Newsbulletin #4
December 2009

Editorial
Intercultural Capacity-building in Organisations:
Second Regional Practice Exchange

Intercultural approaches to community-building and cohesion in European cities
Intercultural Dialogue as an objective
in the EU Culture Programme

Strategic EU Agenda for Culture
Membership & Members’ news




 

Editorial

We are bringing one year’s work to a close: we have used our annual meeting in June to refine what we had said in our Rainbow Paper on the role of the arts in intercultural dialogue. We created participative regional events in Malmö and Vienna (see below) in order to look at practices of capacity-building for intercultural dialogue in organisations. We have used countless events and communication channels to ensure that intercultural dialogue remains on the agenda of EU institutions although it is no longer the general European theme. We have ventured out from the culture policy domain into integration policy and have created links between the goals and working methods of different sectors. Last but not least, we have now been a membership association, rather than an informal gathering, for one year.

So we have reasons to be contented with 2009. But of course we also recognise the challenges ahead: the soft integrative power of intercultural dialogue and action is used in many places (see the report on the CLIP conference below) although nobody has a measure yet for positive social ties between people of different origins and how these shape the attitudes which matter when people from minorities seek employment, for example. People with friends and acquaintances from other ethnic origins are more aware of discriminations and more likely to agree that people of other origins enrich their country’s culture (Eurobarometer survey on discrimination in the EU of Jan ‘07) – this is incidentally the reason why the Swiss of multicultural Zürich feel less threatened by minarets than dwellers of the mono-cultural canton of Appenzell. Yet investment in intercultural dialogue remains more a matter of generous belief than rigorous methodology.

It is clear that we still have to build understanding: how the many different processes of building intercultural democracy combine. Synergies of people working in different domains are often invoked, but a true harnessing of their energies needs yet more experimentation. Our Platform is a place for this. Our Steering Group has just met to refine our strategy for 2010; members will receive a copy of our Platform’s work plan early next year.

Reflect with us on this year’s achievements. Have a good break as the year comes to its end and stay with us in 2010. Feedback is welcome as usual via newsbulletin@intercultural-dialogue.org

Sabine Frank
Secretary General

 

Intercultural Capacity-building in Organisations: Second Regional Practice Exchange
Vienna, 20-21st Nov

Our second Regional Practice Exchange was a meeting of minds from the cultural sector and from minority and migrants’ rights organisations - mostly from Austria, but also from Hungary and Romania. It was hosted by IG Kultur Österreich and took place at WUK Werkstätten und Kulturhaus in Vienna. In two days of lively debate, we explored:

- The case for “political anti-racism” in cultural work (based on input from IG Kultur Österreich):

  • equal access to everybody resident in Austria to grants, scholarships and prizes;

  • proportionate representation in cultural advisory bodies;

  • temporary preferential treatment of migrants and minorities through cultural subsidy programmes;

- Intercultural Dialogue in the sense of the creation of positive inter-personal and intergroup ties as a form of “affirmative action” – proactive inclusion to redress discrimination (based on input by Radostin Kaloianov, Institut für Konfliktforschung)

- Criticism of the concept of interculturalism for “drawing attention away from power relations and their discriminating structures and diverting it to cultural determinants.” (based on input by Rubia Salgado, MAIZ - Autonomes MigrantInnen Zentrum, Linz)

Two workshops provided the opportunity to hear each and every person present: in one we learnt about the self-organisation of migrants in Austria from the early 1960s – initially as identity preserving cultural associations, later as alliances with non-migrant groups to campaign for political participation rights. In another, the visibility of migrants and minorities within the public sphere was hotly debated; some argued that the broader question of participation was more pertinent; others did see the significance of enhancing visibility, as long as it is voluntary and not associated with representative claims. An Open Space discussion brought out yet more of the passions and interests of the participants.

The draft report of the meeting is currently being looked at by the participants of the meeting. The final version will be available to our public early in 2010.

Further Practice Exchanges are being planned for Granada and Rome in the spring of 2010.

Intercultural approaches to community-building and cohesion in European cities
Eurofound conference, Brussels, 30 Nov – 1 Dec

New knowledge of intercultural relations and policies was at the heart of this high-level conference organised by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. Around 200 representatives of European institutions, city networks, research bodies and NGOs looked at the latest work of the CLIP network (Cities for Local Integration Policy for Migrants, http://www.eurofound.europa.eu/areas/populationandsociety/clip.htm) and the Intercultural Cities project (http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/cultureheritage/culture/Cities/Default_en.asp) – which are both jointly supported by the EU and the Council of Europe - as well as a study by the Open Society Institute on ‘Conditions and Quality of Life of Muslims in European Cities’ (http://www.eumap.org/topics/minority/reports/eumuslims/index), and research on the relationship between religion and democracy by the Network of European Foundations (NEF) (http://www.nefic.org/).

CLIP presented the results of the third of its four research modules, on intercultural policies and practices. This comparative analysis of 35 European cities leads to shared learning and recommendations to policy-makers at all levels. The consensus across cities is that intercultural issues are socio-economic at heart; yet policies to improve intercultural relations and good intercultural governance are needed to complement structural integration policies such as those on housing and employment.

Given that the conference took place one day after the Swiss referendum, which produced a ban on minarets, the NEF study on ‘Conflicts over Mosques in Europe’, one in a series of three exploring the challenges of religious pluralism in democracy, received particular attention.

Platform Secretary General Sabine Frank contributed to a roundtable under the question"What can we learn from the conference?" She picked out the CLIP finding that in 30% of cities migrants are not represented in the city councils and related it to an example discussed at the Platform’s recent Vienna meeting: the Wiener Wahlpartie, an alliance which intervened in the Viennese local elections of Spring 2001 in protest at the fact that around a 5th of Vienna’s long-term residents are not entitled to vote. While this grass-roots movement led to the granting of municipal voting rights to foreign nationals, this was later overturned by the Austrian constitutional court. Sabine invited cities to pay more attention to progressive thinking at European level in this regard such as on a European Union citizenship based on residence (rather than on Member State nationality).

That Intercultural Dialogue remains a fuzzy term was evident even at this expert event. It covers many kinds of initiatives: public authorities engaging with ethnic minorities to identify their needs, civic dialogue involving diverse groups to prevent or resolve practical problems in cities, fully-blown policy consultations, but also cross-community socio-cultural events and artistic celebrations of diversity. 70% of CLIP cities invest in the latter, yet ‘intercultural dialogue through food, music and dance’ is often derided by those working on the ‘integration hardware’ of rights and opportunities for minorities.

Intercultural Dialogue as an objective in the EU Culture Programme
Study by the Platform for Intercultural Europe underway

The promotion of intercultural dialogue is one of the three specific objectives of the EU Culture Programme. This is reflected in the criteria which proposals must fulfill in order to obtain financing. However, it is so far poorly understood how intercultural dialogue has been interpreted and implemented in the European cooperation projects and the organisations funded through the programme.

This is why the Platform for Intercultural Europe, in cooperation with Culture Action Europe, is undertaking an analysis of the implementation of the intercultural dialogue objective in the Programme until now. Research with the grant beneficiaries whose projects and work programmes related to intercultural dialogue is underway. The results will be ready for debate in the spring of 2010. The study is intended to serve the formulation of recommendations for the next framework programme beginning in 2014, on which the European Commission will consult next year.

If you are interested in helping shape our platform’s input to the consultation, please write to newsbulletin@intercultural-europe.org

This work could be the first step of looking at how intercultural dialogue is realised across EU funding programmes, and be an incentive to look at national funding programmes too.

Strategic EU Agenda for Culture
Review of objectives and instruments in 2010

The European Commission will produce a report on progress with the implementation of the Agenda for Culture in a Globalising World and on the Council Work Plan for Culture 2008-2010. Both the strategic objectives will be reviewed – intercultural dialogue amongst them - but also the working methods and structures. Main developments concerning culture, including those concerning intercultural dialogue and cultural diversity, will be surveyed across policy fields in the Member States. The Commission on the other hand will assess progress in the mainstreaming of culture across its departments. The report is due early in the second half of 2010 so that a new Council work plan on culture can be decide by the end of the Belgian EU Presidency. The Open Method of Coordination (OMC) will be under scrutiny.

The Platform for Intercultural Europe is a recognised partner in the Structured Dialogue under the Agenda and is therefore invited to contribute to the review. We will renew our demand for an OMC WG on Intercultural Dialogue in this context.

If you are interested in helping to elaborate our arguments as to why European Culture Ministries should engage in co-learning on intercultural policies at the European level, please get in touch: newsbulletin@intercultural-europe.org.

News from our Members
… will appear again in the first newsbulletin issue of 2010

To see who our members are or to become a member please go to our Membership page.




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The Platform for Intercultural Europe was initiated by the European Cultural Foundation (ECF)
and Culture Action Europe, the European Forum for the Arts and Heritage. The Platform is supported by the Network of European Foundations (NEF). NEF is a consortium involving the following partners: Compagnia di San Paolo, European Cultural Foundation, Evens Foundation, Fondation Bernheim, Freudenberg Stiftung, Stiftelsen Riksbankens Jubileumsfond.

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