is also a place of routine events, ordinary buildings, and everyday decisions. The cultural programme must find its ultimate relevance in relation to what already exists. The 2007 cultural programmes have to search for a visibility in and find a relevance to the city it inhabited. The issue of the relationship of a specially conceived cultural programme to the ongoing cultural life of the city is a central theme to the organizers.

The approach to and content of 2007 cultural programme will be defined and circumscribed by a range of different factors, some artistic, others political, and others relating firmly to the resources (infrastructure, human and financial) of the city. The construction of the cultural programme is seen a hybrid affair, influenced by the sense of the city as a place, its objects and spaces and the skills of its artists and cultural workers. Unlike the concept of a city festival, 2007 cultural programmes is year-long, one-off events, and should have a European perspective. These factors, as well as the number of constituencies that need to be included and the different and high expectations that need to be met, requires complex strategies and planning mechanisms.

It has now become clear that our job is to balance different (and sometimes opposing) factors to create a programme that suited Sibiu. The cultural programme has to 'solve' the following dilemmas:

  • Artistic vision and political interests
  • Traditional and contemporary culture
  • High-profile events and local initiatives
  • City centre and suburb/regional locations
  • 'High' art and popular art/culture
  • Established cultural institutions and independent groups and artists
  • Attractiveness to tourists and the local population
  • International names and local talent
  • Usual activities and new activities
  • Professional and amateur/community projects

The main selection criteria of the projects should be based on:

  • the quality of the project
  • the cost of the project
  • the relevance of the project to the programme's aims
  • the experience of the organisers
  • the long-term impact or sustainability of the project

Some Lines of Actions for the Cultural Programme

Public Space
Due to its unique architectural heritage, Sibiu is a perfect platform for projects taking place in public space. Street parades, open-air events and festivals appeared prominently across the board. This perspective is also part of a strategy to increase participation in culture. Both the creation of art in public spaces and the organisation of specific events in public space are given considerable attention, and eventually these projects will receive the most public and media attention. Both the opening (December 2006 !) and the closing event will involving some form of outdoor celebration, as being one of the most successful projects in terms of public attention

Social Dimension
The objective of growing audiences for culture in the city is specifically mentioned among the general objectives of the Programme ('access
development'). A broad definition of culture is envisaged by the organizers in order to contribute to this attempt to offer 'something for everybody'. The cultural programme will run projects for children and young people, ethnic minorities and disabled people. A special focus is to create cultural opportunities for social groups outside the mainstream city culture ('cultural inclusion') such as the Urban Arts Initiative and the establishment of an Urban Arts Centre using deserted industrial facililities.

European Perspectives and Dimension
Sibiu 2007 CCE programme states that it gives consideration and significance to the European dimension of its cultural programmes. This statement follows several directions:

  • to present events that are focused on the talents of European artists;
  • to support projects based on European artistic co productions and cultural collaborations;
  • to celebrated aspects of European history, identity and heritage.
  • to develop opportunities to establish European networking.
    The prominence of such European projects and their sustainability beyond the cultural year is a major goal of the organizers

4. Communication and Promotion

The key objectives for 2007 CCE Programme in terms of communications and promotion are:

  • Raising the international profile of the city
  • Changing the image of the city
  • Increasing foreign and domestic tourism>
  • Broadening audiences for culture
  • Improving the availability and dissemination of information about the programme is a major task, now under the process of construction.

Sibiu 2007 CCE Programme has several communications priorities:

  • Promoting the profile of the city
  • Promoting the brand/image of the Capital of Culture
  • Promoting the cultural programme of the Capital of Culture

Communications strategies attempts to focus on the following target audience:
Priority audiences by location
The priority target audience are, equally:

  • the local population,
  • the national audience
  • the European and international public
    Priority publics by social group
  • Opinion-formers and cultural professionals is highest priority; followed by
  • Politicians, young people and children; then
  • Elderly people, ethnic minorities and disabled people.

5. New Tourism Concept for 2007

The organizers consider that the majority of visitors will be attracted to a relative proportion of the events staged namely the open air events. While a number of blockbuster events could attract very large numbers of visitors, the large cost of some events calls into question their cost-effectiveness in promoting tourism. It is clear, however, that the ECC will attract a 'cultural' audience, which remains on the whole professional, middle class and highly educated. While this could be advantageous for the city in order to create a cultural image or attract large-spending cultural visitors, it has certain implications for issues relating to social. Nevertheless, major conceptual and infrastructure changes have to be made in order to improve tourist access support the cultural programme and create an economic downstream. The organizers will develop a tourism frame-concept aimed at:

  • promoting high-quality, ecologically sound, tourist experiences in Sibiu and the surrounding region.
  • providing satisfaction. Tourists must enjoy their stay here, they must be so satisfied with their experience that they will be willing to tell others about the city. We intend to integrate our tourism industry into an all-embracing concept, and connect it to a regional services network which operates at high standards.
  • intensifying our tourism marketing. In this regard, the activities will include:
    - the promotion of our historical city centre
    - easy access to the sights and monuments in the region
    - the promotion and reintegration of the tourism market of our mountain resort at Paltinis (situated in the close proximity to the city)
    - planning and organising local, regional, inter-regional, national and international events
    - developing a gastronomic and hotel industry of high quality, enhanced by an attractive calendar of cultural and artistic events
    - developing new forms of tourism: religious, scientific and cultural, which can make better use of the local and regional conditions.

6. New Horizons After 2007

One of the key concepts of Sibiu 2007 European Capital of Culture is the sustainability of the programme , ensuring that the short term benefits remain also in the long run. The question is: after we benefit of a complex one year programme, are the effects going to last well beyond 2007? The answer is yes, and there are many arguments for that. We list just a few of them.

  • Even if some of the events in the programme are familiar to the inhabitants of Sibiu/Hermannstadt, they will be re-launched in a new context, of cultural cooperation among different institutions or as cross-border events.
  • The exercise of more pronounced, integrated cultural management will lead to the formation of a more complex cultural offer in Sibiu, while avenues of collaboration among professionals from different cultural disciplines will be explored, with the effect of indicating different cultural providers which have been previously unrecognised.
  • Human relations which already in the preparatory phases of the programme started to link people who live in different towns and countries are going to be a certain benefit on a spiritual level. These links will cut even shorter the distances in the united Europe.
  • The local, national and European exposure and coverage of the 2007 programme will give a boost to cultural tourism and will attract visitors and participants of the festivals and events organised in the future in a snowball effect.
  • The extension of Western cultural itineraries towards Romania and Sibiu will connect the local tourism standards to the European demand.
  • The title of European Capital of Culture will act on behalf of Sibiu as good reference for potential tourists and investors. Creation of new jobs will have important effects in the living standards of the inhabitants of Sibiu area, prompting a faster social process of cohesion with the European Union. The improvements that will appear in the infrastructure, tourism, cultural facilities will last for decades as a material benefit for the city.

As a conclusion, the programme Sibiu will have long term benefits in:

  • making the city a better place to live in, a more interesting place to visit,
  • work and invest in
  • extended infrastructure and renewed cultural facilities will improve the
  • city’s life
  • better skilled artists and promoters will add momentum to the city’s
  • cultural life
  • a positive change in the image of Sibiu/Hermannstadt and Romania



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