May 25th, 2023 marks the start of the first edition of Zomer op Zuid, an almost five-month-long sequence of music, dance, visual arts, theatre, and food at various locations in Rotterdam Zuid. Part of Zomer op Zuid is the Bloemhof Festival, on Saturday June 17th on Putseplein in the Bloemhof neighborhood. The Bloemhof Festival marks the start of Cultuur&Campus Putselaan, a lively, sustainable meeting place in a historic building on the Putselaan - in the heart of the Feijenoord district in Rotterdam South. Cultuur&Campus Putselaan is a Horizon Europe project led by Diana Roos at Erasmus Research Services in collaboration with Amanda Brandellero at Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication (ESHCC).
At the Bloemhof Festival, the project team will contribute to the line-up with various interactive and educational programmes. In addition, Erasmus Verbindt, in cooperation with students from the ESHCC, and production house FLOW, will realise the 'Bloemhof Mediapark' on site, where artists, visitors, and those involved in cultural activities 'in Zuid' will be interviewed for a series of podcasts about culture in Zuid.
A place for dialogue
Cultuur&Campus Putselaan will be a place for dialogue and collective learning, designed on the basis of the wishes and needs of local stakeholders: residents, students, (budding) entrepreneurs, and teachers. The project has been made possible by a financial contribution from the European Union's New European Bauhaus (NEB) initiative.
The location is expected to open in the second half of 2024. Nevertheless, the organisation of Cultuur&Campus Putselaan is already running at full speed. Contacts are being established with local residents, many of whom are themselves involved in cultural, ecological, and social activities in their own neighbourhoods. The residents are guiding the design, organisation, and programming of Cultuur&Campus Putselaan.
Core values Cultuur&Campus
'The themes understood under IDEA - Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Access - form the core values of the Cultuur&Campus,' says Femke Vandenberg, a Postdoctoral Researcher and lecturer at the Department of Arts and Culture Studies at the EUR, and involved in carrying out the research.
'We want to develop new forms of education based on equality between local residents and institutions.'
"Our research shows that a prerequisite for success is a different way of working. Not top-down, not 'involve with' or 'give access to', but co-ownership, participation in the method used, and representation of the neighborhood in all aspects of the project.' The future location of Putselaan is important. Co-ownership of space, staff, and programme must be established there. 'That is a particularly interesting and at the same time a difficult process,' Femke continues, 'because we are outsiders. And residents have had plenty of experience with organisations that focus on 'transitioning the neighborhood'.' That experience is not always positive - researchers come and go and this leads to certain research fatigue.
'We need to find other ways of doing research and make sure the residents also have more influence. This could take the form of participatory research, and a better rewards system, such as financial compensation or co-ownership of the research.'
During this process, insights will be shared with local and international interested parties. The EUR is the project's lead partner and is responsible for, among other things, research into the project's impact.
Femke is enthusiastic about the process so far. 'What is happening in Rotterdam Zuid is overwhelming. Finding a way to ensure equality is challenging, but if we take our time, don't judge, 'say yes', opportunities will arise'.
On 19 June, the formal kick-off of Culture&Campus Putselaan will look ahead to these opportunities with residents, administrators, and a delegation from the European Union.