It had already been implied – now it is certain: the selection process for the “European Capital of Culture 2025” will take place online. This was agreed this week by the Kultusministerkonferenz (Standing Conference of the Ministers of Culture) and the Kulturstiftung der Länder (Cultural Foundation of the Länder) as organisers of the selection process. The reason for this is the uncertain situation during the pandemic. Nobody knows if the jury members might not be able to travel to the cities or if one of the applicant cities will become a corona hotspot at short notice. Therefore, the decision now creates equality in the conditions of competition and provides certainty in planning for the applicant cities.
Of course we would have preferred to present our city in real terms to the jury, but the decision is absolutely right. So we can now go into concrete planning for the digital “jury visit” on 22 October. In addition to the digital city visit, the presentation of our application to the European jury on 26 October will also take place online, as will the press conference on 28 October, at which the jury will announce its recommendation for the selected city.
What does this mean in concrete terms for our application?
Our project manager Ferenc Csák answers:
“For several weeks we have been preparing for the jury visit and the presentation in Berlin to take place in digital format. The pandemic situation and its partially dramatic effects on social life are confronting us with new challenges not only in the question of the jury visit and the presentation, but also in the entire application process. We will use a variety of technical and virtual possibilities and present our city in thematic blocks with the people and actors here in the city and the region, we will show the city districts and the intervention areas as well as excerpts from the artistic programme. Of course, we would have preferred the analogue version of the jury visit. We think that personal encounters with our citizens would have been good for the visit. It would have been different if people from Chemnitz and the region had had the opportunity to tell their own stories to the jury members directly on site, when the jury members could have physically “breathed” the city. The European idea lives from real encounters and experiences! However, safety and health are the top priority, which is why all German candidate cities are now facing the same challenge of digital preparation and equal opportunities are guaranteed. We now have the opportunity to demonstrate the know-how of the city and to solve the tasks excellently in order to emerge as the winner of the competition”.