A thousand Davids and one Goliath. A creative boost for the underdog in the ECOC
Broumov was a candidate for the European Capital of Culture for 2028. We were cheering for it from the start – the smallest city in the competition's history and it's in the final! And with a great concept of creative pilgrimage. Time to spread their fame as far as possible. And especially online.
Armed with sophisticated ideas, Broumov 2028 needed to get its candidacy off the ground and into the digital heights. And spread the word to as many supporters as possible – anywhere.
We put a new coat on the archetypal values of the relationship to landscape, place, and spirit with the help of VR, AR, and AI. As part of the campaign, we created a microsite for all creative pilgrims that invited active engagement and collected important data.
Broumov 2028 came to us with no easy task. Cities enter the competition with „BidBooks“ of dozens of pages. They contain both a general concept and detailed plans for several years in case of victory.
Broumov needed to rework and enrich it with feasible digital concepts – and defend it publicly in front of an international jury. The idea of "creative pilgrimage" was the basis. And all this should be followed up with an activation online campaign.
BRAINSTORMING THROUGH BABYLON
First of all, many languages and agendas had to be reconciled in the short term. Together with the Broumov team, which consisted of cultural and media experts, as well as international consultants, we managed to define several phases and objectives of the project. Their different audiences were crucially important – Broumov citizens (including significant minorities), an international jury, and creative pilgrims from all over the world.
PROJECT NUMBER ONE - MONASTORIES, TEMPLES OF CREATIVITY
For BidBook we were given the finished concept of MonaStories. It was a plan to connect the Broumov monastery – a historical focal point of knowledge and a current cultural center – with other monasteries in Europe. Both physically and virtually.
FROM PILGRIMAGE JOURNALS TO MEDITATION APPS TO A VIRTUAL LIBRARY
The Brainz creative team has put together a wide range of ideas, including various apps, art installations and practical "pilgrim" tools.
In the end, three interconnected ideas prevailed
virtual library (LIBR.AI)We built
on the historical role of the monastery as a center of knowledge and turned the virtual library into a modern digital archive of cultural activities – enriched with an AI "librarian".
virtual library (LIBR.AI)We built
the pilgrim AR application (PARAMELIS)A pilgrimage network was to be created between the different monasteries, allowing audio messages to be sent to the individual libraries and "picked up" there in the form of an AR installation.
a network of "energy points" in each monastery
a network of "energy points" in each monasteryInstallations that, according to the actual number of physical visitors to the monastery, would vibrate energy points in other monasteries and pilgrimage sites.
PROJECT NUMBER TWO – PILGRIMAGE CAMPAIGN AND WEBSITE
Simultaneously, a quick and effective campaign had to be launched. The aim was to spread awareness of Broumov, its candidacy, and its ideas.
We created an interactive website that presented the mission (to win the ECoC, to transform culture in the region) and creative pilgrimage simply. The website encouraged active involvement – through the choice of a visual pilgrim avatar and personal commitment.
People from all over the world could "taste" the idea of creative pilgrimage in a simple, low-threshold way – all you had to do was commit to walking your dog, baking bread, growing vegetables, or reading more. Choose an appropriate visual, add a name, and public support for Broumov is born.
The graphic design of the website was based on the identity created by the local illustration studio Upupaepop. Playfulness was combined with openness to gender (the figures of the avatars were not binary) and national minorities (there is a large Roma community in Broumov and its surroundings).
LOSE THE BATTLE, WIN THE LOVE
Broumov didn't win in the end, but it showed the way imaginary Davids – enthusiasts from the periphery, active citizens – can unite to defeat the Goliath of globalized culture. As one of the mottos of the campaign said – Europe is made up of up to 30 percent similar “Broumovs”.
The Broumov 2028 campaign generated overall support and a cultural upsurge in the region that still continues. And just between us –- the jury said it was close.