European Culture Forum audience

Year of European Cultural Heritage announced at the European Culture Forum

In the opening speech of the European Culture Forum 2016, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport Tibor Navracsics announced that 2018 would be a Year of European Cultural Heritage. Federica Mogherini, Vice-President of the European Commission, added to Navracsics’ announcement on the second day of the forum and emphasised the importance of cultural heritage in cultural policy. She also spoke more generally about the importance of cultural diplomacy and of the need for creativity in diplomacy, before going on to announce the Commission’s new strategy for the role of culture in the EU's external relations.

Opinions flowed from influential culture players during the plenary sessions, who considered how culture can help to overcome social fragmentation, contribute to economic growth and influence Europe’s standing in the world. The 800 cultural professionals, artists and policy makers in attendance heard about inspirational projects such as #MusicBricks at Umea’s Capital of Culture; Breakin’ Convention, which embraces diverse audiences through hip-hop; and folk music projects working with people on the fringes of society in Hungary.

Around these debates, 15 breakout sessions reflected upon a broad range of cultural topics including European film heritage, arts and business, culture and development, Capitals of Culture, Creative Europe and the Digital Single Market. Agnieszka Moody, Director of Creative Europe Desk UK, presented a case study of The Last Panthers, a TV series which received a grant of €1 million from Creative Europe.

Creative Europe Desk UK also co-hosted a networking event with Creative Europe Desk Flanders and Creative Europe Desk Wallonia-Brussels. It was attended by over 100 cultural professionals and aimed to get UK and other European cultural and creative organisations better acquainted, to exchange ideas and contacts, and to encourage future collaborations and joint initiatives.

The Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, Gunther Oettinger, concluded the Forum with a message of support for the creative sector in which he stressed its valued contribution to Europe’s economy; its pivotal role at the crossroads of arts, science, technology and innovation; and how its potential is increasingly enhanced by the digital technologies.

The sessions were live streamed and you can follow the hashtag #CultureForumEU on Twitter to see how the conversation and comments continued online.

Photo: European Culture Forum 2016, Brussels, 20 April 2016. © Fred Guerdin