Cultures marginalised by different societies, come, eventually, to influence the culture of the majority and, often times, to even be assimilated to such a degree that their distinctive features become indistinguishable. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the people, the communities - with all their histories and traditions - also come to be, as quickly and as completely, accepted by those who belong to ethnic, racial or sexual majorities. There are critics who consider the cultural assimilation of a minority equal to the loss of identity for the sake of the majority. We need nuances and it’s important to determine whether cultural assimilation is a significant step towards integration or whether there are other ways to get there. 

In Romania, a country founded at a crossroads between so many cultures and civilizations, that the idea of cultural uniformity is almost ludicrous, we still have an issue with valuing and, sometimes, even cohabiting with other types of expression. For instance, some of us are fine with pop music, but can’t stand manele songs, even though both their simplicity in terms of melody and lyrics is similar, and the skill of the singers is often comparable. Or perhaps we love classical music, but not the contemporary pop sounds we tend to associate with the superficial interests of other social classes, although the talent of those who create them is often undeniable.

These examples are not intended to antagonize or alienate you. What both my colleagues  and I wish for this edition of the festival is not to discuss personal taste, but, together with our audience, to understand the root causes of this diversity of cultural manifestation through inspiring films, debates and events taking place over the 10 days of the festival.

The OWR13 poster illustrates the evasive character of the scapegoat, represented by many minorities depending on the social and historical context they might engender. In its centre there is the Man without a clear identity in the consciousness of the majority - the stranger, the minority, the fringe, the periphery and everything that is not included in this majority.

The document superimposed on the photo is meant to reveal an immediate reality, extremely relevant to the current state of racism in Romania. The results of the four popular polls displayed on the posters come from the latest report issued by the National Council Against Discrimination with data collected in 2018 and suggest, on the one hand, an improvement compared to the state of racism in previous polls, but, on the other hand, that it continues to plague today’s society.

During the festival, we will bring attention not only to discriminations of every kind, but also to all of us, to our attitude towards the Other, to how easily we can fall back on stereotypes, even when they are positive, in an attempt to better define our own identity.

With this year’s edition, we want to embrace an atmosphere of celebrating diversity, aware, however, of the realities in which entire social categories find themselves, subdued at the outskirts of society. In short, we invite you to participate in a range of activities and events which, if you accept, (we hope) will bring you closer to Otherness and lead to love and admiration, two of the most exquisite human emotions. 

by Andrei Rus & the OWR team

Main sponsor: Kaufland
Tickets: Eventbook
Mobility Partner: Autonom
Logistic partner: DHL
Digital Partner: Canopy
Monitoring partner: mediaTRUST
The festival was created in 2008 by the: Czech Center Bucharest

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