The eipcp-paper Post Culture 2000 proposes
standards for the successor program of the European cultural
framework program Culture 2000.
This paper summarises three different fields of experience
of our institute in setting up concrete proposals for the
general form, the main objectives, and an improved administrative
processing of such a program:
This paper focuses on four 'objectives', which are to be
- Beyond the transversal quality of cultural politics and a necessary coherence of all the different programs in favour of culture, the central cultural framework program needs a concise set of strictly limited priorities and precise objectives that will be proportionate to the budgetary means set aside for this program. Policy concepts like "heritage protection", "innovation", "creativity" or "cultural identity" produce projects as hollow and affirmative as they sound. They should be replaced by a set of clear criteria taking into account the contemporary status of theories and practices in the cultural field.
- On the basis of coherent aims of their policies and clarified competencies and structures, the different EU institutions should not narrow their focus on EU actions, but also play a proactive role in activating and formalising the national/regional/local support for transnational cultural cooperation. Special cooperation agreements need to be established between the EU and the culture ministries, especially of the (pre-)accession countries.
- On a global level, instruments and measures must be developed to overcome the bipolar logic of internal cultural action in Europe (focussing on cultural cooperation) on the one hand, and external cultural relations (focussing on the promotion of Europe) on the other hand. This antagonism must be transformed into a constantly developing continuum of cultural cooperation in/with different and specific geographic areas all over the world.
- In order to meet the ambitious aims of a new cultural framework program in a period of ongoing enlargement, there is an urgent need for adequate resources: That means a significant increase of the culture budget of the EU.
I. Objective: New Criteria
In the existing EU programs for culture there is much talk about concepts like "innovation" or "new technologies". Such hollow criteria have no impact on the quality of the projects, the applications and the selection of the projects at all. On the contrary, the reference to new technologies in the current program leads, in many cases, to applications that underline the production of cd-roms and websites without investing any new idea into developing and experimenting with forms and contents of new technologies. And to add an air of innovation, even the most conservative and established projects in cultural heritage try to construct some lofty connection between the "art of the past" and "Europe of tomorrow". To overcome these professional deficiencies of the authors of cultural programs and the cultural operators trying to adapt their projects to certain phrases, the new cultural program has to delineate a focused and clear set of criteria that link cultural policies to the wider framework of democratic politics and more sharply define what kinds of projects should be supported:
- cultural initiatives that contribute to the production of critical public spheres, activate and pluralise public debates
- cultural initiatives that actively deal with issues of democratic politics such as equality, gender, migration and citizenship
- cultural initiatives experimenting with new forms of public access and models of participation in the cultural field, also, but not only, in the field of emerging technologies
- emerging projects of non-mainstream cultural initiatives that operate beyond and against traditional modes of production and distribution
- contemporary transversal research and theory production in the cultural field beyond the conventional academic schemes and divided specialisms
- experimental practices in dealing with multilingual editing and publishing in the cultural field
"Action 3" of Culture 2000 was not successful, suffered a lack of transparency in selection, a small number of applications and disappointed those who envisaged a significantly stronger visibility for (culture in) Europe through the so-called flagship projects. The approach of instrumentalizing projects of an assumed symbolic or emblematic potential in order to gain an added value in visibility is thoroughly unsuitable and an outdated approach for a cultural framework program.
- As the limited priorities should focus on the above-mentioned objectives, not on criteria of market and economic impact, cultural/creative industries (including translation projects of enterprises and publishing houses) should be supported through different budget lines.
- Projects of cultural heritage institutions should no longer be able to merely relate to the fact that they conserve "European cultural values" or pretend that cultural heritage is our future, but must be strictly evaluated according to the criteria listed above.
- The sectoral division should be abolished, as it represents a remainder of a 19th century approach to the arts. After a century of cross-disciplinary art production and presentation there cannot be a pre-division of artistic disciplines, neither in synchronic mode (having to categorise projects as performing arts, visual arts, literature or cultural heritage) nor in diachronic mode (with a yearly focus on these disciplines one after another): Instead of such an outdated separation of art forms, cross-sectoral approaches should be actively encouraged and supported.
II. Objective: Expanded Europe
Supporting transnational multilateral cooperation means overcoming the bilateral logic that is deeply rooted in the minds and structures of established cultural institutions and government bodies, taking into account the complexity and specific requirements of multilateral projects, and overcoming the dichotomous logic of internal cultural action in Europe on the one hand and external cultural relations on the other.
In the ongoing enlargement process there is a certain danger
not only of excluding the non-EU-countries, but also of establishing
a Europe of two classes within the EU. From the experience
of recent years we have learned that cultural initiatives
from accession countries did not submit a large proportion
of applications, although they were already included in Culture
2000 from 2001 on. This fact correlates to the structures
of the national cultural fields and economic imbalances in
the different countries.
- including a requirement of a minimum of one organisation
from (pre-)accession countries in the project consortia of
- providing special budget lines for projects cooperating
with neighbouring non-EU countries
III. Objective: New Organisational Forms
In order to enhance cultural cooperation special emphasis should be put on projects that experiment with new modes and organisational forms in the cultural field: transversal projects, transsectoral projects that challenge the limits of the cultural field and projects building on collective practices.
In order to open the program for small-scale organisations, projects that enhance the building of transnational networks and consortia of smaller initiatives and organisations should be supported. A special budget should be set up to support 6-month pilot projects organising interregional networks among small initiatives that are then able to jointly apply for a project.
In order to strengthen the sustainability of cultural cooperation
incentives and measures are to be taken for the development
of sustainable networks through an understanding of
different forms of networking as different phases of
IV. Objective: Appropriate Administrative Preconditions
- faster decision making process
- make decision making process transparent
- two-phase selection procedure for multiannual projects
- simplify application
- include preparatory work in the project budget
- avoid the delays in payment
- 50/50 payment procedure (50% at the beginning of the project year, 50% after approval of the annual/final report) changed to 80/20%
- interest-free loans from a EU financing fund for selected projects in order to stop their cashflow problems
Editing: Aileen Derieg