Debates / Lotus

Debates/Lotus (started in 2015) is an initiative whereby Open Arts Foundation aimed at promoting the development of a discussion environment in Plovdiv on topics related to the city, the environment, the culture-oriented infrastructure, the collegiate community, etc. The project was part of the Bulgarian Network for Civil Dialogue, an initiative of the Red House Centre of Culture and Debate, whose aim was to establish a national Debates Network, which would unite organisations working towards the development of an active civil environment through the organisation of public, open debates and discussions on topics of public significance.

Part of the mission and objectives of Open Arts Foundation was to work precisely for the development of the urban environment and the citizens’ engagement by organising and promoting the dialogue among people in the field of culture. A project of the foundation in this direction was A City Arbour in 2013, organised jointly with аrtnewscafe and Studio 8½, which treated urbanistic topics in a discussion and presentation format.

Based on the experience and the willingness to develop in this field, Open Arts Foundation was invited as a partner to the project Bulgarian Network for Civil Dialogue together with active organisations and colleagues from other cities in the country: VT EVENTS, Veliko Tarnovo, International Elias Canetti Society, Ruse, the Factory Association and the Bread Houses, Gabrovo, The Different View contemporary art and culture association, Stara Zagora, Kreo Kultura Foundation, Varna. Recognising the format as meaningful and important to the development of the citizenship and citizens’ engagement in Plovdiv, the foundation itself formulated four key topics concerning the development of the cultural life in the city. The topics were as follows: “Access of independent cultural operators to the municipal infrastructure for culture”, “Do working models of cooperation between the cultural operators and the education institutions exist?”, “Decentralisation of culture: neighbourhood and culture management”, “Multiethnicity in Plovdiv and its presence in the cultural life of the city”. Experts on the set topics, representatives of the municipal administration, university professors, cultural operators, etc. were invited as participants in the discussions.

Debates / Lotus - Program in the framework of Bulgarian Network for Citizens’ Dialog

Access to the municipal cultural infrastructure for independent cultural operators

We will discuss questions related to the municipal cultural infrastructure, existing administrative rules and regulations, as well as cultural operators’ experience in this area and how it can be improved.

Moderator – Victor Yankov, Festival Director, Night of Museums and Galleries – Plovdiv
Illian Ivanov, Director, Legal Services Department, Municipality of Plovdiv
Iva Gesheva, Director, Boris Hristov Cultural Centre
Vesselina Sarieva, Director, Open Arts Foundation
Dessislava Hristozova, Art Manager – Events & Festivals, Municipality of Plovdiv
Emil Mirazchiev, Director, Art Today Association
Maria Stoyanova, Deputy Chairperson, Chamber of Architects in Bulgaria

Are there working models for cooperation between cultural operators and educational institutions?

We will discuss cultural education in Plovdiv, and specifically student internships, career prospects, and existing opportunities for exchange of knowledge and skills between educational institutions and cultural operators.

Moderator – Marin Danev, Editor-in-Chief, Bulgarian National Radio – Plovdiv
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Krassimira Krustanova, Paisiy Hilendarsky University of Plovdiv
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Galina Lardeva, Academy of Music, Dance and Fine Arts, Plovdiv
Mаria Karadecheva, Head of departmentat Regional Museum of History, Plovdiv
Nadya Fournadzhieva, Director, Lettera Publishers

Cultural decentralization: cultural management in the neighborhood

We will discuss cultural life in a variety of Plovdiv districts and neighborhoods, common problems and good practices, cultural consumption in outlying areas and future plans for improving them.

Moderator – Asst. Prof. Dr. Meglena Zlatkova, Paisiy Hilendarsky University of Plovdiv
Maria Uzunova – Deputy Mayor, South District, Municipality of Plovdiv
Svetlana Kuyumdjieva – Senior Expert, Culture, Education and Development Department, Municipality of Plovdiv
Nikolai Mihaylov– Organizer, Lauta Open Air Fest
Zhenya Petkova – Secretar at Trakia District, Municipality of Plovdiv

Multiculturalism and its presence in Plovdiv’s cultural life

We will discuss Plovdiv as a multi-ethnic center, tracing the cultural activities of each group. We will also look at how aware different groups are of events organized by other groups. Are there good examples of cooperation.

Moderator: Dr. Maria Kissikova, Paisiy Hilendarsky University of Plovdiv
Dr. Ahavni Kevorkian, Cultural Affairs Councilor, Honorary Consulate of the Republic of Armenia, Plovdiv
Genika Baicheva, Programs & Projects Expert, Plovdiv 2019 Municipal Foundation
Sashka Gudeleva, Executive Secretary, Shalom Cultural Center
Kemal Rashid, imam at Karlovo