Update #14: Read the Brussels2030 Summer Assembly Post Report

The Brussels2030 Summer Assembly is a key pillar in preparation of the Brussels’ candidacy as European Capital of Culture. The first edition was organized at Tour à Plomb from Monday July 4th till Friday July 8th 2022. The one-week event offered a dynamic program with keynotes, co-creation labs, bar talks, site visits, walkshops, film screenings and artistic performances. The aim was to discuss dynamics that shape Brussels today, the cultural practices of tomorrow and the heritage of previous European Capitals of Culture. The ambition was also to test initial ambitions and possible ingredients of the candidacy against a diversity of experiences and expectations.

This report summarizes key findings and questions that emerged during the event. They will be further investigated in the coming months.

The week-long event was prepared building on the following guidelines and objectives:


  • diverse activities, publics, locations 
  • multilingual – inspiring – connecting – activating 
  • not a one-off but a starting-point 
  • cross-pollination of science and arts


  • creating leverage for and reflection about Brussels2030 
  • harvesting inspiration regarding key-topics, actors, activities, locations
  • mobilizing neighborhoods, organizations, dwellers, communities
  • initiate and reinforce co-creation initiatives

Over 800 people participated in the Assembly. Diverse actors were mobilized: Brussels citizens, cultural practitioners, academics, policy makers, artists, creatives and civil society representatives. Together they created an open space, fostering inspiring encounters and dialogues around topics that concern us all: sustainability, new forms of democracy, urban transitions, solidarity and inclusion. Building on these exchanges, the Summer Assembly participants imagined scenarios for preparing desirable urban futures and making Brussels the European Capital of Culture in 2030. 

The Brussels2030 Summer Assembly was organized by Brussels2030, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Université libre de Bruxelles, Brussels University Alliance, Réseau des Arts Bruxelles-Brussels Kunsten Overleg, OpenLab.brussels, Brussels Studies Institute, Brussels Academy, VUB Crosstalks and weKONEKT.brussels.


The candidacy of Brussels as European Capital of Culture is conceptualized as a true urban project. The ambition is not only to become the European Capital of Culture in 2030, but also to remain so after the title year. The project aims to express the creativity characterizing a city in permanent evolution. After a decade of setbacks and crises, this  might be considered a much-needed opportunity to inflate urban renewal. The mission of Brussels2030, in that sense, is to involve a diversity of cultural forces in the transitions that are already shaping Brussels today, and those that are needed in order to work towards a more desirable tomorrow. The guiding principle is to mobilize all sectors and invite all interested actors to work together on transversal projects. Every summer is an opportunity to demonstrate the evolution of the project. The summer of 2022 was a festive and reflective testing ground, with the very first Brussels2030 Summer Assembly as a starter to open the conversation and mobilization around the project to the broader public.


The development of an attractive program for 2030 will build on a collective urban imagination, telling the story of Brussels as a cosmopolitan city across different languages, communities, religions and nationalities. A story about what unites us rather than what is putting us apart: a new we. What practices, narratives and initiatives can inspire such a collective vision and imagination?

A shared imagination should be reflected in the cityscape, its social geography and the collection of urban spaces. The regional development plan links spatial planning to highly-needed ecological and socio-economic transitions. Artistic and cultural practices have a role to play in these processes. How can we anchor them through the development of “future spaces“? How can we shape those spaces together, building on existing infrastructure, needs and expertise?

Brussels2030 aims to be a true urban project, reflecting a way of life that fully embraces Brussels’ diversity. It intends to involve the entire population, especially youth. How can we co-produce the Brussels2030 project, ensuring support but also beneficial outcomes for the Brussels population? How can we share ownership and responsibility? The third thematic pillar tackles the issue of participation, the co-construction and co-creation of a cultural project that intends to positively impact the Brussels inhabitants and environment. 
The Brussels2030 Summer Assembly was organized to discuss these questions. Each day, a key topic was explored through keynotes, panel discussions, cocreation labs, walks and performances:

A first question that was raised during the Summer Assembly is how Brussels could distinguish itself from other candidate cities as a European Capital of Culture. What makes Brussels different? What makes this city unique, an inspiring reference? But also vice versa: how should a European-oriented project express and capitalize on those Brussels-specific assets and challenges… before, during and after the title year? Why should we strive to make Brussels the European Capital of Culture? With what ambitions and motives? Building on which pillars and achievements? Why now? What must be realized? What should be avoided? Are there any downsides? 


Benjamin Wayens (EBxl), Annabelle Van Nieuwenhuyse (Cinemaximiliaan), Kristiaan Borret (bouwmeester maître architect) & Aline Fares (activist / author)


  • B-SIDE OF BRUSSELS – Guided walk by Julia Mendes Rocha & Francesca Gualino (OSMOS Network)
  • THE TRUE NATURE OF BRUSSELS – Lecture performance by Gosie Vervloessem
  • BRUSSELS, A HYPERDIVERSE CITY – Lecture by Hans Vandecandelaere
  • J’HABITE, TU HABITES, ILS SPÉCULENT – Conférence Gesticulée by Sarah De Laet
  • MINORITY WALK – Guided walk and workshop by Omar Fassi Fehri (ULB)
  • VIOLENCE MUST BE SHOWN – Screening and role play by Wouter De Raeve (431 vzw)
  • MARTIAL ARTS LIVING LAB – Living Lab presented by Hebe Schaillée (VUB)
  • BRUXELLES NOUS APPARTIENT –  Living Lab presented by Séverine Janssen (BBOT-BNA)
  • SOLIDARY MOBILE HOUSING LAB – Living Lab presented by Aurélie De Smet (KUL)


  • Brussels2030 does not have to fit into the frame of prestigious city marketing projects as it might be expected that the parallel celebration of 200 years Belgium will take up this role. Will Brussels2030 be able to propose a genuinely alternative approach?
  • How will unwanted side-effects be mitigated? What can and will be done in order to prevent problematic situations (environmental, financial, infrastructural) at the short, mid and longer term? Will Brussels2030 also consider the natural specificities, assets and vulnerabilities of Brussels? 
  • There’s a need to carefully document the process initiated through the ambitions and activities of Brussels2030 in order to keep stock of their impact at multiple levels and scales. What tools and indicators will be used in that regard? How will the collected data and observations be shared, discussed and used to remediate the process?
  • It is important to be transparent about funding sources, mechanisms and financial governance. Ensuring the right to information is key for a successful implementation of the project and its preparatory processes. What tools and methods will be used to do so?
  • Political support will need to be sought at various levels: communal, regional and national. This implies tensions and the need for deliberate choices: does Brussels2030 aim for inclusion or prestige, sustainability or marketability, rootedness or attractiveness?
  • For Brussels2030, it is essential to be open and embrace diversity. Include people and organizations not deemed profitable. Reach out to them right from the start. How will residents be given a voice? What place is there for minority groups? How will underrepresented groups be involved and given agency? 
  • In order to ensure ownership and accessibility, the Brussels2030 project – to some extent – will need to be an open-ended project. Will it allow for self-organization and improvisation? What elements will remain undecided and open for spontaneous initiatives?

A second set of activities focused on the role of art and culture in processes of urban renewal. How can artistic and socio-cultural practices serve as leverages in city-making? How do they forge spaces that help us prepare a more inclusive, democratic, just and sustainable Brussels? How do cultural organizations adapt to the Brussels reality? How can we move culture past the margins and, building on its diverse modes of expression and organization, deploy it to reimagine new modes of encounter? What is it that truly defines urban culture, and how could it be mobilized to define the cultural capital of Europe? How to prepare an inclusive event rooted in cultural rights?


Tom Bonte (Ancienne Belgique), Cathy Min Jung (Le Rideau), Melat Gebeyaw Nigussie (Beursschouwburg), Arne Huysmans (Volta), Kasia Redzsisz (KANAL)


  • HEYVAERT AS TRANSITION – Lecture performance by Raafat Majzoub (Moussem Nomadic Arts Centre)
  • MARCHE BILDY MARKT – Workshop by Einat Tuchman (Espacetous)
  • POETRY IN PLACE – Poetic walk by Miksi Bee & Fleur Wirtz (SpeakEasy)
  • MET-X, BRUiTAL & FANFAKIDS – Musical workshop & performance by Jo Zanders & Vital Schraenen (Met-X – BRUiTAL)
  • MUSEUM OF UNWANTED PIANOS – Living Lab presented by Barbara Drazkow​ska
  • ATELIER LEON – Living Lab presented by Seppe Baeyens


  • To think Brussels2030 as a shared and collective experience, the event will need to strengthen what has proven to work and transform what needs to be improved. What platforms and practices will be put into place to foster cross-sectoral collaboration and synergies? How do you ensure that people feel addressed? That they are truly touched, inspired, moved by what Brussels2030 has prepared? How to connect with the multiversum of cultures that shape Brussels?
  • Creating a common language and space – beyond the walls of cultural institutions – asks for moments to ‘sit, discuss, and listen’. Will there be any occasions to pause, reflect and (re)consider plans and approaches? Who will be invited to these conversations?
  • Brussels2030 will need to provide in a diverse offering, aligned with diverse needs and expectations. Make it a festive event, fostering genuine connections. Go out, into the streets and parcs, use squares and roundabouts; without taking space away from people who are already using it. Start from what works. How will you find a way to co-exist with what is already shaping Brussels today?
  • Brussels2030 will need to recognize the political dimension of art and culture, moving beyond pacification and invisibilization. In order to prepare an inclusive event rooted in cultural rights, the project needs to actively involve underrepresented and hard-to-reach publics. How will Brussels2030 provide in safe spaces, expertise and support, aligned with needs and aspirations of diverse publics?
  • Using arts and other socio-cultural practices to foster shared experiences andbuild the urban ‘human-habitat’ of the future demands for a multi-scalar and multi-level approach, involving inhabitants of different neighborhoods throughout the whole process.
  • Brussels is one of the most polyglot cities in the world. Language politics will be a key issue for Brussels2030, not only in order to remove linguistic barriers, but also to bring minority languages to the foreground. How will you work towards linguistic plurality and inclusivity?
  • Brussels2030 aims to be more than a cultural project. It aims to be an urban project. A challenge will be to balance levels of participation: how can different parties not only contribute but co-decide? How will youngsters be involved in the programming, planning, the process of creation and production?

Third theme touched upon was the issue of sustainable transitions. How should they be organized? How do we involve the Brussels publics and work at different scales simultaneously: the individual and household level, the neighborhood and communal level, the scale of the region and that of the European institutions and governmental bodies? What can be the role of arts and culture in guiding this process? How can they collaborate with research and planning institutions? What will be the role of technologies within this regard? In what ways can digital and artificial intelligence, or concepts such as the ‘smart city’ be part of the solution?


Jean-Philippe De Visscher (UCL), Annekatrien Verdickt (Architectuurplatform), Roeland Dudal (Architecture Workroom Brussels), Esra Tat (Zero Waste Europe), Dimitri Berliner (communa)


  • STEENWEG – Guided walk and workshop by Jean-Philippe De Visscher (UCL/Brussels Studies Institute)
  • THE BRUSSELS OF WITCHES – Feminist guided walk by Chiara Tomalino (L’architecture qui dégenre)
  • L(A)GUM – Guided tour by Léna De Brabandere & Francisco Davila (ULB)
  • TOEKOMSTPLEKKEN IN KUREGHEM – Guided walk by Brukselbinnenstebuiten
  • SUPER TERRAM – Guided walk by Nadia Casabella (ULB)
  • BRUSSELS TURBULENCIES – Workshop by Raf Custers & Greet Brauwers
  • BRUSSELS OUTDOORS SCHOOL – Living Lab presented by Mia Schmallenbach​ (BOS SCHOOLS)
  • LA SERRE – Living Lab presented by Charlotte Bens (communa)
  • ENERGY COMMUNITIES – Living Lab presented by Grégoire Wallenborn (ULB)
  • BAR TALK with Alain Maron, Minister of the Government of the Brussels-Capital Region, responsible for Climate Change, Environment, Energy and Participatory Democracy, and Barbara Trachte, Secretary of State of the Brussels-Capital Region, responsible for Economic Transition and Scientific Research, interviewed by youngsters of Promo Jeunes


  • The sustainability urgencies are not unique for Brussels. Worldwide, cities are dealing with similar challenges and crises. As European Capital for culture, Brussels should set an example by working towards and environmentally friendly, a diversity-rich and inclusive, an economically and ethically sound event. This needs to be done in a truthful and intelligent manner. Building on facts and real stories rather than figments. It demands for well-considered actions targeting long-lasting change rather than quick-wins. 
  • Brussels2030 could be a catalyst for genuine transformation, if the intention is to cross-link a diversity of small-scaled transformation practices, using arts and cultural Tekstvak:               Brussels2030 Summer Assembly - Post Report Summary (October 2022)                                                                ENGLISHpractices to feed in unconventional ideas and voices and move beyond dominant logics and established practice.
  • Transforming the urban environment in a sustainable, socially just and ecologically robust manner demands for a redistribution of power, time and resources. Brussels2030 needs to enable encounters and facilitate initiative-taking, rather than initiate new activities and projects.
  • In terms of the Brussels infrastructure, there is a need to rethink existing uses and reclaim public spaces as a common good allowing people with diverse backgrounds to reinvent the urban environment in a shared space.
  • We should stop building and unbuilding and start working with the existing infrastructure. Infrastructural renovations and transformations need to prioritize on the establishment of mixed-use spaces and value social over economic benefits.
  • Brussels2030 should facilitate coalition-building at diverse scales. Arts and cultural practices are a great means to do so, allowing people to engage with otherness, sit, listen and learn from one another. They can be used as agentic practices, shaping environments where more desirable futures can be prepared.
  • Brussels2030 needs to foster initiatives that allow Brussels residents to re-shape their immediate environment by reclaiming the street as a futuring laboratory. A diversity of participation-modalities should be provided, allowing people to take part according to their capacities and aspirations.

The fourth keynote session dealt with the question of participation. How can the Brussels’ publics be mobilized around a shared urban project given its diversity, its social, economic and territorial fragmentations? How can the city be co-produced by its citizens? How can civil society find ways to overcome its segmentation and create platforms of cooperation? How can we foresee spaces to unify in diversity? Are urban commons a suitable leverage for this mobilization? How to prepare robust citizen coalitions and conventions?


Nicola da Schio (VUB), Liselotte Vanheukelom (Jeugd en Stad Brussel), Fatima Zibouh (Aula Magna), Bram Dewolfs (Academy for Urban Action), Ibrahim Emsallak (Flemish Boxing League and Training School)


  • BRUSSELS OPEN LIVING LAB – Workshop by Joke Den Haese (EhB)
  • INVOLVING YOUTH IN B2030 – Workshop by Anne Deltour (Orfeo)
  • BIG IN BXL, JONGEREN MAKEN DE STAD – Guided walk by Wies Moriau (Jes vzw)
  • ZORGZAME EN DUURZAME BUURTEN – Guided walk by Liesje, Anna en Roeland (Atelier Groot Eiland)
  • COCREATING AN IMAGINARY PARK – Workshop by Ciska Vandendriessche (Park Belle Vedere)
  • SCOPING DESIRABLE FUTURES – Workshop by Fiora Noël & Marie-Ange Dubreuil (Strategic Design Scenarios)
  • CITE DE LA JEUNESSE – Living Lab presented by Eve Hanson (Promo Jeunes)
  • ACADEMY FOR URBAN ACTION – Living Lab presented by Bram Dewolfs (Urban Foxes)
  • BAR TALK with Elke Van den Brandt, Minister of the Government of the Brussels-Capital Region, responsible for Mobility, Public Works and Road Safety, interviewed by youngsters of Promo Jeunes


  • Participatory projects need to build on evidence-informed approaches, supportive coordination, trust and agency-promoting environments. They should also allow for risk-taking and failure, offer both safe as well as brace spaces. Time is crucial. People need to be able to get to know one another and formulate shared goals. Brussels2030 needs to consider these dimensions and work through/with them in a thoughtful manner.
  • Intergenerational and intercultural collaboration generates interesting dynamics and outcomes. They allow to look at urban challenges from a variety of perspectives and confront diverse experiences and aspirations. But, working with/in diversity also -inevitably – comes with tensions and messiness. Will Brussels2030 allow for vulnerability and experimentation?
  • Living Lab methodologies are an interesting approach to foster urban (re)imagination,  for the experimental set-up encourages participants to think and act beyond the status quo. In order to be truly meaningful and beneficial, they need to be organized building on long-term strategies and well–resourced infrastructures. What kind of support and resources will be provided by Brussels2030 during the preparatory phase, the title year and after that?
  • Brussels2030 should be as co-creative and inclusive as possible. This means that processes should not solely rely on the involvement of key-representatives and established institutions. Citizens and civil society associations should be considered key-actors. Emphasis should be on youth, women, marginalized populations, and neighborhood-level actors. In what manner will bottom-up initiatives be encouraged and supported? How will participation in/to the project be recognized? 
  • An urban project needs to cross-link bottom-up initiatives and policy level dynamics. How will this be ensured? How will initiatives and existing dynamics be translated to policy instruments and content? What methods and initiatives will be put in place to allow youngsters to take part in this process, thereby fostering a youth-driven and youth-oriented re-imagination of Brussels?
  • Brussels2030 provides in a unique momentum to feed counter-stories on Brussels. A chance to shed a more nuanced and positive light on Brussels and Brussels’ inhabitants. A chance to tell a brave story. One that runs against the tides of rising nationalisms, bubblification, polarization and hardship.

The last topic touched upon the question of how to define and articulate the Brussels identity. If it is indeed Brussels’ diversity that shapes its uniqueness, do we not need to adapt the bi-communitarian narrative into a cosmopolitan one? How can we move beyond the notion of superdiversity, and better articulate and understand the hybridized Brussels ecology? How can we create a common urbanity building on that new narratives? How can we inspire a collective imagination? How can a new us find its way in songs, images and objects so that Brussels remains the European capital of culture, long after 2030? What will be the heritage of Brussels2030 in terms of resilience, social cohesion and collaborations? How will the project live on in terms of cultural-artistic practices and infrastructure?


Caroline Kadziola (Mons2015), Joke Quintens  (WEtopia), Maya Van Leemput (Open Time – Erasmushogeschool), Camille Kervella  (l’architecture qui dégenre), Laura Nsengiyumva (KASK)


  • SPECULATIVE FUTURES FOR BRUSSELS – Workshops by Maya Van Leemput & Eva De Smedt (OpenTime – EhB)
  • LESS WALLS, MORE BRIDGES – Guided walk and participatory mural by Nanouk Vets & Silvia Alba (The City is our Playground)
  • STEDELIJK BURGERSCHAP IN DE PRAKTIJK – Workshop by Vanessa Vanfraeyenhoven & Aline Dusabe (Citizenne)
  • L’ASSEMBLEE DU TEMPS LONG – Workshop by Benoît Verhulst (Missions Publiques)
  • CARTOGRAPHY FOR A MULTISPECIES CITY – Guided walk and workshop by Jolein Bergers (KUL/BRAL)
  • BRUSSELS, CITY OF STORIES – Exposition by WEtopia – this is US
  • 20:30 BRUXSELS TALKS – Living Lab presented by Ellen Anthoni & Khushboo Balwani (BrusselAVenir)
  • COMPASSIONATE COMMUNITIES – Living Lab presented by Hanne Bakelants & Sarah Dury (VUB)
  • BAR TALK with Sven Gatz, Minister of the Government of the Brussels-Capital Region, responsible for Finance, Budget, Civil Service, the Promotion of Multilingualism and the Image of Brussels, interviewed by youngsters of Promo Jeunes


  • Brussels2030 needs to build on the experiences of other European Capitals for Culture. Hindsight will help formulating realistic objectives and shape a canvas that helps making Brussels2030 a successful event.
  • It should be clearly defined what impact Brussels2030 will seek for at the short- and longer-term and how its heritage will be mapped and evaluated. Who will be involved in this? What indicators and methods will be used?
  • If Brussels2030 aims to be an inclusive urban project, it will need to enable and appreciate lots of small-scaled interventions and initiatives operating along one another. How will they be supported and made visible?
  • Brussels2030 provides a unique opportunity to contextualize problematic histories, deconstruct outdated narratives, and shape new imaginaries that inspire a more desirable future for Brussels, only if underrepresented groups and voices that tend to be

marginalized are genuinely involved, worked with and taken into account.

  • Brussels2030 should not only build on ideas but also concrete actions, initiatives that allow people to test alternative solutions, experiment with a variety of settings, building on learning by doing.
  • Aiming for the creation of collectivity does not mean that everyone needs to contribute to one big outcome or final result. Brussels2030 should allow for divergence, difference, contestation even. Given the state of affairs in the world, people are doubtful, lack hope and trust. This needs to be recognized and worked upon. 
  • Brussels has a highly dynamic – fluid and volatile – population. This should be reflected in Brussels2030. How will temporary settlers, digital nomads and casual passengers get a chance to be involved?
Brussels2030 Summer Assembly – closing reflections summary (credits: Fennabee)


were given an opportunity to…

  • contribute to the program of the Brussels2030 Summer Assembly
  • participate in a variety of debates, site visits and co-creation labs
  • share their expertise and mobilize their networks as to inspire the Brussels’ candidacy
  • co-design the agenda, methodologies and initiatives that will shape Brussels2030
  • develop partnerships and initiatives that help prepare a (more) desirable Brussels
  • formulate points of improvement for the next Summer Assembly


we need to KEEP …

  • the cordial, warm and vibrant atmosphere
  • the rich, diverse, relevant and coherent program
  • the diversity of organizations / partners involved
  • the ambition to work towards concrete outcomes
  • the intention to co-create the candidacy of Brussels2030

we need to IMPROVE …

  • the visibility and accessibility of the Summer Assembly
  • more artistic contributions and cross-pollination between art and science
  • more youth-driven and youth-oriented initiatives
  • more diverse production team, programming and audience
  • more space for spontaneous initiatives and informal encounters
  • Program Brussels2030 Summer Assembly – edition 2022
  • Aftermovie produced by youngsters of the House of Cultures and Social Cohesion of Molenbeek – part 1 / part 2
  • Movie and audio-montage produced by Strategic Design Scenarios – scoping citizens voices about Brussels2030
  • Keynote presentation ‘Bruxelles, métaphore de quelle Europe’ – Benjamin Wayens (ULB)
  • Keynote presentation ‘Meeting at the crossroad’ – Annabelle Van Nieuwenhuyse (CineMaximilliaan)
  • Podcast keynote and panel discussion ‘Brussels, x-ray of a unique city’ – 03.07.22
  • Martial Arts Living Lab presentation – Hebe Schaillée (VUB)
  • Solidary Mobile Housing Living Lab presentation – Aurelie De Smet (KUL)
  • Bruxelles Nous Appartient Living Lab presentation – Séverine Janssen (BBOT-BNA)
  • Keynote presentation ‘Acting against bubblification’ – Cathy Min Jung (Le Rideau)
  • Keynote presentation ‘From branding to bonding’ – Tom Bonte (Ancienne Belgique)
  • Podcast keynote and panel discussion ‘Art and culture as lever for urban development’ – 03.07.22
  • Atelier LEON Living Lab presentation – Seppe Baeyens
  • Museum of Unwanted Pianos Living Lab presentation – Barbara Drazkowska
  • Keynote presentation ‘De straat als laboratorium’ – Annekatrien Verdickt (Architectuurplatform)
  • Keynote presentation ‘Exploring metropolitan ground floors’ – Jean-Philippe De Visscher (UCL)
  • Podcast keynote and panel discussion ‘Sustainable transitions, the great renovations’ – 04.07.22
  • Energy Communities Living Lab presentation – Grégoire Wallenborn (ULB)
  • La Serre Living Lab presentation – Charlotte Bens (communa)
  • Brussels Outdoors School Living Lab presentation – Mia Schmallenbach​ (BOS SCHOOLS)
  • Speculative Futures Audio Montage – Ruby Bernabeu-Plous (BNA-BBOT)
  • Speculative Futures Movie – Leila Alice (Plein de Jeu)
  • Keynote presentation ‘Jongeren en Brusselse Bravoure’ – Liselotte Vanheukelom (vzw JES Brussel)
  • Keynote presentation ‘On the virtues of Citizens Science’ – Nicola Da Schio (VUB)
  • Podcast keynote and panel discussion ‘Co-producing the city, mobilizing the population’ – 05.07.22
  • Radioshow 20:30 Bruxels Talks (BrusselAVenir)
  • Cité de la Jeunesse Living Lab presentation – Eve Hanson (Promo Jeunes)
  • Academy for Urban Action presentation – Bram Dewolfs
  • Keynote presentation ‘This is US – shaping a new WE’ – Joke Quintens (WEtopia)
  • Keynote presentation ‘From heritage to future ambitions’ – Caroline Kadziola (KANAL)
  • Podcast keynote and panel discussion ‘Re-imagining Brussels: telling another story’ – 05.07.22
  • 20:30 Bruxels Talks Living Lab presentation – Ellen Anthoni & Khushboo Balwani (BrusselAVenir)
  • Compassionate Communities Living Lab presentation – Hanne Bakelants & Sarah Dury (VUB)

where to land
hoe te landen
où atterrir

The question about what could and should be expected from Brussels becoming the European Capital for Culture in 2030 ran through the diverse conversations and activities that took place during the Summer Assembly. What do we want to accomplish with this event in the short, mid-long and longer term? What impact will the event have on the Brussels inhabitants, its building infrastructures and cultural-artistic practices? What will be the heritage of Brussels2030? Since Brussels is a complex city, characterized by paradoxes and contradictions, the candidacy for Brussels2030 not only needs to be prepared well in advance, it should also build on well-considered choices, weighing potential risks and carefully considering its limitations. During the Summer Assembly, a number of shared expectations and suggestions emerged. They could be summarized as four broad axes that need further exploration in the months to come:

Targeted transformation building on what works

A first consideration expresses the need to carefully map the existing infrastructure, spatial dynamics, artistic practices, cultural organizations and expressions that shape Brussels today and start building the candidacy for Brussels as European Capital of Culture from there. The Brussels2030 project should strengthen what has proven to work and transform what needs to be improved.

Strengthening ties, collaborations and synergies

A second idea that ran through the Summer Assembly, was the need for more cross-sectoral collaboration, guided by transversal ambitions and building on truly inclusive practices. It was emphasized that the Brussels’ diversity must be reflected in a candidacy that mobilizes culture and arts as connecting environments with the aim to strengthen existing ties and preparing new synergies.

Promoting genuine participation

A third topic was the question of how to create the conditions that allow for genuine participation. What methods will be deployed? What are the tools to be mobilized? How to make sure that Brussels citizens, civil society and associations regain trust? How to create a platform that allows both for self-organization as well as risk-taking?

Art and culture as lever for the right to the city

A fourth question – emerging from the three previous ones – concerned whether and how culture and the arts can be used as a lever for the right to the city. How can a cultural project strengthen inclusion? Will it enable all Brussels’ dwellers to contribute to and benefit from urban life?

This report summarizes key findings and questions that emerged during the event. They will be further investigated in the coming months.

Stay tuned ↯
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