Does ‘Intercultural Europe’ stand a chance of flourishing? Is ‘intercultural innovation’ of our societies as we invoked it in our Rainbow Paper anywhere near becoming our ‘human norm’? If we sample political events and debates in current Europe, we don’t find encouragement. In a string of recent national or regional elections – the Netherlands, Sweden, and Vienna - xenophobic, and especially anti-Islam, parties were the only winners. Fear of immigration played a major role in the British elections of May. Xenophobic attitudes have surged in Germany connected to the publication of provocative books.
A political climate dominates where arguments often stand little chance against the force of resentment. The results of failed integration policies are blamed on migrants themselves. The economic crisis causes a knee jerk reaction against ‘foreigners’ in those people it threatens. Too many politicians play on fears rather than face up to challenges.
How to defend the public space against racism? How to uphold the belief in the benefits of diversity and intercultural engagement? By continuing intercultural work in many places at the same time with strengthened resolve, courage and public communication. By connecting the efforts of the many to make the whole bigger than the sum of its parts.
In this spirit, this Newsbulletin reports on current work of the Platform for Intercultural Europe as well as that of its members.
We welcome feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org
Sabine Frank, Secretary General
Fourth Practice Exchange for Intercultural Capacity-Building
Cooperation with Border Crossings on intercultural change in cultural organisations and practices
Sidcup, London, 15/16th December 2010
Britain is often regarded as the European avant-garde in governing its ethnic diversity. Yet the economic crisis has created a climate where anti-immigration attitudes affect the treatment of British citizens of foreign descent and severe spending cuts are likely to hamper work for community cohesion and integration. An interesting time therefore for a Practice Exchange for Intercultural Capacity-Building in the UK – a collaboration of the Platform for Intercultural Europe and its member organisation Border Crossings. A two-day programme featuring the intercultural work of a wide range of cultural organisations is in the making. British representative of the European Network Against Racism will provide an anti-discrimination perspective on the practice examples. Academic commentary will provide an additional frame. Participation is primarily by invitation. A limited number of places is available to other interested persons. Write to email@example.com or Michael Walling at BorCross@aol.com.
Third Practice Exchange for Intercultural Capacity-Building in Rome
Report now available
The full meeting report on our third Practice Exchange, hosted by Italian trade union confederation CGIL in May, has become available. Find out what the event brought to light about discrimination of immigrants in the workplace. Read how intercultural dialogue along with diversity management and vocational training can strengthen anti-discrimination policies. The author, Platform Steering Group member, Chris Torch, pointed out that “we must develop a new language (...) there is a gap between the language used by ethnic Italians and by immigrants. One is based in the Host Culture “welcoming” immigrants into their structures – the other is the Arriving Culture demanding equal rights, equal power and shared responsibility”.
You can also read the report to learn about the meeting format and consider becoming a future host.
The contribution of culture to the fight against poverty and social exclusion
Platform contribution to Belgian EU Presidency conference, 17-19th Oct, Brussels
Access to culture and cultural participation were the two big topics examined in their various facets at this conference in the context of the European Year Against Poverty and Social Exclusion. Four presentations in each of six workshops demonstrated a wealth of good cultural work to lower the barriers for access to cultural services and to increase the opportunities which underprivileged people have for their expression, self-development and emancipation.
Platform Secretary General, Sabine Frank, suggested in the concluding plenary session what message could go forward from the conference to the EU Culture Council meeting in mid-November: “Recognise the role of culture in the fight against poverty and social exclusion politically and practically, but above all: make sure that the key causes of poverty are tackled so that cultural actions do not end up as stop gaps that are too few and far between to turn the tide of growing inequalities and increasing social injustice. Given the enormous figure of 80 million people in the EU living in poverty, we cannot just tinker on the cultural edges of poverty.”
For details of the conference programme, the presentations and conclusions.
Culture and the policies of change - for a fairer distribution of culture
CultureWatchEurope Conference, 6-7th September
The future of cultural diversity policies in Europe was one of three strands explored in this multi-partner conference under the auspices of the Council of Europe. Food for thought was provided by keynote speaker Jeremy Rifkin and his model of human evolution - this holds out the possibility that the disasters of climate change could be averted through the creation of smart global power grids distributing renewable energies, aided by open source sharing of information through the internet, locally empowered but globally connected economic communities and a new human consciousness characterised by ‘global empathy’. Some conference participants latched on to the idea that not just energy, information, and capital might in the future be more ‘distributed’, but also culture - in the sense that the ‘outreach’ work of traditional cultural institutions will become more strongly complemented by informal, participatory cultural work that reaches disadvantaged and minority groups. Platform Secretary General Sabine Frank moderated a discussion groups in which the focus was the transformation of public cultural institutions so as to make them correspond better with a public interest that has changed with demographic diversification as a result of migration. For details on the conference.
Europe-wide arts advocacy campaign "we are more"
Launched by Platform's strategic partner Culture Action Europe
The “we are more” campaign calls on European decision-makers to strengthen the recognition of arts and culture in the development of our European societies and to support culture in the upcoming negotiations on the 2014-2020 EU budget. An EU Culture programme that supports intercultural cooperations is one of the specific demands. The campaign was launched as part of Culture Action Europe’s “The time is now” conference on 7th October. It will run until 2013 and aims to mobilise not just the 50.000 arts and culture players across Europe, but everyone who cares about culture in Europe. The Platform for Intercultural Europe will actively support the campaign. For more information and to get involved.
The future of the EU Culture Programme
Public consultation open - support the Platform's recommendations!
The next 7-year EU programme for culture must be in place by 2014. The European Commission is inviting input to the new design until 15th December. While the promotion of intercultural dialogue remains one of the strategic objectives of the EU’s agenda for cultural policy, the Commission breaks this down to the consultation question “To what extent should the new programme widen access to culture and participation in culture for disadvantaged groups?” This echoes the Platform’s previous recommendation that Intercultural Dialogue should be defined, for the purposes of the EU Culture Programme as “European exchange and collaboration on arts & heritage to help ensure that people of all backgrounds and identities participate fully and equally in society”. Please take part in the consultation and reinforce this view: To consult the outcomes of our study on Intercultural Dialogue in the current programme and our recommendations, please consult this document.
The future work plan of the EU Culture Council
Current negotiations will conclude on 17-18th November – reinforce Platform demands!
“Cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue and inclusive Europe” is proposed as one of four priorities in the 2011-2014 Work Plan for Culture to be adopted at the next meeting of EU culture ministers. The creation of a working group of Member State experts on this topic is at stake. We have been demanding this since the publication of our Rainbow Paper and reinforced it with a campaign paper. You have contacts to national policy-makers in the field? Use them in the next few weeks that count to reinforce our demand for a Council working group on Intercultural Dialogue!
Next European Integration Forum, 6-7th December in Brussels
Contribute your views!
The development of indicators for anti-discrimination and social inclusion will be on the agenda as well as the three ‘integration modules’. These are being developed by experts contracted by the European Commission and will provide guidance to integration practitioners on language and introductory courses for migrants; active participation of immigrants in public life; and the involvement of the receiving society.
The Platform for Intercultural Europe is among the European organisations selected to participate in this consultative civil society forum. We take part in order to strengthen the cross-sectoral approach in dealing with integration. If you have views you would like us to consider in this role, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The draft agenda of the 4th European Integration Forum should be available by mid-November.
Survey on European Integration Fund
Assessing the European Integration Fund and the Common Basic Principles on integration.
Have you benefitted from the European Integration Fund or would like to? Civil society organizations, practitioners and academics have an opportunity to contribute their views and experiences: the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) is researching the effectiveness of the European Integration Fund with an online questionnaire open until the 5th November 2010. Civil society organizations as well as national and local authorities can apply to the European Integration Fund. This was established in 2007 to support the efforts of Member States to facilitate the integration of third country nationals in accordance with the EU Common Basic Principles on integration.
The purpose of the survey is not only to assess the difficulties encountered by civil society organizations in accessing and implementing the European Integration Fund but also to assess needs on the ground not covered so far and to gather feedback on the Common Basic Principles on integration themselves.
The questionnaire consists of 52 questions, 20 of which are targeted at organisations which have participated in projects funded through the European Integration Fund.
News from our European members
To become a member please go to our membership page and send us your application form.
European Federation for Intercultural Learning (EFIL)
European Citizenship Trimester Programme – Brussels Camp 28th Nov – 2nd Dec 2010, Belgium
A 4-day activity, featuring several workshops on intercultural learning and active citizenship, will bring together around 160 young people from 14 countries. The young participants, who spent an intercultural trimester in another European country, will take part in a Camp to conclude their learning and exchange experience. 30 American Field Service volunteers will support them. Through this programme, EFIL aims at raising awareness of common challenges and diversity within Europe so as to provoke debate about responsible attitude and dialogue among young people from different backgrounds.
For more info, visit the website or contact EFIL.
Intercultural Dialogue Day on 30th Sep 2010
America Field Service volunteers from EFIL member organisations celebrated Intercultural Dialogue on the 30th September by organising simultaneous events, debates, workshops, competitions and many other creative activities in numerous local communities. The Intercultural Dialogue Day has now turned into a tradition for EFIL’s network and is sending strong messages to policy makers as well as citizens for multicultural understanding.
For more information, please contact EFIL.
Roots & Routes
ARTnGO at Kif Kif Awards
Roots&Routes has been presenting the productions developed by 40 young musicians, dancers and media makers in creative residencies throughout Europe. “Reality in Disguise” will be featured on 13th November in the Arenbergschouwburg in Antwerp in the frame of Kif Kif Awards. This follows the presentation of “Traces” and “About Traffic” on 16th September at Mercat de Musica Viva Festival in Vic (Spain), and of “Coloured Life” and “About Traffic” on 1st October at the World Day of Music in Pecs (Hungary). These productions have been made within the framework of the biennial project “ARTnGO – New Routes to Intercultural Creativity”, promoted by organisations from the Roots&Routes network and with the support of the EU Culture Programme.
For more information, please visit the website or contact Mr Patrick N’Siala Kiese (Kif Kif).
News from our national members and network
Art Aspects (Germany)
New edition of training courses on Lanzarote
Art Aspects is organising the 2011 edition of training courses which will tackle, among other issues, the use of language, intercultural competence and mediative conflict settlement.
Four talented and experienced course instructors have been selected to illustrate the ambition of ‘A New Spirit in Adult Education’ with unique and engaging topics. Open to artists, teachers and all those working in adult education across the EU, interested persons can apply through the funding routes of Comenius and Grundtvig mobility and become part of the exciting, artistic and educative opportunities provided.
For more information please visit the website.
Border Crossings (UK)
Intercultural theatre play “Re-Orientations”
Border Crossings has been presenting its new intercultural play, Re-Orientations, in the UK and China, and will bring the production to Sweden in November. It is presented with the support of the Culture Programme of the EU, and has been made collaboratively by artists and companies from China, India, France, Sweden and the UK. The reception of the work in London has been very positive, with particular praise for its achievements in the creation of multi-lingual and multi-disciplinary theatre.
For more information, please visit the website. For information about the tour in Sweden, please visit the Teater Eksem website.
Cultural Center Sint-Niklaas (Belgium)
4th edition of Kultour11 festival
Kultour11, a local intercultural festival, will take place at the end of March 2011 involving artists, with different cultural backgrounds. It will link culture and nature through the concept of ‘dreams’. During three weeks, several workshops and artistic exhibitions involving poetry, slam poetry, music, dance as well as cooking will provide occasions for discussing the links between ecological and cultural issues.
Kultour11 is the 4th edition of a project organized by the cultural center Sint-Niklaas, in cooperation with several municipal services, local cultural organizations and volunteers.
For more information, please contact Cultural Center Sint-Niklaas.
Fabbrica Europa (Italy)
Urban soundscapes - Arts Practice for an Ecology of Human Interaction
Fabbrica Europa is coordinating a Grundtvig Partnership which aims to combine artistic and ecological sensitivity. This biennial project, launched in August 2010, increases awareness of how time, space and concentration of human beings affect the development of individuals and the interaction between communities. Organisations from France, Germany, Greece, Hungary and Spain are equally involved. The project receives the support of the EU Lifelong Learning Programme.
For more information, please contact Fabbrica Europa.
Imagining Cultural Space
Conference, 17 – 19th November, in Stockholm
The policy and practice of flexible art spaces and post-institutional cultural organisations in Europe will be the topic of an international conference organised by Intercult from 17th to 19th November. Intercult and relevant stakeholders will explore questions crucial to sustaining adaptable arts and culture spaces in the 21st century. Participants will investigate policies to encourage and support flexible initiatives that mirror current European artistic practice. The event forms part of SEAS X Stockholm, organised by Intercult in collaboration with Culture Action Europe and Orionteatern, with support by EU Culture Programme and Nordic Culture Point. For registration and more information, please visit the website.
Poiein kai Prattein - ‘To create and to do’ (Greece)
The situation of immigrants in Athens.
Poiein kai Prattein has been monitoring the situation of immigrants in Athens. The organisation's founding member Angela Adams is directly involved in working with immigrants living in Athens, specifically with women from Africa and a NGO representing people from the Philippines. Poiein kai Prattein attempts to improve living conditions in cities and helps to rescue destroyed urban and rural landscapes - together with artists and planners, under the coordination of Haroula Hadijnicolou.
For more information, please visit the Poiein kai Prattein website.
Artist group Laundry
Publication of ‘We no longer talk’, 136 pages, hardback
A series of essays, photographs, reflections and quotes from a two-year programme of intercultural dialogue, this book was recently produced by artist group Laundry (based in Birmingham UK) and published by the Borderland Foundation. The work was structured around creative laboratories using artistic practice in diverse multicultural communities, with partners in Poland, Bulgaria and Crete. The project web site provides further documentation: http://www.interculturaldilaogue.net/
For copies of the book email the editor.
Postage and packing in UK, £8; P&P in Europe €10.
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