Expert article
Edit 25 May 2022
by Ileana Toscano, UIA expert

Discovering CAMINA by walking in Almeria with the delivery partners

Dona Pakyta
Dona Pakyta - Almeria
On the 21st and 22nd April 2022, CAMINA hosted the project officer Nelida Hancco-Herrera for a field visit in the places interested by the cultural and urban interventions promoted by the Municipality of Almeria, through the project CAMINA.
A delegation composed by the Municipality of Almeria, the project partners Eptisa and Khora Urban Thinkers the UIA project officer and the UIA expert moved across the three neighbourhoods of Almedina, La Chanca-Pescaderia and the Centre to experience the Cultural Circular Route, visit the three cultural nodes present in each of the neighbourhoods and meet all the delivery partners.

The project “Community Awakening and Multicultural Integrative Narrative of Almería (CAMINA)” is an holistic initiative aimed at rediscovering the values of culture and cultural heritage and its positive effects in the social integration of three neighbourhoods, located in the city centre of Almería, representing the splendour past of the ancient city: Almedina, La Chanca-Pescaderia and the Centre.

CAMINA through a cultural participative approach is aimed at co-creating a Novel Collective Narrative of Almería’s Cultural Landscape through the active participation of experts and citizens living in Almería. The Narrative has supported the design of a Cultural Circular Route aimed at re-connecting Almedina, La Chanca-Pescaderia and the Centre with the rest of the city, through physical and ICT solutions. It is also the foundation element of the social laboratories for cultural co-designing, so called “civic curators”, uncharged to promote innovative cultural programmes to be deployed in the urban spaces and in the three “cultural nodes” (Katiuska cinema, Museum Doña Pakyta and Mesón Gitano), located into the three different districts of Almedina, La Chanca-Pescaderia and the Centre, which will become meeting points for the civic curators and cultural hubs for citizens.

Associated media

Motion graphic of three “cultural nodes”, Katiuska cinema, Museum Doña Pakyta and Mesón Gitano, located into the three different districts of Almedina, La Chanca-Pescaderia and the Centre.

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The Study Visit organised by the Municipality of Almeria and the project partners Eptisa and Khora Urban Thinkers forecasted a walking in the urban areas where CAMINA has been developing: the neighbourhoods of Almedina, La Chanca-Pescaderia and the Centre.

The delegation experienced the concept promoted by CAMINA: Culture can connect people living in different urban areas and can become the booster for a process of urban regeneration through a sound inclusion of vulnerable people in cultural activities.

The people living the three neighbourhoods are actively engaged in the project to design and realise a novel cultural offer for all the citizens of Almeria. We believe that CAMINA, through its innovative approach for culture, will enforce the process of urban regeneration that is included in the Almeria 2030 strategy”.
Ramón Fernández Pacheco-Monterreal, Mayor of Almería said

The visit started with an official meeting with Ramón Fernández Pacheco-Monterreal, the Mayor of Almeria, María del Mar Vázquez Agüero, the City Councillor for Presidency and Planification area and Maria del Mar Plaza, Project manager of CAMINA and general manager of the Municipal Corporation Almería 2030, who confirmed the political commitment in supporting CAMINA and its sustainability. They highlighted the importance of the project for the citizens of Almeria, especially in the post-Pandemic period, where people need to benefit of cultural activities in public spaces.

Meeting in the City Council with the Mayor of Almeria
Meeting with the Mayor in the Almeria City Council

Following the official welcoming, the delegation was guided by local partners for an urban walk to discover the importance of CAMINA for Almeria and its citizens.

The project acronymous “CAMINA” means “WALK”, which is the paradigm of the project innovation too. Indeed, CAMINA is willing to promote the connection between neighbourhoods and people through cultural urban walks among cultural heritage sites, “cultural nodes” and cultural events in streets and public spaces. CAMINA wants to encourage the citizens of Almeria to re-discover the beauty of its cultural heritage and the ancient neighbourhoods of Almedina, La Chanca-Pescaderia and the Centre through a slow act of moving in the city like walking is. The proposal of walking across the neighbourhoods for cultural purpose corresponds also at the act to demolish some stereotypes affected those places.

CAMINA has designed a “Cultural Circular Route” which foresees urban upgrading for public spaces, digital infrastructures about cultural activities and city history and the rehabilitation of three cultural nodes, one for each of the target neighbourhoods. The walk with the delegation followed the cultural urban route, visiting all the three nodes: the Mesón Gitano - node 1 in Almedina, Doña Pakyta Museum node 2 in the city centre and Katiuska cinema – node 3 in La Chanca-Pescaderia. Different types of cultural activities will be developed in the three nodes by CAMINA: Performative arts in the Mesón Gitano; Fine and plastic art in the Museum Doña Pakyta; Audio-visual arts in the Katiuska cinema.

Cultural Nodes
Cultural Nodes: node 1  - the Mesón Gitano  in Almedina, node 2 - Doña Pakyta Museum in the city centre
and node 3  - Katiuska cinema in La Chanca-Pescaderia
Urban walk
Urban walk in Almedina neighbourhood

 

Dona Pakita
The yard started in Museum Doña Pakyta

The group visited in depth one of the “cultural node”, the Doña Pakyta Museum, located in the Centre of Almeria, which is currently a museum hosting a permanent collection of realistic art including some of the most relevant works belonging to the “Indaliano” period. The Museum is managed by the delivery partner Ibañez Cosentino Art Fundation which provided an important contribution to CAMINA about the idea of inclusive culture and art to boost social integration for the vulnerable people.

CAMINA foresees to transform this “traditional” city art museum into a cultural-art hub for citizens, families and children. Indeed, CAMINA started the yard aimed at rehabilitating the ground floor of the building into a space for cultural and artistic laboratories, where citizens will be welcomed to come and experiment art and cultural activities. The architectural project forecasts to create a versatile space without walls and barriers to allow different possibilities of workshops and art experiments. This place will host also one of the social laboratories/civic curators implemented by CAMINA, uncharged to co-create cultural programme activities for Almeria.

The ground floor
Visiting the ground floor of Doña Pakyta Museum which has been rehabilitating by CAMINA

 

On the afternoon of 21 April, the UIA project officer and the UIA expert were invited also in a meeting between delivery partners, with the presence of all of them: Almería City Council, Almería's Provincial Council and Andalucía's Regional Government; the Ibáñez Cosentino Arts Foundation; the Municipal School for Music and Arts; the University of Almería; KUVER Audiovisual Productions; EPTISA Engineering and KHORA Urban Thinkers.

Meeting with partners
Meeting between delivery partners

The main points of the Novel Narrative of Almeria produced by CAMINA were shared as a milestone to trigger the following project activities. A “Cultural Landscape Storytelling Group” of Almeria was set up to write the City Narrative, where both experts and common people contributed. This approach could be compared to the “Noah's Ark”, where the cultured stories and the story of life have an equal importance. The Novel Collective Narrative of Almería’s Cultural Landscape embraces the vision of the past, the present and the future of the city of Almería.

The Narrative lays the foundations to design the cultural circular routes to connect the neighbourhoods of La Chanca-Pescaderia, Almedina and the Centre and inspires the work of the civic curators in shaping the new cultural programme of Almería.

But this not enough for CAMINA partners. Implementing the project and leading the collection of city narratives, they realised that Almeria could be transformed into a “Open-Air City Museum”.

Museum Camina
The “Open-Air City Museum” for Almeria

How this idea could be realised? By transforming the city of Almeria and in particular the three neighbourhoods of La Chanca-Pescaderia, Almedina and the Centre into a Cultural-Artistic experience that could be discovered by walking. The cultural nodes should become lighthouses, providing high level of cultural exhibitions and bringing beauty and light to the surrounding urban public spaces. The urban circular route should be transformed in public places hosting temporary urban exhibitions or performances, which could be promoted and implemented by the civic curators.

CAMINA has been developing the concept of cultural participation, by including the beneficiaries in shaping a novel cultural offer accessible for all, also the marginalised groups present in the city.

It has been experimenting the powerful of inverting the route of cultural project, by enforcing the role of the bottom-up approach through a sound participation scheme.

We should remember that participation means meeting people, talking, waiting, exchanging ideas. The act of walking in the city is a way of participating in the city life. Walking allows to fall down prejudice against ghetto areas because the presence of different target groups of people in public spaces corresponds to higher level of safety for all. The idea of promoting Almeria as “Open-Air City Museum” will enhance the pleasant way of slowly moving across the city and continue to foster the cultural participation of America’s citizens.

all together
The MUA, the delivery partners, the UIA officer and the UIA expert: all together!

 

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