The state of play AGORA workshop "Transforming spaces for cultural purposes" brought together 38 participants, of which 25 were present on site at SofiaLab, and 13 participated in the meeting online. On June 29, the participants discussed Sofia's needs for new cultural spaces - such as lack of key infrastructure, e.g. large-scale exhibition halls for visual arts, as well as new needs for more coworking spaces and meeting places for communities after COVID-19. Appropriate buildings that are not in use and could meet these needs were also discussed.
The reconstructions and the creation of new functionality of industrial heritage have their challenges: high cost, long terms, difficult return on investment, divergent interests and lack of clear focus, the need for a very effective management team. That is why cultural operators and experts suggested testing other, more flexible models, such as a regulated public subsidy to encourage private investment in such renovations, the creation of management teams to help cultural operators, new partnership regulations and more. The Program for Integrated Development of Sofia, which is currently being developed, and the forthcoming new Strategy for Culture are appropriate strategic tools to encourage the transformation of cultural spaces. Another conclusion that the participants agreed on is that in order for the municipal policy in this area to be sustainable and successful, it must be in line with national priorities, and a national strategy for culture is still lacking.
The participants in the workshop supported the creation of an informal community and a network of like-minded people who want to contribute together to the future transformations of spaces in Sofia.
You may learn more about the project and the upcoming activities at http://www.interreg-danube.eu/approved-projects/agora and https://www.facebook.com/InterregAGORA.
The AGORA project is implemented under the INTERREG Danube program and is co-financed by the European Union funds (ERDF, IPA II).