Baltic Audience Links Partner meeting and public seminar Gdańsk, 17-20 May.
Eugenijus Kaminskis Reflections
On workshop “Artists and Activists Role in Widening Public Participation” by Roman Sebastyanski
With Roman we had a great session on participatory urbanism. First of all he gave a good overview on the situation of Gdansk Shipyard, it’s political, economic, social and cultural history.
It looked that just ten years ago the future of the place looked much more promising than it looks now. Everybody had their hopes high because of the involvement of artists and good stated intentions by the developer and municipality. I saw many similarities with some cities back in Lithuania, e.g. my hometown Panevezys, which is a former industrial town still seeking for it’s new identity. Or a port of Klaipeda, which is having the same issues of combining economic, industrial and cultural aspects in the port territory.
However, Gdansk Shipyard seems to have a much stronger sense of a place. Maybe it is because of a very traumatic past and historic events that changed the course of country’s history taking place there. This extremely high emotional charge is both, a positive and negative thing. It is positive, because it has a this huge transformative potential – nobody is indifferent to the place, it means something to everyone. On the other hand, traumatic memories still recalls a conflict or even aggressive approach to the change.
Change is not always a revolution. Sometimes it can happen only when there are no winners or losers, when there are no “us” and “them”, and where everybody is involved in the conversation. I believe that this is the future for Gdansk Shipyard. To revive, we must start a “Solidarity 2.0”, but this time ,it must be peaceful and participatory one. Because this time there is no enemy, just us - artists, activists, politicians, businessman, shipyard workers, their families, journalists, the youth, everyone - who need to figure out how to work together.