Cultures on my street

Sono state scelte le foto vincitrici del concorso “Cultures on my street”  sull'interculturalità in occasione dell'anno europeo del dialogo interculturale. Riportiamo sotto l'articolo che annuncia le foto vincitrici.

 

25.09.2008 – Winners of “Cultures on my street” revealed

Ján Figel’, European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth, announced on 25 September the winners in the “Cultures on my street” photo competition, organised by the European Commission as part of the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue 2008. More than 2,000 entries were received in response to the invitation to portray the theme of intercultural dialogue.

The competition, launched last March, invited everyone with a camera and a sense of curiosity to submit their own vision of cultures meeting and mixing in their neighbourhood. It encouraged all EU residents to express their own view of what intercultural dialogue means in their daily life, under the generous title “Cultures on my street”. On 25 September, The four best entries and a shortlist of runners-up were revealed at the award ceremony, taking place in the Berlaymont building in the European Commission's headquarters in Brussels. “The high level of interest from across Europe shows that this competition captured the imagination of European residents” said Commissioner Figel’ on the eve of the award ceremony. “The many different approaches the entrants took to portraying intercultural dialogue underlined both the rich cultural diversity of Europe, and the strong common values that unite it.”

Three of the winning entries were selected by a professional jury and were judged for their creativity and originality in portraying the concept of "intercultural dialogue", as well as technical merit, wide appeal and eye-catching quality. A fourth prize winner was chosen as the Public’s Favourite through online voting by the European public. All the winners received professional photographic equipment and travel grants to European capitals, with a total value of €15,000.

Joseph Smith, 1st prize winner

First prize went to Joseph Smith from Malta, for his image “Village cobbler”. A jumble of shoes, tools, religious ornaments and Elvis posters provides the crowded setting for a tradesman and the locals who often meet in his workshop. “Freddy's shop is a meeting place for friends, locals and even the occasional tourist! I was intrigued by this man's 'cultural' vision: the juxtaposition of religious icons next to those of pop stars”, says Smith. According to Professor Chris Wainright, the UK photographer and academic, and chairman of the jury, “intimacy, multi layering of meaning and elegant mood and composition” were what convinced the jury of the merit of this picture.

Nikolaj Lund, winner of the 2nd prize

The jury awarded the second prize to Nikolaj Lund from Denmark, for his photo “Open Minds”. The picture records a warm embrace between three girls at Lille Torv in Århus, Denmark, at the end of a conversation. This is, according to the photographer, “intercultural dialogue in action”. The photo was taken on the occasion of the project “Borrow a person: grow wiser”.

Jerome Clair, winner of the 3rd prize

Third prize went to Jérôme Clair from France for his image “Isolé du jeu” (Isolated from the game). Clair comments on the photo taken in a bar, “a place for exchange and dialogue between people and between generations, and between people of different backgrounds, too, as on this particular day a French photographer decided to take a picture of people from Spain and Venezuela playing an Argentinean card game. It is a mix of origins and contrasts in a single picture”.

Simon Vansteenwinckel, Public's favourite award winner

The Public’s Favourite award was be received by the image “Fairy Tales 1” by Simon Vansteenwinckel from Belgium. He describes his inspiration for the picture: “I found four young girls playing in the street. Anna, Clara, Fatou and Marie are métis [with parents from different ethnic backgrounds]. But, above all, they are fairies.” The jury also supported the Public’s Favourite picture: it was considered to be a very dynamic image, well observed and added a sense of action, engagement and optimism to the subject.

The winning photos form part of the exhibition inaugurated at the award ceremony by Commissioner Figel’. The winners and further 21 shortlisted photographs are featured in the exhibition, displayed on the Berlaymont esplanade until 31 October and then sent to travel around Europe. The photos together show a panorama of intercultural encounters across the EU – in education and religion, sport and entertainment, shopping and socialising, and in everyday exchanges between young and old, neighbours, friends and strangers.

 

Speaking of the final selection that makes up the exhibition content, the jury chair Chris Wainright said the chosen photos “represent a range of approaches and individual experiences from across the European region and provide a rich mix of imagery that is at times highly personal, sometimes provocative and in all cases, produced with a high degree of compassion and sensitivity”. He added that the jury was impressed by “the overall engagement of all the photographers who submitted material, even those not chosen for the final exhibition, as they demonstrated a desire and willingness to engage with the issue of intercultural dialogue by the very act of photographing and engaging with others through the camera”.

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