Things we've wished for are happening and they take us out of our comfort zone into the vast space of dialogue, where we all have a place.
I like Timișoara very much. I also like its scale, its proportion in the public space and the fact that you can easily walk or cycle through it. You have to understand its people, its places and the connections between them. It's a city with character, whose challenging particularities you have to accept. But Timișoara is – and this is where the love begins – also a city that lets you challenge it, expose it to ideas that change everything, brave creations and new solutions.
Before my work at the Center for Projects, I was involved in many other teams and projects in the cultural sector, bigger and smaller projects, all of which brought me great satisfaction. I dropped everything and started building the Center for Projects in 2021, and the last 2 years have felt like 20 Iron Man competitions.
The role of the Center for Projects in the Timișoara 2023 project is complex. For a start, we are the main funding authority for the cultural programme, which means that we run a plethora of funding programmes with money from the Timișoara local budget and the state budget. We also host the Timișoara 2023 Curatorial Team – the collective responsible for the artistic coherence and strategic coordination of the cultural programme. We are also responsible for the relationship with the European Commission and for monitoring and evaluating the impact of this programme. In addition, we organise events with a representative role, such as the events Opening Timișoara 2023 (17-19 February), Timișoara 2023. City Celebration (6-8 October) and Timișoara 2023 Neverending (7-10 December) – the symbolic closure of the Timișoara 2023 cultural programme. Finally, we coordinate the Power Station component of the Timisoara 2023 programme, dedicated to increasing the capacity of the cultural sector. All this, in addition to the usual activity of the Center for Projects, through which we provide funding from the local budget, give the community access to spaces and equipment, manage and programme two Timișoara cinemas, which we have reintegrated into the cultural circuit.
The whole Center for Projects team learned a lot – including how legislation works, how important it is to seek to understand it and to be part of the dialogue and part of the solution when it needs to be improved. We have been extremely active in improving the national legislative framework on public funding for culture and I really believe that, as a result of this hard work, the year following the European Capital of Culture finds us with a much, much better legislative framework.
It all sounds terribly technical and unpoetic, and so it should be. We don't need to be in the spotlight – we just build the stage, an enabling predictable, transparent environment, so that creators, artists, cultural operators can make their magic in the city.
Timișoara 2023 also attracted a lot of cultural professionals and, moreover, there is a much better representation of the cultural sector at local level than in 2016. There are organisations that have grown nice and healthy and are doing extremely relevant things. There are new spaces that have opened, there are old spaces that have reopened, there are people you've met in a different light.
Timișoara has an unprecedented effervescence. Things are happening that we have wished for, as well as projects and interventions that take us out of our comfort zone into the vast space of dialogue, where we all have a place.
Timișoara 2023 continues. Of course, this requires endurance. And love, as I said before.