The CityTelling Festival aims to remind the multiethnic memory of Kaunas and its surroundings, to strengthen the dialogue between different communities, to encourage pride in the place we live in, and at the same time – to talk about topics relevant to the contemporary European.
Every time we invite the festival organizers and partners to tell unheard, forgotten stories of the city and the district, to try new ways of telling stories and to do it in unexpected, forgotten places. And we invite the visitors of the festival to embark on a journey that will delight not only with discoveries but also with new experiences. Maybe you’ll discover what you didn’t expect, get an answer to a question you didn’t even know existed ... After all, stories don’t just help us to discover the place we live in. They help us to get to know ourselves, to listen to the other, to understand and empathize better.
CITYTELLING FESTIVAL 2022: JOURNEY HOME
2022 is the year when we – Europe and the world – are forced to examine whether we have learned the lessons of history. It is a time when the question "what will you do when war knocks on your door?" is no longer hypothetical. Now in its fourth year, the CityTelling Festival opens up the forgotten pages of history by bringing together artists, museums, theatre makers, musicians and scholars. At the same time, we ask: what can we learn from history today? How can living memory teach us the values of respect and openness, empathy and love? What kind of city do we want to see in the future?
In 2022, the year of the European Capital of Culture, the CityTelling Festival will take place over several months. From mid-July onwards, we will evoke the city's Jewish memory. We will talk not only about the history of the Holocaust, but also about the rich culture that existed in the city, remembering the forgotten names of Kaunas citizens and the fates of those who lived here. This part of the programme will culminate in the Kaunas 2022 Litvak Culture Forum on 29-30 September.
In October, we will turn to reflect on the stories of contemporary Kaunas. We will do this with the storytelling programme "Where can I find you?", professional storytellers and Kaunas citizens of different nationalities living in the city today. We will end the festival with a consideration of the future. In the international symposium "The Idea of Europe", we will ask the question "What is Europe? What does it mean to be European? What is the destiny of Europe?
We have developed the CityTelling Festival together with our partners in Lithuania and abroad. Particularly active were Litvak artists who returned to Lithuania from South Africa, United Kingdom, France and Israel.
Team of the festival:
Daiva Citvarienė-Price, Justina Petrulionytė-Sabonienė, Ina Pukelytė, Sandra Maslauskaitė-Šimonė
Crows taught him to speak Swabian; magpies, English; and sparrows, Russian. She learnt French from horses and American English from the vessels of the Baltic Lloyds insurance company. And where did he, the city of Menapolis, learn to wear braces? Well, from telegraph poles. Lo and behold, Menapolis goes out for a walk across Europe and changes his appearance on every corner. Mimicking Berlin, he shaves his temples; imitating Paris, he wears a bowler hat. Here comes Menapolis back from a walk, bringing the whole flock of stars along with him. /.../ Inebriated by his own dreams, Menapolis watches as the lights float down the river.
Markas Zingeris, Around the Fountain, or the Little Paris, 1998
How colorful this city was! Unfortunately, such an image of a multiethnic Kaunas is rare in Lithuanian literature, as well as in our imagination. However, many stories are testifying to such Kaunas in the past. These stories are often overshadowed by the stereotypical image of the “most Lithuanian” Lithuanian city. Or we simply forgot those stories. We want to remind them.
Here you will find literary and other texts about the multiethnic Kaunas and the lives of Kaunasians in the city during the war and post-war years. Some stories were born to remind us of the names and destinies of the people who once lived in this city: Lea Goldberg, Emmanuel Lévinas, Henry Parland... Other stories were inspired by the memories we collected. The writers explored them and resurrect them to another life in literary texts.