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ICR Romanian Cultural Institute London

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About us

Photos by Sheila Burnett, Calin Piescu, Magda Stroe
This is a hybrid text - corporate & personal - from Gabriela Massaci, the Institute's Founding Director, who believes in light-touch bureaucracy and the powerful energies of creative people who make things happen. So,...
Institutul Cultural Roman (ICR - the Romanian Cultural Institute) is Romania's official organisation which promotes Romanian culture and civilisation worldwide. Its Patron is the President of Romania and its Chairman is H.-R. Patapievici. ICR is a non-profit, non-political organisation, open to engage in any form of collaboration and partnership project-work: from government agencies to NGOs and individual artists or cultural promoters.  

... official is a suspect word at times... It can smack of bureaucracy and the beaten-track. We allow it, but plan to challenge it every step of the way by going for the natural, free-thinking ways of working together in the green, possibly flowery, cultural field. I've given myself 2 years to see if it can be done.

The Institute is essentially the Romanian equivalent of the British Council or L'Institut Francais for instance, only much younger! Having been set up in 2003, following the restructure of Romanian Cultural Foundation, the Institute has since opened 15 centres worldwide.
In London, ICR has effectively started to work in July 2006, first with bricks & mortar, renovating part of the building, in order to set-up an office in its prestigious venue at 1 Belgrave Square.
A video diary tells the story of our early days. The 6-people team is now working to develop cultural programmes and partnerships, meant to stimulate dialogue with and direct experience of Romanian cultural diversity through its theatre and film... music... visual arts exhibitions … literature … ethnographic heritage or urban culture.
... what a long journey ahead in terms of this building! It has an unexploited sunken garden and a vast, old basement kitchen, which can become a great café, serving fresh Romanian organic food & drink … it has a sophisticated banquet-hall, which could do with a face-lift... it has a quirky-view roof-top, which could become a cultural-lab for artists... watch this space & give us time :)

We are happy that we started 'our creative mission' in the glowing days of Romania's certainty of joining the EU in January 2007. Our task is not easy though. The current public perception of Romania in the UK is stronger in the negative stereotype of orphaned-children, stray dogs and too-eager migrants, less in its arts & heritage highlights - from Brancusi to Bucovina's painted monasteries or award-winning film-making for instance.

We all miss out because Romania's powerful and diverse culture is less known - by virtue of some kind of bizarre & uninspired lack of communication. And our mission at the Institute is to help change that. We know that Romania is culturally-exuberant and inspirational, it can disturb and exhilarate - and ultimately it can enrich both somebody's personal life experience and a whole continent's cultural map.
We invite you to be curious: look closer @ culture!

1 Belgrave Square, London, SW1X8PH
T: 0207 752 0134, F: 0207 235 0383, M: 07919 022 796, E: office@icr-london.co.uk