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Newsletter 4

Newsletter 4

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Newsletter 4

  1. 1. CReW Project EUNIC Siena Cultural Relations Forum 2nd edition, June 26-29, 2019 Rectorate, University of Siena, Siena, Italy “Bridging Theory and Practice.A European Strategic Approach to International Cultural Relations: The state of the art” The University of Siena (CReW Project) in partnership with EUNIC Global organised the second Siena Cultural Relations Forum in Siena from the 26th to the 29th of June 2019. This event brought more than sixty cultural relations policy makers and practitioners together with academics and researchers in an attempt to bridge the gaps between the theory, policy and practice of the EU’s international cultural relations. The programme covered topics central to the recent development and implementation of the EU Strategic Approach to International Cultural Relations. Newsletter 1 Newsletter n.4
  2. 2. CReW Project Day one. On day one, after the welcome and introduction to the Forum by Gitte Zschoch (Director EUNIC Global) and Pierangelo Isernia (CReW project coordinator, University of Siena), a roundtable of experts and practitioners debated the impact of the European elections on EU international cultural relations. It was argued that shifts in the composition of the European Parliament -together with the appointment of a new Commission- may change the salience of the strategic approach to the role of culture in external relations. In general terms, although electoral volatility persisted, massive swings did not take place. However, it can be noted that the role of mainstream political groups is slightly shrinking compared to the previous elections. At the same time, “pro-sovereignty” parties have not become a majority. This disconnects the European Parliament (EP) from the Council, wherein “mainstream parties” and “pro-sovereignty” parties are stronger than in the EP, which will play a role regarding external cultural relations, for example by influencing the composition of the Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021-2027. These reflections were followed by institutional sessions devoted to the progress report on the implementation of the EU strategic approach for international cultural relations, the state of play of European Culture policy, and next steps. Gitte Zschoch addressed the evolution of the EU strategic approach for international cultural relations by recalling the policy-making effort that has been taking place over the years (see Figure 1). The role of EUNIC in supporting the EC and the EEAS in such process, from the adoption of an administrative arrangement (AA, 2017) to the release of joint guidelines (EEAS, EC, EUNIC) to define the partnership and set roles and responsibilities (June 2019) was also highlighted. Figure 1. Source: The EU strategic approach for international cultural relations. Gitte Zschoch, EUNIC Global, ESCRF2019 The session followed with a focus on the evolution of EU cultural policies by Tamas Szűcs (Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture). He highlighted the results achieved by the EU in international cultural cooperation in compliance with the recommendations of the Joint Communication “Mogherini” (June 2016). Mr. Szűcs devoted special attention to the New Creative Europe programme (2021-2027), which is supposed to be allocated a Budget for 2021-27 of 1.85 Billion EUR against a current budget of 1.46 Billion EUR. It will include novelties, such as an individual cross-border mobility scheme for artists and cultural professionals, more support for promotion of European cultural and creative works beyond Europe, support to specific sectors such as music, books and publishing, architecture and cultural heritage, design, fashion and cultural tourism, and more possibilities for international cooperation. Along these lines, Alejandro Ramilo (EACEA) concluded the session by offering a detailed overview of the international dimension of EU programmes and culture. In fact, while Creative Europe is the main guarantee scheme, it is worth recalling that there are also development and international cooperation programmes such as the Instrument of Pre- Newsletter 2
  3. 3. CReW Project Accession (IPA) for Western Balkans and Turkey, the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI), or the EU Preparatory Action “European Houses of Culture”. The overall objectives are to support culture as an engine for sustainable social and economic development, to promote culture and intercultural dialogue for peaceful inter-community relations, and to reinforce cooperation on cultural heritage. In the closing session of day one, representatives from UNESCO, the Anna Lindh Foundation, the IETM (International network for contemporary performing arts), and the ECF (European Cultural Foundation) discussed the role of partners in the implementation of the EU strategic approach for international cultural relations. Louise Haxthausen (UNESCO) stressed that there is a need and demand in partner countries for a comprehensive approach towards the implementation of international standards in the field of culture that complements technical assistance related to specific conventions. This follows a shift towards a more “problem-solving approach” where what is relevant is how culture can contribute to address concrete political, social and economic issues. In this regard, wider partnerships can contribute to this comprehensive approach. Multitude of beneficiaries and of partners – not only cultural actors- can be identified. This requires participation and inclusiveness in the design and implementation of interventions. From left to right: Gitte Zschoch, Director EUNIC Global; Louise Haxthausen, Director UNESCO Brussels and UNESCO Representative to the EU; Eleonora Insalaco, Head of Intercultural Research Anna Lindh Foundation; Elena Polivtseva, IETM; Isabelle Schwarz, Head of Public Policy European Cultural Foundation Newsletter 3
  4. 4. CReW Project Along these lines, Eleonora Insalaco (Anna Lindh Foundation) suggested to invest more on networks to strengthen cooperation and knowledge among civil society actors in different countries and areas. This can be done by promoting exchange opportunities for associations, platforms and regional fora for consultation, partnership-building and showcasing of practices among civil society representatives and leaders, and cultural operators. To do so, a multi-stakeholder approach to work together on issues of common interest is required. Diversity of stakeholders allows for the development of innovative approaches which can respond to new challenges which are arising in societies which become more and more diverse. This approach can be facilitated by providing grants for cultural projects by consortia of organisations. Ms. Insalaco also noted that more efforts should be devoted to strengthening communication and dissemination of results. This can be done by considering visibility an objective per se and by building the capacity of civil society stakeholders to be able to communicate adequately their work. Elena Polivtseva (IETM) followed up on the need to establish new multilateral fora, which should include a variety of cultural players - and not only institutional actors. Moreover, the European cultural sector should be given the necessary instruments to understand the political, historical, social and socio-cultural realities in which their international colleagues work. Concerning funding, it is necessary to analyse each existing instrument regarding its relevance and accessibility to the non-EU partners. In this regard, it is wished that the Creative Europe programme should consider the extreme diversity of the contexts and situations the potential applicants are locked in and thus be more flexible and less administratively burdensome. For instance, higher co-financing rates should be introduced in the future CE programme 2021-2027. Day Two. Day two was opened by an insightful note by Mike Van Graan, president of the African Cultural Policy Network, brightly followed by parallel cultural relations labs led by experts, which addressed key issues of power relations in international cultural relations, joint capacity building and co-creation, inclusivity and diversity, and fair practices. After lunch, the CReW (Cultural Relations at Work) team of the University of Siena reported the preliminary findings of the project and launched the next phase, which is expected to deliver an edited book on EU international cultural relations. The presentation was followed by a roundtable of distinguished scholars who critically compared the workstreams of the EU strategic approach - supporting culture as an engine for sustainable social and economic development, promoting culture and intercultural dialogue for peaceful inter-community relations, reinforcing cooperation on cultural heritage- in an attempt to assess the shift from emergence and consolidation to professionalization in the implementation of the approach and how each workstream performs. Newsletter 4
  5. 5. CReW Project Day Three. The last day of the Forum was devoted to a design thinking session. Conversations focused on three topical dimensions -politics, culture, communication- and participants were invited to share insights from their conversations while main results were shared in during the closing plenary session: • Politics serves the public interest. Therefore, arts and culture should not be afraid of politics but should rather work on constructive criticism, for culture reflects politics. One should not forget that EU member states determine the priorities of cultural policies. In this regard, civil society needs to carefully monitor those policies, especially in a moment of rising populism, where change in the perception of politics has consequences for culture. Moreover, culture is becoming a substantial component of power relations at global as well as at local level. As a consequence, a more integrated approach for culture is needed. This approach should rely on a common language that builds also on finding a common ground between cultural stakeholders and politicians. This conversation should be bi-directional (top-down, bottom-up), the aim being to give culture more relevance in politics, to influence politics instead of being instrumentalized by politics. • Concerning the role of culture in international relations, it is suggested to focus more on some key relationships: cultural diplomacy and cultural relations; culture and communication; state and local communities. Several challenges emerge when the future of EU international cultural relations is addressed. It is crucial to create access to information, culture, educational resources within Europe and also in relationship with third partners. To do so, it is needed to create institutions with the allure to deal with this. Attention should also be given to the issue of diversity, which is a challenge in the EU. In this regard, it is needed to de-colonize discourses, practices, and institutions to increase credibility and access of EU institutions to local communities. This falls into a call to improve cooperation between European institutions and civil society actors and state actors. To do so, it is necessary to create strategies for cooperation and communication based on the idea of a framework for exchange without an agenda, although agenda-setting is not in contradiction with culture as a means of freedom or a means of non-domination. It is also suggested to empower non-state actors and local communities, which can be a precious source of good practices. Accordingly, it may be useful to turn upside down the bottom-up approach in order to learn from the base. • As to Communication, it is enshrined in a constellation of concepts such as modalities, common practices, goals, power relationships, technology, and targets. Concerning modalities, it is crucial to address the confrontational aspects of the relationship between one-way and two-way approaches to communication. The role of cultural codes and continuity, the nature of the speaker, and the relationship between communication and dialogue also need to be addressed. As far as common practices are concerned, attention shall be given to a number of key elements: responsibilities & accountability, propaganda, the engagement of cultural professionals in designing the message, the way the receiver deal with the communication, and the role of platforms Concerning goals, clarity of purposes is key and mediation by independent operators is needed. Dissemination should also be aimed at raising awareness rather than merely to advocacy. It is suggested to focus more on common goals and common interests. Regarding the content of communication, public perception of culture plays a key role. It is suggested to support evidence- based research on culture with special attention to some dimensions (e.g. high vs popular, Newsletter 5
  6. 6. CReW Project conventional vs unconventional). Culture is a “political” object, therefore transparency of information and principled communication are sometimes questioned and need support. As to the target (the “public” or receiver), it is suggested not to limit the audience to like-minded partners; a more inclusive and awareness-raising approach is needed. Partners can greatly enrich communication through powerful means such as experimentalism, creation of platforms, and deliberation. In general terms, it should be recognized that communication is not about competition and that solidarity (i.e. understanding and supporting) should be prioritized. This can be done by finding shared values but also by accepting views different from our own. This kind of experiential understanding builds on empathy, openness and respect for different ideas, as well as on allowing expressing feelings and common roots. Diversity should be treated as an asset to strengthen intercultural sensitivity without sidelining contextual differences. Design Thinking Session with Markus Hilgert, Secretary General and CEO of Cultura Foundation of the German Federal States DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this newsletter are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the University of Siena or EUNIC Global Newsletter 6

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