Jan 22, 2020

On 17 January the international selection committee selected five pilot projects for European ‘Houses’ of Culture to be implemented between March and October 2020. After deliberating all ten applications along the lines of all the selection criteria, the committee chose the following five proposals to be implemented as pilot projects and to be awarded EUR 50,000:

Benin: Urban Cult Lab'Africa

Combining the cultures, languages, knowledge and know-how of city dwellers in their diversity is a priority for participants in this project. This combination of socio-cultural practices is manifested informs of urban expression where talents assert themselves in fields such as music, theatre, dance, visual arts, cinema, design. The objective of Urban Cult Lab'Africa is the development of urban cultures in the cities of the 6 partner countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Mali, Mauritania, and Togo) around events and creations reflecting the diversity of expressions of local actors, in connection with operators identified by the European partners.


El Salvador, Guatemala & Honduras: “Triángulo Teatro” (Central American European Theatre Circuit)

“Triángulo Teatro” (Central American European Theatre Circuit) is the implementation of a production and exhibition programme for theatrical performances that revolve around the contemporary creation of European dramatic art, with the support of cultural agents in El Salvador,Guatemala and Honduras. This circuit, whose partners are European cultural centres and theatre entities in the three aforementioned countries, will produce a substantial number of plays resulting from a public call as well as promote the cross-border mobility of the companies and the exhibition among the three countries, and it will allow access to high quality artistic proposals for the Central American public.


Mongolia: Nogoonbaatar - International Eco Art Festival

Half of Mongolia’s population lives in Ulaanbaatar (“RedHero”) – one of the most polluted capital cities on earth. To change this critical situation, the project team in Mongolia has created the first eco-art festival in the country: Nogoonbaatar (“Green Hero”). It will be directly implemented in the Ger District, where everything starts: pollution and rural exodus. Mongolian and European artists will work with youth there to develop key messages using arts in order to make this district a better place to live.


Sri Lanka: Colomboscope - On Language and Multitudinal Belonging

The interdisciplinary arts festival and cultural platform Colomboscope expands its activities in Sri Lanka. The thematic focus examines timely subjects such as linguistic hybridity, diasporic lineage, belonging and oral memory. Organized by Fold Media Collective (FMC) a team of creative producers, designers and curators, the initiatives include workshops on professional development in the arts, mentoring circles, tandem residencies across four regions in Sri Lanka with European and local cultural producers. Colomboscope offers a rare and critical opportunity as the largest convergence of artistic and intellectual minds to have a horizontal exchange on creative and socio-political questions.


USA: The Grid

Emerging technology is both local and global. Techinnovation from Silicon Valley has ripple effects throughout the entire world, dominating our lives in positive, and often negative ways. In Phase 1, the project team in Silicon Valley has successfully launched The Grid as a global network connecting artists and technologists. In Phase 2, they will initiate a pioneering experiment: By placing European artists within tech Research & Development teams in Silicon Valley, they will investigate if art-thinking can humanize technology, influence design processes, and anticipate destructive impacts. The activities build on the findings of their investigation, published in Art +Tech Report.  

The selection of pilot projects was based on a list of selection criteria developed by EUNIC Global and on the principles of cultural relations. 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 five pilot projects will take place between March and October 2020 and they will be evaluated how they can serve as innovative models of collaboration. The results will be presented during a conference in Brussels in December 2020.


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 ArtInstitute)

- Kateryna Botanova (Co-curator of CULTURESCAPES festival in Basel; cultural critic, journalist, curator, former director of Foundation Center for Contemporary ArtKyiv from 2009-2015)

- Mechtild van den Hombergh (Programme Coordinator Next Generation, Prince Claus Fund; formerly Executive Director DOEN Foundation, Fund Manager for Foundation Tejchevé)

- Yemisi Mokuolu (Founder and CEO of Hatch Ideas, Hatch Events and Hatch Africa; social entrepreneur, Independent theatre and festival producer and creative industries consultant)

The selection followed Phase 1 of European ‘Houses’ of Culture. During Phase 1, the ten preselected ideas were working on their partnerships and project proposals for the implementation phase in 2020. Among other things, they conducted research and organised internal and external meetings to gather input. Some project teams were already testing artistic performances leading up to the pilot projects.

The initial Call for Ideas, launched in April, resulted in 42 eligible 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.

Sign up for our next webinar on Tuesday 4 February 2020 at 11:00 am (CET) to learn more about the pilot projects and the learnings and next steps of the project.

Image: The selection committee chose five projects to be implemented in the USA, El Salvador, Guatemala & Honduras, Benin, Sri Lanka and Mongolia.