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November 25, 2022

Austrian Culture Days in Sibiu @home in Central Eastern Europe. Home to great daughters /Heimat bist du grosser Töchter

They are famous or unknown. Women of yesterday, and especially of today, those who make our region, Europe and the whole world move, are the central figures of the Austrian Culture Days in Sibiu, which will take place from October 25 to 29, 2019, at the initiative of the Austrian Embassy in Bucharest and the Austrian Cultural Forum, who are also the organizers of the event.

Occasioned by the celebration of the Austrian National Day, on October 26, the event is held in partnership with the Sibiu Municipality, the “Radu Stanca” National Theater – the German Department, the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences of the Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu, the “Samuel von Brukenthal” National College, the “Andrei Saguna” National Pedagogical College, the Honorary Consulate of Austria in Sibiu, the Honorary Consulate of Luxembourg in Sibiu, and the Romanian – Austrian Company AUSTROM.

Inspired by a verse from the Austrian anthem, the theme of the Austrian Culture Days is at the forefront of today’s Europe. The issue of the rights and role of women in society will be debated through shows, discussion forums, workshops and an exhibition. The Bucharest Austrian Cultural Forum entrusted the artistic direction of this event to Teresa Leonhard, who is an Austrian artist, teacher and researcher established in Sibiu.

“In 1761, a band of traveling artists from Vienna set up their tents in Sibiu. For five years, the ensemble performs in the building that is called today Casa Artelor (e.n. – House of Arts), in Piata Mica (e.n. – the Small Square). What was unusual in that period was that the company was led by a woman. Almost 250 years later, Gertrut (Gertrud) Bodenburger, the one to whom Central and Eastern Europe was the real home, is the exemplary figure illustrating the theme of the Austrian Culture Days in Sibiu 2019. Women’s achievements must be presented not only in anthem verses – our event aims at making the voice of these “great daughters”, who were often marginalized, be heard and bring back to light forgotten or ignored information and knowledge. What are the challenges for the gender equality of today, and what is the extent to which women actually influence the social processes at political level, eighty years (in Romania) or one hundred years (in Austria) since their right to vote was introduced? What are the conditions in which they work and what are the opportunities available to women in the Central and Eastern Europe? How gender studies can highlight social hierarchies? These questions are addressed, in various forms, to the audience – women and men, youngsters and adults, Austrians and Romanians. “Looking for Gertrud” – the title of a workshop about that exemplary female figure of the 18th century mentioned above – is, in this regard, an invitation to reflection and to the courageous and creative identification of the “great daughters” of the Central and Eastern Europe, personalities who are meant to become models for the present and the future”, stated the Artistic Manager of the Austrian Culture Days in Sibiu 2019, Teresa Leonhard.

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