Amplifying Culture for the Future of Europe
As the final report of the Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE) is being delivered to the presidents of the EU institutions in Strasbourg on 9 May, civil society representatives, activists, artists and cultural workers remind decision-makers about the crucial role of culture and the arts in building a democratic, open, diverse, and inclusive future for Europe.
On May 9, Europe Day, civil society representatives, artists, activists, cultural workers and young people come together to make their voices heard by decision-makers. Now as the Conference on the Future of Europe is coming to an end, communities across the EU call for continuous dialogue with and inclusive engagement of less represented groups in public policy design at the national and EU level. Against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine and the multiple challenges Europe is facing, citizens call for a central place for culture as a means of creating free, democratic and cohesive societies. In order to amplify their voices, these underrepresented communities in 12 European countries launch the #AmplifyinAction campaign to disrupt and urge decision-makers from local to national to EU levels to see their communities in full force and hear and react to their proposals. The #AmplifyinAction campaign is accompanied by a series of online and offline debates and conversations presenting cultural perspectives to European challenges, making Europe more inclusive, more democratic, more culturally aware and a better place to live.
The #AmplifyinAction campaign is a result of a year-long collaboration among communities across 12 European countries working in social, educational, and artistic modes. Over 350 motivated people debated what the priorities of policymaking should be at both the national and European levels and proposed a diversity of ideas, concerns and recommendations in the shaping of the future of Europe. In the “Amplify: Make the Future of Europe Yours” project, participants from Denmark, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden held community listening sessions to investigate the challenges faced in the cultural sector, reflect on what is often misrepresented about their communities, raise issues that need more attention across Europe and question what makes a “better Europe?”
“I hope that whatever we are able to bring up to policy-makers, they will really be listening. We are at a point that we do not have much time left to waste. Communities are here giving it all, providing their bodies to be here and I hope policymakers will listen”, – says Rocío Nogales Muriel, one of the participants of the Amplify project.
On Europe Day, Amplify participants will meet in twelve countries to strategise and execute a live social media campaign – #AmplifyinAction – appealing for urgent action to policymakers, cultural leaders and EU institutions.
#AmplifyinAction campaign is part of the Europe Day’22 hybrid event, with live programmes taking place in Bozar, Brussels, De Balie, Amsterdam as well as an ongoing live stream via europeday.eu.
Jointly organised by Culture Action Europe, the major European network of cultural organisations (Brussels), the Centre for fine arts – BOZAR (Brussels), the European Cultural Foundation (Amsterdam) and De Balie (Amsterdam), Europe Day’22 will focus on the war in Ukraine and will spotlight artists, cultural workers and activists from Ukraine.
“Some believe that a nation as a territory can be forcibly sewn together from pieces, bought with money, marked with boundaries on a map. I believe a country is a product of its intellectual and cultural efforts. The identity of a nation is created by writers, represented by actors, drawn by artists, designers, and architects”, says Polina Moroz, visual artist and activist from Ukraine, who will open the Europe Day’22 and #AmplifyinAction program at 10am CEST, live streamed on europeday.eu.
Other highlights of the day include the launch of a May Day Magazine #3 devoted entirely to the war in Ukraine (13:00 CEST on europeday.eu and 17:00 CEST in Bozar, Brussels); Francesca Vincentie, a folk, RnB, and pop artist and storyteller will perform her songs telling stories of climate change, migration and identity throughout the event (12:00 CEST on europeday.eu); Nine arts students from the Netherlands who will open their digital exhibition using culture as a language for political change. These artworks, a result of their work with different communities as part of the Amplify project, create awareness of a problem and speak to policymakers about necessary changes (14:00 CEST on europeday.eu); Director, activist, and founder of Queer Studio, Viktoria Naraxsa will present an immersive performance based on letters from Ukrainian refugees to their loved ones. Together with the letters, video installations by Ukrainian performer, director and actress Yuliia Savchenko and Pussy Riot member, director and screenwriter Anna Kuzminykh will play a central role (19:00 CEST, Bozar, Brussels). In the evening, Europe Talkshow: Culture! Solidarity! Future? questions how artists, creatives, activists, and politicians can show unity and solidarity with Ukraine while combating divisive forces and narratives that work against our common future. (20:00 CEST, De Balie, Amsterdam and on europeday.eu)
The event is moderated by Reine Elisabeth Nkiambote, television journalist and podcastmaker and Mick ter Reehorst, founder of Are We Europe media collective.