Citadel Miollis

Client SPL Ametarra
Place Ajaccio, France
Date Since 2020

Manifesto is working with Ametarra on the artistic and cultural activation to mark the reopening of Citadel Miollis in Ajaccio, as it is transformed.

Acquired by the City of Ajaccio in 2019, Citadel Miollis was first built in 1492; today, the site is the focus of an ambitious and unprecedented project to develop, showcase and open up a new neighborhood in the heart of the city center.

It is both an archaeological site that tells its own story and a playground for artists, shopkeepers, local residents, tourists and students. This plays a key role in shaping and guiding the project to transform this site, which is currently under consideration.

The City of Ajaccio and Ametarra are working with Manifesto to develop, implement and coordinate an active approach to open the site to the public as it is transformed.

The activation program includes artistic, cultural and heritage programming (events, residencies, exhibitions, visits, mediation workshops, student projects, etc.) and the development of various activities and services in this new neighborhood (an open-air café, artisans’ workshops and shops, creative spaces, public spaces and more).

Open to the public since June 5, 2021, the citadel already provides a new space within the city and tells its own story through a wide range of accounts and artistic perspectives.

The project’s headquarters

La Maison de la Citadelle, the project’s headquarters, welcomes and guides visitors, providing them with information about the site’s history, the development project and the cultural programming for the site’s activation. It is also the starting point for guided tours and events organized by Ametarra, the City of Ajaccio and their partners.

A Mediterranean-inspired temporary layout

Based in Nantes, the GRU collective designed and produced the site’s temporary layout (signage, seating, counter of the open-air café and so on), which is inspired by the Mediterranean and features recycled materials.

A residence for composing electronic music

A call for a residency program was launched with the aim of creating an electronic anthem that will become the citadel’s audio identity. Arnaud Castelli was chosen for the 2022 residency.

An open-air café for all, serving Corsican products

From June 30 to October 2022, A GHINGHETTA VOSTRA will be open every day from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; once a week, it will hold a themed evening event until 10 p.m.

Workshops and shops

Four Corsican craftsmen and women are setting up workshops in one of the citadel’s buildings and have also opened shops that are open to the general public.

An annual photography residency

Every year, Ametarra and Manifesto ask a photographer to explore a key theme of this redevelopment project by means of a residency, followed by an exhibition on site. In 2021, the photographer Céline Clanet was chosen for the residency to capture the citadel’s final moments before its reopening. Fannie Escoulen, an independent curator, worked with this artist throughout her time at the citadel. Together, they created La Richesse Nue, an in-situ installation of images taken during the residency.

In 2022, the photographer Marion Gambin was chosen for the second residency, focused on the site’s reappropriation by local residents. She took portraits of the residents of Ajaccio; these photos make up the exhibition I Abitanti, developed with the curator Madeleine Filippi.

The Prise d’Assaut (Taken By Storm) creative residency

How to recount and represent the people of Ajaccio’s “recapture” of their citadel? As the winner of the call for creative proposals, launched by Ametarra and Manifesto, the Parenthèse collective came to work in the citadel and the city of Ajaccio throughout the summer of 2021 to create an in-situ and participatory work of art, on the theme that gives the residency its name. Developed during the creative residency, the installation is a monumental staircase that encourages visitors to enjoy extraordinary views beyond the citadel’s ramparts. The art historian and curator Fabien Danesi oversaw the collective’s project during the three-month residency.

L’Agave Parabolique (Parabolic Agave), a sculpture by Baptiste César

Following a call for proposals for a residency, launched by the City of Ajaccio on the theme of “Connecting minds, building the future”, the artist Baptiste César created a sculpture using reclaimed materials from the citadel. Installed on the Saint Jacques bastion, the artwork can be seen from outside the citadel and is a call to all Ajaccio’s residents to explore this heritage site for themselves.

Other initiatives and programs have been organized in and around the citadel since the summer of 2021, including an exhibition of immersive works, workshops with Marseille’s School of Architecture, workshops for children, guided tours organized by the Tourism Office and an amateur photography competition. The aim is to build on this program each year to involve the project’s other stakeholders and partners.

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