We wish to assert VAGAR as another art of existence for Humanity. Because we believe that the creativity of the Alentejo people, their way of being and living, can help find sustainable, inclusive and beautiful solutions to the main challenges we face as Europeans.
In 2027, Évora, and the Alentejo, will be European Capital of Culture. By winning the title, Évora will represent Portugal in the largest cultural event in Europe.
In Évora and the Alentejo, throughout its history of social, cultural and economic resilience, we have built another way of living and being, of looking at ourselves and the world. We call it VAGAR.
In Évora and in the Alentejo, throughout its history of social, cultural and economic resilience, we have built another way of living and being, of looking at ourselves and the world. We call it vagar.
Alentejo's vagar is the full awareness that we, as humans, are always one with the universe. It is a consciousness that questions our dominance position, and that implies coexistence, coevolution, restraint, creation and construction, space and time, memory and collectivity, as well as resilience and tension.
From this awareness that is also experience and identity, we wish to turn Évora into a living laboratory, in which ideas and solutions for the future of Humanity can blossom. A place that brings Europeans together to reflect on our position in the world. A place that questions, provokes, tests models and shares solutions for a better future in Europe and the world.
From now until 2027 and beyond, we wish to raise the Alentejo's VAGAR, asserting it as another art of existence for Humanity. This way of being and living, these practices that have always existed in the Alentejo, can help us question paradigms, devise new models, and, in that sense, it can be the future answer that Humanity needs. In this impulse, we wish to reopen Évora, and the Alentejo, to the rest of the European continent and the world, giving voice and visibility to this territory and its communities, empowering it and projecting it as a relevant place for the future.
In this process/movement, we want to contribute solutions to contemporary European challenges by developing sustainable cultural collaborations on a regional, national, and international level, and by stimulating social, cultural, and economic development.
Based on three thematic lines - Time, Space and Matter - the Évora 2027 cultural and artistic programme combines art and science, artists and audiences, local and global, to raise urgent questions about the future of humanity, based on the concept of VAGAR, and its unfolding in many different dimensions. Acknowledging the culture that exists in the Alentejo, the programme presented in the bid book includes several projects, and also foresees the possibility of integrating others, designed to bring together international and national artists and researchers, creators and communities, starting out from the region to dialogue with Europe and the world. Among the principles that inspire the strategy of Évora 2027 cultural and artistic programme is the idea that less is more, favoring quality over quantity; sustainability, as containment and cooperation, emphasizing Europe's cultural diversity and promoting inclusion and solidarity; the idea of opening time and space for creation, providing the conditions for reflection and thought; the combination of tradition and contemporary and the challenge of rethinking heritage; the intersection between science and art, and the connection of different art domains to the technological, environmental and social transition; the challenge of breaking down barriers, promoting artistic collaborations at various scales (local, national and international), taking VAGAR further to test its full potential.
Being European Capital of Culture
Being a European Capital of Culture means, for the designated cities, the opportunity to strengthen the sense of community and belonging, to regenerate and requalify, and, through culture, to boost the local economy and the construction of a common future. The title allows for a deeper understanding of diversity, revealing what makes us unique, but also what binds us together as Europeans.
In 2027, Évora will represent Portugal as European Capital of Culture. It is the fourth time that a Portuguese city receives the title, after Lisbon, Porto and Guimarães. In addition to Évora, the city of Liepāja, Latvia, will be European Capital of Culture in 2027.
When it was created in 1985, on the proposal of the Greek Minister of Culture, Melina Mercouri, the European Capital of Culture was a year-long celebration of the arts in the city receiving the title. It was born with the aim of celebrating Europe's cultural diversity, while highlighting the values that unite us as Europeans. However, today, one of European Union's most significant initiatives is much more than that. It is an opportunity to assume culture as an engine for change, both in the cities and in the lives of their citizens. A process of transformation that is intended to generate a lasting impact, which goes far beyond the cultural sphere.
That is why this European project is far from simply highlighting the year of the title, challenging candidate cities to think, and to imagine themselves beyond that time frame. Any candidate city has to develop and gradually implement structural actions, expressed in a cultural strategy of the city, framed in a long-term commitment. In Évora’s case, this challenge is embodied in the "Évora 2030" strategy.
For a long time, the city awarded the title of European Capital of Culture was proposed by each country's government, however today, any city can start the application process on its own initiative. The winning city is chosen by a panel of 12 independent experts, ten of whom are nominated by European institutions and bodies, and two by the Portuguese Ministry of Culture.
For the first time in Portugal, 12 cities were running for the title, in a process that culminated with Évora's selection as European Capital of Culture in 2027, a decision announced on December 07, 2022, in Lisbon.
In a long and complex selection process that began in 2020 and was divided into two phases, each candidate city presented its bid book, containing the proposed transformation they wished to implement by 2027, and four finalist cities were selected: Évora, Aveiro, Braga and Ponta Delgada.
In the second phase, the selected cities worked on a second, revised and in-depth version of the bid book, taking into account the recommendations of the jury and the candidacy development. After visiting the four finalist cities - in Évora, we welcomed the jury on November 28, 2022 - and after a final hearing with each candidate city, the final decision designated Évora as European Capital of Culture in 2027.
Once the selection process was concluded, in December 2022, the Portuguese Ministry of Culture announced the creation of the Portuguese Capital of Culture. Between 2024 and 2027, the three cities that, with Évora, reached the final candidacy stage will be the first cities to host the initiative: Aveiro in 2024, Braga in 2025 and Ponta Delgada in 2026.
Moving forward to being European Capital of Culture,
Évora is 2027 and beyond.