MELT: Migration in Europe and Local Tradition.

About MELT: The Results

The MELT project: seven different approaches, each with its own rules; seven highly individual solutions. The partners’ project formats and approaches were as different as the partners themselves: the Munich Arts and Culture Department contributed two sub-projects, the traditional music project MakingMusi and the scientific/artistic exhibition project Crossing Munich, while Genoa and Sighişoara adopted their established festivals as platforms (Suq Festival and ProEtnica respectively). Vienna also made use of a festival (Soho in Ottakring) while additionally developing “Urban Narratives” (interviews of artists with migrant backgrounds from a number of partner cities), and the partners from Birmingham and Cihangir/İstanbul designed a range of new events and fora, particularly small-scale special festivals and workshops primarily for children and young people. These events were linked by the themes of migration and local tradition and the issue of their reciprocal influences.

The approach of the MELT project was to provide new impetus for intercultural dialogue and to promote international cultural cooperation. The focus was on local cultural traditions from a variety of fields, particularly those which had been incorporated into city neighbourhoods through migration trends. MELT was successful in giving visibility to the potential offered by this diversity of cultures in city neighbourhoods by organising many, and many different types of, events. It became clear that “melting” takes time. Time is needed for the artists to grow together and for a cultural exchange based on discourse to develop. And yet everywhere from major festivals to small-scale local events, melting was practised with energy and intensity. The strong focus on local circumstances helped to tap into the potential available locally and to use it as a basis. The sustainability of MELT at local level was thus assured; by involving local cultural players, a range of activities will continue after MELT’s closure.

What MELT has achieved is a broad range of interconnections established through exchanges between artists at international multilateral level. The project successfully brought international impetus to local cultural scenes in the partner locations, involving local cultural players in the process. Those involved gained at least an introduction to the conditions and cultural strategies of other cities and cultural organisations in Europe, and were able to experience the process of adaptation to specific circumstances and contribute their own inputs. The exchange which took place within MELT can continue as the basis from which joint ideas and projects are created – across borders, and perhaps with a new perception of local tradition. In this, more was achieved than originally planned. Friendships developed that will continue after the project's closure.

If asked to do the project again, the partners would answer unequivocally with yes. It is the local features in particular that have such exotic flair, sparking partners’ interest and enticing them to join in. MELT was a joint paean to diversity, in which the protagonists joined in a spirit of enquiry and curiosity with the deep need for mutual understanding.

A MakingMusi Hoagartn in Feldafing by Frank Hassler

Villa Waldberta, the City of Munich's residence for international artists
by Devrim Lüküslü / Demet Lüküslü

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