A-Place is a project co-financed by the Creative Europe programme(2019-2023), dedicated to strengthening the bonds between people and places. A programme of placemaking activities will take place over the next four years in six European cities: Barcelona, Bologna, Brussels, Lisbon, Ljubljana, and Nicosia.
A-Place is a platform for creation, debate and experimentation about the sense of belonging and identity which groups from multiple backgrounds and cultures hold with in their social and physical environments. Through site-specific art, creative spatial practises and cultural projects, A-Place aims to engage a variety of stakeholders -residents, artists, architects, students, policy-makers- in a process of reflection through action about the meaning of and value of creating places.
Contemporary spatial production has rendered a plethora of non-places, that is, spaces, in which people feel unable to create meaningful links. Non-places can be seen as a result of globalisation, gentrification, alienation, migration and mass tourism. To counteract these trends, A-Place will engage artists and communities to actively reinvent notions of place latent in socio-physical environments in order to reconnect people with places. The creative spatial practices implemented by the network aim to create meaningful places to have better, more inclusive and supportive communities.
A series of creative interventions, exhibitions and video art works will be realised over the duration of the programme, adopting site-specific research that examines the role of artistic practices as a catalyst to enhance and connect communities. The activities will be embedded in the communities, in an attempt to reveal the hidden meanings of places. The placemaking process carried out simultaneously in the partners’ cities will involve multiple stakeholders, which will gradually generate a network across distinct disciplinary, cultural and geographic boundaries.
Public, students, artists, academics and critiques; municipal authorities, cultural organizations, primary and secondary schools, and activist groups are invited to participate in the project activities. Open calls for art and architecture students and artists will be announced periodically, inviting them to participate in specific actions.
A Future Place
Bairro Padre Cruz is located in Carnide, one of the largest parishes in the North of Lisbon, consisting of 13 neighbourhoods with a total of 22,415 inhabitants (Censos Data 2011). The Padre Cruz neighbourhood is the one that houses the largest number of people, about 6,468 inhabitants. Despite its history marked by a relevant heritage, this area north of Lisbon was until a few years ago, and for many centuries, a predominantly rural area, having only been integrated into the urban perimeter at the end of the 19th century. Today, the parish is often described as a “territory of contrasts marked by an enormous socio-cultural and human diversity, with small ‘islands’ scattered and disjointed both from a functional view point and from an urban point of view”. These contrasts are at the origin of several problems that are difficult to solve, whether in terms of urban planning, housing and qualification, etc., or from the point of view of socio-cultural intervention. The coexistence of populations with a high level of education and strong purchasing power, with socially disadvantaged groups, is a reason for political and social tensions. These asymmetries have given rise, in the last decade, to several urban and cultural interventions by the Lisbon City Council and other socio-cultural agents, with the aim of rescuing some of the most problematic areas of the Parish. Bairro Padre Cruz is one of those areas, where an urban rehabilitation plan is underway. Read more.
A Sound Place
The Martim Moniz square is considered one of the most multicultural neighbourhoods of Lisbon (“Expresso” newspaper refers to it as a “neighbourhood that is on travel”). Known for its distinctive faces, costumes, colours and smells, religious sounds that are chanted on the street or in a supermarket, Martim Moniz is a trading venue with two shopping centres almost entirely managed by Chinese, Africans, Arabs, Indians, and Pakistanis. Since 2015, the cultural spaces, galleries and restaurants in the area have attracted other social groups, namely tourists and Lisbon’s upper-middle class. Albeit this strong multiculturality in the area, with culture conceived in its broader sense, including ethnicity but not only (e.g. age, professional activity, etc.), the intermixing between the different resident and non-resident communities is not taking place. Read more.