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Cvartal – Cultural Heritage of Bucharest Neighbourhoods

Project proposing to reconnect the inhabitants of 10 Bucharest districts with their own history and the affirmation of local identity and culture

Dash Film, together with the Zona Studio Association and Rusticity ehf. started the project “Cvartal – Cultural Heritage of Bucharest Neighbourhoods”. The project aims at the cultural activation of Bucharest neighbourhoods through the development of multidisciplinary cultural products focused on the history of micro-communities associated with cvartal buildings and through cultural and bilateral cooperation.

Part of the programme for “Strengthening Cultural Entrepreneurship and Development Audience and Audience Development” funded by EEA and Norwegian Grants 2014-2021, the project “Cvartal – Cultural Heritage of Bucharest Neighbourhoods” receives a grant of RON 979,288 / EUR 198,761.45. The project will be implemented in Bucharest over 18 months, from November 2022 to April 2024.

Through research and interaction with the inhabitants, the project analyses the history of some of the most interesting urban projects materialized at the beginning of the communist regime, the housing blocks, and thus manages to contribute to the recent history of Bucharest. The residents of the neighbourhoods are incorporated and co-interested in the creative process – their experiences, memories and resources are the basis of the historical research carried out by the project. The partnership is an innovative initiative that delivers the scientific results of historical research to the public in an understandable and engaging artistic format through documentary films, books and exhibitions proposed by the project team.

The project addresses the need to balance the cultural landscape of Bucharest and to involve neighbourhood residents in actions with a community dimension. Exploring the history of housing in block buildings responds to the need for knowledge of the past and social and cultural reconnection in neighbourhoods, developing a sense of common identity and belonging, stimulating cohesion and solidarity in the targeted micro-communities. At the same time, the project aims to create the premises for new cultural initiatives or public policies in this respect.

In order to increase access to culture, the project has a multidisciplinary cultural component, awakening interest in one’s own history and providing easy access to academic information, “translated” into a language accessible to the general public. The modes of delivery are interdisciplinary and accessible – short books, exhibitions with archival images compared from the same angle in the present day, short films focusing on each neighbourhood and a feature film explaining the history of housing in the neighbourhoods. Interdisciplinarity is also reflected in the mixed nature of the project team, made up of researchers, historians, artists and cultural professionals.

The artistic approach revolves around unexplored identity concepts of Bucharest: urban microtopias and block-like buildings, used as gateways into the collective mindset of neighbourhoods – dormitories, to activate community spirit and a sense of belonging, continuity and sharing – of both space and time, past and present.

The CVARTAL project is one component of a larger plan of direct communication between academia and city residents that Dash Film and the Studio Zona Association started three years ago. This plan has as its mission the rendering to residents of essential information about the history of the homes and neighborhoods in which they live, and to gather from them as much data as possible to complete the history in the archives. The first stages of this collaboration resulted in the online series “Beyond the Centre. Diary of a Society” and the augmented reality app pARcelări3.0 |steaua.

News and information about the project are published on , and the Facebook page

Dash Film is a film, video and new media production company founded in 2012. The company’s mission is to create video content that is a link between contemporary audiences and other areas of cultural expression. Its portfolio includes several film productions (short films, documentary films, music videos, commercials, presentation films). The most recent project in which Dash Film has been involved with all its resources is a visual project, developed in several directions, illustrating the history of housing in Bucharest, starting from the early years of the 20th century – the period when the first housing estates were built for the underprivileged social classes. In 2020, in partnership with the Studio Zona Association, he produced a series of 10 short documentary episodes describing the history of 10 housing estates in Bucharest: “Dincolo de Centru. Diary of a society”. In parallel with the production of the documentary film Cvartal, the company is in pre-production with a feature-length fiction film and a documentary.

Studio Zona Association is a public history project, started in 2016 by researchers from the Faculty of History of the University of Bucharest and the University of Architecture and Urbanism “Ion Mincu”. The research directions focus on urban and cultural history, especially that of Bucharest and its complementary (political and social) aspects in the 20th century. The association aims to encourage dialogue between academia and urban communities, maintaining a constant dialogue with the people of Bucharest in their projects. Between 2015 and 2019, they managed to distribute more than 10,000 brochures and leaflets about the land plots built between 1898 and 1948 and organized workshops, exhibitions, book launches and conferences related to these topics.

Rusticity ehf. is the company of Icelandic video artist Gilles Tasse and since 2016 has been active in the cultural field in Iceland and France with film and app projects – feature film Tro Fanch, in LIM and Cross selection – Channel film Lamb and short film Middle of Nowhere; Ocusky cloud platform for simulating sunlight in visual arts, Ísland áður fyrr – online museum with archival images from Iceland and web apps Lamb, AppFengur and PetFit.

The EEA grants represent the contribution of Iceland, the Principality of Liechtenstein and the Kingdom of Norway to reducing economic and social disparities in the European Economic Area and strengthening bilateral relations with the 15 beneficiary countries in Eastern and Southern Europe and the Baltic States. These funding mechanisms are established on the basis of the Agreement on the European Economic Area, which brings together the EU Member States and Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway as equal partners in the internal market. In total, the three countries contributed €3.3 billion between 1994 and 2014 and €1.55 billion for the 2014-2021 funding period.

More details are available at: and

The RO-CULTURA programme is implemented by the Ministry of Culture through the Project Management Unit and has the overall objective of strengthening economic and social development through cultural cooperation, cultural entrepreneurship and cultural heritage management. The budget of the Programme is approximately 34 million euro.

More details are available on the official website: