European ‘Houses’ of Culture – 10 ideas selected

Jul 5, 2019

The international jury has selected ten ideas for European ‘Houses’ of Culture to be developed into concrete projects for 2020. "I am really happy with the selection because it is really going to help people understand the new conversation that Europe is having with the rest of the world", says Yemisi Mokuolo, member of the selection committee after the meeting which took place in Brussels on 4 July.

After deliberating all applications along the lines of the selection criteria, the committee selected to be awarded:

Belarus: ‘European Capital of Culture in Belarus - A Simulation Game’

The newly formed EUNIC cluster Belarus will appropriate Europe's most successful tool of cultural policy and strategic development - the European Capital of Culture (ECOC) - and proclaim a national competition of 5 regional cities in Belarus to become Europe's first quasi ECoC. The candidate cities will be tandemed with former ECoC’s from EUNIC member countries.

Benin: ‘Urban Cult Lab'Africa’

The Urban Cult Lab' Africa project extends to the cultural and creative activities developed in 5 countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Mauritania and Togo) of the sub-region, by the French-speaking network of Fablabs of West Africa (ReFFAO). It aims to strengthen the network logic, carry urban forms of creation in the participating countries and connect with actors identified by the European partners.

El Salvador, Guatemala & Honduras: ‘Circuito Europeo Teatral Centroamericano’

The "Circuito Europeo Teatral Centroamericano” (European Central American Theatre Circuit) consists in creating a circuit for exhibition of theatre plays, based on the contemporary creation of European dramaturgy, with theatre companies from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.

Ethiopia: ‘Tibeb be Adebabay - Art in Public Spaces’

Tibeb be Adebabay (Amharic for art in public space) is a week-long participatory street festival that is planned at different public locations in Addis Abeba at the beginning of May 2020, including the Europe Day on 9th May. Various artists from different disciplines (Ethiopian and European) will bring art into people's daily lives by taking different artistic activities to public spaces and inviting citizens of Addis Abeba to participate.

Guinée-Bissau: ‘Nô Tchon, Nô Arte 2020’

Creative residency of several weeks between Bissau-Guinea and European organisations. The overall objective aims at deepening the networking initiated by the partners; at developing viable partnerships with companies and national institutions; and at enhancing the artistic and cultural dynamics in Guinea-Bissau.

Mongolia: ‘Nogoonbaatar International Eco-Art Festival’

The project proposes an Eco-Art Festival named “Nogoonbaatar, the first-ever Eco-Art Festival in Mongolia and taking place in Ulaanbaatar during the first weekend of June 2020. The purpose of this festival is to critically engage with environmental issues through the arts.

Nigeria: ‘Identity and History - Nigerian Museums as Houses of Culture’

Heritage project aimed at increasing cooperation between EU countries and Nigerian / African cultural professionals working in the museums sector through capacity building, networking and other exchange activities. The activities will focus on some of the following themes: audience development and more inclusive approaches to museum, sustainable models, museums and education and museum as public spaces.

Sri Lanka: 'On Language and Multitudinal Belonging'

'On Language and Multitudinal Belonging' as a part of the Colomboscope festival includes preliminary activities for the festival edition 'Language is Migrant': in-depth field research, professional development workshops and mentoring circles as well as artist residencies bringing together international creative practitioners with Sri Lankan collaborators situated in different regions of the island.

USA: ‘The Grid’

The Grid connects and intertwines the worlds of arts and technology (Art + Tech), Europe and the United States. Its objective is to map existing and potential intersections between artists and technologists, thinkers and other creative minds, art institutions and tech giants, as well as startups, community-based initiatives, academia, research, and mediators in cultural relations on both sides of the Atlantic.

Vietnam: ‘European House in Hanoi - enabling offline and online cultural encounters in Vietnam’

The European House in Hanoi combines the use of physical and virtual space. A newly opened physical art space will be multifunctional and prone for artistic and cultural exchange. The content of the APP grows from this environment and extends into the public spaces (parks, squares, market halls) with art experience through Augmented Reality technology.

The selection committee consisted of:

- Cecil Mariani (Creative consulting, independent artist and design professional; Researcher at the Purusha Research Cooperative and lecturer at the Jakarta Art Institute)

- Gaëlle Sundelin (Project manager, EUNIC cluster Jordan)

- Kateryna Botanova (Cultural critic, journalist, curator, former director of Foundation Center for Contemporary Art Kyiv)

- Mechtild van den Hombergh (Programme Coordinator Next Generation, Prince Claus Fund – the Netherlands)

- Yemisi Mokuolu (Independent producer and creative industries consultant, founder of Hatch Africa)

As observers, colleagues from EUNIC Global and from the European Commission (Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture) and the European External Action Service were present at the meeting.

The evaluation followed the Call for Ideas, which was launched in April and invited EUNIC members, EU delegations and their local cultural partners in countries outside the EU to come together and think of ideas for collaboration projects in cultural relations. The project ideas should be innovative in approach, partnership and activities and should be based on the contemporary understanding of cultural relations: people-to-people approach, co-creation and beyond showcasing of cultural diversity.

The Call for Ideas resulted in 44 applications coming from all corners of the world, involving 30 EUNIC members, 39 EU delegations and 121 local partners. The proposed ideas covered 51 countries in total, as some focused on cross-border activities.

The selected project teams are now invited to further develop their ideas into concrete proposals for projects taking place between March and October 2020. On 30 September and 1 October representatives of the project teams will come together in Creative Labs in Brussels to discuss the process, their partnerships and evaluation models in order to contribute to defining the concept of European ‘Houses’ of Culture. Deadline for submission of their project proposals for Phase 2 will be 15 December.

Image: Carefully studying all 44 proposals and making an informed decision: the international selection committee. From left to right: Yemisi Mokuolu, Kateryna Botanova, Cecil Mariani, Mechtild van den Hombergh, Gaëlle Sundelin / copyright: EUNIC Global