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 2021
In this pandemic universe, memories and history took on new meaning. Memories of "normal" life or stories of PRE-quarantine life have become anchors of hope helping us not to drown in a sea of anxiety. History BEFORE has become the island of our dreams, the romanticised world of the past, untouched by the shackles of the new reality.
In this festival we invite you to talk about homes that hold the whole world. To talk about homes where History is born.
The stories of life at home will be told in contemporary artworks, performances by actors, and new experiences will be offered in the house-museums and other spaces in Kaunas and Kaunas District.
The CityTelling Festival is a time for coming to terms with oneself and the world around us. That's why already on the first day of the festival, rolling ANGELS will go to the city's main street. They will remind us of what we may have forgotten in our anxious homes – the value of peace, tranquillity, love for our neighbour, empathy and openness to others.
Although we have survived the pandemic being alone, within the walls of our homes, this experience has become, as never before in history, a shared experience for all of humanity. We were experiencing the pandemic together with the whole world on social networks. Everyday testimonials on Facebook, Instagram stories, poems, songs, and memes that flooded social networks have become our shared diary. In that virtual reality, we were looking for answers to the anxiousness of the world. We were looking for comfort, reassurance, answers to existential questions, or just confirmation that we are not alone spending days in our pyjamas or with our unwashed hair.
Social networks allowed us to observe each other’s lives between the four walls as if through a keyhole. The anxiety, boredom, fatigue – we survived these common feelings in a digital reality. Together with virtual friends, we have tried new recipes, discussed the first vaccinations, the newly started yoga or language classes. We were united by newly discovered hobbies, shared recipes or pandemic fashion news. In these invisible communities, we were looking for what we were lacking most: live communication. These communities made us feel part of a group and made us feel that WE ARE NOT ALONE.
Curator of the Festival Daiva Citvarienė
Coordinator Justina Petrulionytė-Sabonienė
All events are free of charge, except several marked that way.
The Opportunity Pass or analogous documents proving immunization are required at all inside events.
Pre-registration is required for some events.
For registration and contacts, please see the descriptions of the specific events you are interested in below (click on the specific day and event).
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.