Doris Pack keynote address

   

Moderator: 

Tony Attard
Director of Strategy, Arts Council Malta  

Rapporteur:  

Aleksandra Uzelac
Senior Research Associate and Head of Department for Culture and Communication, Institute for Development and International Relations 

Key words: 

European Parliament; cultural diversity; intercultural dialogue; cultural and creative industries; access to culture and mobility 


   

 

Summary

 

The keynote addressed the main issues and trends in cultural policy making in the EU context and the EP’s role and initiatives. The speech pointed to the importance of cultural approach in the middle of the present EU crisis due to financial crisis, rising nationalisms across the Europe, refugee crisis, etc. Even with the described crisis, it was pointed out that for many people coming to EU from oppressed regions EU still represents a place of freedom, democracy and economic stability.  EP position was emphasised regarding culture’s role in the integration process and its belief that Europe integration should be rooted on cultural values. In the continuation, the EP’s diverse initiatives regarding cultural sector have been presented.

It was pointed out that EU developed primarily on the economic integration logic and due to the issue of subsidiarily, culture has been only dealt with in the later phase when it was introduced in the Maastricht treaty.

In the early phase of the EU project, economic dimension of culture has not been emphasised. In 2007, with European Agenda for Culture, discourse has changed and culture has been recognised as a factor that should help achieving EU’s strategic objectives (prosperity, solidarity and security). Discourse changed to emphasising the role of creative and cultural industries as a resource for creativity and innovation, becoming the main keywords.

EP and its Committee of Culture and Education has been supporting and promoting cultural diversity issues through its resolutions and legislative and budgetary actions, tackling issues such as artists’ rights and mobility issues, cultural heritage, intercultural dialogue as well as audiovisual and digital agendas.

EP addressed EU policy development particularly addressing EC proposal for the Creative Europe Programme, striving to ensure that Council of Ministers understands the importance of culture and that new programme includes various instruments supporting cultural sector (e.g. Financial guarantee facility)

ECC initiative have managed to put cities in the spotlight during their holding of the title European Capital of Culture and has promoted better understanding among EU peoples that travelled to ECC destinations and learned about European shared identities.

Through Media program in the past 25 years, European identity has been promoted and real issues have been put in the spotlight, as through European cinematography possibilities have been given to artists to tell relevant stories and citizens could get ideas how to deal with the problems. Through EP’s LUX Prize in the past 10 years relevant issues related to European reality has been brought closer to the citizens and the subtitling provided wider across-the-Europe receptions of the movies.

Cultural diversity issue is a cornerstone of the EU policy and even though main focus presently is on economical values, richness of cultures should not be forgotten and threat of homogenisation should be dealt with. Intercultural dialogue, based on open and respectful exchange is very important issue. Through Creative Europe programme and Erasmus+ programme this has been promoted as those programmes are open to partners from countries beyond EU borders.

The Digital shift has affected cultural and audiovisual sector and this has brought forward many changes, allowing also for further instrumentalisation of culture for economic and social objectives. In such a context it is important to fight to establish cultural objectives as equally relevant ones and need to develop cultural strategies. This also translates into EU foreign policy where presently cultural dimension of the external relations have been put into EU focus, especially with the present migrant crisis and international conflicts. EP initiated discussions to convince ambassadors that culture needs to be part of this process.

Keynote concluded summing up that even culture has entered in the spotlight of the EU policies but this is not enough. Culture needs continuation and it is important that politicians and other stakeholders understand complex roles and meanings of culture. Narrow focus on creative and cultural industries and its economic dimension needs to be broaden and the challenge is how to benefit (and preserve) cultural diversity in the age of globalisation.

 

 

Examples provided of leadership development

 

Erasmus and Erasmus+ programmes have been mentioned as providing young people across the Europe with the opportunity to engage in EU mobility and learn about other European cultures through direct personal experiences.

 

 

Problems or obstacles to developing leadership in the sector
  Obstacles addressed in the keynote included free movement of people and artists’ mobility and taxation issues of their precarious work. Access to culture issue that is linked with copyright regime is a particularly big issue that needs to be addressed. Copyright is an important instrument of cultural policy but it needs to be reformed to insure that artists need to be able to earn enough so that their creativity does not lead to poverty. Providing instruments that prevents that is important such as e.g. Collective management of copyright through collective societies (and their interoperability) and need to pressure companies to remove geographical controls over the digital content