Mons 2015. It’s all yours!
Mons 2015 is more than just a deluxe arts season. The people of Mons also needed to be closely involved so that they could make this programme their own. Hence the range of participatory projects appearing throughout the entire schedule for the European Capital of Culture festivities. This was a lengthy process – for example, The Great 8, which offered Mons residents and local associations the chance to collectively share or create their own projects designed to showcase their region, their past or their identity. The right group dynamic was found by drawing on the wishes of the residents, the know-how of the various associations involved and the skills of the invited artists, resulting in work that is concrete, powerful, unconventional and family-focused. It will be presented to the public during a week of festivities: for the Great 8, the 12 mayors of the Borinage were also persuaded to get their local associations and communities involved in similar projects.
This participative spirit has also rubbed off on some of the cultural institutions of Mons.
For example, there is the Grande Clameur, by the contemporary Musiques Nouvelles ensemble, which plans to gather 800 amateurs to sing Lasso on the steps of St Waudru’s collegiate church, as well as other items on the agenda such as Fait Maison, Autour de la Table or Les Infiltrés. Under the initiative of the Théâtre du Manège, actors will be reciting their favourite texts in someone’s home, perhaps performing a first reading there before daring a more off-the-wall piece in local schools.
More than anyone, the young people of Mons Ideal will be invited to lend a hand, as will retailers, teachers, businesses and local associations of all kinds. So what’s the point? Perhaps a sense of pride, of enjoyment, of commitment, and new principles of social cohesion characterised by not one but many cultures, less hierarchy and more individual and collective participation.