Get to know the pre-selection phase bidbook of the candidacy of Ponta Delgada, Azores to European Capital of Culture 2027. Discover the future we imagined collectively, a future of transformation through the power of culture and the arts.



THE CITY AND THE REGION

The Azores, discovered by the Portuguese in 1427, are an autonomous region with a solid cultural and geostrategic history. The city of Ponta Delgada is part of this archipelago, located between the European and American continents, which, if strengthened from a cultural, social and economic point of view, can be the best ambassador of European values on the maritime route to the Americas. We can be the best of mirrors and labs. Like the 27 Member States, nine islands more united in diversity, in search of cohesion through a culture of their own and open to the world.

Ponta Delgada is accompanied, in this gesture, by the entire archipelago, assuming that it is internal differences that make the Azores a culturally powerful region, with its cultural stakeholders and artists. It is from this Archipelago of People that we propose a programme with different scales of activation, from the smallest to the largest event, linking urban and rural, land and sea, and encouraging cooperation within and between islands.

The Azores will make itself known to Europe through an artistic and cultural programme that combines a transcendent and preserved Nature with the appreciation of Geography, History and creativity as founding elements of an increasingly plural and diverse identity. We will depart from the city to the municipality, from the island to the archipelago, from the archipelago to the continent, from the continent to the world and we will become a European Archipelago of Culture.

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CONCEPT

Human Nature is the concept behind Ponta Delgada, Azores' candidacy for European Capital of Culture. Human means Culture, whilst Nature means Place. The culture of this place is made by the relationships between Nature and Culture, Geography and History, the vibrant landscape, the cultural proximity to the Americas, the richness of our traditions and our ability to remain open to the world as an authentic living laboratory of experimentation and innovation.

We are what we are because of where we are. Right now, we need to value our sense of Humanity and respect for Nature as one. It is an appeal to understanding and empathy. Between humans and non-humans, everything that makes up our Nature.

The project is about a city, an island and an archipelago — several even — because Europe is an archipelago. In a world where the refusal of solidarity emerges, the metaphor of the archipelago is an alternative model to global thinking, based on exchange between islands, which does not cause the loss of identity, but enriches it, through a movement of convergence and unity.

We will create a multi-island cultural programme, where people will be the protagonists, and Nature will be our stage and place of reflection. We are going to develop new audiences, occupy the digital space, make room for new voices and new places. We call for participation, co-creation, communication and collaboration and we will take the territory as a playground, an academy and a stage. It is through Culture that we are going to rethink the world we want to live in, recover our sense of humanity and transform the Azores into an Archipelago of People.

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ARTISTIC VISION

We created four lines of artistic and cultural programming. Each line is an archipelago: Multiplicity, Participation, Nature and Europe and the World. All archipelagos are interconnected and complementary, and tell a narrative of Europe, the Atlantic Ocean, the Azores and Ponta Delgada. It is a narrative of social, cultural and ecological sustainability that addresses European themes and values around central issues of the present and future of the Azores.

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Archipelago of Multiplicity

The Archipelago of Multiplicity puts into practice the principle that together we are stronger. It is the exercise of articulating singularities and building a regional, national and European dialogue that will allow us to practice cooperation and deepen community ties from different latitudes. As an archipelago of collaboration, affection and solidarity, it proposes a program of unison, polyphony and meeting points, combining various types of cultural intimacy and collective experiences that span the entire island. Mobility in the insular and archipelagic context is one of the main issues of its action, including the exchange and sharing of resources and imagination between territories and even the creation of bridges with other islands in Europe and in the world.

Archipelago of Participation

The Archipelago of Participation is about the right to access cultural and artistic practices and capacity building opportunities. We want to overcome physical, economic, social and intellectual obstacles and revive the European sense of the collective through mutual understanding, social intersectionality, cultural democracy and the representation and identification of different communities with Culture. We aim to create toolboxes to develop new audiences, involve diverse communities in cultural projects, not as mere spectators but as participants who take the reins of their initiatives and narratives and their places of speech. Because knowledge is a European Capital of Culture main legacy, we want to strengthen the cultural and creative sector in its technical and artistic dimensions.

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Archipelago of Nature 

The Archipelago of Nature addresses our connection to the natural world with an insular, archipelagic and European vision of sustainable development. The Nature that surrounds us is our greatest asset. Nature is not separate from us, we belong to nature. In this archipelago, transdisciplinarity takes artistic practices to Nature and brings environmental issues back to the arts world. The projects explore the relationship between Science and Culture, value sustainable, lasting and transformative ideas for creative and cultural tourism, measure the impacts of humanity on the landscape, rethink the landscape in light of good sustainability practices, address not only the threats of climate change and the issue of monocultures, but also contribute to the enhancement of our natural heritage, on land or at sea.

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Archipelago of Europe and the World

The Archipelago of Europe and the World is about our History, our place of departures and arrivals, our eternal return. Our History of Europe, the Atlantic, Portugal and the Azores, a History of survival and confrontation with the elements of Nature and our multiple extensions, homes and community connections on the planet. From the center of the Atlantic, we present projects that highlight the History of the Azores in the imagination of Europeans, from maritime expeditions to migratory flows to the Americas and the World. We start with our intangible heritage and our underwater heritage to explore the power of our legacy and traditions in music, literature and gastronomy, giving them an experimental dimension, through a cultural exchange with Europe, and with our diaspora, in twenty-one cities and several continents around the world.

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THE BIDBOOK

The preselection bidbook of the candidacy of Ponta Delgada - Azores to European Capital of Culture (ECoC), contains 60 pages, answers 38 questions and six evaluation criteria: Contribution to the Long-Term Cultural Strategy, Artistic and Cultural Programme, European Dimension, Outreach and Audience Development, Management and Capacity of Delivery.

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The english version is the official one, however we have created a Portuguese version to guarantee accessibility. The document was presented publicly on march 2 at Coliseu Micaelense, and march 8 in an online session. The cultural and artistic content does not represent the final programme if Ponta Delgada-Azores gets the title of ECoC, instead it points to the strategic lines of its development. The programme will be continuously defined throughout the five years of preparing our ECoC 2027, through a continuous work of listening, open calls and porosity to the spirit of times and the state of the world.

After a bidbook evaluation and a presentation with 10 people from the bidding team, the Municipality, the cultural and creative sector and the civil society, a panel composed by members of several international institutions and two personalities indicated by the Ministry of Culture have shortlisted the candidacies of the cities of Ponta Delgada, Évora, Aveiro and Braga. Each city has now the opportunity to rework and expand the bidbook, answering to a new set of questions under the same six criteria. The final bidbook is due october 21. Afterwards the panel visits each city and the teams make a final live presentation to the jury in december 2022.

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Photos: Associação de Fotógrafos Amadores dos Açores, Diogo Rola, Festival Maravilha Pauliana Valente Pimentel, Sara Pinheiro.