This short but meaningful slogan of our project invites us to trigger a strong Wave of Change with the help of art and culture. We are convinced that we need it (for a long time), and now is the right opportunity to encourage it and to get connected: with each other and with nature.
In Istria the local population has been struggling for centuries with borders: ever changing on land, indefinite at sea, mental in their heads. Nevertheless, the unity of the Istrian peninsula is not only geographical, as at least three different cultures and four languages have coexisted there since the sixth century. We also need the ECoC in order to promote, through culture, reconciliation with the past in this part of Europe where East meets West and the sea meets land. That is why four Slovenian Istrian cities — Piran, Izola, Koper and Ankaran — have united. With the desire to jointly promote cultural activities in terms of a single cross-border destination of cultural tourism with European dimension, we are applying together under the name Piran-Pirano 4 Istria 2025, in partnership with all municipalities of Croatian Istria and Italian cities of Trieste, Muggia and Venice.
However, the wave of change is not only breaking down the boundaries between us, its role is also (and above all) important for re-establishing our ties with nature. Our relationship with the natural world is broken, which is not only true for those of us who live by the sea. Scientists as well as artists are increasingly demanding that we pull the emergency brake. We behave as if we have inherited inexhaustible wealth from the past, but in reality we are borrowing it from the future. In 2019, Slovenian coastal towns were under water. With the Wave of Change, we will propose new ways of thinking, feeling and acting in relation to nature and its transformations, with the development of the hinterland and marine connections, with the cultural heritage and the future of sustainable tourism.These commitments and opportunities, too, are coming with the Wave of Change.
Name and logotype
The name Piran-Pirano 4 Istria 2025 carries the basic idea: four Slovenian coastal municipalities — illustrated by the number 4 — are applying as partners in the candidacy. The Italian cities of Trieste, Venice and Muggia joined us, and on the Croatian side, as part of the Istrian County, the municipalities of Buje, Umag, Poreč, Novigrad, Rovinj, Labin, Vodnjan, Pula and Pazin, and the municipality of Opatija from Primorje-Gorski Kotar County. Thus, the 4 in the name has a dual role: in addition to pointing up to the four united Slovenian coastal municipalities, it also takes on the meaning of “for” in the pronunciation: Piran FOR Istria, highlighting the multinational character of our application. Nevertheless, the four Slovenian cities of Piran, Izola, Koper and Ankaran (or P.I.K.A. for short) remain in its heart. From abbreviation P.I.K.A. (meaning spot or dot in Slovene language) derives the design of our candidacy logo, consisting of the stylized nautical flags that mark the initials of the names of the four participating Slovenian municipalities.
Development of the project
We were extremely pleased with the news that our candidacy passed the critical eye of the commission and entered the second round of selection. The commission gave us recommendations for improving and supplementing our project, and we have been working enthusiastically on improvements during the last few months. Unfortunately, this period was also marked by the Covid-19 pandemic, but we did not allow this to paralyze us, rather we established new ways to form ideas and programs. Among other things, the candidacy team planned and carried out three sets of workshops to strengthen our capacities, named Tlakovec, which was paving the way towards the final content of the cultural program throughout the summer of 2020. A second bid book is being prepared as a last chapter in our endeavors to become a selected Slovene city to take over the title of ECoC 2025.
How do we work
The participatory process of creating the cultural program of our candidacy takes place under the tutelage of internationally acclaimed creative director Chris Baldwin, who is enriched by many years of experience working with communities and cultural operators. Inspired by Paulo Freire’s pedagogical principles, Chris always begins with the question: ‘What do we want to know, learn, talk about and create – together?’ He sees creation of a cultural program in a certain environment as an exceptional opportunity for all involved to ask themselves about their wishes and concerns. He sees his role primarily in encouraging and supporting the development of the vision, but never imposing it.