From 23-26 October 2019 the Culture Action Europe Conference „Culture Crops – Cultural Practices in Non-Urban Territories“ took place in Konstanz/Kreuzlingen in the German/ Swiss border region. 170 participants from all over Europe debated on cultural practices in non-urban territories: Where does the rural begin and where does it end? What is the difference between urban visions of the rural and what the rural really is today? How does cultural work in peripheral territories take place and how is it organised? Find the detailed program of the conference here.
The unusual format, with hikes and visits to cultural sites in Konstanz and Kreuzlingen and the surrounding area – such as Kunstraum Kreuzlingen, the public library and Theater Konstanz, Kartause Ittingen, Transitory Museum of Pfyn, Haus zur Glocke and many more – specifically helped to foster the exchange amongst the cultural actors from all over Europe. Right after the visits, the local hosts discussed challenges in day-to-day work, as well as their questions and wishes to political actors in the European Union, with similar projects from other regions of Europe. Furthermore, an open Project Agora gave space to 26 cultural projects and artists from rural areas all throughout Europe.
The conference participants quickly assembled several theses and demands that were then discussed by the finishing panel, find them here in a first draft:
- Rural voice should be more heard / represented at EU level. At the same time, there is a need for a stronger exchange of the cultural sector with already existing according institutions, such as the European Committee of the Regions.
- Generate links between cultural policy and the cohesion policy strands and develop transversal action.
- In order to create sustainable communities in non urban territories, cultural practices should follow a holistic approach (territorial, cultural, human, economic) that takes into account the autonomy of the community, as well as foster motivation and self-empowerment by being aware of existing local values
- Adopting and diversifying the EU cultural policy is necessary in terms of issues such as scaling of the program, evaluation criteria capacity building, facilitating application processes to reach the goal of truer territorial equity.
- Enable and facilitate exchanges, connectivity, knowledge sharing, information access, cultural and creative practices between rural areas across the EU. Issues to be tackled at the EU level:
- – Gathering of knowledge/data
- – Preservation/transmission of traditional know how
- – Trans-sectorality
- – Long-term actions
- – Capacity to act from local to global
- – Efficiency of local policies/ if compares to EU
An elaboration of this debate and other conference outcomes will be published with a Culture Action Europe policy paper and further documentation on the website of Culture Action Europe in the next weeks.