The theatre company Image Aiguë, the civil society initiative “A Soul for Europe” and the artistic cooperation network Europe & Cies organized the “Forum Lyon 2013 – A Soul for Europe” during the 6th Printemps d’Europe festival, in partnership with the Goethe Institut in Lyon.
At its borders, in a Mediterranean political and social transformation, Europe is experiencing a strong migratory pressure from its neighbours and more distant countries. The Forum took on the question of how immigration, and more broadly EU international relations, is linked with the issues “A Soul for Europe” traditionally debates: European identity, culture and citizenship. How can culture and the arts foster the integration of immigrants and a general community-building process? How do we define “citizenship” when facing people who do not have legal citizenship?
It became clear that culture has a two-fold identity, being at the same time the cause and the cure for division. It was agreed that citizenship cannot be seen merely as a list of rights and obligations of who possesses a European passport, but rather as active participation in society. Apart from the general topics, very concrete questions of artist’s visa policy and cultural funding emerged. Appreciation of the artists’ work for the community and appropriate funding for culture was an underlying issue of many discussions.