EU National Institutes for Culture - EUNIC

Six pilot projects selected

On 17 January the international selection committee selected five pilot projects for European ‘Houses’ of Culture to be implemented between March and October 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. A sixth pilot project will be implemented as well in Ethiopia.

Benin: Urban Cult Lab'Africa

The Urban Cult Lab'Africa has brought six fab labs – digital fabrication laboratories – in West Africa together to co-design cultural events including artists’ residencies, live events and exhibitions. This project idea is fuelled by strong regional collaborations across the fab labs in the area of digital innovation for education; makers and artists; and goods and services. Urban Cult Lab'Africa promotes social inclusion, encouraging the re-appropriation of urban spaces to make their creative programme visible to the broadest audiences possible.

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

"Triángulo Teatro" (Central American European Theatre Circuit) is a programme of theatrical performances which revolve around the contemporary interpretation of European dramatic art. Through a public call to theatre companies in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, the partners are collaborating on plays which vary in style and format. The productions are being staged in all three countries to promote cross-border cooperation. Triángulo Teatro also includes a professional development programme for the theatre sector, encompassing a technical training support programme.

Mongolia: Nogoonbaatar - International Eco Art Festival

Half of Mongolia’s population lives in Ulaanbaatar, one of the most polluted capital cities on earth. Nogoonbaatar (Mongolian for Green Hero), the first eco-art festival in the country, hopes to change this critical situation. The festival is staged in the Ger District, notorious for heavy pollution through coal burning. Local artists, European artists-in-residence and environmental educators are using a people-to-people approach, developing art projects and events in community centres, schools and public spaces. All festival activities highlight the effects of air pollution and to promote best practices for a more sustainable lifestyle.

Sri Lanka: Colomboscope - On Language and Multitudinal Belonging

The theme for the next edition of the Colomboscope festival is ‘Language is Migrant’. Organised by Fold Media Collective, a local team of creative producers, designers and curators, initiatives in the lead-up to the festival include professional development workshops, mentoring circles, and in-tandem residencies across four regions in Sri Lanka. Bringing together contemporary cultural practices that investigate local and global phenomena, works being produced during the project range from film, installation, creative publishing and performance poetry. Local audiences can see the developments of the artworks through regional open studios, and they will also feature in Colomboscope 2021.

USA: The Grid

The Grid is incorporating art-thinking into the development of new technologies, jump-starting a conversation between artists, technologists, and policy makers from Europe, Silicon Valley and beyond. Initiating a pioneering experiment, placing artists within research and development teams in Silicon Valley, The Grid is investigating if art-thinking can humanise technology, influence design processes, and anticipate destructive impacts. The project team is also organising multiple events in the San Francisco Bay area, Washington D.C. and New York, including workshops, conferences, and media art exhibitions.

Ethiopia: Tibeb be Adebabay – Art in Public Spaces

Tibeb be Adebabay (Amharic for Art in Public Space) is a participatory street festival staged in Meskel Square, the main public square in Addis Abeba. An open call invited artists from Ethiopia and other countries in Africa and Europe to participate in a workshop to develop new, collaborative ideas for public events across the capital. Born out of the conviction that culture is not a luxury but a necessity, Tibeb be Adebabay offers new experiences for Addis Ababa residents in the public domain. Through a publicity campaign entitled ‘Our Future Together’, the festival is raising awareness of the role the arts play in society.

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.

  • European Spaces of Culture

Co-funded by the European Union Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor EACEA can be held responsible for them.