The European Culture Forum attracted over 800 participants from all over Europe and the world, to the Flagey Art Centre in Brussels on 20th-21st October.
Stakeholders from diverse areas of the cultural sector gathered together to exchange their thoughts on the most pressing issues facing culture today, including digitisation, skills for culture in a globalised world, regional investment in culture, role of culture and the EU's external relations in democratic processes.
Policy-makers and experts from a range of cultural fields were invited to speak, and participants were able to make their views heard in the Q&A sessions. In addition, the smaller, more intimate information sessions allowed participants with an interest in specific topics to ask detailed questions on issues such as the European Creative Industries Alliance and the future Creative Europe programme, to name just a few.
The debates successfully showcased the diversity of the cultural sector and what it has to offer to society, especially in the current economic climate; many voiced the urgent need for culture to be placed at the heart of the political agenda.
As quoted from one of the Forum's speakers:
The forum is wonderful initiative that brings everyone round a table and (hopefully) helps design a better common policy. It is also a very good experience for cultural entrepreneurs to hear what other actors (be it in other cultural sectors or policy makers and/or public servants) have to say, to measure our differences and open common goals and to find out what solutions have been put in place by others or what problems they are encountering.
Co-President, PIAS Entertainment Group;
Co-President, IMPALA (Independent Music Companies Association)
In the evening of 20th, participants were invited to a spectacular concert of Mozart, Ravel and Rossini performed by the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, in celebration of the Orchestra's 30th anniversary.
This key event, organised by the European Commission every two years, plays an important role in promoting cooperation within the cultural sector, as it offers stakeholders a unique opportunity to meet and form new ties and partnerships.
I believe that what is at stake with the second information revolution is nothing less than the possibility of the emergence of a new European cultural identity – an identity rooted in the richness of our diversity and yet confidently open to the rest of the world. An identity fit for a new century and a changing world. This is not work that politicians can do alone. This is why culture matters, and why this Forum matters.
Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, European Commission
Watch this space for additional updates on the forum!