European Spaces of Culture

1 June 2021: European Spaces of Culture conference "Taking EU cultural relations to the next level"

1 June 2021: European Spaces of Culture conference "Taking EU cultural relations to the next level"

What innovative models of cultural collaboration have the pilot projects of European Spaces of Culture identified? How does the project contribute to delivering the EU’s strategy for international cultural relations?

In a high-level conference on 1 June 2021, EUNIC presented policy recommendations to the EU institutions, derived after an intense year of groundwork in six initial projects, with the participation of policymakers, project teams, cultural relations experts and practitioners from all over the world.

All sessions have been recorded and will be made available on the EUNIC YouTube channel.

10.00 Opening

10.05 Welcome by EUNIC Vice-President Guzmán Palacios, AECID

10.10 Introduction speeches by Themis Christophidou, Director General Education, Youth, Sport and Culture and Sabine Verheyen, Member of European Parliament & Chair of the Committee on Culture

10.20 – 11.30 Opening panel: Taking cultural relations to the next level
Summing up the results: What has been achieved with European Spaces of Culture?

The panel will demonstrate how the European Spaces of Culture of Culture project implements the EU strategy for international cultural relations of 2016. Partners from the pilot projects, EU Delegations and EUNIC colleagues will present the innovative collaboration models that were identified. Further questions include: How was true co-creation between all involved partners achieved? How did the pilot projects make a difference in their local context? How can the models found be upscaled in a global dimension?

The panel also introduces policy recommendations for the continued implementation of the EU strategic approach to cultural relations, including a process for the further global implementation of the European Spaces of Culture initiative.

Natasha Ginwala, Artistic Director, Colomboscope (Sri Lanka), Martin Rauchbauer, Tech Ambassador, Open Austria (The Grid, USA), Edina Bartalová, Political Attaché, EU Delegation to Mongolia (Nogoonbaatar, Mongolia), Aleksandra Tor, Political, Press and Information Officer, EU Delegation to Ethiopia (Tibeb Be Adebabay, Ethiopia), Yemisi Mokuolu, Hatch Africa and Jury member European Spaces of Culture, Julia Sattler, independent expert and author of policy recommendations.

Moderated by Shada Islam

11.30 – 11.45 Intermission

11.45 – 13.00 Synch sessions: Cultural relations in practice
Parallel panels zooming in on relevant topics that define the future of cultural relations and showcase different policy objectives that cultural relations can accommodate.

1. Cultural relations, sustainability, and the European Green Deal
Cultural relations as vector for change can substantially contribute to defining new global sustainable policies and practices. What can cultural relations do to increase the awareness of the need to act against climate change? How can we steer towards a more prominent role of cultural relations in the EU’s Green Deal, both internal and external, supporting policy makers to include culture in green policies and programmes? How do the projects of European Spaces of Culture contribute to the New European Bauhaus initiative and to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals?

With: Gijs de Vries, London School of Economics and author of the recently published ifa study "Culture in the Sustainable Development Goals. The Role of the European Union", Ayeta Wangusa, Executive Director, Culture and Development East Africa (CDEA), Henry McGhie, Founder, Curating Tomorrow, and Christian Escher, Founder, Rehab Republic (partner in Nogoonbaatar Eco Art Festival). Moderated by Rosanna Lewis, British Council.

2. Cultural relations and digital innovation
Accelerated digital transformation has changed the game considerably, creating new ecosystems but also leading to new perspectives on digital production and consumption. How can the EU unfold its human-centred approach to digital transformation also in cultural relations and external action? What best practices of fair, safe and equitable digital cultural relations projects are there? How do they help implement the EU strategy on international cultural relations?

With: Elisa Lindinger, Founder and Managing Director, Superrr Lab, Anupama Sekhar, Director, Culture Department at the Asia-Europe Foundation, Harry Verwayen, General Director, Europeana and Bemnet Demissie, Project Manager, Tibeb Be Adebabay. Moderated by Caroline Busta, New Models.

3. Cultural relations and peace and stability
A joined-up EU approach to cultural relations can unfold an unrivalled impact also in community building for peaceful co-existence. What is the geopolitical potential of strong cultural relations, bringing people together in challenging circumstances? How can a cultural relations approach be relevant especially in fragile contexts? How can this be implemented?

With: Louise Haxthausen, UNESCO Representative to the European Union and Director of the UNESCO Liaison Office in Brussels, Jordi Baltà Portolés, Consultant and trainer in the areas of cultural policy, Pedro Affonso Ivo Franco, Consultant for culture, arts and creative economy and Anne Vaugier Chatterjee, Deputy Head of the Political, Trade and Communication Section, Delegation of the European Union to Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Moderated by Lina Kirjazovaite, EUNIC.

4. Cultural relations to strengthen cultural rights and freedom of expression
Cultural relations create safe spaces for intercultural dialogue and creativity, instrumental in enhancing cultural rights and freedom of expression as fundamental rights. How can cultural relations contribute to fostering equality and promoting freedom of expression? How can the strategic approach to cultural relations support the flourishing of cultural sectors worldwide, unlocking the potential of local communities?

With: Annica Floren, Deputy Head of Unit Youth, Education, Culture at the Directorate-General International Partnerships of the European Commission, Ayoko Mensah, Artistic Programmer and Advisor, BOZAR, Srirak Plipat, Executive Director, Freemuse and Venuri Perera, Colombo-based performance artist and movement facilitator. Moderated by Matina Magkou, Cultural relations expert

13.00 – 13.15 Intermission

13.15 – 14.15 Closing panel: The role of culture in the future of EU external action
Looking ahead: What will the future approach of the EU for culture in external action look like as part of the EU’s role as a global actor? How can the models identified in the European Spaces of Culture initiative be upscaled, achieving what kind of impact on the geopolitical stage? What can the EU learn from other regions of the world, and how can culture bring the EU forward in building its partnerships with the world? How can the project feed into the New European Bauhaus initiative and its external dimension?

Keynote: Stefano Sannino, Secretary-General, European External Action Service

Salima Yenbou, Member of European Parliament and member of CULT and AFET committees, Nathalie Tocci, Director of the Istituto Affari Internazionali, Special Advisor to EU HR/VP Josep Borrell, Kimani Njogu, Cultural policy expert (Kenya), Kateryna Botanova, Cultural critic and curator, Jury member European Spaces of Culture (Ukraine/Switzerland), Gitte Zschoch, EUNIC Director

14.15 Closing remarks

14.30 End of Conference

Click here to download the programme.

European Spaces of Culture is a Preparatory Action, initiated by the European Parliament and attributed to EUNIC by the European Commission with the main objective of testing innovative collaboration models in cultural relations between European and local partner organisations in countries outside the EU.

At the heart of the project lies a new spirit of dialogue, in which equality, mutual listening and learning represent the core values that help build trust and understanding between peoples.

The Preparatory Acrtion produces a set of policy and practice recommendations for the future implementation of the strategic EU approach to international cultural relations, including a process for the further implementation of the European Spaces of Culture initiative.

In the first phase of European Spaces of Culture, six pilot projects have been implemented to find innovative collaboration models. These projects range from creating an arts + tech hub towards a human-centred approach to technology, a community-led open space for public participation and creative spaces for awareness raising of the dangers of air pollution.

The confernce was the moment to present the policy recommendations and the identified collaboration models, with the participation of EU policymakers, pilot project teams, cultural relations experts and practitioners from all over the world, and to reinforce policy dialogue on the future of cultural relations. How is the strategic approach to cultural relations implemented? How did the different partners collaborate in the framework of their project? And how does this help us forward in shaping the EU’s strategy for international cultural relations?

The conference took place on 1 June in a hybrid format, streamed on a dedicated online platform. All recordings will be available on the EUNIC YouTube channel.

Co-funded by