Vienna 21-24 June 2013

The last one of  “Culture for Waterfronts” Grundtvig  project meetings was connected to the Danube Island Festival in Vienna and its theme was "Impact of Culture on governance policies”. It provided the possibility to discover Vienna´s riverbanks and other interesting aspects of the city.

On Friday the participants explored the city with a daylong tour. They started at the main library of Vienna with a guided tour of the building and a discussion with one of the organisers of the library on  various strategies to attract more people to public libraries.

 

Then they visited WUK, a 12000-square-metre space of culture, workshops, and social gathering. Located in Wien Alsergrund, it is also at the intersection of artistic practice, labour, as well as social and political engagement. The former locomotive factory is now home to four main program areas (music, theatre/dance, children's culture, arts at Kunsthalle Exnergasse:), 150 independent cultural groups and initiatives, and educational and advisory projects.

 

Next, the participants moved on to the museum “Red Vienna” to learn more on the history of Vienna and the social democratic party of Vienna and maybe why there is such a big festival organised by a political party.“ Leaving the Habsburg Empire behind, Vienna holds its first free communal elections on May 4th 1919. It becomes the first city of over a million inhabitants to appoint a social democratic administration, whose work between 1919 and the disruption of democracy in February 1934 is to earn much international acclaim. The “New Vienna” is a unique socio-political experiment, as it embraces and reforms all spheres of life – from social and health policy to education and housing.”
The exhibition covers four fields: 1) “Red Vienna’s” history (1919–1934) 2)“Red Vienna’s” communal housing and ancillary facilities 3) lubs of the Social Democratic Workers’ Party 4)The festivities of Vienna’s working-class movement.

In the afternoon the Grndtvig project group went to the Danube island festival to end up with some talks to organisers of the festivals and local politicians at the Island.

The second day started with a walk over the festival area to see the preparations of the second festival day. Then there was a meeting and discussion with Peko Baxant, Member of the Viennese Parliament and Karl Killian, Artist and organiser of the “Red Carpet for young artists” project. The participants discussed how culture and arts can influence political decisions. Mr. Peko Baxant also explained in a very detailed way the role of culture for the city of Vienna. After the discussion, all the Grundtvig partners signed the River // Cities statements for sustainable festivals, the issue, which will be further developed in the following River // Cities meetings.

In the afternoon the participants continued their walk over the island to meet organisers of the festival stages like the “WAT/ I am Red”, Sports stage or the “Insel der Menschenrechte” stage and the organiser of the stage from the Austrian Trade Union to discuss how and why a party is organising such a big festival.

In the morning of the third day the group had a tour guided by DI Bernhard Engleder over the City Development Area at the Danube Canal. The Danube Canal is one of 13 Areas of the STEP05. In 2005, the Vienna City Council adopted the new Urban Development Plan STEP 05, which formulates visions and objectives for Vienna’s further development. Above all, this document defines 13 parts of the city as target areas deserving the special attention of urban planners. In the past few years, a number of urban architectural accents have been placed along the Danube Canal with projects like the Media Tower, Uniqa insurance building, Kaipalast, etc., which give contemporary image to Vienna’s cityscape. The ecological importance of the Danube Canal is to be highlighted and the area is to be made more attractive for living and leisure time activities and for business locations through flagship architecture (waterfront).

After Lunch at the Urania Restaurant, which is part of the STEP05 Plan for the Canal, the participants spent afternoon on internal discussion and work summing up the “Culture for Waterfronts” Grundtvig project. The meeting took place at the Wiener Bildungszentrum – the education center of the SPÖ.


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