UK - Cittaslow’s Success in the City
Cittaslow International Director, Pier Giorgio Oliveti, flew in from Italy to introduce an evening that boasted an interesting mix of short-film, presentations, award-winning poetry and sumptuous food from across the UK.
Talks were given by all five member towns with each providing a wealth of information to illustrate Cittaslow's wide-reaching goals and practical applications in UK towns.
Presentations included Mold's energy reduction schemes that are encouraging measurable behaviour changes in local residents regarding their energy usage, a short film about the fascinating endeavours of the residents of the Norfolk market town of Diss, along with news about Berwick-upon-Tweed's latest venture to join European Walled Towns.
Food was provided courtesy of a number of producers local to Cittaslow towns such as award-winning sausage rolls from the Big Skies Food Co and exceptional cheeses from Mrs Temple's Cheeses, both from Norfolk; there was also a stunning selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic fruit wines from Cairn O'Morn as well as Perthshire's oat cakes, chocolates from Wicked and beautiful Dunkeld Smoked Salmon – all Perthshire producers.
One of the highlights of the evening was the presentation of the Graeme Kidd memorial award, created to honour the man instrumental in bringing Cittaslow to the UK, and in memory of his major contribution to the Cittaslow movement.
All three entries, from Diss, Berwick-upon-Tweed and Aylsham, highlighted exceptional projects that included gems such as Berwick in Bloom and Take Pride in Diss initiatives. In the end, however, it was decided that Aylsham's entries for both their Food Festival and Heritage Centre best encapsulated Cittaslow's holistic approach to a town with projects that encourage community cohesion, create awareness of traditional foodstuffs, promote family life and healthy living as well as promoting the conservation of historic areas and a wide cross-section of social events.
Newcastle University's Dr Helen Jarvis also introduced Tess Holland, the successful PhD applicant who has now started Cittaslow's groundbreaking research collaboration with the university through the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC).
An imaginative flare was added to the night by Susan Richardson and Emily Hinshelwood whose beautifully crafted poetry provided a creative perspective on the art of being part of the Slow movement and engaging with local people and place.
All who attended agreed that the event was a huge success and were delighted to share in Cittaslow's celebrations of past successes and future plans.