The round table on learning/education and culture and its intergenerational roots at the annual Cultural Bazaar (CB) on 5 April in the Cankarjev dom Congress Centre in Ljubljana attracted a lot of attention. The CB and the LLW at least partially share the target public: they both speak to professionals in cultural and arts education. This target group is especially important for generating interest for participation in the LLW in a domain that has not yet been completely conquered.
The event had an intergenerational design at all levels. In addition to the LLW, the intergenerational centres, the Third Age University, the study circles and the projects ‘How people used to live in Jesenice’ and the Stories of aging were presented at the CB. Both projects were based on intergenerational collaboration. A group of young improvisational actors added another dimension to the event with their entertaining short sketches.
The participation at the CB was much more than just a set of six presentations that affirmed the intergenerational aspect of the presented activities – it bore much more significant fruit. I have gained new energy and a confirmation of our efforts to promote lifelong learning at the very beginning, at the introductory speech by Gerfried Stocker, Austrian plenary speaker from the Ars Electronica Center (AEC) Linz and the art director of a platform for digital art and media culture. As he presented their endeavours such as the annual festival of art, technology and society, he also drew attention to the common but false conviction that people only want to have fun: “No, we need to capture their curiosity, keep them busy with experiments, allow them to experience the unknown.” At Ars Electronica all this is closely connected with the latest technology, but the mission of the platform is to make the potential of our digital age accessible to everybody: the old and the young, the well-educated and the less-educated, the courageous and the shy…
Their goal is to raise awareness of the importance of learning and culture, and Stocker admits that the real heroes in this field are the people – mentors, promoters, professionals, etc. who build bridges with the general public. “Rich European cultural heritage spliced with new technology is a winning combination, which is nourished and enriched by creativity and education,” Stocker is convinced. However, he warns that the government should ensure the existence of both sectors: education and culture.