Editorial

It is the time for good wishes, resolutions and hope. As we hang up the 2011 calendars, what can we look forward to? The European Commission assures us that the momentum generated by the European Year 2010 against Poverty and Exclusion will be maintained with a range of initiatives in 2011 and that “combating poverty does not necessarily mean spending more.” Rather, “a key aim is to shift reforms towards greater efficiency.“

This seems to coincide perfectly with the European Year of Volunteering 2011, which will “demonstrate the value of human commitment to achieving unbelievable results.” Volunteering certainly benefits society as a whole and also individual volunteers. But: This period of austerity politics on the back of severe failures in the banking sector must also be the time to question the extent to which volunteering can or should make up for a shrinking of state-provided services and of public funding for third sector organisations.

Certainly, in the organisations close to the Platform for Intercultural Europe, volunteering is already very common. Intercultural arts practitioners, for example, are hardly able to keep up their good work by making efficiency saving. A cruel survival of the fittest is the more likely scenario, as a participant of our recent Practice Exchange in London has pointed out. Solidarity and political drive therefore need to be the sentiment with which to enter the New Year. In this spirit, stay with us in 2011!

We welcome feedback to newsbulletin@intercultural-europe.org

Sabine Frank, Secretary General

Fourth Practice Exchange: Interculturalism - Art and Policy

Cooperation with Border Crossings – Sidcup, 15-16th December

Artists’ intercultural work with ethnic minorities was showcased and discussed by over 50 participants made up of theatre practitioners, art consultants, anti-discrimination activists and academics. The event revealed that although Britain has a shining scene of culturally diverse, independent arts organisations and many outstanding artists of non-British origins, equity in public funding distribution remains an issue and so does access to national cultural institutions. While “Interculturalism has introduced a critical taste of the Other” in Britain since the early 1980s, as keynote speaker Jatinder Verma put it, the struggle for free, full and equal participation of all in cultural life irrespective of their colour, origin or beliefs carries on. Key protagonists of ‘ethnic minority arts’ however face the challenge of sticking to this cause without suffocating in the “box” of expectation that they will represent or exclusively serve “their community”. Participants agreed that much good intercultural work of past decades is under threat from a new politics formulated by Britain's Culture Minister Ed Vaizey as relying on “support for the arts amongst the community they are intended for”.

Programme. The full report on the meeting will become available soon.

Lobbying success: EU Culture Council agreed working group on Intercultural Dialogue

What we have demanded since 2008 despite many discouragements, was adopted on 16th November as part of the EU Culture Council’s new work plan: EU Member governments will designate experts for a working group to promote better access to and wider participation in culture as well as cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue. The experts’ task for the next two years (2011-2012) will be to “identify policies and good practice of public arts and cultural institutions to promote better access to and wider participation in culture”, as well as to “identify good practice in creating spaces in public arts and cultural institutions to facilitate exchanges among cultures and between social groups, in particular by highlighting the intercultural dimension of the heritage and by promoting artistic and cultural education and developing intercultural competences.“ It will be a key component of the Platform for Intercultural Europe’s work programme to accompany and influence this work.

The EU Culture Council Workplan

Platform for Intercultural Europe Discussion Papers 1 & 2

Joel Anderson and Sukhvinder Kaur-Stubbs on Enabling free, full and equal participation

It is part of our mission to develop understanding of the concepts behind intercultural dialogue and action. In realising our vision of an Intercultural Europe we have choices to make. We need to shed well-meaning, but ineffective projects and activities from those that bring real change. We need to be equipped with knowledge to carry out our work and with language to present it. The Platform for Intercultural Europe Discussion Papers 1 & 2 mark the beginning of a series of occasional papers intended to stimulate organisations in our membership and wider network to reflect on their strategic orientation. “There is a particularly clear need for a more explicit statement of the relationship between power and dialogue, in order to highlight the ways in which genuine intercultural dialogue can be challenging and transformative for all involved,” says Joel Anderson.

Please read and distribute Discussion Papers 1 & 2. Feedback welcome to dialogue@intercultural-europe.org

EU Integration Forum, 6-7th December

Active participation of immigrants and commitment by 'host societies'

The “two-way integration process” enshrined in the EU’s Common Basic Principles of Integration was at the heart of this consultative civil society meeting. Key questions discussed were: How can national policies be improved through the consultation of immigrants? Which integration tools should be prioritised to enhance commitment by the 'host society'? The Platform for Intercultural Europe was actively represented by its Steering Group member Tarafa Baghajati who acted as rapporteur for one of four round tables and said: “The Platform for Intercultural Europe welcomes the fact that the European Commission recognises the importance of integration policy for the realisation of the 2020 Agenda. Integration policy should be entirely devolved from security policy. Key to its success is coordination between the local, national and European levels – this is aided by the European Integration Forum.”

Programme of the conference
Background documents
EESC and Migration Policy Group Study - Consulting immigrants to improve national policies

News from our members

To become a member please go to our membership page and send us your application form.


A Jewish Contribution to an Inclusive Europe

CEJI won the International BMW Group Award for Intercultural Commitment

CEJI’s training programme, Belieforama, won the first prize convincing the jury with its adaptability and its particpants’ learning success. This training programme works at pan-European level to ease tensions in multicultural communities and to promote and maintain social cohesion. The jury panel was particularly impressed by CEJI's implementation concept for a “Religious Diversity and Anti-Discrimination” training programme. Belieforama provides effective support to educators who want to establish a climate of respect and tolerance between different cultures and religions in the workplace. The training programme has the potential to be used much more widely in Europe.

Press release

Religious Diversity and Anti-Discrimination Training

In this 5-day train-the-trainer event, participants will experience highly interactive and participatory methods and gain access to the Trainer’s Handbook, a useful tool to create cohesiveness within communities, schools or workplaces.
Designed in the spirit of anti-prejudice diversity education, the training will allow participants to understand concepts and issues related to diversity of belief and religion, address contemporary manifestations of stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination related to religion and belief, and develop intercultural skills needed to solve conflict situations.
Participants of all forms of belief and non-belief are welcome. The training is adapted to educators, human resource professionals, public authorities, community leaders, and mediators who are looking for a way to transform differences from an obstacle into an opportunity.
Dates: 6th -11th February 2011 in Rome (in German), 13th – 18th March in Derby UK (in French), 10th – 15th April 2011 in Brussels (in English)
Further information www.ceji.org/events or email training@ceji.org

Trans Europe Halles

Publication “New Times, New Models”

”New Times New Models – Investigating the internal governance models and external relations of independent cultural centres in times of change” is now available online. This publication is the outcome of a conference under the same title held in January 2010 at cultural centre Pekarna Magdalenske Mreze in Maribor, Slovenia.

The book investigates the How? and Why? of independent culture in Europe. It builds on presentations given at the conference at Pekarna, and also looks at regional case studies, current models of practice and key recommendations for the independent cultural sector. The publication, compiled and edited by Sandy Fitzgerald, is available for free download at: http://tinyurl.com/3yrz3a7.

The next “New Times, New Models” conference will take place at Lodz Art Centre in Poland in February 2011.
Read more about New Times, New Models at http://www.pekarna.org/ntnm/?lang=en

Trans Europe Halles’ website.

Danish Centre for Arts & Interculture

The Art of Scene Changing, 24th–26th January 2011 in Copenhagen, Denmark

In a time which calls for scene changes and cast replacements, this conference explores the intercultural challenges and potentials in Nordic film, television and performing arts. By reporting on research experience and results, discussion and criticism, and production of policy documents, the conference aims at providing new knowledge about internationalization, diversity and interculture on the screen, on canvasses and on stage. Which mental and structural changes could stimulate increased diversity and increased intercultural competence in these domains? Participants will listen to lectures, and panel discussions; they will receive coaching, and participate in auditions and workshops. The ultimate aim for participants will be to test their own intercultural competence.

For more information: http://cki.dk/conference

Cyprus Centre of the International Theatre Institute

Roundtable “Drama in Primary Schools for Intercultural Integration”

A European Roundtable on drama in primary schools as a tool for Intercultural Integration was held on 2nd-3rd of December in Nicosia, Cyprus, under the Auspices of the Minister of Education and Culture of Cyprus, Mr Andreas Demetriou. Discussion centred on the idea that drama offers children of diverse backgrounds the acquisition of skills and competences for functional interaction with each other. The underlying assumption is that art, despite its diverse forms, offers a universal language and access to “the archetypal myths of the soul and human existence”. The roundtable served the preparation of the ITI Cyprus Centre’s European project Thalia.

For more information: ccoiti@cytanet.com.cy

 

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