Connecting Georgia (2019-2020) is an artistic project that aims at developing and discussing tools that can be helpful to tackle the challenges for sites with post-industrial cultural heritage. The project connects the city of Batumi with other european cities engaged in the Memory of Water Creative Europe EU project.
Batumi in Georgia is a fast-developing city on the Black Sea coast. During the last decades the city’s cultural heritage, especially in the Old Town, is suffering from the results of rapid development, and the history and the cultural memories are slowly disappearing. It is a vital challenge for Batumi to embrace the urban development and find tools for safeguarding the history of the city. This discourse is ongoing in partner cities of the Creative Europe partnership Memory of Water, especially in Gdansk in Poland where the discourse about the post-industrial heritage area of the Old Shipyard/ Young City has been intensified during the last two years. This has also been observed in Port of Lindholmen & Port of Stockholm in Sweden and Govan Docks in Scotland, which are other examples of cities with rapid urban transformation affecting post-industrial cultural heritage as result. These shared challenges and experiences made the partners wish to connect Batumi to the ongoing artistic project Memory of Water.
By engaging artists in Sweden and Georgia in co-creation and exploration, Connecting Georgia intends to include Batumi in a bigger international dialogue on the challenges of urban planning and city development in waterfront cities with post-industrial cultural heritage. By participating in City Labs and art-residencies, the artists, citizens, technologists, businesses and public sectors can create and discuss tools with one another that can be helpful to tackle the challenges of sites where urban development and gentrification are affecting the postindustrial and cultural heritage.
Connecting Georgia is three artistic residencies, three city labs, three artist-led and site-specific investigations, networks and public events. Connecting Georgia will share and develop competences, as well as explore our lost and forgotten heritage.
Read more here about Batumis challenges regarding the preservation of cultural heritage, and about areas in Batumi important for the history and collective memory of the city.