We are delighted to announce the publication of the Brainstorming Report on the topic ‘The role of culture in non-urban areas of the European Union’.
This document is the result of a Brainstorming Session which took place at Fagus-Werk, Alfeld on the 4th and 5th February 2020, as part of the Voices of Culture cycle focusing on ‘The role of culture in non-urban areas of the European Union’.
Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that: “Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.”
It is this right of access to, participation in and enjoyment of culture which sits at the heart of this report. Drawing inspiration from the group’s short time in the peaceful yet dynamic surroundings of Fagus Werk in Alfeld, they have come together from across Europe in recognition that this right is not limited to our cities. From the remote island to the hamlet; from the village to the town; from the suburb to the metropolis; equality of opportunity to participate in the cultural life of our community should not be defined by where we choose to live nor our ability to travel.
In responding to the perceived urban-centric nature of cultural policy and its related actors across Europe, the group was tasked with exploring ‘The Role of Culture in Non-Urban Areas of the European Union’ through three themes:
Whilst the group entered this process with an open recognition of the likely divergence in the challenges and opportunities across these themes, they have established a series of recommendations which are underpinned by a unifying foundation; culture, in all its varied forms of expression and interpretation, plays an integral role in non-urban areas and this needs to be more actively recognised and supported across different levels of government.
We hope this report adds to both the thinking and actions within this area of European policy discourse. Although developed and largely prepared prior to the acceleration of the COVID-19 pandemic across Europe, it feels acutely important to recognise and promote the value of culture to us as individuals and as communities. Participation in cultural activity not only brings people together in body but provides us with the mental space and stimulus to connect with each other; to reflect; to challenge; to dream; to imagine a different and better future. Ensuring this opportunity is open to everyone feels more important now than it ever has.
We would like to thank the representatives of the following 35 organizations, that have participated in the discussion on the topic through an open call for applications and have contributed to the Brainstorming Report: