LOCAL SCENARIOS FOR A EUROPE OF TOMORROW
How do we want to live in the future? People will answer this question very differently depending on their life situation, country, and age. But opportunities for exchange are rare.
The “Future Cities” project aims to initiate a dialogue across Europe that encourages the general public to think about the future and to explore their own visions. For this purpose, two citizen theatre groups from Nuremberg (Germany) and Bagnolet (France) will each develop a performative city tour for the year 2030, with local scenarios and European visions. The city is a special place for this dialogue where different discourses meet, e. g. the climate crisis, sustainable mobility concepts, demographic change, or new models of living and working.
We want to encourage citizens to address these issues starting with their own surroundings. The constant exchange between the two groups allows them to look beyond city or country borders and to experience themselves as European protagonists of urban change. The artistic approach facilitates the exploration of visions and also hopes to open up an emotional space for the exchange of personal wishes and fears. Ultimately, the “Future Cities” project allows us to experience how the future can be shaped.
The project builds on existing cultural relations between Germany and France, but deliberately leaves the capital cities. People of different socio-cultural backgrounds should come together for a polyphonic exchange. The project thus links the worlds of arts, futurology, political education, and European cultural relations with the power and creativity of civil society.
Under the guidance of theater professionals, the two groups each develop their own city tour, which will allow them to discuss their visions in public. Polis180 takes part with input lectures to familiarize the participants with some of the most urgent questions about the future and to encourage a sustained engagement with them.
The project is based on a four-step model that combines analog and digital as well as national and international elements:
- Onboarding: Input lectures and scenarios for the future city | June 2021
- City tours: Performances in the public space, documented in video/sound | September 2021
- Mediation: Video montage for online presentation | September 2021
- Exchange: Video screening and final discussion with Polis180 | October 2021
Phase 1: Onboarding
On June 12 and 16, the two theater groups met for the first time!
After getting to know each other, we talked about the ideas of Polis180 for the “Future Cities” project: create visions for a democratic and egalitarian future society, use the city as an exemplary place where challenges and opportunities meet, experience a sensual exchange about individual desires and fears, and dive into intergenerational, intersociocultural, and global visioning together.
This was followed by expert inputs: Alex Putzer (Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy) spoke about the concept of New Nature (“The Rights of Urban Nature”), followed by Dr Federico Cugurullo (Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland) and his research on Urban Artificial Intelligence (“Welcome to the City of the Future”).
The participants then came together in three collaborative sessions for developing:
- a future city scenario
- a fictional persona
- a vision of their life in the future city.
We learned a lot and had great fun – thanks so much to everyone who participated!
Strategic Foresight &
Public Relations &
Collectiv Sirènes an interdisciplinary collective that works in the field of arts and urbanism. It consists of artistic director Marie Roth, urbanist and architect Clémence Estrada, as well as dancer and choreographer Elise Roy. They will work with citizens of different age groups from Bagnolet, who will first exchange their own ideas about the future and will then be introduced to the artistic means of expression: dance and physical theater, text, and choruses. This is followed by the design of fictional figures of the future, who will come into action in a performative city tour – with choral and individual elements – at several stations in the urban space.
Tafelhalle Nürnberg is Germany’s only municipal production center for the independent scene in the field of music, dance, and theater. In 2019, the STADT-Ensemble was founded, which invites citizens to participate in artistic processes. The directors are choreographer and dance teacher Beate Höhn, director and theater teacher Stefanie Miller, as well as choreographer Sebastian Eilers. Their starting point will be an individual collection of future topics, which will then be discussed and further explored in discursive formats, improvisations, and walks to develop visions of the future. These will come together in a performative city tour, which will also invite local audiences to participate and share their ideas.