Our areas of work

We are launching Culture Solutions Europe in a context of uncertainty and questioning of the European integration project, while technological change is affecting the ways Humanity deals with an ecologically threatened planet.

At the crossroads of these challenges, the work of Culture Solutions Europe will therefore focus on 5 priority themes:

  • Cultural action & legitimacy
  • Digital and Internet governance
  • Cultural relations
  • Cultural diplomacy
  • Intercultural coexistence & language skills

 

 

Culture action and legitimacy

There is a legitimacy crisis of the EU project.

The success of European integration project is being forgotten or denied by political forces exploiting Eurosceptic fear and anger:

EU External action could be more transparent and participatory.

It is still very much dominated by national governments’ foreign policy and security administrations and large cities’ diplomacy.

 

Traditionally, EU external action has been very eurocentric and in certain parts of the world, influenced by the colonial past of several Member States.

This contradicts the diffusion of a positive and trustable image of Europe and Europeans.

On the global stage, the way the EU has championed multilateralism is being challenged by other powers and societal models.

We will contribute to a clearer understanding of tensions between the idea of Europe on one hand and the reality of EU legitimacy crisis on the other.

 

Culture Solutions will analyse the international impact and consequences of euro-scepticism on EU international cultural relations and on the image of Europe and the EU in the world.

 

In practice, this will mean, in collaboration with creative professionals:

  • Study and engage with cities and local governments on their way of combining their cultural policies with their international and European engagement.

 

  • Address cultural heritage diplomacy and cultural heritage management policies as a concrete interface of internal and external policies.

 

  • Analyse more deeply the Eurocentric and post-colonial paradigms at play in EU external action and identify its effect in relations with societies, governments and institutions from other continents.

 

 

Digitalization of cultural action & Internet governance

 

The spread of digital tools and usage to the cultural sector is having a transformative impact on

  • the ways culture and the arts are produced, promoted, shared, and
  • how they reach audiences and customers who consume and benefit from them.

Technological progress goes faster than digital literacy and large parts of the population do not have equal access to digital skills, tools and assets.

Will a specific European model of Internet governance emerge?

How will new technologies and scientific innovation interact with the arts and the creation of meaning in our societies?

How will this trend influence the ways Europeans and the EU interact with the rest of the world and what are the implications for EU policies?

How can an EU Digital Single Market and EU research programmes contribute to digital creativity and trust-building with other continents?

 

Our work on the theme of digitalisation and internet governance will pursue three main objectives:

 

Objective 1:

Contribute, from a cultural perspective, to the definition and emergence of a European model of Internet Regulation.

 

Objective 2:

  • Put the digital and technological dimensions more prominently on the EU agenda of cultural relations and cultural diplomacy and
  • Ensure creative and fruitful crossovers between arts, science, technology and digital expertise.

 

Objective 3:

Clarify the debates and priorities for the cultural components of an EU digital diplomacy

Cultural relations

 

 

Culture Solutions will pursue several key objectives in its activities.

First, Culture Solutions will build long-term and trust-based relationships with key cultural networks, professional groups and cultural institutions dealing with external cultural relations.

We will listen and try to understand the variety of their needs to best implement EU international cultural relations policies.

Second, we will provide all stakeholders involved in EU external cultural relations with timely and specific analysis and expertise of what is happening on the EU level.

It will ensure that:

  • cultural professionals,
  • local governments,
  • the private sector
  • Member States

are timely and sufficiently informed of trends and critical junctures in EU international cultural relations policies so that they can take their due part in shaping this new growing agenda.

Third, our group will engage with creative professionals and artists to co-design initiatives that will contribute to

  • innovative
  • imaginative and
  • refreshed EU external action

with the view to making it

  • more inspiring
  • more credible and
  • more attractive

inside and outside the EU.

Cultural diplomacy

 

 

The first objective for Culture Solutions will be to ensure that information about ongoing EU cultural diplomacy processes is circulated and shared in a transparent and timely way.

We will constructively analyse policy making processes, taking into account the diversity of interests at play.

 

By doing so, we hope to pursue a second objective that is to contribute to general skills enhancement of all organisations and institutions that are involved in cultural diplomacy:

  • EU institutions and delegations need more training on cultural cooperation;
  • Member States and EUNIC staff need more trainings on the Europeanisation of their work;
  • Cultural professionals need more training on internationalisation and cooperation opportunities offered by new EU policies in the field of cultural diplomacy and cultural relations.

 

Thirdly, we intend to open some space for more regular:

  • multi-stakeholder exchanges
  • mutual learning
  • know-how circulation among all relevant professionals (EU institutions and delegations, cultural professionals, Member States government officials)

 

We assume this will contribute to increase the quality of EU policy-making in the field of cultural diplomacy and cultural relations.

 

 

Intercultural coexistence & languages

We live in a world where social media are used to amplify cultural confrontation.

At the same time climate change and threats against the planet by humanity as a whole have opened a new phase in history.

People and societies have never been so interconnected due to globalisation, migration flows and communications technology. Yet this does not mean that societies are culturally converging everywhere.

Dignity and recognition of the other is not taken for granted.

On the contrary, cultural differences might actually deepen in certain cases.

Talking about the universal value of human rights in certain places for instance, is not that simple, and require a specific communication and cultural approach.

 

The need for intercultural sensitivity and trust-building among people and communities seems to be at a peak.

 

Intercultural sensitivity and languages is a complex and heterogeneous work area.

 

Our first objective will be to enhance a systematic intercultural approach among European professionals in EU international cultural relations.

As the American scholar Milton Bennett was saying about ERASMUS: “intercultural contact is good but not enough” to equip people for intercultural communication.

We will partner with intercultural sensitivity experts and training professionals to deliver trainings to

  • EU institutions staff
  • EUNIC staff
  • cultural professionals
  • and other interested organisations and individuals.

 

Our second objective will consist in better understanding the role of

  • memory policies
  • the legacy of colonialism

in contemporary EU international cultural relations.

 

Although these are topics already dealt with by academics, literature and the arts, they have not really reached EU policy-making circles.

We consider that these issues have become a collective European legacy that has to be addressed collectively and not just as purely national or community “memory”.

Opening up spaces for

  • exchanges
  • debates
  • artistic creation and creative production

in a European and global perspective will pave new grounds for trust-building and concrete cooperation and partnerships.

 

As for the role of languages in EU international cultural relations, both as working languages as well as vehicles of intercultural dialogue, we will work towards

  • the formulation of a specific and more strategic EU agenda on languages in international cultural relations

that go beyond

  • existing cooperation frameworks,
  • multilateral division of labour,
  • strategic communications and
  • public diplomacy practices.