Manifesta originated in the early 1990’s in response to the political, economic and social changes following the end of the Cold War and the subsequent steps towards European integration. Since that time, Manifesta has developed into a traveling platform focusing on the dialogue between art and society in Europe.

So far, Manifesta counts 14 editions, spanning over 26 years and involving 892 participants

Pre-biennial Process

Throughout its history, Manifesta has created extensive research into the fabric of the Host Cities to create sustainable and relevant interdisciplinary projects. In our research, we look to combine interdisciplinarity with a participatory approach. The research involves artists, architects, urbanists and citizens to approach questions raised by each Host City. Our bottom-up investigations take the form of an Urban Vision, Citizens Consultations, the mapping of local communities as well as an array of Expectation Workshops.

Local knowledge and research team

Supporting Manifesta in the execution of the research methods for the mapping of the socio-cultural identity of the city. At the same time, this team investigates the future development of the biennial programme and identifies relevant organisations, cultures and scenes as part of the research process.

Expectation Workshops

A series of meetings with local stakeholders and opinion leaders in the fields of culture, civil society, education, architecture, research and cultural politics. The general aim of these workshops is firstly, to introduce Manifesta to communities in our Host City. Secondly, they identify the objectives, challenges and expectations for the upcoming Manifesta edition.

Urban Vision

One of the key pillars of Manifesta, the European Nomadic Biennial, is its strong focus on urban development within its Host Cities. Since Manifesta 12 in Palermo, the biennial has incorporated comprehensive urban research projects created by renowned international architectural firms.

More about the Urban Visions.

Citizens Consultations

Citizen Consultations investigate the social fabric of the Host City through conversations and discussions with a variety of different local voices and communities. The process includes a series of workshops with selected communities followed by a public survey.

These consultations aim to explore the central topic of “the ways culture(s) are understood and practised by different communities”, as well as to discover the sensitivities around urban development, socio-cultural and education policies for citizens. The Citizens Consultations aim to create a culture of civic ownership to guarantee the maintenance and continuation of the legacy of Manifesta after the closure of the local foundation.

Involving Cultural Sector of Host Cities

A prominent question in Manifesta editions is how to incorporate the voices of local artists and organisations, as well as representatives of civic society without becoming a local organisation. In our new model of a platform for co-creation, we have decided to abandon the previous hierarchical method of a parallel programme.

Our new method consists of a series of social, artistic and design presentations that will link to the main concept of the biennial and become an integral part of Manifesta, promoting cross-regional co-productions and public programming. We focus on how to link curated and non-curated projects and how to present local initiatives which have not been selected by the Creative Mediators in alignment with the curated, international programme. We are also developing new methods for networking between former and future host cities to collectively share knowledge of cultural policies based on mutual experiences with Manifesta.