ON THE BLOG: Spotlight on Greece

What is it about the cultural sector in Greece that makes European projects so appealing? What do Greek organisations really think about working with UK partners? Kostas Spanos from Creative Europe Desk Greece shares his insights.

How has participation in Creative Europe affected Greece? 

"Creative Europe undoubtedly has a positive impact on the Greek cultural and creative sectors. Even though financial support is always important and welcomed, the greatest advantage of the programme is the networking opportunities that are offered. 

"Being active in the south east of Europe, Greek cultural organisations face substantial challenges connecting with the main cultural trends of the rest of Europe.

"To put it in a nutshell, Creative Europe encourages Greek cultural stakeholders to actively look for more international cooperation and participate in cultural projects that bring them closer to the cultural mainstream."

Can you tell us a success story? 

"Creative Europe is itself a success story. It is concrete proof that cultural organisations from different national backgrounds can cooperate and offer tremendous results in an extensive and diverse range of sectors. 

"UK cultural partners are always highly welcomed (and recommended by Creative Europe Desk Greece) as partners or leaders of Creative Europe projects"

"One of my favourite projects is The Underwater Heart of the Mediterranean, which addresses themes of disability and social exclusion by inviting us to watch an underwater performance where all dancers equally face mobility limitations."

Which Creative Europe projects have partners from the UK and Greece? 

What’s the appeal of Creative Europe to Greek organisations?

"One of the great advantages of Creative Europe is its priorities, which really push cultural organisations' imagination to new territories.

"As far as Greek partners and leaders are concerned, the wide spectrum of possible themes are appealing, including social themes (such as disability, mental health and immigration); innovative business plans for the creative industries; the interconnections between  art, education and science; and the original ways and tools they invent and use."

What are common barriers to Greek organisations applying to Creative Europe? 

"Greek organisations are sometimes discouraged by the need for their own resources in financing a proposed project, in contrast to other European programmes such as Horizon 2020. What Creative Europe Desk Greece often proposes are collaborations with regional or local authorities, which can contribute financially as long as the projects are in line with the cultural priorities of these authorities.

"As a Desk, we have a strategic cooperation with relevant regional authorities, and usually we act as liaisons between the cultural sectors and the regional and local administrations."

Are there co-funding mechanisms in Greece?

"For the time being there is no functioning national co-funding mechanism for European projects, but as the financial situation becomes more stable, the establishment of a supporting mechanism becomes possible.

"Nevertheless, Greek cultural organisations manage to find complementary resources to European funding by ad hoc subsidies offered by national, regional and local agencies, and by more financial robust cultural or educational institutions that are interested in engaging in European projects."

How is the UK seen by the internationally-working Greek cultural sector?

"UK cultural partners are always highly welcomed (and recommended by Creative Europe Desk Greece) as partners or leaders of Creative Europe projects, given their long cultural tradition, their contribution to current global cultural trends and their outward and dynamic attitude towards international cooperation." 

Image: The Citizen Artist Incubator was a Cooperation Project led by Culturepolis, Greece, with partners including the UK's Pacificstream.