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Goodbye EU STAR conference !

As an intern at SAMA, I had the opportunity to participate in the EU STAR Conference. For three days I followed the delegations from 14 European countries throughout the EU STAR conference in Amsterdam.

But let’s do a quick review of the programme of these three days…

25th May 2022

The first meeting happened on 25th May, guided by Anna everyone had an overview of the museum collection in the Nieuw-West. Right after we had a dinner where a welcome speech was made in order to introduce each partners and the schedule of the following days.

26th May 2022

The second day started by a public conference at Broedplats de Vlugt. Each country made a presentation, where they showed all the murals realized within the scope of the EU STAR project. In the afternoon, we went on a bus tour around Amsterdam and we saw murals which were part of previous exhibitions such as "Privacy". Then we went in the north where we visited the STRAAT museum in NDSM. Finally, in order to finish the day, a street art surprise was organized. We had the opportunity to make our own murals with the artist Keys Art. We also made a EU STAR logo as memory of this amazing day in Amsterdam.

27th May 2022

The last day was dedicated to a presentation of the Street Art Museum Amsterdam and its new exhibition Street Art & Democracy. Every participant received a gift bag with the visitors guide. They were the first to discover the lastest project of the museum. In the meantime, the artist Psiko planet made a colorful artwork on SAMA's HQ wall (picture below on the right).

It marked the end of the project after four years and four conferences.

My perception

The main objectives of this international event was to to build a network between European countries with a common strategy to promote social inclusion, to foster intercultural dialogue and also to reduce marginalization of depressed abandoned areas. It gave me not only a perspective from the Netherlands but a larger view on the project. Many murals were already created all around Europe thanks to the initiative. Since I arrived in April, I was only able to participate in the project during the conference in Kosovo (April 2022) and in the last conference in Amsterdam (May 2022). Here is my perception…

As an Erasmus + intern and a student in applied foreign languages, I know the importance of Europe and cooperation between countries. Consequently, I was really happy to be a part of this event. It gave me the opportunity to discover the importance of Street Art throughout Europe and the network which was build between the 14 municipalities. Especially during the conference of 26th May, when every country presented all of the projects and the murals that were made. It was really impressive to see how powerful art can be and the impact that it can have on every city and particularly on less priviledged neighborhood. It is an aspect that I discovered during my internship in Amsterdam, and it was highlighted during the conference : street art can be used as a social tool. It helps to enhance the local population life, it has a real impact which is important not to neglect. It shows me a larger view on how Street art is popular in Europe and how much it can affects positevely areas.

This conference made me reflects on the essence of street art which aim to be easy to reach for everyone, even to a part of the population which is not usually going to museum or galleries. The discussion that we had, made me realized that thanks to its growing popularity street art as matured into someting which be used and turned into an industry. In fact street art is on-trend and its popularity keeps growing days after days and not only in Amsterdam but at a larger level. However, even if it is very popular at the moment, it is not possible to just copy/paste an idea or a project in different countries because we don't know if it will work equally in various areas / environnements. It is also important to consider the social, political and geopolitical aspects because it can affects significantly projects and the expected results. Another facet, is that we had to take into account that it's not only a way of expressing ourselves, there's the artistic freedom part which comes under consideration.

Also, it was the first time for me to participate in a mural. I had the opportunity to create a small graffiti and learn some techniques and how to spray. This is for me the best moment of EU STAR conference in Amsterdam because we work all together on the same project and it is for me the exact definition of cohesion as a group and the best representation of what is the EU STAR project.

As someone who is not coming from the art world, I was really eager to discover differents facets of street art during my internship at SAMA. It was an amazing experience to be able to exchange with every partner and artist about their ongoing projects and their culture. Even if we are not from the same country we were all sharing the same goal which was to work on how to make some areas more colorful, and how to connect people from different cultures. It is after all the main goal of this initiative : sharing knowledge with each other, build a network, find solutions, reflect on how to build something postive thanks to street art.

As a conclusion, this project shows well how cooperation is important between countries and that together we can make beautiful things. With street art and this kind of initiative, we can help to solve common problems, bring European together and closer. Also, it shows that sharing ideas and working together helps to create artworks all over Europe and improve many neighborhood lives. It was really enriching for me, it made think a lot about street art and its role. I am very grateful for having this opportunity during my 2 months internship in Amsterdam. Even if it is my last week as in intern in SAMA I hope that the EU STAR project will go further and that the conferences and exchanges will continued in the future.

I was pleased to meet everyone and I will not forget these three amazing days in Amsterdam.

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