Culture for the EU and the EU for Culture
The economic value of culture is not to be denied, but often it’s not sustainable for cities (Barcelona or Venice) or Creators themselves.
EU funded projects have strong impact and EU added values. Examples are EU projects that have lead socio-cultural inclusion, more environmental awareness, and brought communities together through a participatory approach.
The Creative Europe programme has been, and still is, key to the development of the European cultural sector. Yet, the current Commission s priorities are forcing the programme to evolve towards a creative industries approach, increasingly diverging resources towards the for profit end of the CCS spectrum. This is problematic and old fashioned, among other things because it builds solely on the economic dimension increasingly relegating the social and cultural dimension of EU action.
One of the main domains of EU action in the cultural field should be to put the instruments in place to allow cultural practitioners and citizens to join together in partnership with organisations from across Europe, bringing cultures together, learn from each other, form bonds through shared values and projects, and broaden our horizons. Art and culture also allow a different sort of conversation to take place - opening up new ways of communication and understanding.
Access to cultural resources and freedom of practice and creation should be seen as basic citizenship rights.
Participation in the arts is low, hence why do we claim to have a societal impact? But we know from those engaged in the arts that we do. So how do we bridge the gap, policy wise? One proposal is to increasingly blur the line between audiences and cultural practitioners, others?
Arts and creative education needs to be strengthened in all member states. Education (including arts, humanities, …) is needed, amongst others, to counter and detect fake-news and develop critical thinking.
Equality in education systems needs to be ensured (private and public school systems, language learning).
The EU should be taught within the curriculum. Children and youth should learn to speak and express themselves, respect diversity, gender, age, beliefs. Unity in diversity is the core message. An understanding and knowledge should be taught and curiosity kindled in European and international cultures to develop a sense of unity and understanding. Courses in General Culture & Civil Rights and Obligations as well as Social Welfare and Social Cohesion are proposed... ‘so kids don't believe in everything just because they saw it on Facebook and if someone talks about Marshall Plan, they don't imagine it is a marshmallow parade’.
We should be careful in using culture as the only tool and mechanism to solve deeper social issues and structural inequalities. Culture certainly shouldn't be the "tool" but the "means". "Citizens" should be "creators" and vice-versa.
When speaking about Culture in Europe, we must take care to avoid populist buy-in to cultural discourse. However, we should not avoid this debate, but rather shape discourse on ‘culture’ and ‘identity’ in a positive, constructive and reflected manner.
Practice inclusion through and in arts.
Culture can have a massive impact, but this is not recognised by decision-makers
A discussion on the place of languages, particularly English post-Brexit, was inconclusive.
A heated debate on the cultural elements the is the EU founded on resulted in the recognition of the importance of diversity.
Questions on (dis)trust and the role of culture remain open: In a time in which trust in political systems, media and NGOs is decreasing, how can we develop trust with culture? And nourish ‘healthy’ distrust? Culture should not be used to ‘pacify’ in times of unease.