756 not a reference

We built the city and the city built us

By Natalia Chan

City Stories



















In July 2012 ‘The City Speaks’ will open in the city of Maribor in Slovenia, the first of many cities across at least nine countries to host the exhibition. Maribor is the European Capital of Culture 2012, and the exhibition takes place alongside a vast celebration of culture and creativity. 

‘The City Speaks’ – the second partnership between Maslaha and the British Council’s Our Shared Europe project – explores how individuals and communities have been inspired by cities and how they, in turn, changed the spaces in which they have lived through different forms of creative expression. 

Over the past year Maslaha has worked with a wide range of collaborators to bring the grit and romance of the city to life – from street artists Candy Chang and JR to renowned academics Richard Sennett, Doreen Massey and Ricky Burdett; to local theatre practitioners, graffiti artists, art historians, archivists, comic illustrators, architects and many more. 

Renowned exhibition designers Lucienne Roberts and John McGill have developed a dynamic 3D design to the exhibition which allows it to be built anywhere, and its towers capture the looming intensity of the city. The accompanying soundtrack, produced by composer Dave Randall (who has worked with Faithless, Dido and Slovo), is a beautiful ode to the sounds of the city, articulating the soul of the urban organism as it sprawls across a timeless palimpsest.

The City inspires, it remembers, it provokes and it empowers. Here are many reasons how and why, a tribute to the achievements of the humanity that survives and thrives both because of and despite the conflict and challenge of urban life.

Over the next few months, this blog will be tracking ‘The City Speaks’ as it travels across Europe, passing through many cities, and gathering more examples and inspiration from each city it touches.