Ravenna seizes the spirit and challenge of the bid, seeking to project its identity, anchored in the past, into a future of new contours and diverse scenarios, through a vocation for imagery that elicits a new equilibrium between old and new. These are the premises which inspired the idea/concept of “Mosaics of Culture”, as a route for integrating a multiplicity of artistic, cultural, economic, political and societal elements, which together help to engender new visions and styles of producing culture. The mosaics metaphor evokes a sense of composition of diversity, seen as an open and never-ending process, which maps out a route for building new outlooks for Europe, in its crisis of uncertainty between the present and future.
This innovative approach has inspired the key words and themes of the candidacy: from door thresholds to water, from conflicts and contradictions to the ability to envisage the future and become perpetual motion, without forgetting the evocations of the past which live on, modernised and projected into the future, through the references to Dante that weave through the structure of the programme.
The Fiveways initiative marks a fundamental milestone in the development of Ravenna’s candidacy proposal. “Fiveways” was a series of meetings held in Ravenna between 3 November and 3 December 2011, to explore the theoretical perspectives and possible empirical implications of the five main themes identified by the Staff and the Creative Council, and shared with the citizens and with the region of Romagna. Hospitality and cultural diversity, conflict and its possible arrangements, the relationship with water and the wider world, creativity and new technology, transformations and “doing together”: these were some of the major themes tackled during the course of the meetings, through conversations, presentations and performances, that opened up Ravenna’s local experiences to a wider international scope. Over 60 local and international guests took part in Fiveways, turning it into a fully-fledged laboratory of ideas projected into the future. Artists, writers, philosophers, intellectuals, cultural operators, all together engaged with the city, to collectively work out visions, ideas, plans — in a word, “ways” — leading to the Ravenna of tomorrow.