Last Monday, the municipality of Urjala reached a major decision: The municipal council unanimously decided to join Tampere and Tampere Region in their bid for European Capital of Culture after all. Last spring, Urjala had decided to pass on the bid. Both internal and external persuaders managed to make the council reconsider, says municipal manager Hannu Maijala:
“The City of Tampere expressed to the ones opting out that they would appreciate it if we did join them. Mayor Lyly made a specific wish to that effect. Also here in Urjala, many people came to tell me that it would be a bit embarrassing to opt out of the bid, if we consider Urjala to be a cultural municipality. It was our residents’ wish as well,” Maijala states.
Urjala indeed has a reputation as a cultural municipality. From this birthplace of author Väinö Linna, you can find real-life settings for the Under the North Star trilogy. The annual Pentinkulman päivät literature event upholds this literary tradition. And the Nuutajärvi Glass Factory is one of the oldest manufacturing companies in Finland.
The European Capital of Culture bid team met with the municipal leaders on Monday, September 30th, to give a presentation on what Urjala has now signed up for. The message to the municipality was clear: The more Urjala comes up with good programme proposals for the open call, the more they can benefit from the bid.
From left: Satu Sarin, Terhi Källi, Juha Salo and Hannu Maijala listening on Monday, as Aino Holma (on the right) explained the current status of the bid for European Capital of Culture.
Juha Salo, Urjala’s Head of Education and Culture, had this to say about the municipality’s hopes for the impact of the bid on Urjala:
“I am expecting this to enhance the community nature of Tampere Region in the field of culture and to bring residents more opportunities to influence their own well-being and lives.”
Salo summarized their next moves: ”Next step is our cultural preparty on Monday, and then we will get our local groups together and start throwing ideas around. And we’ll see where that takes us.”
For the purposes of the bid, Urjala will host a preparty on Monday, October 7th, where the purpose is to specifically sound out the opinions, wishes, ideas and questions of Urjala residents. The preparty will be held at 5.30 – 7.30 pm. in the new Comprehensive School Auditorium at Urjalantie 37.
Since Urjala joined the bid at a relatively late stage, there’s a need to get busy. The open call for projects ends in two weeks. By then, it would be nice to get at least some good works in progress on the list of programme proposals.