Its mission was to illustrate creative ideas for transforming popular urban spaces for the youth of the city
With many fresh ideas for the transformation of public spaces, and after getting dozens of young people interested in intellectual games, the project “Hybrid Festival of Mind Games: Rethinking Cultural Spaces” has concluded in Sofia (Bulgaria).
The project was implemented by Euro Advance Association, in partnership with Art Sport Talent Foundation, First English Language High School, District of Lozenets, and with the financial support of Sofia Municipality, through its Europe 2022 Program. The aim was to introduce and promote an innovative European practice that promotes a healthy lifestyle, by overcoming the negative consequences on society of the Covid-19 pandemic. It was also a way of celebrating the European Year of Youth.
First of its kind in Bulgaria
The basis of the initiative was the one-day event – a festival of mind games, which transformed the Literary Club “Peroto” (at the National Palace of Culture) into a place for sports and intellectual performance. On 15 October, the cultural space brought together different experts for a discussion on the benefits of these types of games for education, upbringing and socialization, as well as on the relationship between chess, culture and art.
Dozens of youngsters played a chess match against a grandmaster both in-person and online. The children were introduced to other types of board and electronic games that develop cognitive skills.
In addition to the increased interest in visiting cultural spaces, the project outlined a number of opportunities to transform public spaces into places of intellectual expression and socialization, in the context of pandemics, social distance, and digitalization. It presented dozens of examples of how transformation is already happening successfully and sustainably in Europe.
These models were illustrated in a free e-book with good practices in the field of mind games and the rethinking of cultural spaces, called “Chess, Learning and Public Environment”, and 150 physical copies of it were distributed to interested parties from the educational, sports, and administrative sectors. The project ended with the publication of an edited video from the event.
The Hybrid Festival of Mind Games was inspired and conceived as a response to the needs that arose during the Covid pandemic when urban spaces became deserted and were unused for their prescribed functions. Euro Advance Association proposed a solution, which stimulates the social skills and critical thinking in young people through mind games. Its benefit is two-fold because it also brings the children closer to cultural spaces – the type that often remains outside the sphere of their interests.
Inspired by the Global Chess Festival in the Hungarian capital Budapest, the Sofia initiative showed its own signature, adapted to the local context. Given the high public interest, the organizers are planning a second edition of the festival in another urban space. Where it will be and what the new goals and surprises will be, remains to be seen.
The project “Hybrid Festival of Mind Games: Rethinking Cultural Spaces” is implemented with the financial support of Sofia Municipality’s Program “Europe” 2022 by Euro Advance Association (beneficiary), in partnership with Art Sport Talent Foundation, First English Language School and Lozenets District.