This year, Porto hosted the 3rd edition of the Future Places festival, a joint initiative of the University of Porto and the University of Texas in Austin, USA, which seeks to show how new digital media can foster greater participation of populations in cultural and social development localities. The festival curator does not rule out expanding the initiative to other national cities.
It is «more than possible and more than likely» that the activities extend to other locations, he said to TeK Heitor Alvelos, curator of the festival – organized under the CoLab, a partnership program between the two universities, supported by the Foundation for Science and Technology and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education.
The official stressed, however, that «for now it is capable of being early», being first «necessary to consolidate» the experience, which started in 2008 and has had some adaptations.
According to Heitor Alvelos, this year’s edition benefited from the concentration in a single space, proposing several activities at the same time, which in his opinion encourages greater participation of visitors – although numbers of participants have not yet been released.
«We are very satisfied» with the initiatives that, «in general, have come closer to the work that we seek to develop», said the official, reiterating that the main objective is «the enhancement of local culture through digital media».
This year’s edition will also have bet more on the «proactivity» of visitors. The menu featured proposals that included, for example, integrating the event’s radio – Rádio Futura – into the festival space, with visitors being able to participate in the broadcast, and jam sessions where they were not only invited to participate through digital interfaces. available on site but also bringing your own equipment.
Regarding the objectives of the festival, the curator admits that «the Portuguese context is a context where the participation of ordinary citizens in the social fabric is not common». It is a very hierarchical society where the citizen thinks that what happens in daily life does not depend on decisions, he explained, arguing that digital media can help the population to «have an active voice in the creation and social and cultural regeneration».
The Future Places program included workshops, exhibitions, laboratories, concerts, talks, conferences and performances, whose work can be reviewed on the event’s blog.