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      Project 2004 - 2006, with the support of the Culture 2000 program of the European Union

Interaction with the local community plays, for the historic monuments that are re-used for creative cultural and artistic projects and research, an important role in forging links with the territory. This interaction underlines the social importance of these monuments today, especially for young people and the socially deprived. It also justifies other possible functions for the monuments intended to smaller social groups, as researchers and artists.

By local community, we mean all the people who live near monuments and relate to them in an emotional way linked to physical proximity and memory.

Eight European institutions from various countries around the continent that work on the re-use of historic monuments with complex contemporary projects wish to work together on this common dimension of their activity to expand their methodological approaches and improve their practice. Their aim is to render their work more socially efficient and share the results of their efforts with other professionals and the public.

These institutions are:
- Grand Hornu Images - colliery, 19th century - Belgium
- Schloss Bröllin - manor, 13th century - Germany
- Santa Maria la Real Foundation - monastery, 12th century - Spain
- Royaumont Foundation - abbey, 13th century - France
- Josef Karolyi Foundation - mansion, 19th century - Hungary
- Malopolska Culture Institute, with Nowa Huta - steelworkers' estate, 20th century -
- LandKunstLeben - landscape park, 18th century - Germany
- Association of Cultural Encounter Centres - head of network - France


- to contribute, in each partner country, in raising awareness among local communities of their historic, intellectual and affective links with the monuments in question and of the various possibilities for active participation these monuments offer today. To contribute in making the local communities discover the importance of similar links with other historic sites in Europe;

- to allow the professionals working on cultural, artistic and research re-use projects in historic monuments to put together approved practices and new experiences regarding the links of monuments with territories and the local communities. To define common methodological approaches through sharing and critical study of perspective of these experiences at every site;

- to disseminate the outcomes of their experiences, both to the professional community working with historic monuments (working methods) and to the public at large (contents).


- STRAND 1: Every participating site will organize an original project on the relation between the monument and its neighbouring population. These projects are:
theatrical performances on the people's and learned memory of a monument - Schloss Bröllin (D)
a common venture of artists and local population on the importance of the site for the construction of the local identity - landscape park of Steinhöfel (D)
care and highlighting of the Romanesque heritage by the rural population - Santa Maria la Real (E)
the re-appropriation of the new town of Nowa Huta by the workers' children - Malopolska Culture Institute (PL)
the restitution of the "French garden" in the park of the Fehérvárcsurgó castle, by the inhabitants of the village - Josef Karolyi Foundation (H)
new experiences of interaction incorporating the Museum of Contemporary Arts that opened on the site in 2002 - Grand-Hornu (B)
the rumours of the neighbouring population of a re-used monument and its integration in an original work of art - Royaumont Foundation (F)

These experiences can take place either through expanding on or in rupture with the usual practices of the sites' professionals towards the local communities. The objective of those experiences is the expansion and the renewal of the work on monuments with local communities.

- STRAND 2: Every participating site will host representatives (professionals, social agents, artists) of two other partner sites. Its own representatives will go to two other sites to work on the perspective and sharing of know-how, methodological approaches and results. Meetings of the participants will reveal the gain from their experiences, the development prospects and will help in shaping general concepts and methodologies.

- STRAND 3: The project leader (ACCR- France) will produce a documentation platform in the form of an interactive multimedia database called PROXIMA. The outcomes of the experiences from every site will be gathered in all possible forms (text, sound, fixed or animated image). The updating of the database will be done directly by the people working on each project (on-site training provided). Documents will be presented in the different partners' languages. English and French will be used as common languages for a large dissemination. PROXIMA will be the tool for maintaining and sharing the memory of these experiences (in terms of methodology as well as content).
Access to the PROXIMA database will be permanent and free via the Internet (individual access). However, the database has originally been conceived to project on site fixed or animated images (permanent public access at every site), and to enable large-scale temporary events.


The project will thus close in autumn 2006, during the "European Heritage Days", with an interactive multimedia exhibition (presented simultaneously at all participating sites). The exhibition will showcase a selection of documents available on the database, presented through projection (fixed and animated images) and sound.

To share the results of experiences led in the whole Europe with the public at large thanks to new technologies; to raise awareness of the contemporary value of monuments; to encourage the monuments' appropriation by the socially deprived.

The project is lasting two years (October 2004-September 2006). The budget is 389.100 €.

The PROXIMA database should continue to function after the closure of the two-year project as a permanent tool of reflection and exchange, which will constantly be enriched with new experiences.
The multimedia platform PROXIMA is a communication tool, space for sharing experiences and a live memory of the activity of the Cultural Centres/Historic Monuments.
Firstly, this space allows you to discover the evolution of the project Heritage, Memory, Local Population, supported by the European Union framework programme "Culture 2000" and implemented by eight partners, members of the European Network of Cultural Centres/Historic Monuments.

PROXIMA is online now

The expected long-term results are an enlargement in the field of reflection of the professional partners as regards different social, historic and geographical contexts; the European public's improved knowledge of the monuments' relation to the local communities, and therefore an easier appropriation of them; an improved integration of the monuments in the contemporary life as places that support memory, creative imagination and collective action.

The historic monuments are numerous in Europe and constitute, in this sense, its identity. It is important that they are considered today as benefits rather than burdens. In this context, the experiences that will facilitate the monuments' integration in an active relation with their surrounding communities are essential.

An ambitious reflection in this field should, therefore, take place on a European level in order to find its proper place in the relevant local work.

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