This year we have seen the stark inequalities the pandemic has highlighted and witnessed the huge Black Lives Matter movement globally. In Europe, protests have defaced statues linked to the colonial and slavery past of the continent, reminding us that the legacies of our dark history can still be found across the streets of our cities.
Eurocities, together with the city of Glasgow, organised a city-dialogue on culture and anti-racist practices on the 15 of December, where, together with the city of Lisbon, issues such as how to face difficult local history; how to enable anti-racist policies; and how to create inclusive cities through culture were discussed.
- Naomi Shoba introduced us to the role of ‘agent for change’, a figure that maximises ethnic diversity and anti-racism across the cultural organisations of Glasgow.
- For Naomi, the recognition of institutional racism is key to changing its present consequences. The first steps to create an inclusive city are: Have a clear toolkit where you understand what you are doing and why; have the courage to speak your truth; invest in training; and have patience.
- Lisbon inspired us with their initiative to create counter-narratives that make use of the relics of colonial history. A polemic monument standing for “the age of the discoveries” in the Portuguese capital has become a space of encounter and inclusivity for black and ethnic minority communities through exhibitions on the topic.
- The lack of access to ethnic data was highlighted in the discussion as one of the most relevant issues compromising actions against racism.
Colonialism is a topic that has reignited, and this city-dialogue has reflected the need and willingness to open city collaboration on the topic. As such, in 2021 Eurocities will continue developing further joint work to create inclusive, anti-racist cities through culture.
The slides are available here.
The video is available here: Eurocities city dialogue – culture and anti racist practices