Although Seville has played a relevant role in Western History, notwithstanding it being the capital of Andalusia, the significance of the city has been experiencing certain decline. Consequently, the thriving creativity which takes part in other places does not occur as expected in this urban area. Even though Seville is still developing in accordance with present times, it might be progressing at a slower pace. Consequently, the capital of Andalusia is falling behind other more dynamic cities from Spain, Europe and the rest of the world.
There are remarkable examples of success among researchers, artists, entrepreneurs and thinkers. Yet, Seville fails in creating an atmosphere that is supportive enough for both creativity and innovation. Two relevant features that would help society to lead to a more productive position, if they were built over stronger foundations. This is something that is not always easy in this city under present circumstances.
Having said that, regardless of certain relative deterioration, Seville is still a universal city which is well known for both its beauty and its impressive monuments. Also, the cultural aspect of Seville, most notably its traditional festivals and rites, have defined a way of life which is unique if we compare it with other urban areas. Also, among other characteristics, one could highlight the ludic component of the city, its originality and the quick-mind of its citizens, some of who maintain a positive way of life when relating to each other. Moreover, the historic and cultural inheritance of the city and the social development experienced in recent times, have shaped the definition of what is called “the sevillian stamp”. Nowadays, “the sevillian stamp” only stems from deep-rooted traditional aspects of the city which, although they have a very marked personality, can hinder positive change.
Linked to that external image of Seville, “the sevillian stamp” relates to certain defined roles and breeds in collective rites which are again supportive of traditions such as: Semana Santa (Holly Week), Feria (Fair), Corpus (religious party), Cabalgata de Reyes (Biblical King’s Parade), Rocío (religious peregrination), etc.
Apart from the named traditions and family and friend relationships, the city socially revolves around sporting and social clubs, in addition to professional, cultural and public institutions.
Among all the ways mentioned to create social ties, few of them would conform the atmosphere of innovation from which Seville could benefit. In fact, Seville does seem to be hindered by traditions and rituals, which represent the best known aspect of “the sevillian stamp”. Thus, it is more difficult for the city to get in tune with more innovative tendencies of the contemporary world.
What has been said previously should not be interpreted as despise toward traditions. On the contrary, we are convinced that those traditions play an important role when defining the identity of any society, and that their absence would generate conflict and alienation. However, if traditions and rites are the only sources of social identity, becoming the only representative aspects to describe a whole social group, any attempt at renovation and modernisation is likely to be suffocated.
Traditions cannot enlighten a future of progress, or the improvement of the present life style. This does not signify, by any means, that one should be against traditions. However, it is only by looking into new and innovative ideas – coming from sources such as free-thinking, economy, science, technology, art and new forms of relationship – that a city can achieve positive change.
Many of the best established civil institutions work on the strengthening of traditions, but they participate insufficiently in the modernisation of Seville. Furthermore, during the 30 years of democracy, local public institutions have intensively pursued the support of traditions and have keenly recuperated some of the old patterns of its sevillian culture. However, that contribution is not matched by the efforts made to modernise the city and strengthen its links with the innovative currents of the contemporary world.
Different expressions of creativity and vanguardism exist in Seville, coming from domains such as science, technology and culture. Citizens, who make those expressions of creativity possible, relate their everyday work and hobbies with global tendencies which envisage the future of the world. Although many of those inhabitants neither take part in public institutions nor in traditional social networks, their active contribution to the progress of the city, coming from both professional and personal levels, is still very important. Yet, most of them seem to be isolated, incapable of finding an efficient way to achieve visibility. Hence, their efforts to transcend society lack success due to the fact that tradition, which unreasonably occupies a central point in the city, suffocates those individual attempts.
Opened Seville Initiative aims to start a civic movement to attract citizens who think that a city that is more opened to innovation is possible. Opened Seville Initiative aims at those citizens who believe that Seville could be a more cosmopolitan and contemporary place, and at the same time, identify with the most attractive aspects of the city’s history.
We believe that Opened Seville Initiative can join together a diverse group of Sevillians who love the city where they live. However, among those sharing that sentiment, many do not feel related to Seville’s traditional representations and struggle to find ways to make their expressions of creativity noticeable. We think that this new forum could ease the way to developing the synergy derived from individual effort and innovation. Hence, with the support of these contributions, Seville would be acknowledged as a location where there are new and positive ways of expression.
Opened Seville Initiative was formed as a movement in support of the modernisation of citizens, social progress, and the opening of Seville to the tendencies of the contemporary world.
Opened Seville Initiative, as a movement, is not opposed to anybody or anything. Its only purpose is to make it possible that certain values are considered as relevant for the city. Those values are as follows:
– Freedom should be regarded as one of the essential attributes of human dignity. It represents a force to enable both social progress and creativity. Therefore, freedom implies a constant defence of individual and collective rights.
– Innovation is regarded as the main way to achieve social progress, which is considered to be the model for civilisation development. This civilising process make people individually and collectively freer.
– Science and technology are the most developed ways to express rationality, serving as support for social progress as well as preventing humans from obscurantism.
– Thinking, art, and the varied ways of cultural expression are invaluable as ways to forward social development.
– Economic growth is essential to social progress. Also, independent entrepreneurs’ initiatives create wealth and improve the economic situation.
– Citizenship solidarity, accomplished with the assistance of public institutions and organisations of civil society, is key to avoid social isolation and to favour social cohesion.
– Environmental sustainability plays a key role in the solution of social problems.
– Citizens’ innovative initiatives, like Opened Seville Initiative, should be considered seriously by traditional civil institutions and public administrations, given the fact that they further social progress.
As a summary, citizens who support and sign up this declaration form Opened Seville Initiative (Iniciativa Sevilla Abierta, ISA). This initiative is a plural and dynamic forum opened to all the citizens who seek our collective progress – not matter where they come from or whether their were born in Seville-.
ISA pursues the openness and modernisation of sevillian society by creating a place where people can exchange their varied points of view in an atmosphere of respect. Therefore, this initiative is welcoming to all those citizens who want to play a significant part in the realisation of this initiative’s goals.
(Translation: Victor Sánchez)