This year marks the 50th anniversary of May ‘68 and its movements of contestation. The society we know today is a result of these events. What are the achievements and failures of this pivotal period? But most importantly, what forms does contestation take today? How is it experienced by the younger generations? Our age is marked by a return to extremism, withdrawal and simplistic divisions, as well as by major global ambitions. It seems to be a good time to question contestation through culture.

This is what we are proposing with the 2018, Year of the Contestation programme. I wanted to bring all the cultural institutions in the City of Brussels together for the first time around a shared project and create a theme for a year of culture. Every venue was invited to take a cultural approach to this theme and all the institutes and the Culture Service took up the challenge. External operators found the project attractive and wanted to join in. They have all created dozens of activities throughout the year based on this common theme and they can all be found in this brochure. This programme is also available on the website www.contestation2018.brussels.be, where it will be updated and supplemented. All these events will bear a logo comprising three symbols of May ‘68: a cobblestone, a pamphlet and a raised fist.

Like the municipal cultural policy, this programme is multi-disciplinary, accessible, open and focused on creation. I am convinced that culture builds bridges where others divide and encourages reflection and openness where others offer only sectarianism and withdrawal. These days, it is more important than ever for all of us to be able to push open the doors to culture. 2018, Year of the Contestation and its activities will provide a wealth of opportunities to do so.

I would like to thank all the partners for their enthusiasm and congratulate them on their creativity and audacity. Come and join us! We are all waiting for you.

Alderwoman of Cultural Affairs of the City of Brussels