Ponta Delgada - Azores 2027 returns from 9 Islands in Conversation

The Ponta Delgada - Azores 2027 team started the 9 Islands in Conversation round, on the 22nd of June, in São Miguel, with a public session at the Coliseu Micaelense, in which the candidacy consultants Ulrich Fuchs and Pia Leydolt were also present. In addition to presenting the project, the consultants talked about what is a European Capital of Culture and how this initiative can be transformative for the territory, but also about how to involve new audiences. In this first session, we tested a new model, in which the participants were divided into groups and were invited to think about the themes of the European dimension, the intersection of tradition with contemporary cultural practices, the participation and involvement of audiences and the challenges and solutions of a European Capital of Culture.
And so, five days later, we left for the other islands of the archipelago, with the desire to learn more. From Monday to Monday, we visited one island per day. Santa Maria, Flores, Corvo, Faial, Pico, São Jorge, Graciosa and Terceira. We learned about the particularities of each island and identified what unites us. We discovered, with those who participated, that we learn through sharing, and we were reminded that, in the region, there is no greater example of sharing and communion than the Holy Ghost Festivities, that are different from island to island, from parish to parish, even, but so equal in their communal matrix.
In the discussion of Europe, we often heard about America first. The European dimension is perceived differently in each place, but it is consensual that the Azores have to offer a humanized and more sustainable way of living. We heard calls for preservation and challenges to modernize crystallized cultural practices. If, on the one hand, we heard throughout the archipelago about the difficulties in land and maritime mobility, on the other hand, we saw the divergences regarding an air mobility strategy. It is difficult to strike a balance between connectivity and the sustainability of territories, we were told.
After this quick trip, we return to São Miguel with the desire to go back and stay longer on each of the islands, but also with a luggage full of learning and contributions, which will help us in the next phase: the development of the bid book.
The conversation, however, does not end here. We leave an Open Door, every Friday, from 16:00 to 18:00, we are available via email and our social networks, and we want to receive project ideas and photographs.