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Danish EU Presidency starts dialogue on the role of culture in a time of crisis

18 June 2012

The Danish Minister of Culture, Uffe Albaek took the initiative for an Inspiration & Dialogue Meeting in Brussels on 6 June 2012 on the role of culture in the crisis. ELIA Senior Advisor Truus Ophuysen was at the meeting and reports back.

“When something is lacking, we create. Creativity is the foundation of every form of development. This is why we have to accept the challenge and do the impossible.  An active and radical cultural policy welcomes criticism and provocation; it highlights and makes available art as an indispensable stimulus of curiosity, well-being, cultural and societal development. Art is an integral part of such a survival strategy’. - Efva Lilja, ELIA colleague, member of 'team culture'', and one of the main contributors to the event.

The Danish Minister of Culture, Uffe Albaek took the initiative for an Inspiration & Dialogue Meeting in Brussels on 6 June 2012 on the role of culture in the crisis. More open and informal than most Brussels events, the meeting showed that new ideas, new energy and value creation can come out of artistic and creative thinking in a European policy setting.

The Danish presidency created a ‘team culture’, a group of accomplished and knowledgeable artists, thinkers and cultural activists from across Europe, to draw together examples of cultural solutions inspiring political change.  Efva Lilja, ELIA Board member and vice chancellor of DOCH, the University of Dance and Circus in Stockholm, and part of ‘team culture’ mentioned artistic research initiatives as contributions to the key foundation of societal innovations. She also remarked that exaggerated commercial thinking in artistic and cultural educational environments is endangering critical thinking.

Another colleague from higher arts education, Professor Josephine Green from the School of Design Northumbria University, spoke about the Dark Mountain Project, a growing global movement of writers, artists, craftspeople and workers with practical skills who stopped believing in usual  stories our civilization tells itself and strive for societies with less emphasis on material production. Stojan Pelko, former Slovenian minister of Culture, described how Slovenian artists have start putting together their own structures of co-creation. The example from Iceland showed how the country is revising its strategy for the creative industries after the banking collapse. Another idea included an ‘intellectual Rating Agency´ pushing ahead on participation of every European citizen.  In discussions, emphasis was given to creating bonds and collaboration among communities. 

Among the speakers and panelists were a number of representatives from higher arts education. In addition to Efva Lilja and Josephine Green, the Danish Minister of Culture Uffe Albaek is a former principal from the Danish KaosPilots International School of new Business Design & Social Innovation.  Former Vice-rector at the Vilnius Academy of Art and ELIA colleague, and currently the Lithuanian Minister of Culture was one of the panelists.

The follow-up of the meeting is not yet clear but ‘team culture’ will come up with proposals.  Read further at http://www.kum.dk/english/team-culture/

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