#citylinked: from CPH to Embra and back again

Last updated: 5 Oct 2019

City Link (Facebook | Twitter) describes itself as a “co-creating network of artists, activists, cultural entrepreneurs, researchers and people with ideas that link cities”. Launched in 2012 as a project between the ‘cultural communities’ of Copenhagen and Hamburg, I came across it last year via partner GivRum (Facebook), and was piqued to discover that their 2015 festival would be held in my home town of Edinburgh. But being the wrong side of 40 *coughs* I don’t think I’m in the target group:

The festival aimed to “explore how we can create more sustainable and democratic cities”. Organisers included Carol Hayes, purveyor of Culture Pie (FacebookTwitter), now at GivRum. Update: reviews by Richard Williams | Stacey Hunter.

On the programme:

  • Hold me dear: four cities, four (extra)ordinary places – “a co-created exhibition of photographs and stories of treasured places in our cities submitted by local people from Edinburgh, Copenhagen, Hamburg and Istanbul”; showing in the Rodney Street railway tunnel in Canonmills; nicely done!
  • Polar Twins – Artists Exchange exhibition in the Biscuit Factory, a new venue in Leith, where “five Danish and [five] Scottish artists exhibit their work as part of a six month cultural exchange”
  • Nordic Horizons hosted Opening doors: the urban revolution in Denmark, of course it did
  • Symposium at Summerhall – presos, visits, Tunnocks teacakes and fællesspisning
  • Creating sustainable cultural networks – closed workshop hosted by Embra Uni’s Centre for Cultural Relations
  • Pecha Kucha at Architecture and Design Scotland
  • Bike ride with Sustrans – “Take a tour around some of the cultural highlights from the City Link Festival. The tour will feature art, poetry and musical stops at unique locations along a specially created route of locally loved spots.” Obviously this annoys me because it’s ‘pop-ups’ and bikes, but heck, it’s Scottish bikes, and the route _is_ quite long: Goldenacre Path, Hawthornevale, Victoria Park, along the Water of Leith (which I relished not least because it was relatively bike free…)
  • Flytte – “an evening of poetry and music on the theme of ‘displacement’”, to result in a publication exploring “the effect place and displacement have on our creativity”, ha! poets: Bashabi Fraser, Jessica Johannesson Gaitán (aka @therookbookery), Gerd Laugesen; sadly entirely tweet free (wonder how they are going to pronounce flytte, the Danish verb for moving house/home etc, obviously related to the Scot verb to flit; I flitted ? from Embra to CPH)

Picked up lots of nice Scottish urban stuff, not least Creating Places Scotland and Creative Embra‘s Desire Lines project. It’s particularly interesting to compare the Scottish context with Danish discourse. Edinburgh is ‘my’ heritage, and putting it into the urbanist perspective may help me engage more with the Danish. Meanwhile, it’s notable that most Scottish organisations present an engaging public face, with blogs, newletters, Twitter etc. Danish ones mostly…don’t. And regarding engagement in urban planning this side of the pond, the Hvidovre bymidte case is more my experience.

Update: 30 Oct sees City Link CPH/FRB: Reimaging the city, kicking off at lovely Novozymes. Somewhere‘s walk on Nordre Fasanvej has some appeal: ” The tour will stop at selected locations, where the clashes in this diverse area are most obvious, to talk about what creates a good city, gentrification and about art’s possibilities in an urban space such as this.”

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