woensdag 23 maart 2011

Building bridges - visit to Rotterdam 21.3.

Rotterdam is divided by a wide canal and the main links between the parts are two bridges. Interaction between the districts is largely limited by the lack of road connections but also by the lack of services and attractions on the South. There is activity between them, but it's usually people visiting the North from the South.

However, the South is surprisingly active too, but in an underground way. There are numerous projects going on in the South, their major goal being to join forces of the 160 nationalities living on that side, to create activity that would spark the interest of the deciding authorities and to make South 'a serious player in the game'.

I got to see activity centers where people could create their own art and learn from others, exhibition facilities for emerging artists and projects that join the people of South Rotterdam to create something meaningful together. These projects are run and coordinated by artists or other inspirational, creative people.

This kind of work is empowering. It's not easy living having a low income or none at all - especially if you don't speak the native language or don't have the necessary papers for applying for a job. These projects strive to give meaning to people's lives and let them express themselves - and to make use of their strongest aspect they all have access to: their own unique culture and heritage.

South could be 'the multicultural art district' of Rotterdam. There are many projects already fighting for this to happen, but they need help. Hopefully people will, in time, get to show their skills, evolve, create new contacts and someday pass their knowledge to others by teaching in one of the action centers and earn their income and place on earth in the process.

A new, third bridge will be built across the canal in the near future. Whether this will spark any concrete change or remain just a beautiful metaphor is all up to the deciding authorities of the local government and how they see the potential. While waiting for that one bridge, I think many smaller ones should be built within the people of South Rotterdam.

1 opmerking:

  1. The Erasmusbridge, we croosed the river, is quite new, and there is a plan for a footbridge between Katendrecht and Wilhelminaquai.I know earlier drafts of a bridge as stepstones. Very interesting is your opnion about what Rotterdam Zuid could be. Mostly it's only to invest in people with qualities they already have.
    Is that a challenge for artists and designers?


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