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Charter for Culture unites municipalities in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area

The Lisbon Metropolitan Area and its 18 municipalities have publicly pledged to continue intervening to democratize culture for the region's population, by signing the Letter of Intent for Culture in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area, which aims to strengthen culture as a network and "continue a process of broad participation and dialogue between the municipalities and all the cultural agents who make and promote culture".

The charter was signed during the "Culture in a Network" conference, held yesterday in Oeiras, which brought together mayors from the 18 AML municipalities, a prestigious panel of speakers and around 250 participants.

Among the actions recommended in the charter are the creation of metropolitan heritage routes, the articulation of networked cultural dynamics, the creation of a metropolitan cultural agenda, the promotion of training activities, the promotion of artistic education and the creation of support programs that promote the sharing and itinerancy of artistic structures throughout the territory.

The charter "is the beginning of the construction of a strategic plan and an action plan that we want for culture in the Lisbon metropolitan area", as metropolitan secretary Emanuel Costa said during the presentation of the charter, which took place at the São Julião da Barra Fort.

Earlier, in the morning, in the Eunice Muñoz Auditorium, Isaltino Morais, Mayor of Oeiras, had already highlighted the importance of working together and sharing knowledge: "Part of our mission can only be carried out well in a regional inter-municipal articulation and it is this articulation that we are valuing here through culture."

During the opening session, the metropolitan first secretary, Carlos Humberto de Carvalho, highlighted the potential of the territory, recalling the times of the pandemic "in which culture reinvented itself, and a new way of thinking about the programming of territories emerged, materialized with the application Programming in Mural Network 18, which put us in a position to think about the territory of the Lisbon metropolitan area, and to know the cultural policies and strategies for culture in each municipality".

For Carlos Humberto de Carvalho, it's time to "give continuity to the seed planted in Mural 18, which is why it's important to call for the mobilization and political involvement of everyone to promote intercultural dialogue, in all its diversity, in order to improve the quality of life of the population and enhance the metropolitan territory".

The metropolitan first secretary concluded his speech by pointing out that "AML's path will have to be to create an ambitious and comprehensive vision of cultural production, programming and dissemination, which will help to affirm our territory locally, nationally and internationally as a pole of excellence".

The morning also saw a lively round table discussion on "cultural management in and for municipalities", with Paula Mota Garcia, Salvato Teles de Menezes, Inês de Medeiros and Pedro Pina, moderated by Jorge Barreto Xavier.

There were also four themed panels, which took place simultaneously, discussing the links between culture and education (Livraria-Galeria Municipal Verney), tourism (Centro Cultural Palácio do Egipto), heritage (Mercado Municipal de Oeiras) and the arts (Auditório Municipal Eunice Munõz).

Paulo Pires do Vale, Ana Paula Laborinho, Miguel Honrado and Margarida Fragoso were on the culture and education panel, which was moderated by Pedro Patacho. Ana Pinho, Bernardo Trindade and Emília Ferreira led the culture and tourism panel, moderated by Pedro Vinagre. The culture and heritage panel, moderated by Luís Liberato Batista, featured Aline Beauvink, Walter Rossa, Simonetta Luz Afonso and Ana Paula Amendoeira. The culture and arts panel featured John Romão, Marta Martins, and Rui Catarino, moderated by Filipa Oliveira.

The afternoon, which took place at the São Julião da Barra Fort, also included the presentation of a short film describing the process of creating an original illustration by Mário Linhares, designed to symbolize the union of the 18 municipalities around the cultural traits, traditions, landscape and monumental heritage that give life to the territory of the Lisbon metropolitan area, and a talk by Robert Palmer, former director-general for culture at the Council of Europe and Commissioner for Glasgow and Brussels, European Capitals of Culture. 

The conference was closed by Carla Tavares, president of the metropolitan council, and Pedro Adão e Silva, Minister of Culture.

In her speech, the president of the metropolitan council reinforced the principles of the letter of intent for culture in the Lisbon metropolitan area: "If we want to preserve culture, we must continue to promote it, and we will do so as a network. The signing of this document today is a clear signal from the 18 municipalities that they intend to deepen cooperation by working together to create synergies that will benefit everyone."

Carla Tavares also made an analogy with the Navegante pass: "This card is to culture what the creation of the Navegante was to mobility within the metropolitan area. The Navegante brought a revolution to the way we move around. It has brought us closer together and made it easier for our citizens to discover neighboring municipalities. It was possible to do this for mobility. We know it's going to be possible for culture."

The Minister of Culture, for his part, stressed the importance of culture in building identities and positively transforming the territory, referring to culture as the "social elevator of the 21st century".

Pedro Adão e Silva also defended the importance of diversifying the sector's funding and the need to create an integrated response, with more private entities in culture, and a "greater presence of the Ministry of Culture and local authorities".

The conference program also included entertainment with performances by Orquestra Geração and Mundo do Espectáculo.

Read the Letter of Intent for Culture in the Lisbon metropolitan area here.

Photos: C.M. Oeiras

Updated on 25/04/2023
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