Here comes fresh first hand news for you to contemplate before your summer break. You will see that the Platform for Intercultural Europe carries out detective work to identify what policies for interculturality are made by the European Union. We then exert our influence in these specialist fields. Often we sift through a lot of sand for very small nuggets of gold. Why can’t we achieve intercultural Europe faster with more passionate support? Are we perhaps not offering an attractive enough ‘narrative’?

The lack of a ‘compelling narrative about Europe’ which would provide new meaning, motivation and trust is on many minds. Europe as a way out of centuries of armed conflict apparently doesn’t appeal to the emotions of the latest generations. Europe as a way to solve problems which transcend national boundaries – energy, environment, capital flows, migration - can’t shed its technocratic feel. The ‘clash of civilisations’ or ‘multiculturalism’ did not serve as narratives for citizens to assume responsibility and swell with a passion for the common good. And of course a new ideology won’t do as a narrative and neither should we wish for a messianic figure who will endow us with one.

Perhaps a new narrative about (intercultural) Europe is then a matter of designing a supreme communications strategy? The report on the recent 5th European Integration Forum states: “Perceptions (of migration) in the media need to be changed and replaced with new, positive narrative.” Or will the European Cultural Foundation do the trick by collecting “work, insights and debates that arise in our search for new perspectives capable of crossing, and not defining, borders”? See Narratives for Europe.

I suspect that ‘Europe’ will only regain strength as the sum of several overlapping issue-based social movements. As Jürgen Habermas recently wrote: “The self-evident political culture - and how it frames the public debate - cannot change without the tenacious burrowing away of social movements.” When will all those who acknowledge migration as a fact, who are inspired by diversity and see the future in intercultural engagement, qualify as a ‘social movement’? When they become capable of a ‘WUNC display’ – worthiness, unity, numbers and commitments. May the work of the Platform for Intercultural Europe be an ingredient.

Enjoy the read and send your feedback to newsbulletin@intercultural-europe.org

Sabine Frank, Secretary General

Programme Interculture

Platform for Intercultural Europe’s Annual Forum, 24/25th May 2011

The Platform for Intercultural Europe’s third Annual Forum in Brussels featured its Practice Exchanges for Intercultural Capacity-Building, its advocacy work with the recently set up EU Council Expert Group on Accessible Culture and Intercultural Dialogue, and multiple, parallel roundtable presentations of Platform members’ projects on aspects of intercultural education. The Forum also offered discussion with the Platform’s political partners in Commission Directorates-General for Education and Culture and for Home Affairs, which affirmed the Platform’s formalised role in these two EU policy domains.
The meeting brought the Platform’s members and wider constituency closer to the activities carried out by its secretariat, and enhanced the Platform’s network and community function. It generated interest in the setting up of memberships sub-groups: an advisory group on the OMC process and an exchange group on intercultural education. The Platform was credited for “getting people out of their silos”, e.g. allowing people from youth organisations to test their ideas with people from cultural organisations or get the latter into touch with Roma organisations.
Forum participants exhibited their patience with the micro advances in specialist EU policy niches such as the Open Method of Coordination (OMC), but also their expectation of courageous and progressive policy-making on matters of inclusion and interculturality - in line with their belief in European integration, which the current economic and political crisis of the European project only makes more vehement.

Read the Forum report.

Intercultural Dialogue in the cogs of EU culture policy…

… in the EU Council …

The Platform for Intercultural Europe presented its work in the EU Council’s Cultural Affairs Committee (CAC) on 13/14th April 2011. Intercultural Dialogue does not appear on the agenda of this committee these days, but the Platform’s presentation generated the question whether CAC members can participate in Platform events. Moreover, our interest in seeing the 2008 Council Conclusions on Intercultural Competences revived found a positive echo. The Polish EU presidency with its focus on human capital should provide a good occasion.
With reference to the over towering EU 2020 strategy, Platform Secretary General Sabine Frank also put it to the Member State representatives that “Inclusive growth depends on the inclusion of migrants, and the inclusion of migrants also happens via cultural participation. Given that people with a migration background make up 50% or more in many cities, cultural policies suffer a democratic legitimacy deficit as long as they don’t make interculturality the guiding principle of the governance and production of cultural institutions.

The Platform also followed the second meeting of the EU Council’s Expert Group on Accessible Culture and Intercultural Dialogue on 14/15th June. The national experts compared their answers to a survey conducted within the group. This had explored whether or how ‘access’, ‘participation’ and ‘public’ arts and cultural institutions are officially defined in Member States; whether there are declared goals to improve participation and build demand. Further questions were about target groups, the existence of statistics and indicators, and key initiatives. Twelve EU countries had taken part in the survey; eight responses made some reference to cultural policies addressing minorities or immigrants, but only Sweden and Ireland pointed out any national cultural institutions with comprehensive diversity policies. The group will reconvene in November.

… in EU statistics and …

A comprehensive set of cultural statistics is now available from Eurostat. Published this year, they examine cultural participation in one of nine chapters: Data have been collected per Member State, and age, educational attainment and gender have been taken into account as factors in the survey. Education impacts most on cultural participation, especially active participation rather than consumption. The disparity between Member States is greatest with regard to cinema visits. Age, i.e. youth, matters most with regard to live performance attendance. Gender accounts for disparities in reading habits: women read more books, men more newspapers. What disparities might have been uncovered if migration background or belonging to a minority had been taken into account? Might we get proof – as Mark Terekssidis, author of “Interkultur” suspects - that publically funded cultural institutions do not feature much on the cognitive map, which people with a migration background have of their city?

… the European Commission

In order to set the scene for this group’s work in 2012, the Platform has suggested a panel at the forthcoming EU Culture Forum (20/21 Oct.) on the topic of “The intercultural opening of cultural institutions and the integration of people with a migration background in cultural life”. It had been invited by EC DG Education & Culture to provide input, although an agenda to which issues of interculturality are marginal had already been drafted. The EU Culture Forum will assess progress with EU culture policy and inquire into the threats and opportunities, which globalisation, digitisation and economic crisis pose to the cultural sector. It will take place at a time when the EU budget framework will have been decided and when the adoption of the legislative proposal for a new “Creative Europe” will be imminent. The WeAreMore campaign, which the Platform supports, will exert maximum influence on the legislative procedure to ensure that a fair share of the programme is dedicated to not-for profit culture (as opposed to support for the cultural and creative industries). Intercultural Dialogue is likely to disappear as an objective in the new programme.Any references to cultural diversity in the ‘policy fiche’ accompanying the new EU budget proposal is immediately linked to the potential of the cultural and creative industries. People diversity as a result of migration appears to have no relevance.

Integration Through Local Action

European Integration Forum, 23/24th May, and …

The 5th European Integration Forum (EIF) - a gathering of civil society organisation in support of EU integration policy-making - covered the issues of diversity management, political participation, disadvantaged neighbourhoods, and EU support at regional and local levels. Representatives from the different EU institutions presented recent work – for example the Committee of the Regions’ consultation of local integration policies or the European Economic and Social Committee’s hearing on “integrating migrants in regions and cities”.
Workshop discussion led to calls for more local consultative platforms for official representatives and migrants, for a range of measures to promote positive messages about migration, and for principles of good policy design. The resounding conclusion was that integration is not only a ‘two-way’ but a ‘multiple-way’ process in which the quality of our democracies it at stake.
Tarafa Baghajati was an active EIF participant on behalf of the Platform for Intercultural Europe. He pointed out in particular that good integration policy is also a success factor of the EU2020 strategy, and that the challenge is to carry the work in the European Integration Forum to the national level.
The sixth EIF meeting will take place in November with the proposed topic of cooperating with countries of origin in integrating their citizens in the EU.
Read the 5th EIF report.

… forthcoming New Agenda for Integration

It was a disappointment to EIF participants that the EC’s proposal for a New Agenda for the Integration of Migrants was not ready for discussion at the meeting. The publication of this policy document was deferred because the EU Council is preoccupied with making the EU’s outer borders more impenetrable to migrants, and with current trends to reverse the free movement of people within the EU. The New Agenda for Integration will – when published probably at the end of July – offer ‘integration modules’ as tools to member governments.
The Platform participated in the Expert Seminar on Integration Modules on 7/8th April in Brussels. Secretary General Sabine Frank introduced the discussion of a working group on “Intercultural and religious dialogue”. She was instrumental in the “intercultural opening of publically funded institutions” being included in a catalogue of measures for a “module on active participation of immigrants in collective life.

Religion as a matter of inclusion policy

Seminar on the Role of Migrant Religious Communities …

“The role of religious communities’ representatives in integration could be better utilized to complement existing forms of integration practices in the European Union”. This is the central tenet of the DIRECT project ‘Dialogue for Integration: Engaging Religious Communities’. This EU-funded project led by the International Organisation for Migration explored the role of religious leaders in supporting migrants in their adjustment and integration process. Preliminary finding were presented in a seminar on 9th June in Brussels, in which the Platform for Intercultural Europe participated.
Professor Kim Knott of Leeds University kicked off with a talk on the resources which religions offer believers in migration and settlement processes. Many positive examples were given. It was also acknowledged that “religious resources can also be used to harden boundaries between groups, to engage in identity politics, to retain conservative practice that exclude or discriminate” etc.
The survey and interview work as well as the national fora held in the context of the project seemed to confirm that religious leaders are potentially good integration agents but need ‘activation’ or help. The recognitions of migrant religious communities, providing them with information and giving them access to integration initiatives were recommended as key steps. A panel discussion highlighted conflicting trends in Europe: The ‘pathologisation’ of religion since 9/11 and the challenging by newcomers of even the term ‘religion’ (as opposed to ‘faith’) as something confined to the private realm.
The Commission official who spoke at the seminar brought along a synopsis of 23 projects on “Pluralism and religious diversity, social cohesion and integration in Europe” financed by the EU Research Programme – nice evidence of effort to “bring new knowledge and insights to bear on policymaking processes.

… and Policy Dialogue on the Challenges of Religious Diversity in EU Law and Policy

“What is the role of the EU in building a more inclusive public space with regard to religious symbols and religious dress?” This was the question addressed by one of three panels at the RELIGARE Seminar on 30th June in the European Parliament. RELIGARE is a three-year EU-funded research project, which addresses the “tensions and conflicts between state required or prohibited conduct and religious practices” that arise as growing religious pluralism in Europe challenges secular democracy. The panel considered the distinction between common space, political space and institutional space and the different possibilities to reconcile plurality and freedom within them.
Tarafa Baghajati, Platform Steering Group member, was a panellist and gave several examples of the discriminatory effects of setting limits to the visibility of religious symbols in public: “The emancipation of young Muslim girls cannot be achieved through prohibiting the veil, but through giving them every opportunity to receive education and develop the ability to earn a living.” He said that any dispute over the display of religious symbols should be assessed against EU Commitments to Freedom of Religion or Belief.
The other panels tackled the topics of religious diversity in the workplace and the role of state support for religious diversity. The meeting was hosted by the European Parliament Platform for Secularism in Politics. By virtue of the event’s coverage in Turkish media we now know what our Platform is called in Turkish! “Avrupa Çok-Kültürlülük Platformu”

News from our European members

To become a member please go to our membership page and send us your application form.

European Festivals Association (EFA)

Atelier for Young Festival Managers
24-31 October 2011 – Izmir, Turkey

EFA – together with the International Izmir Festival – organises the 4th Atelier for Young Festival Managers from 24-31 October in Izmir (Turkey) (3rd edition just concluded in Singapore). This ancient city bonding Asia to Europe will be an ideal location to gain intercultural inspiration for all aspects of festival management. 45 participants from all over the world are invited to take part in the intense 7-day training programme. Atelier participants develop exciting new ideas under the professional guidance of renowned festival managers such as Ching Lee Goh; Hugo De Greef; Nele Hertling; Rose Fenton; or Bernard Faivre d’Arcier. www.efa-aef.eu / www.efa-aef.eu/en/activities/atelier/izmir /

European Music Council (EMC)

4th IMC World Forum on Music: “Music and Social Change”
26 September-1 October 2011 - Tallinn, Estonia

Co-organised by the International Music Council, the EMC and the Estonian Music Council, the Forum will focus on five themes: music as a tool for social change, fair culture, music education, music & development, informal music learning contexts, etc. Project presentations of the greatest possible diversity will be given space. Keynote speakers will be Youssou N’Dour, singer percussionist and artist, and Joe Lamond, President and Chief Executive Officer of NAMM.

Roots & Routes International Association (R&R INT)

International activities in summer 2011 

Current flagships promoting cultural and social diversity in performing arts and media are:
-    the interdisciplinary stage performance JAM KARET with a cast from 9 European countries, officially representing the EU strategy YOUTH ON THE MOVE  in Cologne from August, 17th till 21st,
-    the interdisciplinary stage performance ART’N’GO with a cast from 11 European countries that will be staged at the SZIGET Festival in Budapest on August, 9th and
-    the transnational culture cooperation project EUTROPIA with partners in 9 European countries, lasting till June 2013.
http://rootsnroutes.eu, http://rootsnroutes.eu/festivals, http://rootsnroutes.eu/artngo - Andreas Kern: kern@rootsnroutes.tv 

Trans Europe Halles (TEH)

Meeting 72 focuses on the theme “Neighbourhood”
27-30 October 2011 – Bordeaux, France

TEH Meeting 72, hosted by cultural centre TNT in Bordeaux, 27-30th October 2011, will focus on the theme “Neighbourhood”. TNT is located on the border between two city municipalities, separated by a boulevard. Bordeaux also constitutes a crossing point between sea and land, city and suburb, south and north. At TEH Meeting 72, cultural workers, volunteers, artists and activists will gather to discuss the role of arts in a cultural centre and its multicultural neighbourhood through training workshops, excursions and artistic practices. The meeting is organised in collaboration with ARTfactories/Autres p(ART)s and supported by TEH’s three-year network project Engine Room Europe.
www.teh.net, www.letnt.com, www.artfactories.net
Contact person: Marian Söderholm, marian@teh.net

News from our national members


Associazione Culturale Fabbrica Europa (Italy)

Festival au Désert / Presenze d’Africa: 21-23 July 2011 – Firenze, Italia

The second edition of the Festival au Désert/presenze d’Africa, an event twinned with the Festival au Désert of Timbouctou and directed by its artistic coordinator Manny Ansar together with Fabbrica Europa Foundation, brings for three days - July 21, 22, 23 - in the Anfiteatro delle Cascine of Florence, the atmosphere of the desert throught meetings, dances, African food and good music. MAIN GUESTS: the Tuareg ensemble Tartit (21/7), the sound of south with Raiz and Giuseppe de Trizio (21/7), the super group "Afro-jazz" directed by Badara Seck (22/7), the band of the Nigerian Koudede (23/7).
www.festivalpresenzedafrica.eu - festival.presenze.Africa@gmail.com

Border Crossings (UK)

Origins Festival: 28 June – 9 July

Over two summer weeks, Border Crossings brought to London some of the world's foremost indigenous musicians, theatre-makers, visual artists, filmmakers and cooks, to exhibit and explain, to perform and inform, to debate and celebrate.  The festival explored the role of indigenous cultures across the world, including within the UK and Europe, Language, migration and cultural identity were key themes.

Cultural Center Sint-Niklaas (Belgium)

Intercultural project "Kultour12 - making peace": March to October 2012

Kultour 12 is a local intercultural project. Central theme: making peace.  Program: music and dance from different cultures, a classical music concert, poetry, street art, outdoor exhibition, film peace festival, workshops. Our goals: understanding and respect for other cultures, a new and diverse audience, inspire people to be creative, active participation in cultural activities, responsible citizenship, (Cultural) equality, a festival for all residents of our city regardless of age, race or skin color.
We are looking for cooperation with internationals cultural organisations with the same goals.
patricia.maes@sint-niklaas.be Patricia Maes Grote Markt 1, 9100 Sint-Niklaas, Belgium. See our intercultural project of the year: www.kultour11.be

European Foundation for Society and Education (Spain)

Training course on intercultural education

As a result of the research addressed by the European Foundation Society and Education on Intercultural Dialogue in Spain, we have designed a course for schoolteachers, particularly those coming from areas with a high percentage of immigrant population. This 20hour course, developed along 4 days during the afternoon, enables the teachers to attend both their lectures and the course. 
The methodology combines theoretical and practical aspects, working on selected texts and films as a starting point for the discussion. Consideration of the initial expectations of the participants is also important, as well as promoting their participation and experience sharing.

Fondazione Nazionale Carlo Collodi (Italy)

P.IN.O.K.I.O. National Conference: 13 October 2011 – Rome, Italy

The national conference is an event organised in the framework of the EU co-funded European project P.IN.OKIO: “Pupils for Innovation as a Key to intercultural and social inclusion” that intends to promote intercultural dialogue and social inclusion in pre-primary and primary schools in Europe using children's literature and web 2.0 tools.
The Conference will present the project’s results to national authorities, teachers, parents’ organisations and to the organisations working in the sector of intercultural dialogue and innovation.

Intercult (Sweden)

CORNERS – turning Europe inside out
Xpeditions: 8-21 August, 27 September-13 October

60 artists and researchers explore the outer regions and coasts of Europe in search of stories and inspiration for new work. The two first Xpeditions go to the North and Caucasus. Supported by the EU Cultural Programme, CORNERS is a collaboration of six cultural organisations: Intercult and the European Cultural Capital Umeå 2014 - Sweden, Exodos Festival - Slovenia, Drugo More and POGON – Croatia, and Gdansk 2016 - Poland

KUD Positiv (Slovenia) 

BITI / BEING, international youth exchange: 8-18 July 2011, Ljubljana

21 young people from Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, who come from different cultural, ethnic and social environments and belong to different religions, will cooperate in the youth exchange in Ljubljana. In the project, they will research the connection between intercultural dialogue, on the one hand, and environmental care, on the other, as well as responsible cohabitation in the community as one of the forms of connecting and cooperating in overcoming the differences and separations.

Poiein kai Prattein (Greece)

Ars pro pace – Kunst für den Frieden - Tübinger Jugendkulturtage 2011

Poiein kai Prattein will participate in the Jukuta youth festival to be held in Tübingen, Germany, July 15 – 16, 2011. Through a Kids' Guernica action young people will enter collaboration with each other. Based on the experiences made during such a collaborative learning process, discussion will focus on how empathy for the other can be enhanced. By jointly drafting a memorandum of understanding, the group will connect with worldwide Kids' Guernica actions. It is organised in cooperation with Ines Dulay-Winkler, Project leader, Jugendkulturtage, and the City of Tübingen.

For further information contact Hatto Fischer at Poiein kai Prattein or

Network of Education Policy Centers – NEPC (Croatia)

NEPC Summer School 2011 “School governance: the challenges of decentralisation, autonomy and social responsibility”: 4-8 July 2011 – Lake Ohrid, Macedonia 

NEPC continued the tradition of fostering analytical and discussion-based Summer Schools for the education of policy-makers and practitioners in the field of educational policy with this year’s edition on Lake Ohrid in Macedonia from 4th until 8th of July. World-class academics such as Michael W. Apple headed the project. The topic was: “School governance: the challenges of decentralisation, autonomy and social responsibility”.
More information about the event is available at: http://www.edupolicy.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=128&Itemid=48


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