Dear Friends and Colleagues
As supporters of “A Soul for Europe,” partners, and participants in A Cultural Coalition for a Citizen’s Europe’s discussions, we want to take this opportunity to introduce the outcomes of our 2012 launch of the initiative and to update you on upcoming events!
A Cultural Coalition for a Citizens' Europe is a new programme/civil society initiative that aims to strengthen participation of citizens from all sectors of society in building a better Europe. We involve citizens, including politicians, artists, intellectuals, and civil society leaders, in shaping the future Europe. November 2012 saw 3 high-profile events in Berlin, Brussels and Amsterdam. Activities in 2013 include a series of participatory forums, meetings with political leaders across Europe, and the presentation of policy proposals. We aim to trigger thinking, to raise visibility, and to propose actions about culture’s contribution to a citizens’ Europe. In a true multi-directional process of engagement we aim to empower citizens in the EU integration process. The initiative is supported by the EU programme “Citizens for Europe”.
We look forward to working together with you!
A Cultural Coalition Kicks off in 2012
Three events took place in November: the Berlin Conference 2012 and its pre-conference “Cities for Europe”, the Brussels Conversations 2012 and the Amsterdam Conversation 2012, all leading up to the kick-off of the European Year of Citizens 2013. Our partner Alt Art in Romania also contributed with their workshop and conference on “European Cultural Capitals 2020+” in Cluj, Romania. Our programme for the year is dedicated to strengthening citizen participation in building Europe with active citizens developing new definitions of democracy and participation.
Berlin Conference 2012: Launching the coalition
The Berlin Conference on 10 November 2012 was the kick-off to the activities under the umbrella of the “Cultural Coalition for a Citizens’ Europe”. Panels on Democracies at Risk, Cities, Citizens, and their Responsibilities and Environmental Challenges: Cultural Approaches brought strong results. Panelists raised the need for a better understanding and definition of democracy and citizenship. We were urged not to forget that politicians are citizens themselves: that the divide is not as great as some of the rhetoric of the day suggested.
CITIES FOR EUROPE: inviting city leaders to join the coalition
We invited mayors, artists, cultural actors and active citizens to a conference at the Berlin town hall on 9 November 2012 to discuss how cities can contribute to the creation of a “Europe of citizens”. It was produced in cooperation with the City of Berlin, the City of Guimarães, European Capital of Culture 2012, and the Federal Agency for Civic Education. Projects and initiatives from many European cities were presented, showing how Europe is experienced and how important it is to use culture as a tool for the creation of a “Europe of citizens”. The signing of the Berlin Declaration “Cities for Europe” was a commitment from participants not just towards Europe, but at the same time to engage in a vivid, colourful, and diverse Europe.
European Cultural Capitals 2020+: Mapping the journey
Cultural producers, city planners, citizens and experts from past, present and future European Capitals of Culture came together in Cluj on November 14, 2012, to envision how cities in Europe will look like in ten years from now and what expectations citizens have from the ECoC programme in the future. Following the conference, the cultural contributors in Cluj, along with the international guests were invited to a collective process of vision and analysis aiming to set the milestones of the necessary planning that will lead Cluj to a successful application for the European Capital of Culture title.
Check out the photos. Contact: Rarita Zbranca, rarita (at) altart.org, AltArt Foundation for more info.
Brussels Conversations 2012: Setting the Action Points
The European House for Culture (EHfC) and partners organized the Brussels Conversations 2012 on A Cultural Coalition for a Citizens’ Europe on 16-17 November 2012. The discussions set the key action points to be developed during the European Year of Citizens 2013, on such topics as arts and culture bringing “added value” to citizenship, fear and resentment, and the state of democracy in Europe. It was clear that the voices and actions of leaders are needed in the shaping of a new narrative for the future of Europe, which was one of the calls to action made at the Brussels Conversations 2012. An over-arching theme of the discussion was the responsibility of cultural actors, revealing that it is not only politicians that carry responsibility – cultural actors must also play their part.
AMSTERDAM CONVERSATION 2012: The Cultural Dimension of Citizenship
The Amsterdam Conversation 2012: The Cultural Dimension of Citizenship held on the 30 November 2012 incorporated the progress made in Berlin and Brussels to further develop the Cultural Coalition’s action plan. It highlighted that there are existing platforms to connect European citizens but these are not used properly, therefore the goal must be to strengthen or improve the existing ones and facilitate citizens’ participation in them instead of just looking for new tools. The evening lecture “Ethics, Banking and Citizenship” by George Möller (Chairman of the Board of Trustees of The Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets) and following debate focused on issues such as: how should ideally the responsibility be shared among the nation states, the financial sector, the European Union, global organisations? And what is the role of us, citizens, in this process?
The next Advisory Board and Advisory Board Working Group meeting will be held in Brussels on 26 Mach 2013. The Board is composed of 15 European Parliamentarians from different parties and with different nationalities. The working session is taking place twice a year. It will set next strategic steps in advancing a sustainable discourse between civil society and European politics as two out of three action nodes in the build-up of the “Cultural Coalition” “A Soul for Europe” is working on.
"Forum Guimarães 2013" aims to foster in depth thinking and collective analysis about the nature of the citizens’ participation throughout the different phases of Guimaraes ECoC 2012. The focus of the forum and of the related activities is an attempt to gauge the concrete contribution of the organization of the ECoC to the strengthening of the values, awareness and sense of belonging in terms of European citizenship.
This one day forum involving local and European political decision makers, civil society and artists will be opened on the evening of 24th of May with Les Chantiers artistic performance of Image Aiguë and will focus on the issue of citizenship and migration from and Euro-Mediterranean perspective.
14 -15 June 2013 Forum Krakow
Concept in development.
One Day of discussion in the frame of the Cultural Coalition for a Citizens’ Europe with the aim to establish a concept of citizenship that reflects the multiple loyalties of individuals, as opposed to the passport-based citizenship of nation states.
This one day forum focuses on urban regeneration through the arts; access to culture; active citizenship; and other topics discussed from local, national and EU perspectives. It brings together decision makers from the municipality of Sofia and the Bulgarian government, as well as representatives of the EU Commission and European Parliament. The focus of the forum and of the related activities is an attempt to gauge the concrete contribution of the organization of the ECoC to the strengthening of the values, awareness and sense of belonging in terms of European citizenship.
The Strategy Group was set up and its work is made possible with ongoing financial support from the Robert Bosch Stiftung.
With the support of the "Europe for Citizens Programme" of the European Union
The “Cultural coalition for a Citizens’ Europe” is initiated by “A Soul for Europe”’s Strategy Group and its partner organisations:
European House for Culture, Genootschap Felix Meritis/Felix Meritis Foundation, Setepés, Stiftung Zukunft Berlin, AltArt Foundation, Foundation for Urban Projects and Research, Image Aiguë, and N-ost.
E.E.I.G. "A Soul for Europe"
c/o European House of Culture
Place Eugène Flagey 18
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