Handle with Care

The project »Handle with Care« facilitates international exchange among cultural professionals during the Covid-19 pandemic. Twelve artists from eleven different countries shared their views on Europe by sending their stories to Hildesheim. The collection of essays will be published in a magazine by the end of May.

The online release party of the »Handle with Care«-Magazine will take place on Saturday, May 29, at 8 p.m. (Central European Time) as part of the »Transeuropa festival«. Admission is free. The streaming link will be available soon on this Website as well as on transeuropa-festival.de/2021/handlewithcare.

Twelve international cultural professionals were connected by two wooden shipping boxes: Our project »Handle with Care« shows a variety of perspectives on the EU that will be published in a magazine by the end of May. How do perspectives differ among cultural professionals from Salzkammergut, Austria to Kigali, Rwanda?

The answer lies in the two wooden shipping boxes that embarked on a journey in search of stories about Europe in fall 2020 as they were forwarded from one project partner to the next, both from European and non-European countries. Each partner put an item into the box that they felt represents Europe and wrote an essay explaining why. The »Handle with Care«-Magazine will be presented during an online release party as part of the »Transeuropa festival« on Saturday, May 29, 8 p.m. (Central European Time).

“We’ve asked ourselves what Europe stands for as a whole”, explains Vanessa Selma Özdemir who is doing her Master’s degree in Cultural Mediation at the University of Hildesheim and has been coordinating »Handle with Care« since June 2020. “What kind of connotations and images pop up when our partners think about the EU? And how do internal and external perceptions of the EU differ from each another?”

“The blank pages in our magazine illustrate this contrast”, explains designer Anna-Lena Schotge. “Due to the pandemic it was impossible to send the boxes to our partners in Uganda and Rwanda. This is why some of the pages are blank.”

Lene Wagner, co-director of the Bid, points out the lasting effects of the project: “Thanks to »Handle with Care« we were able to get to know many inspiring artists and cultural actors across Europe and beyond despite international travel bans and restrictions. Thus the Magazine is a lasting memory of our cultural and artistic exchange during our application process to become European Capital of Culture 2025 and will be important for future international collaborations.”

“In their essays, many artists stated that we should involve ourselves in current debates and help shape Europe.” , says Max Balzer who came up with the idea for »Handle with Care« and is in charge of the project on behalf of the »Projektbüro 2025«. “This also means to follow current developments, like political unrest and the humanitarian crisis at Europe’s borders.”

During the release party Thomas Harling , co-director of the Bid, will talk to four international cultural professionals that were part of »Handle with Care«. The event will be held on Zoom and Facebook and will be streamed live from Rasselmania Hall, Hildesheim. The four artists that will be conferenced in are: Anne Kirya, journalist and activist from Kampala, Uganda; Alexander Manuiloff, author and founder of the artist residency Radar Sofia, Bulgaria; Lisa Krusche, author and journalist from Brunswick and Jaroslav Ira, historian at Charles University Prague, Czech Republic, specialized in modern comparative history of Europe.

The Magazine can be purchased for 8€ (while stocks last). Please contact: handlewithcare@hildesheim2025.eu

The project »Handle with Care« was supported by the Ministry of Science and Culture of Lower Saxony.

Handle with Care

The shipping boxes were forwarded among international cultural professionals. For example by playwright Uglješa Šajtinac from Novi Sad, Serbia, European Capital of Culture 2021 … Photo: Novi Sad 2021

Handle with Care

… to young author Hana Bujanović Kokot in Kranj, Slovenia. Photo: Hana Bujanović Kokot

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