What is it?

The New Narrative is a project designed to give a voice to the artistic, cultural, scientific and intellectual communities to articulate what Europe stands for today and tomorrow. The purpose of this is to contribute to bringing Europe closer to its citizens and reviving a "European" spirit via the arts and sciences.

Central to this is the aim to identify a new, encompassing narrative that takes into account the evolving reality of the European continent, as well as highlighting that the EU is not solely about the economy and growth, but also about cultural unity and common values in a globalised world. Europe's core values of human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, and respect for human rights are an essential part of the European project.

Why is it important?

The initiative is vital to restoring the waning confidence in Europe. A "New Renaissance" is needed, whereby art, science and culture can shape the European Union's current society and lay the foundations for the future.

A sustainable future for Europe requires the participation and engagement of all sectors of society. Citizens from all walks of life are invited to engage in this debate about our common future.

Culture has an essential role to play in the shaping of the Union's curent and future societies. It is a key principle of the European project, and must remain firmly entrenched in our ideas if we are to succeed in achieving a truly inclusive, just, and diverse union.

What has been done so far?

Responding to the call of the European Parliament and Commission, a group of prominent cultural figures present a declaration entitled "The Mind and Body of Europe" in March 2014.

In October 2014 the contributions to the project were published as a book, " The Mind and Body of Europe: A New Narrative ", to provide an accessibile, attracting, and lasting tool to promote continued debate on the issue.

The relaunch of the New Narrative took place in February 2016 at an event held in Brussels attend by Tibor Navracsics, the EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport.

What's next?

The European Parliament has approved a Preparatory Action for 2015, and the Commission will develop a variety of actions with a focus on young people. The engagement of cultural, scientific, and artistic sectors in the ongoing discussion on the many narratives on Europe is to be continued with specific actions taking place in the Member States.

More information on the next steps can be found on the new New Narrative webpage.

New Narrative Debates

The "Utopia & Europa" Salons were organised within the context of CONTOUR 7, a Moving Image Biennale in Mechelen curated by Nicola Setari, and the European Commission's New Narrative for Europe.

Contour 7 is dedicated to the humanist and statesman Thomas More, canonised as a martyr and author of probably the most debated book in political theory; Utopia.

The Utopia & Europa salons are inspired by the questions at the heart of More's Utopia. They are hosted in a dedicated structure placed physically between the first and third editions of Utopia, presented in the exhibition spaces of CONTOUR 7.

The central question adressed is the role of artists, writers, and thinkers in Europe today. The salons also explore how their utopian ideas form an essential contribution to the realisation of the common good and contribute to Europe's search for a contemporary narrative.


Utopia & Europa Salon #1 - Luuk van Middelaar, Fabrice Hyber and Ingo Niermann on The Question Of Good Council To The Powerful

Date: 7/10/2015

Subject: On the Question of Good Council to the Powerful

Introduction: Nicola Setari and Michel Magnier

Moderator: Chus Martínez


  • Luuk van Middelaar
  • Fabrice Hyber
  • Ingo Niermann

Venue: Hof van Busleyden, Mechelen, Belgium


Utopia & Europa Salon #2 - Chiara Fumai, Nedko Solakov and Philippe Van Parijs on The European Union: Eutopia or Dystopia for Egalitarians?

Date: 14/10/2015

Subject: The European Union: Eutopia or Dystopia for Egalitarians?

Introduction: Nicola Setari

Moderator: Hilde van Gelder


  • Chiara Fumai
  • Nedko Solakov
  • Philippe van Parijs

Venue: Hof van Busleyden, Mechelen, Belgium


Utopia & Europa Salon #3 - Andrea Büttner, Patricia Falguières and A Dog Republic on The Relevance Of The Renaissance For Contemporary Europe

Date: 28/10/2015

Subject: On the Relevance of the Renaissance for Contemporary Europe

Introduction: João Delgado

Moderator: Nicola Setari


  • Abdrea Büttner
  • Patricia Falguières
  • A Dog Republic

Venue: Hof van Busleyden, Mechelen, Belgium


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