Coming to EVS 2016, the informations start to spring. Why that? 2016 was an important year, both for Tratwa and the city of Wroclaw. Starting from the latter, in 2016 Wroclaw had her year as European Capital of Culture.
What is it? The European Capital of Culture is an initiative from the European Union: a city designated by the European Union, which for the period of one year has the opportunity to showcase its life and cultural development. Several European cities have used this period to revive their cultural landscape and, in doing so, relaunch their international visibility. For instance, Rijeka and Galway are the current two title-holding cities for the year 2020 and the first four months of 2021.
Conceived as a means of bringing the various European citizens closer together, the “European city of culture” initiative was launched on 13 June 1985 by the Council of Ministers on the initiative of Melina Merkourī, who held the post of Minister of Culture in the Greek government. It is no coincidence that the first European city of culture was Athens, in 1985. Since then the initiative has been increasingly successful and has a growing cultural and socio-economic impact for the many visitors it has attracted to the chosen cities.
The various cities have tried to evaluate their experiences in different ways; it is not easy to draw long-term assessments of the experiences of cities in all aspects.
The volunteers were, then, connected with all the cultural inititiatives happening in the city at that time. This was the first year that Tratwa officialy hosted a round of 12 long-term volunteers. The place of the activities remained the Legnicka building, but a new location was there: the Center for Academic Culture and Local Initiatives Czasoprzestrzen in Zajezdnia Dąbie. The building was from 1912–1913 in connection with the opening of the Centennial Hall and is the best preserved example of communication architecture in Wrocław, being a tram depot for the local public transport company. The Depot served its function for almost a century: the last squad left its premises on the night of April 4-5, 2014. After this, there was a question.
What to do with the building?
From 2016, the Czasoprzestrzen project is born, in collaboration with the municipality of Wroclaw. A big amount of the work of the volunteers, in this first period, was in the cleaning and reconstructing the space in order to make it avaibile as soon as possible.
Building with the scouts
The volunteers hosted a joyful scout group, making togheder a wood workshop in order to produce furniture for the tram depot space. Did you know that the furniture is the same that is still here today, as 2021?
Partecipation in festivals
The volunteers partecipated also, during the warm season, in a few festivals around in Poland and Lower Silesia. They were going all togheder, in a old Volkswagen van with became the symbol of what was going to be the brand of the educational activities carried out by Tratwa volunteers, Jazda z Pomysłami – “Let’s Go with Ideas”.
A little story of Jazda Z Pomyslami
Once upon a time, an international team of volunteers travelled around the Lower Silesian voivodeship in a Volkswagen coloruful miniwan to run non-formal and informal education workshops with and for students. Children and teenagers living in small Polish villages and towns had the opportunity to meet foreigners, learn about the values of the European Union, to learn about topics such as racism, diversity and multiculturalism, to speak English, and to become familiar with other foreign cultures.
Volunteers in Slot Art festival
“The Slot Art Festival is one of the largest alternative culture festivals in Poland organized in early July for over 30 years now – it is a small prototype of a perfect town. There are living districts and town bath, cafes and restaurants, concert halls and clubs, there is a univeristy and a kindergarden and even a theatre and three little cinemas. This colorful festival village has blossomed for over 15 years in an exceptional location – within the walls of the Baroque, Cistercian monastery-palace complex in Lubiąż in Lower Silesia. Shady trees, cool, ivy covered walls, hidden corners and the arches of the cathedral give a timeless dimension to the modern art forms presented.
The Slot Art Festival is five days of high quality fun as well as a gateway to new possibilities, friendships and contacts. Five days filled with dozens of workshops, concerts, parties, films, and seminars. It’s also something much more – five days away from the daily rat race, battles and rush. The festival will leave you with not only memories, but also with dreams and fresh energy for action.“