The third artistic residency of the LOST HERITAGE & MUSIC project took place in Dimitrovgrad (Bulgaria) on 24-26 August 2023.

The residency kicked off with an informal meeting of the participants at which they had the opportunity to discuss issues of mutual interest connected with the project and the following activities during the residency. 

The programme of the first day of the residency was focused on a “heritage walk” to dissonant and lost cultural heritage sites, providing participants with a deeper understanding of the local culture and its musical traditions. The participants visited the History Museum of Dimitrovgrad where they could feel the atmosphere of the place and learned about the unique history of the only fully built socialist city in Bulgaria with the voluntary work of thousands of volunteers (brigadiers), who arrived to realise a dream – the construction of an entire city. The heritage walk continued with visits to the City Centre, the Penyo Penev House Museum, the completely renovated and reconstructed building of the Municipal Theatre, which is one the few Municipal theatres in Bulgaria, the Penyo Penev and Vaptsarov parks. The program of the first day ended with a remarkable meeting of the participants with citizens, some of whom took part in the construction of the city and are the living history of the place. During the meeting, held in the former “Headquarters of Brigadiers”, the guests heard memories of the history of the city and its construction, immersed themselves in the atmosphere of this dissonant past. 

One of the main objectives of the LOST HERITAGE & MUSIC project is to increase the audience for classical music by making it more accessible, relevant, and engaging to people of all backgrounds and ages. On the second day, a workshop was held at which the guest musicians and composers met citizens and youngsters and both provided their contribution in interpreting lost and dissonant musical and cultural heritage elements, presented and discussed new reading keys to convert that dissonant past into new meanings. Musicians of the Dimitrovgrad Brass Band presented musical pieces typical for the period in question with a stress on the messages conveyed – compositions connected to specific places and times. 

As a fitting end to the event, attendees had the option to attend the opening of an exhibition in one of the galleries of the city and the Open Air Piano Bar – part of the opening activities on the occasion of the 76th Anniversary of Dimitrovgrad. 

The residency in Dimitrovgrad focused on visits to dissonant and lost cultural heritage sites, including meetings between inhabitants and artists. The non-formal learning experiences with citizens were particularly impactful, as they allowed the artists to engage with the local community and create compositions that conveyed the citizens’ messages, particularly their feelings towards their places linked to a difficult past.