Guimarães Conversations 2013

"European Capital of Culture – Guimarães 2012" took place one year before the thematic year launched by the European Commission: The European Year of Citizens 2013. With its promising slogan “You are part of it” the bias of Guimarães 2012 was set towards more citizens’ participation and with a focus on European citizenship.


"The Guimarães Conversations" on 17 May brought together civil society actors, cultural operators, artists from the city of Guimarães as well as administration, representatives from Riga 2014, Cluj 2021, San Sebastian 2016 and members of the European civil-society initiative “A Soul for Europe”. The stakeholders already involved in the preparation and making of "Guimarães 2012 – European Capital of Culture" have already met twice in focus groups to evaluate the bygone process for this gathering. They have developed the criteria for this workshop in order to measure the success of the process. The criteria focused on the stimulation of different factors as consequence of Guimarães 2012.


Guimarães 2012 is seen – with some stumbling blocks on the path – as success for all stakeholders involved on the different levels. As João Serra (Fundacão Cidade de Guimarães’ President) stated in his introductory statement that Guimarães 2012 might be now completed, but the city and its citizens have changed. During the discussions it became apparent that Guimarães 2012 did not end in December last year; it is rather a long-term action which bears great potential for change. The participants of the meeting came to discuss how to turn the potential in a sustainable process and to make concrete recommendations.