How do we recognise that we live in a time of transition? In a time where a new model for society is in the making? One indicator amongst several is that different interest groups coalesce. ‘Shrimps stop pretending to be lobsters’, look to band together for wider appeal and greater impact. A social movement emerges around expressions of dissent, the mobilisation of ‘ordinary’ people and attempts to reset political agendas and to influence politics.
The recent European Citizens’ Summit, organised for the first time by a coalition of NGOs from the fields of health, education, human rights, environment, development, women’s rights and culture, exemplified this desire to band together. Yet the common themes on which their joint activism might go forward have yet to become clear. See the coalition’s message to the official EU summit two days later.
What is apparent is that protest in Europe is not (just) “over how to shrink the state” (The Economist). May be it’s about whether to shrink the state (further) at all; it certainly is about invigorating democracy at European level.
PIE’s cause of "Promoting interculturality for free, full and equal participation of all people in Europe" comes into the invigoration of democracy. Migrants and minorities would have much to gain from more transnational and more participatory policy-making.
Sociologist Ulrich Beck explains that the “cosmopolitan renewal of Europe” depends also on more ‘differentiated integration’ in Europe – the Open Method of Coordination (OMC) is an example of that. PIE takes part in the OMC experiment on Cultural Diversity and Intercultural Dialogue. I invite you to read on about our participation in the latest OMC meeting, in the latest European Integration Forum, as well as about our Annual Forum and General Assembly. Keep going until the interesting news from PIE members below.
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5th PIE Forum "Collaborating in the Construction of Intercultural Europe: Education, Culture & Political Campaigning" - Report
Brussels, 10th June 2013
This event was very much an exercise in deliberative democracy. It tackled proposals, which had come out of PIE’s 2012 member consultation and fed directly into the discussion of PIE’s development plan at its General Assembly one day later. The first proposal was that PIE (predominantly active in the field of cultural policy so far) take up advocacy work in the field of education. Representatives from seven of PIE’s member organisations presented their views on opportune areas in the field of education policy to advance the intercultural society. Six discussion groups went into greater depth. There was consensus that the greatest challenges present in the formal education systems. Surprisingly though, not everybody was resigned to accept that formal education remains the sovereign area of Member States. Voices in favour of common European standards on access to and durations of formal education, for example, were heard. Many participants coincided in their concern about the lack of intercultural training of teachers. Opinions divided, however, on the questions whether a definition and certification of intercultural competences is desirable.
The second topic discussed was the role of arts & culture in reaffirming cosmopolitan values in the face of xenophobic forces in Europe. Five representatives from PIE member organisations provided the inspiration for several small discussion groups. Art as an interdisciplinary tool, as a pathway for society in crisis and as means to connect positive narratives were in focus. A strong sense emerged that there are enough committed arts actors across Europe, which could band together to coordinate and scale up their activism.
Read the final report on the Forum written by Julie Ward of PIE member Jack Drum Arts.
5th PIE General Members' Assembly - Report
Brussels, 11th June 2013
PIE, as platform for the Structured Dialogue between the EU and civil society, had the privilege to be hosted on the premises of the European Commission and to be addressed by Director for Culture & Creativity, Michel Magnier. Mr Magnier highlighted that while Intercultural Dialogue is a policy area, which straddles several Commission directorates, his own directorate intended to fully valorise the work being done on the topic under the Open Method of Coordination in the field of cultural policy. He endorsed PIE’s constructive involvement in the OMC process.
The assembly went on to discuss PIE’s draft 2014-20 development plan, it endorsed its 2013 work plan and discharged its 2012 Financial Report. Competitive elections to the PIE board, returned two previous board members, and added ‘fresh blood’. PIE’s cross-sectoral nature remains reflected in its new board. To see who’s on PIE’s board now, please go here.
The need to combine PIE’s intercultural cause with related ones and to join coalitions for bigger effect was a recurring theme in the members’ discussion. A presentation from Luca Bergamo, Secretary General of Culture Action Europe (PIE’s mother organisation and strategic partner), tapped right into it: Luca set out CAE’s ambition to work on a cultural development strategy for Europe based on social, environmental and economic sustainability. He invited PIE members to help build the necessary alliances, and to participate in CAE’s annual conference in Rome in October as a first step.
4th OMC expert group meeting - Report
"Cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue" (Phase II)
Brussels, 3/4th July 2013
At their penultimate meeting, the nationally appointed experts grafted hard to get closer to the expected output of the group - a report identifying policies and a good practice manual for public arts and cultural institutions. They divided into four subgroups in order to each examine four practice examples according to a set of parameters proposed by Chris Torch from the European Expert Network on Culture (appointed by the European Commission to help steer the work). Since the previous meeting, the experts brought together a total of 80 examples of intercultural work, presented in a single format. Chris Torch selected 32 ‘revealing actions’ and placed them on a matrix which maps different kinds of relationships between practice and public policy.
PIE contributed to the subgroup on ‘diversifying the staff and boards of cultural institutions, and offered its help with drafting the final report which will be discussed in the group’s last meeting in October.
Presentations by representatives of particular intercultural practices occupied less space than previously, but provided welcome relief from intense and sometimes controversial discussion: Jenny Siung from the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin (a museum of holy text from several world religions) outlined the institutions activities as a “centre for intercultural learning and dialogue” and its programme of engagement with the communities reflected in its collection and present in today’s Ireland.
Roisin McDonough and Nick Livingstone from Arts Council Northern Ireland presented their Intercultural Arts grant-making programme, which acknowledges that diversity in Northern Ireland goes way beyond the different catholic and protestant communities. When PIE held its Sixth Intercultural Practice Exchange with Arts Council Northern Ireland in Belfast in November 2012, the Intercultural Arts Programme was still in its starting blocks – it was nice to hear with what political attention it has in the meantime been launched and what interesting projects have got underway.
"Promotion of Diversity in Culture and Arts" Programme of European Economic Area grants PIE addressed meeting of programme operators
Oslo, 13th June 2013
Norway with its richness from North Sea oil and gas is the giant in the trio of European Free Trade Association (EFTA) states which form the European Economic Area (EEA) together with the EU. Norway ‘pays’ for its free access to the EU market by financing a grants programme covering 6 policy areas, from which the poorer 15 EU countries can benefit. 988.5 million Euro have been available for 2009-14.
In programme area 17 (“Promotion of Diversity in Culture and Arts within European Cultural Heritage”), multiple bilateral cultural exchange programmes are being operated. Arts Council Norway, the EEA partner in them all, hosted a meeting with programme operators from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia. Poland, Portugal, Romania and Spain in order to exchange their experiences with partner matching, guides for applicants, selection criteria and the communication of results.
PIE director, Sabine Frank, gave a keynote speech entitled “Making cultural Europe intercultural” to animate the group’s reflections on how to promote cultural diversity through the arts and culture. Delia Mucica (National Theater and Film University Bucharest) reflected on cultural diversity in Romania; Lene Hansen (Sami National Theatre) gave precious insights into Sami people’s efforts to re-build their cultural self-image from the 1970s onwards (through initiatives such as the ‘Riddu Riddu’ festival of indigenous cultures) after decades of their cultural suppression.
The absence of a common definition of cultural diversity stood out as a problem of the cultural exchange programmes. In the case of the Norwegian-Polish programme, for example, the fact of cooperation between Polish and Norwegian partners represents cultural diversity for the Polish side, whereas the Norwegian side expected the involvement of minorities. Programme operators also struggle to satisfy the stipulation that 10% of the programme budget must go to improve the situation of Roma people.
9th European Integration Forum "Integration of migrant youth in European society" - Report
Brussels, 4/5th June 2013
The EU’s 2010 Youth Strategy and the 2012 Council conclusion on the participation and social inclusion of young people kicked off policy reflection on the integration of ‘migrant youth’. The 9th meeting of national and European NGO representatives in the European Integration Forum had the purpose of further feeding this reflection in view of the approaching end of the EU’s Stockholm programme (2010-14 common guidelines for justice and home affairs policies, including on integration).
Testimony from NGOs and individuals with experience of the topic featured large in the programme. The integration of young people with a migration background was examined with regard to the school system, the labour market and public space. A ‘market place’ of youth integration projects facilitated an important exchange of knowledge and valuable networking. It, however, proved one more non-sense to distinguish between migrants who are ‘third country nationals’ and those who are citizens of an EU member state – as EU policy strictures require.
Tarafa Baghajati represented PIE in the EIF. He pointed out that migrant youth programmes lack visibility – they remain minority programmes and the mainstream of society stays unaware of them. He pleaded for support to systematic public relations work of migrant youth projects so that successful approaches become emulated and eventually institutionalised. He also pointed out that it was preferable to design youth programmes, which do not target migrants specifically, but are integrative even in their definition of the target group. As far as public space is concerned, Tarafa advised that cultural events, which are of national significance (such as the widely broadcast New Year concert, and especially the accompanying short films portraying life in Austria), be used to show the ‘variety of faces’ in society so as to engender a sense of inclusion in relative newcomers.
The significance of the cultural domain for migrant integration is the recurring and unique contribution of PIE to the EIF.
Read the official report on the 9th EIF.
News from our European Members
Members have the benefit of exchange amongst themselves through a PIE members’ Facebook group.
To see who PIE's current members are or to become a member, please go to our membership page.
European Music Council (EMC)
Statement on the current situation in Turkey
The European Music Council has issued a statement on the current situation in Turkey. The EMC condemns the excessive force used by police in the last weeks against protestors who have been demonstrating overwhelmingly peacefully. In line with the 5 musical rights of the International Music Council, the EMC stresses the importance of the right for all children and adults to express themselves musically in all freedom.
Follow the link for the whole statement - Contact: email@example.com
European Festival Association (EFA)
Atelier 'Edinburgh 2014': EFA extends application deadline until 10th September 2013
EFA invites young festival directors from all over the world to apply for the Atelier for Young Festival Managers EDINBURGH 2014 (3 to 10 April 2014) until 10 September 2013. The unique 7-day training programme organised in collaboration with the renowned Edinburgh International Festival is embedded in its host city, while the international and global approach allows participants to compare their views with colleagues from different contexts and artistic disciplines.
Selection criteria and application procedure - Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Roots & Routes International Association (RRIA)
U-CARE (Urban Culture Against Racism in Europe) - Summer Academy - Heek, Germany - 29th July/11th August 2013
At least 56 young people from 8 ROOTS & ROUTES countries (who have participated in the national seminars to be U-CARE Peer Coaches) will gather at the Summer Academy.
The academy goals are to:
- Empower them to become ready to do anti-racist and anti-discrimination workshops with Urban Culture and Media elements for other young people
- Give the participants the chance to experience the power of European co-operation and the wealth of cultural diversity as a positive resource
Funded by the EU Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Programme and coordinated by jfc Medienzentrum.
http://u-care.org - http://www.rootsnroutes.eu - http://www.jfc.info
Trans Europe Halles (TEH)
Open call: Apply for artistic and networking projects between Europe and Asia. For projects happening between 1st of January and 30th November 2013
Trans Europe Halles together with Asia Europe Foundation (ASEF) and Arts Network Asia (ANA) launch 2 open calls: Creative Encounters: Cultural Partnerships between Asia and Europe and ASEF Creative Network.
Both initiatives aim to reinforce Asia-Europe exchanges and deepen mutual understanding between cultural communities by enhancing the mobility of artists and cultural professionals, and by encouraging creative collaborations.
Deadline for application: 15th of August 2013 - More details and criteria for application
Contacts: for Creative Encounters: email@example.com - for Creative Networks: firstname.lastname@example.org
News from our national Members
Associazione culturale Fabbrica Europa - Italy
Azalai @ Festival au Désert / Presenze d'Africa - Le Murate, Florence, Italy - 4/6th July 2013
The fourth edition of Festival au Désert/Presenze d'Africa hosted once again the AZALAI project, supported by the Culture Programme of the EU and coordinated by Fabbrica Europa Foundation. An extraordinary opportunity of encounter between the Tuareg, Malian and Panafrican music and cultures, and European and international artists who have chosen artistic nomadism as their style. Jam sessions, concerts and music productions that will then continue their journey to the Exit Festival (Serbia), the Sfinks Festival (Belgium) and the Sziget Festival (Hungary).
www.festivalpresenzedafrica.eu - www.azalai.wordpress.com - email@example.com
Photo: © Festival Taragalte
Les Amis du Monde Entier - Belgium
Action for the social inclusion of migrants - 4/5th November in Brussels
On the occasion of the next European Culture Forum, “Les Amis du Monde Entier” will take part in actions aimed at raising awareness of forum participants and organisers about the question of the social inclusion of migrants.
Animations will include African drumming and songs as well as the c distribution of flyers asking for a European citizenship that includes migrants.
Contact: Les_amis_1@yahoo.fr ou firstname.lastname@example.org