Second STAR Cities Interregional Learning Session
The second Interregional Learning Session of STAR Cities took place in Kaunas, Lithuania, from 11 to 13 September 2019. Following the first meeting in Rome, the three-day event was placed under the theme of « Locals & Communities ». It was hosted by Kaunas 2022, European Capital of Culture, one of the partners of the project.
The schedule included several study visits, a thematic workshop and to finish with, the steering committee.
The different partners of STAR Cities attended the event : the Val-de-Marne Tourism Board, the Lazio Region, the Municipality IX EUR of Rome, the City of Hamburg and Kaunas 2022, European Capital of Culture.
The event included a number of study visits in the Kaunas district in the frame of the « Locals & Communities » theme to discover the Lithuanian good practices.
The event started early morning on the water during a cruise on the Nemunas river. It is Lithuania’s largest river along with the Neris and Nevėžis. The ride was a great opportunity to experience the open landscapes and the natural beauty surrounding us.
The group stopped at Zapyškis, a town located on the left bank of Nemunas, to discover the project of reconstruction and adaptation of the 16th Century Gothic Church into a cultural venue for the locals to enjoy. It is one of the oldest bricks building in the country. The river banks also host every May a renowned Kite Festival.
The day continued with a discovery of Stuba, a community base project hosted in a beautiful wooden-house sitting by the river. Activities include exhibitions, gatherings and also small shows on the multifunctional platform in the backyard. All the initiatives are dedicated to the locals.
Afterwards, the partners and their stakeholders headed to Kulautuva, a resort on the right bank of Nemunas.
The group had lunch at Dock7 and was presented the venue. Mainly dedicated to the promotion of water sports culture with its two 200-meter waterboarding track, Dock7 also boasts an outside café and hosts events.
The last good practice showcased was the Fluxus Labs, a community lab programme, where ideas, opinions and experiences of local residents rotate, encouraging creative dialogue and generating connections and changes. From 2018 to 2022, in the frame of Kaunas 2022, European Capital of Culture, it is planned to establish 35 creative labs in Kaunas and Kaunas district, including the riversides. They should unite the residents of microdistricts for joint creative and communal actions, where ideas shared by neighbours and acquaintances (or not quite acquainted people) strive to see the daylight. Fluxus Labs will bring a lot of unexpected things: from the Fluxus Festival to meetings in yards, sometimes forgotten or well-known places, but most importantly, the residents of Kaunas will gather and create together.
The partners took part in a workshop divided into two parts.
They were invited to express their feedback regarding the study visits : their key components as well as their strengths and weaknesses.
Workshop (Part. 1) - State of play and identification of good practices
Based on the results of the first workshop in Rome, each partner selected one good practice as a case study with the main learning needs :
- Identification of the “locals and communities” we would like to engage in river tourism development ;
- Why and how to engage them ? What are their “added value” to the territory in terms of tourism and cultural development ?
- The role of public bodies and other stakeholders in this approach ;
- The role of policy instruments and finance in community engagement .
Workshop (Part. 2) - Management of the main challenges and policy improvement
Using the World Café method all the participants of the workshop reflected on different topics such as :
- How to identify good practices in the topic ?
- How can policy instruments better address and finance this issue ?
The groups were invited to share insights from their conversations with the attendance.
Day three was dedicated to the steering committee of STAR Cities project.
- Selection of good practices from the meeting ;
- Action plan requirements ;
- Communication activites ;
- Financial management with our external partner.