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Ecoc 2020-2033, Best practices guide and toolkit for evaluation

Novi Sad 2022, City Hall Novi Sad 2022, City Hall Photo by V.Velickovic

The multidisciplinary network "CECCUT" aims to analyse the European Capital of Culture initiative as a tool for urban cohesion in cross-border areas of the European Union. The focus will be on three main themes proposed by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union concerning the European Capitals of Culture for the period 2020-2033.

1)     Strengthening the sense of belonging to a common cultural space.
The CECCUT network will address the issue of cross-border sense of belonging and more generally, the identities through the prism of culture.

2)     Supporting social inclusion through cultural policies with particular attention to young people and deprived social groups.
The CECCUT network will address the issue of social inclusion through cultural policies in a cross-border context, including the social inclusion of young generations and disadvantaged Europeans in border regions, but also the social integration of non-European migrants often arrested at borders.

3)     Promoting links between cultural and creative sectors with sectors related to education, research, environment and urban development.
The CECCUT network will address the issue of cross-border urban development through cultural policies, as national borders can lead to a range of differences.

The Authors are: Christian Lamour & Frédéric Durand, Luxembourg Institute of SocioEconomic Research (LISER); Corina Turșie & Nicolae Popa, West University of Timișoara; Pauline Bosredon & Thomas Perrin, University of Lille; Fabienne Leloup Catholic University of Louvain.

“Culture, nature, identity, Europe—how can they be integrated and rethought in the context of a region that is reinventing itself at the heart of Europe?  This is the question that Esch 2022 asks under the slogan ‘Remix’”, says Sam Tanson Minister for Culture of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

“However, it is also a question that arises more broadly when we talk about the transformation of the living environment, and beyond that, the role of culture and cultural heritage as intrinsic and inseparable elements of sustainable development, social and territorial cohesion, the environment and biodiversity, as well as the fulfilment and well-being of all citizens in a Europe of solidarity and peace. A European Capital of Culture is therefore not only about cultures. And culture, as a value in itself, is something that goes far beyond the strictly artistic and creative field. Indeed, culture concerns us all, and it is only through the involvement of all local and regional actors—not just cultural ones—in the planning and realisation of a European Capital of Culture that it can generate the expected effects and provide sustainable results.

 In the same vein, it is equally important to shed light on the objectives and potential effects of a European Capital of Culture in a multifaceted way. These are particularly promising, especially in the context of Esch 2022, because of the inclusion of several municipalities on both sides of the border and the fact that the whole of this constantly developing cross-border region can benefit. It is precisely these processes of crossborder urban cohesion and territorial integration that this guide highlights, as well as clarifying the relevant challenges.

 Indeed, the deep roots of this crossborder region give a very special significance to the general objective of the European Capitals of Culture action, which aims, among other things, to strengthen the feeling of belonging to a common cultural space. This region has much to tell us about what is part of the history and foundations of Europe: from fortified cities to open borders, and from industrial wealth to cultural, scientific and technological wealth, it participates in the joint construction of a new future on the basis of a common past and values that could not be shared more in this cross-border area that symbolises Europe so well”.

 “Fruitful, lasting and powerful projects often arise out of thin air. Such was the case with the idea of a European capital of culture, which was born in a surreptitious, unexpected way” says Jack Lang, Minister of Culture under François Mitterrand.

“It was in Athens, in December 1984. Melina Mercouri, the Greek Minister of Culture, and I were meeting our colleagues from the 11 member countries of the European Union. The day before, we had met in an Athenian restaurant to think about a proposal we could submit to them.

A simple idea came to us: designate a European city as the European Capital of Culture each year. It would bring together creators, artists, exhibitions and cultural events from all over Europe. We did not think at the time that it would have such an explosive destiny. The chosen cities took it upon themselves to imagine unprecedented events and to bring together the most brilliant artists. Not only was the echo strong around the world, but the event also had a profound effect on the city, the region and the country. Even more impressive was the lasting impact of the designation on European capitals of cities in apparent decline, which had been large working-class and industrial cities. These cities became cultural capitals of Europe and led strong initiatives that gave them a new impetus, a new future and a new hope.

The example of Glasgow (1990) is remarkable in this respect. Experience shows that the idea of naming a large national capital, already endowed with important cultural infrastructures, is not always a good one. Matera, a small Italian city, was a much more resplendent capital of culture in 2019 than Paris in 1989, where the municipality was not interested in the project, as France was in the middle of its bicentenary. From this point of view, the choice of cross-border cities as European capitals of culture would be a step in the right direction. They are indeed at the heart of transnational cultural exchanges. It is to be hoped that today the European capitals will lead the authorities of the Union to imagine a real European policy for culture. This new European policy would not replace that of the states. Such a European impetus would certainly carry the whole world along with it”.

The report here

The website here

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