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The City Speaks


Cities have brought together some of the world’s greatest thinkers and provided fertile ground for progressive thought, becoming the stage for some of the world’s biggest political, economic and social events. The city is also a place of conflict and challenge, where differences become stark in their proximity.


Yet these diverse influences have also resulted in the sharing of knowledge, the exploration of new ideas, and brilliant innovation and creativity. The imprints of such inspiration – captured through art and creative expression in many forms including architecture, film, music, literature, and theatre – are left by a variety of times, cultures, geographical areas, and faiths.


This exhibition - a partnership between Maslaha and the British Council - explores how individuals and communities have been inspired by cities and how they, in turn, changed the spaces in which they have lived through different forms of creative expression.

The Need 

An estimated 75% of the world will be living in cities by 2050 and some of the greatest challenges we face are lived out in city streets. How can we learn to live together and to live with diversity? How can we address inequality? And how can we ensure that all communities can be productive and open to opportunity whenever it presents itself?

What We Did 

The soul of the city is nurtured by the stories and ideas of all those who have stayed and passed through. The city gives life to new conversations and new ways of looking at the world. Sometimes buildings are not strong enough to contain these ideas and words and they spill out onto the streets, cling to the air and to your skin and clothes – and there is no way of shaking them off. 


There have always been movements of people who reclaim the city through the language of creative expression. This exhibition tells their stories.

So far The City Speaks has visited:

  • SLOVENIA: Maribor and Ljubljana

  • COPENHAGEN: Denmark


  • GREECE: Athens and Thessaloniki

  • SWEDEN: Gothenberg

  • MALTA: Valletta

  • GERMANY: Leipzig and Berlin

The exhibition has been featured at numerous major events, including two European Capital of Culture celebrations, the Slovenian Biennale of Design, the Heinrich Böll Foundation 2012 Migration and Cities seminar, social entrepreneurship and innovation conferences, an Eid festival, and TEDxBerlin City 2.0. 


It has been displayed at the UN Palais des Nations, city streets and squares, the Museum of Copenhagen, Gothenberg’s Museum of World Culture, the Spyromilious Arcade in Athens, Malta’s St. James Cavalier Centre for Creativity, and numerous universities.


It has been brought to life by fascinating accompanying events, including skateboarding competitions, graffiti demonstrations, musical performances, academic discussions, art installations, and much more.


And it has been visited by thousands of visitors from all walks of life across Europe who have shared their thoughts and ideas.


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