Discussion 02: The organizational framework at global level
Memo: The European Capitals Documentation Centre
In 1985, Athens was nominated the first European Capital of Culture, following initiative of the then Greek Minister of Culture, Melina Mercouri, the French Minister of Culture, Jacques Lang and the German Foreign Affairs Minister, Genser.
That was the first initiative of the European Union, regarding the cultural policy field and therefore that very first hosting of the new institution had at that time been considered an event of major importance, gathering all State and Government executives in Athens.
Ever since, that remains the most important cultural institution of the European Union. Recently, the European Commission decided the re-examination of the institution’s legal framework, the improvement of selection procedures and support actions, the increase of funding amounts and the creation of a more competitive context among cities of the same country, for their nomination. As a consequence, for example, for the European Capital of 2016 to be nominated, the procedure has already begun since 2005 and so far already 12 candidatures exist. In Greece, where the Inistitution will be hosted again in 2020, the interested cities are Volos, Rhodes, Kalamata and Herakleion.
The success of the Institution has driven to the adoption of the action in other parts of the world such as Russia, Canada, Latin America, the Arab World, Catalonia and recently, China.
In some cases the initiative is taken by private actors whereas in other cases by state or regional authorities. Still, the organization is always supported by the State of the local government.
Running through the European Capitals’ history, one may find various forms of organization, depending on each city’s needs and varying as to the extend and size of promotion, organizational structure, infrastructural works, sponsoring, long-term effects on local communities etc.
The management of the material produced by each hosting city depends on the actors (ministries of culture, municipalities, regional committees, cultural organizations, etc). But unfortunately, usually that material produced during the cultural year (audiovisual, printed, scientific, promotional etc) is archived either in municipal offices or in libraries and in most cases with no access for the public (professors, researchers, students, sponsors, cultural organizations, etc).
The European Commission has not so far taken any action for the right management and use of this archived material. In 1992 the Network of European Capitals of Culture and Months was created and during the last five years has been making efforts for the gathering of it. In this view, in 2006, in Patras, was organized an exhibition regarding the Institution’s history with the presence of the Mayor of the City and past and futures hosting cities representatives.
The European Capitals of Culture Documentation Centre has as objective, the gathering in Athens of multimedia and electronic material from all past and future hosting cities as well as from currently candidate cities.
The archive to be created by the Cultural Organization of the City of Athens will be hosted in the Technopolis Cultural Centre, where one will be able to find all related information needed. Likewise, information will be available through the internet. The Centre will remind to all that Athens, the Institution’s birthplace, still strongly supports that idea.
In addition to that, a new mostly digital and audiovisual exhibition to be created on a thematical concept will tour in other European capitals and interested cities.
The Documentation Center will be administrated by an international steering committee, appointed by the Mayor of Athens.
Born in 1957
Graduate studies in German, French, Spanish and Law
Postgraduate in Classical German Theatre (Giessen, Germany).
Official of the European Parliament in Luxembourg since 1981.
Deputy professor for Interpretation at the University of Corfu 19997-1998
Director for International Relations of " Thessaloniki 1997", European Capital of Culture
Organization of the "Aristeion" Translation's Prize 1998 on behalf of the European Commission
Director of Cabinet of the Greek Minister of Culture (Theodoros Pangalos) and Managing Director of the "Cultural Olympiad" 2000-2001
Secretary General of the Network of European Capitals of Culture (ECCM) 2003-2006
Cultural advisor to the Mayor of Athens(Nikitas Kaklamanis) since 2006
Books: 1) on Thessaloniki 1997, 2) Poems on Thessaloniki, 2000 3) Essays 2005
Married, 2 children