The DATES checklist for hosts and travellers
- Get to know your guests and their background. Seek to get a sense of their interests in advance.
- Think what are the hidden or less visible aspects of your city, the facets tourist guides do not mention.
- Go beyond the obvious and the stereotype.
- It is fine to feel proud about your own city but it is even better if you have some critical and analytical attitude to it.
- Think of local collective memory – myths, anecdotes, unusual events from the past.
- Reflect on the process of the change that has taken place in your own life time in the city. Seek to show the traces of the old and gone.
- Share your favorite spots, your routine places, but go out of your ordinary ways to show your guests some less familiar spots according to their interest.
- Acknowledge the limits of your knowledge: what you do not know, admit without embarrassment; seek out those who could provide additional info or knowledge.
Before the date
- Grasp the specifics of the place in advance through much reading & internet search. (You’ ll be going to the places with a surplus of history and with a record of accelerated change in the last 15 years).
- Study the place and its surrounding, region, country.
- Get familiar with the topography, check your pronunciation, exercises if necessary.
- Know your date partner in essential biographical sense.
- Establish communication with the date partners and the local host per email, get acquainted, get a feel of e/other, signal personal interests and share interesting discoveries you made about the place.
- Check and double check the logistic (visa regime!), made contingency plans, anticipate possible complications.
On the date
How to read an unknown city quickly with several pairs of eyes?
- Make visiting plans, bring your curiosities in a synch, match interests and priorities.
- Have a schedule of the visit worked out but allow for free, unscheduled roaming time.
- Use your host as the resource of the local knowledge. Feel free to be inquisitive, to ask through. But respect hosts’ limits of knowledge & interests in your topic.
- Share observations with the partners and the host, react to their observations.
- Document extensively: snapshots, video camera, drawings, audio record, notes.
- Get additional plans, postcards, leaflets, books on the spot.
- Look at the local posters, papers, advertising.
- Observe the changes in the dynamics of the city and frequency of people’s movement throughout the day and night. Seek to identify the key places of sociability.
- Look for occurrences of cultural diversity, for cultural clashes and intercultural engagement, for piled up cultural layers and distinct influences interacting.
- Listen to languages spoken, to the music and songs, to the noises of the city.
- Observe the pattern of public behavior of men and women and their ways of interacting.
- Look at the behavior and life style of the young people but do register other age categories as well and notice the marginalized, impoverished and isolated city dwellers.
- Sure you’ll stay late night out in order to explore the night life; but make sure you get early in the morning so as not to miss the morning hustle and bustle.
- Use public transportations, make at least one longer journey along one city bus/tram line.
- Seek to understand how the city changed in the last 15 years. Ask your interlocutors to explain, illustrate, show, point out and take you to some specific spots.
- Make an effort to grasp the deep history of the place (100-200 years ago and further back) in whatever material traces or museum displays.
- Make sure there is enough time left for you and the your travel partners to have a final evaluation discussion.
- Make sure you work out how you will communicate and share ideas in the next few weeks.
After the date
- Write notes, make a blog, look at your notes and documents, keep yourself mentally IN the pace for a while. Make additional book/internet research if necessary. Check the accuracy with your partner and host.
- Stay in touch with your date partners, discuss experiences, keep each other involved with the place.
- Allow incubation, give time to this specific experience to connect with your interests and obsessions.
- Feel free to share preliminary, half baked ideas with your partners.
- Respond to the ideas of your partners in positive and engaging way, even if being critical.
- Start thinking and discussing how you will jointly present your visit and the ideas it helped generate to the Black Seas meeting in Odessa in March 07.
- If you don’t like your partner and/or host, get bored or irritated by them?
- If the place resists your exploration, makes you indifferent or bored?
- If the place drives you crazy, makes you nervous or anxious?
- If the schedule made for the visit falls apart?
- What else can go wrong and how to set it right?
- Be prepared for any of those and other difficult to predict setbacks and challenges. But do not get too upset. Threat complications and upheavals as part of creation. And communicate them.
Read more about:
- Eugenio Barba & Julia Varley, actors/directors Odin Theatre (Denmark)
- Karena Johnson, theatre director (UK) & Melih Gorgun, visual artist (Turkey)
- Theatre du Centaure, theatre company (France) & Mahir Gunsiray & Claude Leon, Tiyatro Oyunevi (Turkey)
- Karmella Tsepkolenko, composer (Ukraine), Kirsten Dehlholm, theatre director & Ralf Richardt Stroebech, architect, theatre director (Denmark)
- Lotte van den Berg, theatre director (Netherlands) and Nedyalko Delchev, theatre director and author (Bulgaria)
- Dmytro Bogomazov, theatre director (Ukraine) & Siri Hermansen, visual artist (Norway)
- Javor Gardev, theatre director (Bulgaria) & Peter Johansson & Barbro Westling (Sweden)
- Lola Lafon, musician, singer and novelist (France) and Signa Sørensen & Arthur Köstler, SIGNA, theatre company (Denmark)
- Dritero Kasapi, theatre director, (Sweden) & Venelin Shurelov, visual artist (Bulgaria)
- Cosmin Manolescu, choreographer (Romania) & Anne-Lise Stenseth, visual artist (Norway)
- Metro-Boulot-Dodo, theatre company (UK) and Wunderbaum, theatre company (Netherlands)