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Culture Under the Stars

This day-length symposium in partnership with the European Commission brings together speakers from six great European cities to share how parks, pleasure gardens and piazzas have been places of cultural creativity from the Renaissance until today.

Speakers will explore, in turn, the ‘outdoors cultures’ of Europe: from the princely gardens of Rome, to the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens of 18th Century London, through to Córdoba’s new festival of floral design, discover how art, music and drama have flourished side by side in the open air with politics, leisure and commerce.

Confirmed Speakers:

Benedetta Bessi
The ancient Roman “horti” were gardens of pleasure set up by wealthy and prominent politicians and intellectuals between the end of the Republic and the early Empire (1st c. BCE) as extension of their urban villas.

Dr Philip Manse
The Palais Royal in Paris, built as a royal palace, became in the 18th Century a meeting place of radical politics, pleasure and high society. Revolutions were launched from its gardens, you could find gambling, shopping and prostitution, and the king’s cousin the duc d’Orleans lived and entertained on the first floor of the palace.

Emilio Ruiz Mateo 
In 1921, the citizens of Córdoba opened their private patios for an annual flower festival, and so began the phenomenon of “patio hopping”.  In 2017, the city began Europe’s most innovative festival of floral art: FLORA. Its curator Emilio Ruiz Mateo tells us how open air floral displays have attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors to the city.

Gabor Rosta
The history of Margaret Island can be traced back to Roman times, later it became a king hunting park, then private park, then public park. Margaret Island is one of the richest botanical collection in Budapest, the tree stock consists of 240 species, and there is also a rose garden, Japan garden and flower garden. On the island there are several swimming pools, thermal baths, open-air theater, pet-park, sculpture park, rose garden, sports grounds, playgrounds for children and community spaces.

Christopher Woodward
Vauxhall Gardens was the most famous public garden of 18th Century Europe: on summer nights ten thousand people crossed the river Thames to enjoy music, food and promenading. But it was also a place of cultural innovation: William Hogarth curated the first public exhibition of contemporary art, and Handel’s music was premiered.

Martin Zerlang
The Tivoli Gardens were founded in Copenhagen in 1843, in imitation of London’s Vauxhall Gardens. They were part of a ring of parks integral to the planning of a new neo-classical city, which continue as an amusement park today.

A full schedule and biographies of speakers will be sent to those who register.

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