Your massive response over the past few days means a lot to us, the team behind the arts centre. We’re genuinely moved by the reactions we’ve had. They give us a lot to work with, for which we thank you. Your messages help us to reflect on what we want to say. One thing is clear: the name of the iconic monument must remain De Vooruit.
Because De Vooruit belongs to everyone. We, the arts centre, are both users and managers of this fantastic place. And we want to excuse ourselves for our error of judgement. No one is allowed to mess with this name, not even us. We understand that as well as anyone. That being said, the arts centre housed within De Vooruit will still need a new name.
The argument why we as an arts centre want a name change remains valid: it is unworkable for us to bear the same name as a political party. The arts centre will therefore carry on under a new name in the location of De Vooruit. But you will still be attending concerts, shows and parties at De Vooruit.
We’re pleased to have offered you some diversion in these monotonous corona times, even if it was in the form of a sort of dodgy soap opera. We’d much rather it were in the form of awesome concerts and theatre productions. Now, after all the half-truths and countless opinions that have appeared in the press, it’s time to lay the full truth on the table.
Shortly before the summer of 2020, the arts centre received the announcement that the socialist party would be changing its name to Vooruit. Needless to say, our initial reaction was: we can’t just let this happen. But after a number of intense discussions with the party, it became clear that they would not go back on their plans.
That left us with only one possible decision: to change our name. As an arts centre we want to remain independent of party politics. It’s simply not an option to have two different organisations profiling themselves with the same name in public debates. How would you know which was the one being discussed? And for the sake of clarity: no one forced us, the arts centre, to change our name. That was our decision, an act of resistance.
At the same time, we demanded a contribution be made to the rebranding costs, which we feel is only fair. To have to pay for it using cultural subsidies or our own revenues would certainly leave a bad taste in the mouth.
Pallas and Volxus
So, yes, there will be a new name for the arts centre, but not for the place, the building. We will patiently pursue this project and take all the time we need to do so. We will take your suggestions and proposals to heart. For us, participation is not ‘window dressing’ here, it’s central to how we will proceed.
Around 2,500 people shared their ideas via the website meerdaneennaam.be. Dozens of people from our internal team and our external network picked up from there, with brainstorm sessions, workshops and discussions. Corona and the confidentiality surrounding the possible new names may have made this project less visible. Then 18,000 (!) of you voted for one of the two remaining names. In the end, many people felt that neither of the proposed names – Pallas, with two thirds of the vote, and Volxus with one third – properly represented the rich legacy of our arts centre. Among other reasons, it was felt that they referred too much to the building. So it’s back to the drawing board on that.
One last thing. The past days have been remarkably heavy for everyone working day and night for the arts centre and De Vooruit. We are delighted that we can finally focus again on what really matters: putting together an awesome artistic programme, running a fantastic Café, showing off this monument in all its glory and organising unforgettable parties. And there’s light at the end of the tunnel. On the 8th of May – fingers crossed – the terraces are allowed to open again, including ours. So see you on the Terras. At De Vooruit.
Let’s drink a pint together to wash all this down. Or whatever you fancy, of course. We’re not forcing anything.
The team of the (for the time being) Voo?uit arts centre