“Attraversamenti” – A Festival in Ostuni to Promote Integration Between Italy and the Balkan Peninsula

Project location: ITALY, Ostuni
Project start date: September 2013 - Project end date: December 2013
Project number: 2013-026
Beneficiary: presentecontinuo

The project consists of a three-day event in Ostuni (5-6-7 September 2014) with the objective to lay the foundations to bridge the East and West over the Adriatic Sea bringing to life the dialogue through culture.
Together with the boosting three-day event in September 2014, the initiative ultimately aims to create and provide continuous supportive platform to overcome stereotypes and preconceptions leading the way through cultural awareness and interaction, for the development of long-lasting bond between the Balkans and Italy.
The rationale behind the project is the belief that it is mainly through culture that societies evolve and are able to truly connect. Therefore at the heart of this initiative are the cultural and intellectual interactions, the enables for creating a bond and better communication between the two regions.
Attraversamenti acts as a platform for the encounter between many actors, enabling cooperation and sustainability on the territory as with the handmade gadgets made by prisoners and facilitating business network contracts.
Even though the Balkans represent the gate for Western Europe to the Eastern region therefore playing an important geopolitical and cultural role, these countries are accompanied by many stereotypes which can be an obstacle to growth and identity. Thinking over these countries means and its histories has to do with a reconsideration of the history and memories of the whole of Europe as with its future. As an example in 2014 recurs the inauspicious event which started the first world war after Archduke Ferdinand's shot in Sarajevo.

"Attraversamenti" proposes a series of activities through a main kick-off event creating a platform for strong interaction. The driving force behind this project is the aim to create a "think-tank" like environment to support idea sharing and opportunities and avoid brain drain.
The contents of the event include the finest cultural works from both Puglia and Balkans regions, and are curated by a highly expert team to ensure effective communication approach and to facilitate the expression and comprehension of the material.
A multidisciplinary and multilevel approach in each discipline section allows to reach a broad public. In the first kick-off event in 2013 more than 10.000 people attended the event.
In order to enable a better communication and cooperation with the Balkan region in 2014 Attraversamenti chose to select a specific country. This year event will be devoted to the collaboration with ALBANIA
Strategically the event will be structured as follows:
• Event range. "Attraversamenti" will involve the whole town, facilitating the participation of the community to the event. By doing so the target audience is widened ensuring the involvement local residents, tourists and cultural and art enthusiasts and allowing for greater impact of the initiative.
• Culture in action. "Attraversamenti" operating model supports the utilization of local resources together with the introduction of new ones. This is achieved by involving and valuing local realities both from Puglia and Albania, such as cultural associations and local business owner; in parallel to new international themes, such as cultural innovations and business models.
• A curator for each discipline. Curators will be involved in organizing a specific section in order to guarantee excellence, professional and international approach. A curator for each section allows cooperation and integration between pluralities and different interpretations.
• A Multidisciplinary and Multilevel event. Different levels of engagement are proposed to the public. This approach, together with a multidisciplinary tactic which help to get in contact with a large number of attendees, allows both the possibility of reflection and moments of the topics together with a more direct and experential method. If a music event gets together a young age group of any ethnicity and cultural background, a conference around the economy of the Balkan region will attract more investors, institutions and merchants. While art, cinema and architecture attain to a more cultural leisure attitude that encounter more specific interests.

• The events are undertaken over three days and fall under one of the following categories: Art, Architecture, Meet & Inform, Food, Theatre & Dance, Music, Cinema. (Full schedule and details list under Project Timetable section)
• Puglia is the Italian region most involved in the interaction with the Balkans due to both geographical and historical reasons. The commercial involvement between the regions on the Adriatic shores is so remarkable that European Union has recently suggested to consider the whole area as one (Adriatic-Ionian Macroregion, UE). This further strengthens the need for Attraversamenti as a bonding platform.
As a historic node of exchange and getaway to Eastern Europe Ostuni, famous for the elegance of its white presence, has been chosen as ideal location for the event. The event will be set up around the whole town offering an optimal system of interaction and exploration.
At the heart of the "Attraversamenti" initiative there are three core geopolitical and cultural themes:
• Focus on Albania (guest country)
• Cultural Cross-fertilization: resource for development
• Wander/wonder
1) Focus on Albania
In each section Albania will be presented from a cultural point of view focusing on its culture, proposing new ideas growing in the country, coexistence ways of living, its views of the future.
2) Cultural Cross-fertilization: resource for development
Dialogue and hybridization will be addressed as cornerstone of "Attraversamenti" in each section, because these concepts are the basic tools, which can promote cohabitation and true cultural exchange. It means to try to think identity out of schemes of exclusion and refusal and in the frame of art and culture.
"Attraversamenti" moves from the belief that a better knowledge of the other is the foundation for the construction of any sort of relationship even commercial and financial ones and for a sure development.
The hope is that the histories and examples proposed can ground other experiences for the future also in Europe.
3) Wander/wonder
This modality suggests that the magic of travelling consists in the possibility of a true and unexpected encounter. Wandering through Ostuni is the way the visitor can visit the Festival. At each crossroad, piazza, steps, main building is a setting for a specific section of the event. Wandering through Ostuni makes the visitor discover the wonder of the beautiful white town of Puglia and at the same time Albania.

It is foreseen than the event will bring significant benefits to the relationship between the two regions. Although difficult to quantify at first it is understandable that with time, an improved relationship will result in increased commerce and cultural tourism.
With the event of 2013 it is apparent that the wide attendance is a great opportunity for anyone involved in the event.
Main benefits are listed below.
• Incentive for the two regions to know each other both on a cultural and developmental level.
• Creation of the network of collaboration between cultural institution in the two regions
• Promotion of young talent
• Brain collaboration through "Think Tank" like environment
• Creation of national and international networks and partnerships for both the private and public sectors
• Re-launch of Ostuni's public image as a centre for cultural interaction
• Increased commercial value for the town
• Media Interest
• Collaboration with eco and sustainable suppliers. As an example gadget will be realized by Made in Carcere (Made in Jail), Lecce. www.madeincarcere.it

think global, act local
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