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Newsletter 1

Newsletter n.1

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Newsletter 1

  1. 1. CReW Project The CReW project The Cultural Relations at Work (CReW) project is financed by the Erasmus+ Programme, Jean Monnet Activities (EAC-A03-2016). The project is coordinated by the University of Siena in partnership with EUNIC Global. The CReW project consists of three events and a final conference. The first event took place in Morocco (Rabat - February 2018), while the other two are set to take place in the United Kingdom (London – Fall 2018), and Germany (Stuttgart – Spring 2019). The final conference will be in Italy (Siena – Summer 2019) in the framework of the Siena Cultural Relations Forum and will gather selected attendees and speakers from the previous events. Each event focuses on one of the three work streams of the joint communication, “Towards a EU strategy for international cultural relations” (JOIN (2016) 29 final): (1) supporting culture as an engine for sustainable social and economic development (Morocco), (2) reinforcing cooperation on cultural heritage (UK), and (3) promoting culture and inter-cultural dialogue for peaceful inter-community relations (Germany). Participants are selected among local and non-local practitioners, policy-makers and academics. Newsletter 1 Newsletter n.1
  2. 2. CReW Project The project has four main goals: • foster dialogue between the academic world and policy-makers; • cross-fertilize the academic work with recent practices and inform these with the results of the academic research; • improve the quality of professional training for practitioners and policymakers on international cultural relations; and • facilitate better access to content and methodologies that might be relevant for a wider audience of academics, policy-makers and practitioners in cultural relations and cultural diplomacy. The events encourage a combination of practice and theory and are focused on the analysis of specific case studies. This methodological approach has two goals in mind: (1) make the practical knowledge and theories often used in cultural relations more explicit and create a common language for practitioners and policymakers and (2) collect and organize relevant information from the case studies in ways that are applicable and grounded in theoretical social frameworks. The CReW project aims to bridge the gap between what researchers do in academia and what cultural diplomats, policy-makers, and practitioners do in their day-to-day work. The Rabat event: Supporting culture as an engine for sustainable social and economic development in the EU Neighborhood South The first event of the CReW Project took place in Rabat (Morocco) on February 21-22, 2018. Participants – local and non-local cultural diplomats, cultural operators and academics – dealt with the first work stream of the joint communication, “Supporting culture as an engine for sustainable social and economic development”, with special attention to its implementation in the EU Neighborhood South. The conference was kindly hosted by the Instituto Cervantes. Newsletter 2
  3. 3. CReW Project Seminars The first part of the event was devoted to a two-fold analysis of the main actors involved in EU- MENA cultural relations. Riccardo Trobbiani (EL-CSID) offered a qualitative mapping of EU initiatives promoting regional cooperation, while Hicham Khalidi (Art curator) and Dirk De Wit (Head of International Relations, Flanders Arts Institute) addressed the crucial role of local and non- local practitioners and artists. Case Studies Workshop The second part of the event provided an in-depth analysis of four selected case studies and their impact on promoting culture as an engine for sustainable social and economic development in the region. Speakers were asked to go through their cases by addressing three main issues: how the project/programme promoted culture as an engine to social and economic development in EU Neighborhood South; what the programme/project did to promote culture and how its impact was measured; and what the lessons learned were. - “Tfanen – Tunisie Créative” Programme (Matteo Malvani, Tfanen Project manager). Tfanen is a project financed by the EU in the framework of the “supporting programme for culture in Tunisia” in partnership with EUNIC cluster and implemented by The British Council. The objectives of the programme are: to promote cultural diversity in Tunisia; to strengthen access to culture at local, regional, and national level; to support freedom of expression and creativity in the framework of the process of democratization, in line with the spirit of the Tunisian Constitution of 2014. - The “Med-Culture” Programme in the South of the Mediterranean (Fanny Bouquerel, capacity development expert). Med-Culture is a 5-year (2014-2018) regional programme funded by the European Union to accompany partner countries in south of the Mediterranean to develop and improve cultural policies and practices. The countries involved are Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, Palestine, and Libya. - Young Mediterranean Voices (Regina Salanova, Head of Communications – Anna Lindh Foundation). Young Mediterranean Voices (YMV) is the second phase of Young Arab Voices (YAV). YAV was implemented in 8 countries, with the British Council as main partner. While YAV was mainly focused on capacity building on debate skills, YMV goes beyond that by helping participants to contribute to their societies. YMV seeks to continue to build capacity on debate and dialogue skills, but the programme includes a new component: besides the acquisition of skills for leadership and advocacy, it promotes youth inclusion in decision making and offers exchange opportunities by expanding the programme to include European countries. - “Cultures pour vivre ensemble” (Javier Galvan, Director Instituto Cervantes Rabat). This is a project implemented by EUNIC cluster in Morocco. It started with three strategic objectives: (1) to create a Euro-Moroccan platform for cultural production, (2) to strengthen cooperation between the EUNIC cluster and the EU Delegation in Morocco, and (3) to foster knowledge and exchange among stakeholders. The project is now in its second phase of implementation and focuses on post- Newsletter 3
  4. 4. CReW Project colonial identities, support to vulnerable groups, and leadership programs while also providing a platform for cultural and artistic co-creation and co-education. This project is possible through the cooperation of EU national cultural institutes (Instituto Cervantes, Instituto Camões, Institut Français, Goethe Institut, Società Dante Alighieri and Instituto Italiano di Cultura) with Moroccan associations (Les Étoiles de Sidi Moumen; L’Atelier de l’Observatoire; L’Usine; Fondation des Arts Vivants; Fondation Hiba). Conclusion We are witnessing a change in the EU’s approach to the role of culture in international cultural relations (ICR) – from a unilateral approach to more of a bilateral one with multilateral cultural cooperation. The big challenge is how to transform this theoretical shift into practice. Collecting data and involving local stakeholders is essential, as some areas, such as MENA, have multiple programs and actors. There is now momentum for culture to play a stronger role in EU- MENA relations. While this sector is still young in the Neighborhood South, the context is quickly changing, due to pressure from civil society, which is a key actor. We seized the opportunity to bring all stakeholders – local and non-local academics, practitioners and cultural operators – to work on it. During the two days of the event, we analyzed the current framework for cultural cooperation and we focused on a number of related best practices. We identified strengths and weaknesses and drafted recommendations accordingly. Recommendations for strengthening the cultural cooperation framework in the EU Neighborhood South -Consult a wide range of stakeholders (civil society organizations, local public institutions, local cultural operators) to promote collaborations based on priority needs. A participatory approach involving regular consultations of local stakeholders is paramount. This can be done through general networking and communicating, translating publications into local languages to better engage with Newsletter 4 In Morocco, culture is seen by many actors, including public administrators, as both an important resource and, to an extent, a potential threat to political stability. It is essential to understand how to communicate about cultural action and how to work together at the local level. This means engaging the public sector and emphasizing the economic impact of culture and how it relates to international relations and the needs of local cultural actors. Available funds are often awarded to flagship initiatives, which is counter-productive for local, smaller, initiatives that do not receive financial help. In Jordan, the positive results of the Med-Culture Programme show that there are local actors interested in implementing a strong policy on culture. The ministry was interested in learning from the EU’s policy and organized a summit that was attended by different ministries and local cultural actors for joint discussions. This meeting generated trust between stakeholders who do not normally work together. This cooperation was mutually beneficial for both the Ministry of culture and civil society actors.
  5. 5. CReW Project the local community, being open and receptive to change, and seeking out co-funding opportunities. - Engage civil society organizations (CSOs) to encourage resilience through culture – their receptivity for change makes any investment in culture relevant. - Engage local public institutions to address local needs and implement structural change. Working with local ministries and governments in order to understand the dynamics of civil society is essential. For example, the wide and inclusive consultation process put in place by Med-Culture in Jordan should be applied to other programmes included in the wider conversation of EU international cultural relations. - Involve local cultural operators in decision-making to foster convergence between donors’ requirements and operators’ missions and creative skills. It is important to consider the cultural values of dialogue, reciprocity and co-creation. how can culture nourish these agendas of diplomacy and economy? Recommendations for implementing an EU regional strategy for culture - The first steps of implementation showed that there is some discrepancies between the new institutional narrative of cultural relations and the traditional public diplomacy approach. We need theoretical reflection, quickly followed by concrete actions, to avoid undermining trust and reducing engagement. - Development of a sustainable EU regional strategy on culture in the region is timely but all these actions are fragmented. There is a need to establish communication channels and avoid duplication and competition among actors with the same goals. Multiple strategies “at variable geometry” are needed. - It is crucial to understand who is going to implement the EU strategy for international cultural relations. EUNIC has the experience and is a privileged actor who could successfully act as a mediator between different stakeholders and foster cultural cooperation from region to region. However, in some MENA countries, there are local cultural players that are much stronger than foreign cultural institutes or their own ministries. There is a need to keep them in the loop. - Concerning EUNIC, as the experience from “Culture pour vivre ensemble” seems to prove, it is important to strengthen the MENA clusters and their coordination. This should be addressed when defining of a common strategy. EUNIC clusters should become the true liaisons between local stakeholders and policymakers. To do this, structural guidance by EU member states is needed, and coordination with local interlocutors may be fostered by providing incentives. - Establish a Community of Practice to strengthen exchanges and networking in the region. Newsletter 5