The International Treasure

UGLpres11

05 feb The International Treasure

With the Let’s Gro weekend behind us, it is interesting to give some insights in the events that were organized by the Urban Gro Lab. Before the annual festival of inspiration started, we already placed an open call for international students to tell us their ideas on how Groningen can be improved. Together with Het Discours and OOST we’ve set up this plan, because we believe that we have to provide a listening ear for internationals. Listening to the opinion of others and giving them a stage is an important part of the integration of internationals, as it allows them to be part of the conversation. And hey, every inhabitant of the city is a Groninger after all.

On the 2nd of November we have exhibited five international ideas in nightclub OOST. The ideas that we asked for were meant to help the city and progress it in becoming an even better city in the future, mainly ideas that already exist in other countries. Exhibiting them sheds a light on the internationalization of Groningen and  it is giving a voice to the, otherwise anonymous, group of internationals.

The visitors of the exposition had the opportunity to cast their vote for the best idea that was exhibited and also add their own ideas on a white board or give their opinion during the several discussions that sprung during the night. It was an interesting night where international students and Dutch students exchanged ideas and cultural differences. Next to that, we made a multi-media installation which showed new and progressive ideas from cities and countries all over the world.

The idea for ‘More multidisciplinary expositions by local and migrant artists’ was the winner and it came from Carlos Vega from Spain. International students are looking for more ways to exhibit arts, but also looking for more places to meet in an informal setting. OOST will try and realize this in the coming year. The other ideas were the following:

  • A ‘Bring your own cup’-discount -discount at coffeeshops by Gesa Feldhusen from Germany.
  • Comfortable public spaces to promote social activity by Mufty Hasanov from Bulgary.
  • Cycling lessons for new cyclists by Lara Mottee (Australia) and Angelica Caiza (Ecuador)
  • More drinking water fountains to promote jogging by Fares Sereir from Spain

With the Urban Gro Lab we are working on a public bench which we will travel around with in the spring, trying to tackle the issue that Mufty also highlights. We’ve also organized a cycling lesson in October and hope to do that more often in the coming years.

The exhibition travelled to City Central, the new meeting place for Stadjers and internationals, (www.citycentral.nl) where you can still add your own ideas. It also found its home at the building of the municipality at the Zuiderdiep. We hope to continue with this project in the future and make it an even bigger exhibition as we see that it’s important for the exchange of ideas and cultural differences between Dutch and international students.

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