Selçuklu heals with culture
1. Selçuklu and culture
Selçuklu, the district with the highest population in Konya with 682 514 inhabitants, is the first in the socio-economic development ranking and the center of attraction of the city.
In order to meet the social and cultural needs of individuals and ensure cultural harmony, Selçuklu Municipality carries out many initiatives that increase strong solidarity in the field of education and culture. Through these activities, Selçuklu aims to become a sustainable cultural center and provide the highest level of benefit to all its citizens. Also, Selçuklu Municipality attaches importance to urban culture and determines its policies in accordance with its potential to change urban culture.
Selçuklu aims to take concrete actions to become a sustainable cultural center and ensure that all citizens gain the highest level of socio cultural benefit.
2. Project goals and implementation
2.1. Main goal and specific objectives
Selçuklu aims to take concrete actions to become a sustainable cultural center and ensure that all citizens gain the highest level of socio-cultural benefit. Through the activities carried out, culture has been used as a tool to eliminate the negative effects of the pandemic and ensure recovery.
The specific objectives are:
- Providing support to cultural communities, sectors, actors and intermediaries adversely affected by the pandemic.
- Creating sustainable digital environments that benefit all citizens.
- Using culture to eliminate the effects of the pandemic for all citizens.
- Promoting a stronger social structure by encouraging cooperation between public-university-cultural societies in the creation of cultural programs and projects.
- Creating cultural programs with the participation of all citizens, without discrimination.
2.2. Project development
Selçuklu Municipality seeks for the participation of all citizens in the activities carried out during the pandemic, having the entire population as beneficiary. Some of these initiatives are:
- Car Cinema Event.
- Şivlilik Event (the tradition of children going from door to door collecting candy and chocolate. Şivlilik packages were distributed to children during the pandemic).
- Blue Bird Theatre Show (for Healthcare Professionals).
- “I Love My School, I Keep My Distance” Welcome to school package.
- Book reading, letter writing and drawing contests.
- Selçuklu Social Screen Event (A series of programs for citizens during lockdown with expert academics, health professionals and concert events).
- Moliere’s famous play L’ Avare (The Misser).
- Book reading competition “Konya is Reading” organized online on the occasion of the 56th National Library Week.
- Competition a “Letter to My Father” to improve communication within the family, to establish peace and to keep the letter writing culture alive.
- The painting competition for children “Life Fits in the Picture Book”.
- The event “We Have Loyalty in Our Blood”, which included blood donations and a photography exhibition.
- On March 8, International Women’s Day, women living in Selçuklu district were given flower seeds, pots and soil gifts.
- On Mother’s Day, and during the curfew, flowers were distributed to 1100 mothers who worked at the hospital.
- The event “My Father Is A Hero Memoir Writing Event” aimed at refreshing the memories between children and fathers and strengthen family ties.
- Towards the end of 2021, as the pandemic started to lose its effect, various sports, cultural and artistic activities were organized.
- In Sille Nature School, one of the out-of-school learning environments of Selçuklu Municipality, a year-end event was organized.
The cooperation, full coordination and harmonious work of public institutions in the city was key in succeeding in the adaptation of the activities carried out by the Selçuklu Municipality to the pandemic conditions. Also, the Vefa Social Support Groups were established under the coordination of institutions for citizens that needed help during the curfews. A strong structure was formed with the public-university-industry collaborations in the city through the activities held in “Selçuklu Heals with Culture”, in addition to the help for other needs. Due to a strong collaborative structure, the difficulties encountered were overcome.
Selçuklu municipality seeks for the participation of all citizens in the activities carried out during the pandemic, having the entire population as beneficiary.
3.1. Direct impacts
This initiative promoted the protection and transfer of culture, as well as the use of culture as a tool for the recovery, which was also prioritized by local governments. In “Selçuklu Heals with Culture”, culture is included in all planning processes and the quality of life of the citizens is increased, while protecting the values that come from the past and the present.
Also, citizens have taken a step towards internationalization by expanding their visions through both cultural and educational activities that enable the “teaching of culture”. Citizens contribute not only to themselves, but also to the society in which they live with the outputs they obtained from the activities they participated in, thus making social progress.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, citizen participation has been at a high level, thanks to the openness of social and cultural activities through online platforms. With the “Selçuklu Social Screen” project, 16 different programs were carried out for citizens to spend quality time at home during the pandemic and to reduce the negative social effects of isolation, with nationwide participation.
A survey that covers citizen participation in the activities under the pandemic is being prepared, where culture is used as a tool and which covers all citizens. The survey will measure the satisfaction levels of citizens, how much they were affected by the pandemic, and how much they eliminated these effects thanks to their participation in activities of the municipality.
3.3. Key factors
An important factor for the success on the fight against the pandemic is the strong coordination between the central government, local governments and non-governmental organizations. In this context, despite the limited time, Selçuklu Municipality took action quickly and established a strong partnership system with other public institutions, non governmental organizations, universities and various stakeholders in the city. Thus, during the pandemic period, various educational activities, cultural programs and cultural competitions that promote culture were carried out online, having successful applications.
Despite the negative effects of the pandemic, this has led to the acquisition of different skills, such as time-efficiency, and participation in activities regardless of location thanks to remote access applications. In this direction, it is foreseen that various applications such as the distance education center and social screen, which are included in the program, will be developed and continued. Continuing these activities in cooperation with the stakeholders in the city, as it was done during the pandemic period, is very important in terms of having a strong infrastructure in the implementation of these initiatives.
An important factor for the success on the fight against the pandemic is the strong coordination between the central government, local governments and non governmental organizations.
4. Further information
Selçuklu (Konya) was a candidate for the fifth “UCLG – Mexico City – Culture 21” International Award (February – June 2022). The jury for the award drew up its final report in September 2022, and requested that the Committee on Culture promote this project as one of the good practices to be implemented through Agenda 21 for culture.
This article was written by Muhammed Said Yoğurt, Director of Foreign Relations, Selçuklu, Konya, Turkey.
Contact: said.yogurt (at) selcuklu.bel.tr