Feel the City, Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Association for Culture, Ethnology and Anthropology “Mediator” (ACEA “Mediator”) is a non-profit organisation situated in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. It is the only one in the country run by PhDs in social anthropology.

Founded firstly as a college initiative, the NGO build its work in the field of youth projects, culture and heritage, and scientific projects. The team creates bridges between theory and practice, knowledge and action through anthropology, provoking the senses, making the city accessible to more people, show new vision to the cultural heritage and challenging the participation and creativity of young people.

Their vision is to make the world more accessible and understandable for the human differences by connecting people with and through understanding.

“We believe that sharing is important, and we are therefore striving to build a network of co-workers.”

ACEA “Mediator” do:

  • Storytelling of memories, researches, history facts, personal and communal stories intertwining senses and sensory perception.
  • Projects in the field of youth, culture and heritage, urban landscape and spaces, scientific empirical researches and applied projects.
  • Training and workshops that improve skillset for work in the field of culture and cultural heritage, different communities and teamwork.
  • Lectures and seminars on topics related to cultural and social anthropology and cultural studies.

 “Feel the city” initiative

Started as a student project, “Feel the city” widen as a storytelling initiative connected to a sensory methodology that draws attention to different interpretations of the cultural and historic heritage in the urban space and landscape. It was developed in a period of a long anthropological and ethnological study and merge science and practice.

There is implementation in different forms like Interactive urban tours (1, 2); Training for guides in the tours; Youth workshops for cultural heritage and sensory exhibitions (1, 2); Sensory laboratories (4) All the initiatives are adapted to visually impaired persons.

Feel the City Tour 2

It was developed in “Sensory (re)presentation of urban cultural heritage” project in 2018 were part of Plovdiv urban tangible and intangible cultural heritage were studied and presented through sensory ethnography.

An urban interactive tour “Feel the City” 2 was created after anthropological field research. It unravels part of Plovdiv (as well as national and European) cultural heritage through storytelling and sensory tasks with blindfolded eyes via touch, hearing, and smell. The perimeter is from the Tsar Simeon’s garden to “Stefan Stambolov” square in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. It is a tour with a trained guide who interprets cultural heritage through Storytelling.

How they choose the stories?

  • Stories are linked to historic facts, events, and persons due to local, national, European, and global contexts.
  • Stories linked to intangible urban cultural heritage.
  • Stories linked to tangible urban cultural heritage.
  • Stories with strong sensory memories or stories with potential for strong sensory perception.
  • Empirical and archive research on uses and life of the stories.
  • They choose less known stories about places and people from or related to Plovdiv.
  • Stories behind a tangible cultural heritage like monuments, buildings, public institutions, stories about people with input and contribution to Plovdiv life.

ACEA “Mediator” searches for new forms and possibilities for their methodology to be applied, more than the now presented. They focus on digital stories and experiences.

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