Newsbulletins

Our Newsbulletin is published four times per year. It contains news on activities of the Platform for Intercultural Europe and outlines participation or feedback possibilities. It also carries news from our membership. 

This Newsbulletin offers you three little insights into the work of PIE – no more in this age of information oversupply. What’s their red thread?

When EC President Barroso met renowned artists and intellectuals in September, they discussed “how arts and culture can contribute to the development of the European project”. But what is this project? At the moment it clearly is to overcome crisis – with all bets on regaining economic growth. What do the arts, culture and interculture have to do with that?

Our event in Northern Ireland shows that culture is still appreciated for its potential to help reconciliation and social cohesion – and atypically for Europe, public spending on culture there has been on a high in the past decade. Elsewhere, the cultural sector has been in the fierce grip of austerity politics – one reason to re-think how public cultural institutions can remain relevant and legitimate. Turning cultural institutions into intercultural meeting places is the strategic direction which national experts discuss under the Open Method of Coordination – PIE gets a look-in to this process and adds a little bit of democracy with the voice of its members. We also play a role in the European Integration Forum. Its 8th edition was concerned with the “contribution of migrants to economic growth” – should we also ask about their role in the development of new economic concepts and of more equitable ways of life?

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.

This Newsbulletin informs about the Platform for Intercultural Europe’s current work focus and immediate agenda. It also helps spread European debate by providing insight on conferences that have taken place.
As a partner in the Structured Dialogue between the EU and civil society in the field of cultural policy, it is this domain, which features prominently in our activities. But we also look beyond at Roma inclusion and migrant integration policy. What contribution does culture make there? To what extent is culture recognised as helpful in other policy communities? Such explorations are at the heart of our conviction that the intercultural evolution of society needs cross-sectoral engagement. The variety of news from our members also shows the breadth of this challenge.

“National cultural identity can be a fixation for small European countries because of a historical period of foreign domination or of belonging to a multi-ethnic state entity”. This is how we contextualised our 5th Intercultural Practice Exchange in Ljubljana at the beginning of the month (see below). Yet in large countries, which could be so self-confident as to acknowledge multiple heritages and diversity of identity, it can be as hard to acknowledge immigration and the need to include minorities:

Is there such a thing as an ‘intercultural movement’? The last editorial ended with the suggestion that it depended on ‘worthiness of cause, unity, numbers and commitments’. The jury is still out. There is also the thesis that migration itself is a social movement. This jars at first with the notion that a social movement needs contentious political performances, displays and campaigns. Migration is after all primarily the search for a better life. Yet transnational migration could be perceived as protest against limitations on the free movement of people coexisting with free global capital movements (Manuela Bojadzijev), and therefore as a political act.

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