Destruction of the multicultural city during and after World War II, complete exchange of population (German into Polish), the period of communism, and later the fight for freedom and democracy, Solidarity movement, flood of the century, as well as rebuilding and development of the city on the map of Europe, and also innovative thinking about culture in the future – they all became themes for the year-long celebration. Therefore, we talked about transformation. We asked, provoked, inspired and described the metamorphosis of culture – from past, through present to future.
Difficult social processes taking place in Europe in the past few years, and so also during the implementation of the project, intensified the need for this reflection. Our and our partners’ activity focused on creating open and full of energy spaces for beauty, both material ones, and in the sphere of spiritual values, fulfilling the need to experience art and culture, prosocial and encouraging pro-civic attitudes. Our tool was the richness of diversity, both of the autonomous curators, projects, activities and ways of participating in them.
Eight curators were responsible for the artistic programme of the ECoC Wrocław 2016: Agnieszka Franków-Żelazny – for music, Ewa Michnik – for opera, Chris Baldwin – for performance, Michał Bieniek – for visual arts, Jarosław Fret – for theatre, Roman Gutek – for film, Irek Grin – for literature and Zbigniew Maćków – for architecture. They designed an experimental archipelago of arts, a polyphony of people united by one project. Their programme was complemented by projects and activities prepared by the ECoC Wrocław 2016 office in the following areas:
- The Wrocław Stage: social, educational, participatory, multidisciplinary (e.g. microGRANTS ECoC 2016, City of the Future / Laboratory Wrocław, Parks of the ECoC, Volunteering ECoC, Audience Development)
- The Lower Silesian Stage: (e.g. Culture of Small and Medium-sized Towns)
- The National Stage: (City Coalition for Culture)
- The European and World Stage (e.g. The Right to Culture, Lviv Month, cooperation with Berlin, creation of the Artist-in-Residence Programme A-i-R Wro).
The programme activity encompassed several years of preparation and the year of the celebrations itself, based on exchange of experience and good practices, creation, partnerships, networks of international cooperation, as well as projects implemented at an unprecedented scale, transforming the city.
The programme of ECoC Wrocław 2016 consisted of over 425 projects, which resulted in over 2000 big cultural events, in 2016 only. The total number of events directly related to the ECoC Wrocław 2016 project was over 7500.