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Newsbulletin #2

July 2012



Welcome to the summer edition of the PIE Newsbulletin. You can read about some of the activities we got under our belt since the last edition and see what’s coming up in the autumn. I recommend in particular the rich and thoughtful report, which Michael Walling from our member Border Crossings produced on our Annual Forum – lots of insights there on how cultural institutions and cultural policies have yet to enable broader cultural participation in diverse societies. And you are invited to suggest contributions to our next Intercultural Practice Exchange in Belfast – ‘reflecting and shaping reality’ is the theme with which we will look at the role of arts in moving from conflict to reconciliation.

Holidays, practical planning and strategic thinking lie ahead – may it be a creative summer for us all!
Feedback welcome to or on our Facebook page. If you “like” it, following the Platform’s activities will become automatic.

Sabine Frank,
Secretary General


“Navigating the journey from conflict to interculturalism: The role of the arts in Northern Ireland” -  6th Intercultural Practice Exchange Belfast, 15/16th November 2012 

When Bertolt Brecht said “Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it”, he had the reality of class conflict in mind. However, the reality of inter-community conflict such as in Northern Ireland lends itself to a similar discussion of the role of the arts. PIE’s 6th Intercultural Practice Exchange, in collaboration with its member, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, will examine the varying responses of artists to the Northern Ireland conflict; some felt free not to engage while others were compelled to respond. What’s clear is that there was no single ‘right’ artistic response.

The transition from conflict has been made and the people of Northern Ireland now live in a peaceful political dispensation. Yet some challenges remain; and we will consider the role of the arts as a tool to enable reconciliation, allowing peace to firmly bed down across the region. We will also ask how the experience of this reconciliation affects the reception of newcomers in Northern Ireland.

A special focus will be on the role of cultural institutions in transforming society. We will look at the challenge of transforming existing institutions in order to provide equality of opportunity as well as at the need to create new infrastructure to promote good community relations.

We invite workshop contributions, which can bring comparisons from other intra-community conflicts in Europe to the following sub-themes:

  • Building partnerships across sectors. Making minds meet.
  • Changing the public realm. Transforming common space.
  • The unique offer of the arts: neutral space, innovative tools and languages.
  • Transforming arts institutions to serve diversity: Between self-motivation and policy incentives
  • Changing cultural infrastructure: Salvaging the old and creating the new
  • Building intercultural competence in cultural institutions: What does it take?

Organisations with relevant experience please write to soon (ideally before 31 August).

The programme and the announcement of registration opening will be posted on PIE’s website soon. In the interim, you can send the message “I am interested in participating - please send me an invitation.” to

Participation and Citizenship:Can Cultural Institutions in Europe lead the way? Should they? 

Platform for Intercultural Europe’s Annual Forum, 5/6th June 2012 

Interculturalists from PIE’s membership and beyond met to discuss the changing role of cultural institutions. The authoritative and controlling role they have played as pillars of the nation state is giving way to institutions as ‘brokers of relationships’ in societies marked by diversity. Participants enjoyed a keynote on participatory museum practice by Jouetta van der Ploeg from city museum Zoetermeer in the Netherlands. A panel then reflected on the need for large cultural institutions to access the intercultural competence of small associations, on diverse staff recruitment as a prerequisite to serving diverse audiences, and on the necessity that public policy-makers consistently encourage and reward diversity strategies.

Participants in PIE’s working group on the Open Method of Coordination (OMC) presented a draft of the positions they are preparing for the second phase of the OMC work, which will deal with cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue from September. Vladimir Šucha, parting Director for Culture and Education at the European Commission, pointed out in his response that audience development and capacity building for institutions are key elements in the new EU cultural policy. He encouraged PIE in its work and affirmed “We want your ideas, your participation, your pressure.” He even suggested that PIE might itself take on an evaluating role in terms of institutional response to diversity and said it would be welcome it the Platform were able to help develop indicators.

How fitting this made the presentation which followed - on a joint project of the Platform with the Migration Policy Group on developing benchmarks for diversity policies within cultural institutions.

The Forum also continued the popular tradition of parallel roundtable presentations of Platform members’ intercultural projects. The Forum was followed by PIE’s Annual General Assembly of Members.

Read the Forum report.

Better access and wider participation in culture

6th expert meeting under the Open Method of Coordination, 5/6th July 2012

National experts met for the sixth, and last time to discuss their draft report on “policies and good practices of public arts and cultural institutions to promote better access to wider participation in culture.” A vast array of examples of policies and practices from across EU Member States had been assembled in the draft document – many of them were the subject of presentations at previous meetings. The task of the meeting was to decide on the relevance, quality of description and positioning of the examples in the document, and to decide on recommendations, which can be derived from the examples. Only about half of the countries that had appointed experts to the group, took part in this laborious task. Rather than producing a ‘handbook’, the group decided to present its work as a ‘report’ in the form of ‘a structured set of deliberation’, which can ‘provide a support for policy-makers and practitioners’. This is a recognition of the fact that the examples are eclectic and do not draw a representative picture of the state of policies and practices across Europe.

Platform for Intercultural Europe participated and pleaded for the importance to highlight how the practice of institutions are either stimulated by public policy or have an effect on public policy. After all the work takes place in the framework of the Open Method of Coordination which is on advancing public policies through informal cooperation between Member States, and does not have the purpose of providing tools to professional as their networks would do for them. And a process, which hinges on only six meetings must stick to its core utility. The plea did not meet with enthusiasm. “A lot of good practice has nothing to do with policy”, was one riposte. Granted, but it is the OMC process which should have all to do with policy-making.

The report will be finished by September, disseminated to ministries and cultural institutions, and also passed on to the new expert group to be appointed for the OMC phase II dealing with ‘cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue’. PIE is working with a group of its members on the input to phase II.

You can track the evolution of this OMC process through PIE’s reports here

The right to family reunification of Third Country Nationals living in the EU

7th European Integration Forum Brussels, 31 May/1 June 2012

The 7th meeting of this European platform on migrant integration for representatives of civil society took the form of a public hearing on the right to family reunification of Third Country Nationals living in the EU. The outcome of the public consultation on family reunification held from November 2011 until March 2012 was discussed. At stake is a revision of the common rules, which the EU has had since 2003 (and already reviewed in 2008) on the conditions under which family members of a non-EU citizen, legally resident in a Member State, are allowed to enter and reside in the EU.

NGOs in the Forum generally pleaded for a relaxation of the rules on family reunification, thereby opposing the stricter regimes, which Member States favour.

Platform for Intercultural Europe delegate Tarafa Baghajati pointed out that migrants can only embrace their receiving society fully from the base of secure family life – intercultural engagement cannot happen with forcefully split families. He also said that family reunification was ‘facilitated immigration’ and should be considered an advantage where it is necessary to sustain the demographic development of a country. Tarafa regretted that the prevalent attitude to family reunification cases is suspicion of forced and fake marriages. The minimum age of 21 for both partners in the case of family reunification through marriage amounted to a violation of the principle of equal treatment, he said, given that the marriageable age is normally 18.

Read the summary report on the 7th EIF. Go here for presentations and speeches and here for photos.

See Tarafa Baghajati’s comments (in German) on the very strict interpretation of the EU rules in Austria in the Wiener Zeitung.

For a light-hearted take on family reunification see Pie Tshibanda's show (in French):

The 8th EIF will take place on 16-17th October on “The contribution of migrants to EU growth”. The topics for discussion will be ‘matching labour market needs’, ‘overcoming obstacles’ and ‘migrant entrepreneurship’.

News from our European Members

To see who our members are or to become a member, please go to our membership page.

Banlieues d’Europe 

The Role of Culture in the Face of Rising Nationalism in Europe Citizens’ Resistance!
19th Meeting of the Banlieues d’Europe Network – 21/23th November 2012 – Torino, Italy

At its 19th meeting, the Banlieues d’Europe network will examine the role of culture in citizens’ action on issues of social cohesion which question both geographic and imaginary frontiers – a major challenge! Having identified innovative practices in different artistic domains in Europe, Banlieues d’Europe wishes to demonstrate the capacity of the cultural sector to develop new practices to encourage people’s participation in projects which create a sense of community that goes beyond "belonging to an identity.. Questions around cultural diversity, the battle against xenophobia, access to education, and the transmission of history, will be discussed.
Participation is open to all. Registration will open soon on
Deadline: 10th November 2012 - 

The European Council of Artists (ECA)  

General Assembly & Annual Conference - 9/11th November 2012 – Vilnius, Lithuania 

The headline for the conference is: “Art as a Bridge Builder”. The panel will explore what role art has in our efforts to enable cultural diversity. How has art (and artists) contributed to the European effort to support interculturalism in society? And, can we do more?

Find out more : - Contact:

European Festivals Association (EFA)   

EFA and its partners of the Access to Culture Platform’s Working Group on Audience Participation call for contributions

The Access to Culture Platform’s Working Group on Audience Participation calls for contributions to a publication entitled “The Cultural Component of Citizenship: an Inventory of Challenges” (working title). Practical and theoretical research, conference presentations, interviews or any relevant contributions are welcome. The Felix Merits Foundation, the European House of Culture and the Access to Culture Platform’s Audiences Participation Working Group, led by the European Festivals Association (EFA), are coordinating the publication. The Editorial Committee consists of: Kathrin Deventer, EFA; Steve Austen, Felix Meritis Foundation; Miguel Ángel Martín Ramos, European Academy of Yuste Foundation; and Ruggero Lala, Amsterdam-Maastricht Summer University. – Juliane Reissig –

European Music Council (EMC)  

From Seoul via Bonn to Budapest – Development Goals for European Music Education: Access, Quality and Social Challenges
18/20th October 2012, The Palace of Arts in Budapest, Hungary 

The European Music School Union (EMU) and the European Music Council (EMC) invite you to the seminar on music education entitled From Seoul via Bonn to Budapest – Development Goals for European Music Education. The deadline for registration is the 15th September 2012. More information on

Capacity Building Workshop for music organisations in the Mediterranean
From 28th September/1st October, Limassol, Cyprus

The workshop, co-organised by EMC, IMC and the Arab Academy of Music, will focus on Communication and self-promotion for musicians and musical operators as well as advocacy for the role of music and musicians in the Mediterranean. It will take place in the frame of the Euro-Med Youth Music Expo in Cyprus organised by Epilogi, JMI, Arab Academy of Music, National Music Conservatory Amman – King Hussein Foundation and JMI Turkey. More information soon on

EMC contact:

News from our national Members

Associazione culturale Fabbrica Europa – Italy  

AZALAI – music trail. Florence (Italy), Le Murate, 19/21th July 

AZALAI offers three days of meetings, music and films, which will connect Europe with the “worlds of culture” that populate it, with the process of encounter and exchange that draws its territories and margins.

Recalling the legendary caravan of a thousand camels that crossed the desert from Timbuktu, the musical caravan of AZALAI will then continue its journey to Sziget Festival Budapest, Wazemmes l'Accordéon Lille, Zuiderpershuis Antwerp, Amsterdam Roots Festival, and Exit Festival Novi Sad.

AZALAI is supported by the Culture Programme of the EU and is coordinated by Fabbrica Europa Foundation. -

Border Crossings - UK  

Theatre work for young refugees – May/July 2012 

Border Crossings has been working with a group of young refugees and asylum seekers, known as “Dare to be Different”, who came to Plymouth as a dispersal centre, from places as diverse as Afghanistan, Sudan, Pakistan, Iraq, Angola, Russia, Congo, Sierra Leone, Zambia and Zimbabwe - and probably a few more besides.  Two months of workshops have explored their creativity, and have drawn off their experiences, hopes and dreams, culminating in a performance called Division, which they presented at the Drum Theatre. The performance was followed by a discussion with public figures like the police, the racial equality council and other agencies.


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