Kathréptis: International Meeting on the Future of the City
Friday 20 November 2015 -
09:00 to 18:00
Art Factory – Technostasio, Athens

The city and its people are experiencing a period of contradictory perceptions and interpretations of what a city looks like in the midst of a historical transition. Athens, the political, economic and administrative centre of Greece, epitomises the perceptions and interpretations of what a city in crisis looks like. When we now think of Athens, what are the prevailing images? A city suffering the harsh effects of a protracted recession, unemployment, social inequality and – more recently – a worrying rise in neo-fascism?

Despite the cultural and economic crisis afflicting Europe – or perhaps in response to it – Athens’ citizens and cultural players are coming up with innovative and unexpected ways to widen the public sphere and create space for a new form of cultural government. There is a boom in independent, socially and politically aware cultural and business initiatives – artists’ collectives, start-ups, shows, events – that are shaping a new cultural reality.

How can we make Athens a better place to live and shape a future for the city based on the aspirations and dreams of its citizens?

Right now Athens is the mirror (kathréptis in Greek) in which we should all examine ourselves in order to understand the changes taking place in society and how they are relevant for all cities in Europe and beyond.

What is Kathréptis?

Kathréptis, a collaboration between the British Council, Culture Action Europe and Agenda21forCulture – UCLG, is an international gathering that will include thought-provoking discussions of the role of culture in urban development and aims to explore the city’s transformation, share its stories and compare them with other cities – and citizens – in Europe and the whole world in order to find common ground for co-operation among different actors and communities.

It will be an occasion to discuss the present and future of cities, the integration of culture as a core component of urban strategy and policy towards sustainability.

Our aims

The meeting aims to:

  • explore how mutuality works in practice and how it can help design new forms of cultural governance in cities
  • present good practices and experiences from the international scene in order to facilitate new connections between civil and cultural communities from different cities in order to explore answers to common questions and challenges
  • identify elements and patterns that can help shape new cultural policies based on culture as an enabler of societal transformation
  • foster the empowerment of a coalition on the ground that involves cultural and civil society players, doers and game changers (including local authorities).

How will it work?

  • The process and the programme are designed around the principles of collaborative problem-solving and discovery-driven learning.
  • Heterogeneous people from different backgrounds will contribute by taking stock of their own experiences.
  • Participants will be involved in small group working sessions, as well as large group discussions.
  • Inspirational guests will stimulate dialogue, share their stories and support the group in sense-making activities.


The inspirational guests who will join Kathréptis acting as ‘mirror participants’ in the process are:

  • Ιvor Davies, Independent adviser and researcher in international cultural policy
  • Clarisa Ruiz-Correal, Councillor for Culture, Leisure and Sport, City of Bogotà
  • François Matarasso, Honorary Professor, Robert Gordon University, UK
  • Marc Villarubias, Head of Cultural Co-operation, Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Lyon, France
  • Stella Duffy, Founder, Fun Palaces, UK

Who should get involved?

Participation is free. Anyone who is involved in the cultural life of the city (from Athens or elsewhere) is invited to participate and contribute. Inspirational guests, representatives of international cultural organisations, artist groups, local authorities and cities worldwide (Europe, Canada, Central and South America) will join us and work hands-on with other participants in order to answer the questions at the core of this gathering.

When Friday 20 November 2015, 09.00–18.00
Where Art Factory – Technostasio, 6 Lamias Street, 177 78 Athens
Registration To register, contact development@cultureactioneurope.org.


For further information, please contact Maria Papaioannou:

Telephone +30 210 369 2336
Email Maria.Papaioannou@britishcouncil.gr

Kathréptis is being organised under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture and Sports.

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