The large-scale "StadtRäume" project coordinated by the Jülich Historical Society 1923 e.V. (JGV) and the Opladen Historical Society of 1979 e.V. Leverkusen (OGV) is entering the home straight this year. In addition to Jülich and Leverkusen, museums, universities and associations from Leverkusen's twin towns Bracknell, Ljubljana, Oulu, Racibórz, Schwedt/Oder and Villeneuve d'Ascq are involved. Based on the examination of the respective city's history in the period between the First and Second World Wars (1918-1939), joint products are being developed, such as publications, exhibitions and a multilingual and variable film kit.
The project management had now been given the opportunity to present the results of the work so far at a meeting of the European Parliament's Cultural Committee in Brussels. And so, last Monday, a small delegation of the StadtRäume project travelled to the European capital. Michael D. Gutbier, 1st Chairman of the OGV, and Ana Kure from the University of Ljubljana had the task of giving an insight into the project work in a good 20-minute presentation. Michael D. Gutbier emphasised: "This project, which for the first time establishes a network of all European Leverkusen twin towns including Jülich, sets standards in three points: 1. the active involvement of youth, 2. the comparative grassroots approach as a supporting element for the development of a common European understanding of history and not a common European history, and 3. with the multilingual variable film kit as an innovative, open and expandable tool in the mediation of history".
Ana Kure summarised the evaluation and significance of the project for the young people involved: "The participation of young people in a project is only really successful if they are involved in every aspect of the project from the beginning to the end. The project becomes meaningful to them, they know where and how they are valued. For this reason, the younger generation in StadtRäume will say that they feel proud and privileged by the project. Through their work in the project they learn, they educate themselves, they build lasting relationships and find a sense of belonging."
In the meeting as well as in the subsequent exchange of views with the committee chair Sabine Verheyen, special appreciation was expressed for the involvement of young people who not only contribute their expertise for social media but also enrich the cooperation within the project in general. The delegation that was allowed to attend the committee meeting also included Guido von Büren, Chairman of the JGV, Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Hasberg from the University of Cologne and the filmmaker André Bossuroy, who accompanies the project work on film.
The committee meeting mainly discussed how the various funding programmes of the European Union in the field of culture - there are 75 in total - are financially positioned. Programmes such as Erasmus+, which also funds the StadtRäume project, face the challenge that inflation in Europe is putting a heavy strain on the respective budgets. In addition, the programmes are hopelessly oversubscribed, yet the StadtRäume project in particular clearly shows how targeted funding can strengthen the sense of European togetherness across generations. With a good 100 participants, the StadtRäume project is holding a workshop in the House of European History and the Committee of the Regions at the end of February this year. Then there will be a reunion with and in Brussels.