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The Manifesta Metropolitan Assembly kicks off within the framework of the European Capital of Democracy

ca Assemblea Metropolitana Manifesta en Manifesta Metropolitan Assembly es Asamblea Metropolitana Manifesta

January 30, 2023

The deliberative process will involve 60 individuals from 12 cities in the metropolitan region of Barcelona

How can we create spaces in the metropolitan region that positively impact culture? How can we do so while adopting a more environmentally friendly lifestyle? These are some of the questions that the first Manifesta Metropolitan Assembly aims to address, starting on January 30 with an open call for participants (who can register until February 19 at 23:59) and the first assembly on March 21. It will consist of 60 individuals from the metropolitan region of Barcelona, with five participants from each municipality selected by lottery to ensure diversity in the open call and among the professional profiles chosen. This diversity encompasses not only gender, age, and geography but also sociocultural backgrounds. Among the participant profiles, there will also be independent artists and/or cultural managers, individuals belonging to local social, cultural, and/or ecological organizations.

We are actively seeking individuals with an interest in ecosocial transition, art, cultural policies, and/or the metropolis and metropolitan policies and they must exclusively be from one of the 12 cities chosen for the process, such as Badalona, Barcelona, Cornellà de Llobregat, El Prat de Llobregat, Granollers, L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Mataró, Sabadell, Sant Adrià de Besòs, Santa Coloma de Gramenet, Sant Cugat del Vallès, and Terrassa.


The question from which the Manifesta Metropolitan Assembly will start is: How can we envision collaborative metropolitan spaces that can influence cultural policies from the perspective of eco-social transition? And through this process, participants will need to reflect on three fundamental questions:

  • How to implement the future Cultural Rights Law?

  • How can culture inspire and contribute to eco-social transition?

  • How to articulate culture in the metropolitan region?

The goal of the deliberative process is to explore and experiment with new governance spaces and democratic processes in the development of cultural policies, as well as to promote collaboration on a regional scale. The Assembly will consist of three in-person meetings on March 21 (Barcelona), April 25 (Sabadell), and May 23 (L'Hospitalet), from 9:00 to 14:00. Participants will receive €50 gross for each session and must commit to attending all three. These sessions will involve dynamic discussions, ensuring the development of collaborative content for a shared proposal. Additionally, through the European Capital of Democracy website, participants can access the citizen participation platform, serving as the central axis for the entire process.

Results and Conclusions

The expected outcomes of the process are:

  • Explore possible future applications of this assembly as a tool to enhance citizen participation and governance in a metropolitan context, specifically in shaping cultural and artistic proposals and policies.

  • Collaboratively design, within defined parameters, a proposal for adopting the assembly's conclusions.

  • Evaluate, based on personal experience, how the citizens' assembly can become a permanent instrument for participatory governance in developing cohesive and cross-cutting cultural policies for the metropolitan region, thereby ensuring Manifesta 15's legacy in the medium term.

Results and conclusions will be presented during the Manifesta Biennial in November of this year, and workshops and other programs will be developed in response to the Assembly's work. Additionally, this proposal will address the convergence of three essential aspects: culture, ecology, and the metropolitan domain.

This project is part of the European Capital of Democracy 2023-2024 and is organized by Manifesta 15 Barcelona in collaboration with the Metropolitan Strategic Plan of Barcelona (PEMB).

For more information and registrations, please visit the process's website section.

European Capital of Democracy and PEMB

Barcelona was designated as the first European Capital of Democracy (ECoD) on January 18, 2023. The technical office consists of the Barcelona City Council and the Metropolitan Strategic Plan of Barcelona (PEMB), with a duration of one year (September 2023 - October 2024). Thus, Barcelona and its metropolitan region, as the European Capital of Democracy, host a series of events, conferences, and activities related to democratic innovation and citizen participation, but also to culture, education, and public space. ECoD aims to establish a space for reflection and high visibility where Europe's citizens come together, engage, experience new forms of participatory and inclusive democracy in collective action, and draw inspiration from a comprehensive program designed to advance democracy and build or rebuild trust in it.

Throughout the program year, various themes intersect with democracy, such as technology, culture, education, video games, climate challenges, and fundamental rights. One of the highlighted events is precisely the deliberative process within the Manifesta Biennial: Manifesta Metropolitan Assembly.

Manifesta 15

Manifesta, the Nomadic European Biennial, changes its location every two years. Founded in the early 1990s, it rethinks the relationship between culture and civic society, investigating and instigating an eco-social transition through contemporary culture in response and in close dialogue with the social sphere of the host city and its communities.

Manifesta 15 Barcelona aims to build new pathways for social and artistic communities to connect with local infrastructures, as well as shift cultural focus to the outskirts of the city and neighboring areas, fostering collaboration between metropolitan cities. Manifesta, known for its nomadic nature, emphasizes creating site-specific structures focused on local voices and memories, supported by extensive research in host cities starting two years before the biennial.

The power of Manifesta 15 lies in revitalizing, rethinking, and reclaiming lesser-known or unused locations to present an innovative program of performances, workshops, projections, exhibitions, urban interventions, and other activities.

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