On 30 September and 1 October, the Creative Lab for the European ‘Houses’ of Culture brought together representatives from the ten selected project teams. They discussed among themselves and with experts how their proposed idea can be elaborated further to be presented as model of European ‘House’ of Culture and how to include comprehensive Monitoring& Evaluation (M&E) schemes to bring forward their application.
During the two days the project teams rotated in different ‘Lab’ formats accompanied by Yemisi Mokuolu and Kateryna Botanova, both jury members for the selection of European ‘Houses’ ofCulture, communications expert Bernard Verschueren, and Monitoring & Evaluation expert Joanne Pech-Garrigou. Colleagues also met with the Board of Directors ofEUNIC to exchange on the progress of project development. Christoph Hutin, winner of the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture - Miesvan der Rohe Award and Pascal Gielen from Antwerp University gave inputs on how to be innovative in cultural creation today.
A total of 15 project representatives worked on their ideas and drafted M&E mechanisms and indicators that they will use to evaluate their projects and within their local context. Moreover, the teams discussed how they can design their project further in the framework of European cultural relations, so they can be presented as possible models of European‘Houses’ of Culture project and true partnership is ensured. The participants also took a look at effective ways of communications, lessons learned so far inEuropean ‘Houses’ of Culture, next steps and the process of the application forPhase 2. In Phase 2, five out of the ten project ideas will be selected to get financed up to 50.000 Euros for implementation.
Clara Blume from Open Austria in San Francisco was one of the participants of the Creative Lab. She was representing ‘TheGrid’ – a project bringing together art and technology. Clara mostly benefitted from seeing that “there are creative heads within the European Union that work on projects showing that culture is a value for itself.” She continued, “through culture you can create a dialogue that we couldn’t do with other means of communication. Artists are our strongest communicators - if we focus on that we will have a stronger EU.” Clara pointed out that talking to the jury members also made her think out of the box, “The jury members could shed the light on a couple of blind spots we had in our projects and on things we had not taken into account. Maybe because we are too close to the projects and to the specific regions and spheres we are working in”. She added, “I love the fact that the jury members always put the artist in the centre of the discussion and that it was never about positioning the EU strategically, but rather to create meaningful projects where the artist and art itself is at the centre of the endeavour.” Clara concluded that this “is very rare and that it is the right way to carry out cultural relations.”