The City Is Us – From listening to engaging citizens

December 10, 2014, 3:41 pm

The Debate # 2 “The City is Us – From listening to engaging citizens in transforming their cities”

A co-production of BOZAR Agora and Culture Action Europe
Registration are now closed
December 10, 6.00 pm – 8.00 pm
Salle HT – BOZAR – Rue Ravenstein 23, Brussels


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At the end of the process of selection of the European Capital of Culture 2019 in Italy, local authorities and citizens have learnt what it takes to design and manage processes that can transform cities from within. Indeed, the European initiative has offered the 2019 Italian candidate cities an opportunity to reshape the relationship between citizens, local (and broader) governments, cultural institutions and operators.

The key figures involved in designing the strategy and project for Matera (the European Capital of Culture 2019), Lecce, Ravenna and Siena (finalists), will share – in a new informal way – their experiences and views in leading unique participatory processes aimed at reshaping the way culture can act as a catalyst for local transformation. They will also discuss what it takes to keep these processes alive in the future, without having the pressure and leverage of the bidding on their “shoulders”.

What is the link between urban and human development? What is the challenge of creating a new common space where institutions, cultural organisations and self-organised communities can work together? What are the existing challenges? And where are real opportunities?

With Airan Berg (Artistic Director of Lecce 2019), Nadia Carboni (Project Manager of Ravenna 2019), Pierluigi Sacco (Director of Siena 2019), Paolo Verri (Director of Matera 2019).

Moderated by Paolo Naldini (Director, Cittadellarte – Fondazione Pistoletto).

Welcome by Luca Bergamo (Secretary General, Culture Action Europe) and Paul Dujardin (Director General, BOZAR).

Airan Berg (Artistic Director Lecce2019)

Airan Berg gained his first professional experiences working with Harold Prince on Broadway and at the Salzburg Festival before staging his own productions at the Burgtheater in Vienna and the Schillertheater in Berlin. He then studied Mask Dance and Shadow Theatre in Bali before founding, with Martina Winkel, the visual theatre company Theater ohne Grenzen and the international puppet theatre festival for adults Die Macht des Staunens. In 2001 he became Artistic director of the Wiener Schauspielhaus, which specialised in interdisciplinary theatre forms and international coproductions. In 2007 he became Artistic Director of Performing Arts for the European Capital of Culture Linz09, for which he also developed two large scale participatory projects: Klangwolke09 and the creativity and education project I like to move it, move it! He later developed participatory and creativity projects in Istanbul, Burgos, Helsinki, Maas-Rhein Euregio, and Brussels. He was Project Manager for Kultur.Raum.Stadt, an urban development project in Mannheim, before becoming artistic coordinator for Lecce2019, the application of Lecce, Italy, for the title of European Capital of Culture.

Nadia Carboni (Project Manager Ravenna2019)

Project Manager Ravenna 2019 – Ph.D. in Comparative and European Politics and MA in Business Administration, she has been in charge of Ravenna 2019 project managing since the beginning of the process. She has a background as researcher, policy advisor and consultant in public policy and public administration. She is currently Adjunct Professor at the School of Economics, Management and Statistics of the University of Bologna and Researcher at the National Research Council (CNR). From 2001 to 2011, she was Lecturer in Public Administration at the Faculty of Political Science, (University of Bologna). She has been teaching advanced seminars in Administrative Science and Comparative Public Administration at School of Specialization in Administrative Studies (SPISA) University of Bologna and Italian National School of Public Administration (SSPA). She has worked as both project manager and policy advisor for the Department of Public Administration (Office for Reform and Innovation in public administrations) in the Prime Minister Office, the Observatoire Social Européen in Brussels, the Public Administration Research Institute “Vittorio Bachelet” – LUISS Guido Carli in Rome, the Research Foundation of the National Association of Italian Municipalities ANCI-CITTALIA, the Research Institute Carlo Cattaneo in Bologna, the Italian Institute for Social Research, the School of Specialization in Administrative Studies of the University of Bologna.

Paolo Naldini (Director Cittadellarte | Fondazione Pistoletto)

Paolo was born 1970, in Turin (Italy). From 1994 to 1997, he was account manager at F.&T. Srl Consulting, Turin. From 1997 to 2000, he worked in the financial department of Westland Helicopters Ltd, Yeovil, as Accounts Officer and Trend Analysis Researcher. In 1997, Paolo designed and, web projects dedicated to creative collaboration in literatures and the net (neterature = net literature). In 2000, he was appointed as Director of Cittadellarte, Fondazione Pistoletto. Since 2006, Paolo has been a member of European Cultural Parliament ( Paolo has published articles and fictions, and has been invited to participate into conferences on Art and Society. More recently, he felt the need to engage himself in the search of a “word” able to decline a more urgent version of democracy: demopraxy. It expresses a tension toward a new and pulsating declination of the concept of democracy along the lines of concrete experimentation, of direct and working commitment, open and ongoing involvement. Demopraxy are all those practices and methods that express what people do in and of public space, the things they create practically as an urgent and de-ideologised (autonomous) response to the grave and impelling demands of contemporary life.

Paolo Verri (Director Matera2019)

He was born in Turin in 1966. In 1998 he started working for trade and promotion of the city of Turin and in the year 2000 was appointed as Chief Executive of Torino Internazionale, the association that develops, coordinates and manages the City Strategic Plans. In 2003 he takes charge of Atrium Torino, the organization appointed to communicate the city transformations and the Olympic event held at Solferino square in Turin. During the Olympics Torino 2006 he directed the Sponsor Village. In mid 2006 he left both roles to take on the managing of the Italia 150 project, which in May 2007 became steering committee. In July 2011 he became the director of Matera 2019 Committee, an organization born to promote the city of Matera as a candidate for the European Culture Capital: successful bid, since Matera became last October 17 European Capital of Culture representing Italy in 2019. In the meantime, since March 2013, he is managing contents and events for the Italian Pavillion of the Expo2015, that will take place in Milan between May 1st and October 31st 2015, and whose title is “Feed the Planet, Energy for Life”.

He is also consultant for various cities in order to develop their strategic plans.

Pier Luigi Sacco (Project Director Siena2019)

Professor of Cultural Economics, IULM University, Milan. As of September 1, 2011, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Markets, and Heritage. Also teaches Creative Industries at the University of Italian Switzerland (USI), Lugano. PhD in economics, European University Institute. Writes for Il Sole 24 Ore, Saturno and Flash Art. President of the scientific committee of the International Festival of Contemporary Art, Faenza. President of the Cultural Observatory of Marche Region. Member of the scientific committee of Italian National Library, Florence. Research associate, Semeion Research Center, Rome.  Author of more than one hundred and fifty papers appeared on international journals and edited books with the major scientific publishers (Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, Elsevier, Springer, Palgrave, Edward Elgar, Ashgate, Sage, etcetera) on the topics of economic theory, game theory, cultural economics, cultural and creative industries, cultural policy design at the urban, regional and national level. Member of the editorial board of Creative Industries Journal, Mind and Society, Quality and Quantity, Journal of Marketing at Retail and Economia della Cultura. Keynote speaker and invited lecturer worldwide. Extensive consultancy and advisory work for governments, local administrations and cultural institutions on the issues of culture-led local development and of European Culture Capitals Programs.

The Debates

Culture Action Europe and the Centre for Fine Arts (BOZAR) launch a series of debates that will investigate and raise awareness on the role of culture in a changed political, social and economic context. Each debate will approach this general topic through a different angle inspired by the current events and the political context. The subsequent debates will take stock of the outcomes of the previous debates and the contributions made by the guest speakers will also be made available to the public.

For more information on our future debates please visit and 

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.


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