How Can We Support Culture Outside Urban Areas? Help Shape Policy!
11 October 2019

How Can We Support Culture Outside Urban Areas? Help Shape Policy!

What can the EU do to promote culture outside urban centres, in suburbs and on the periphery? The second topic in Voices of Culture will ask questions about the role of culture in spaces outside urban centres in Europe. How can new priorities, policies, actions and funding streams better support culture in non-urban areas?  

Why is it important?

For many years, cultural policy-makers have been focusing their work on major cities and urban development. A relatively large proportion of the EU population, however, is not based in main metropolitan areas, but hail from rural areas, towns and suburbs. According to EUROSTAT data, only 40.4% of Europe’s population live in cities. With the EU aiming at achieving a more balanced territorial development more attention has to be paid to non-urban, rural and peri-urban areas in the coming years.

Several cultural issues are salient in areas outside of urban centres such as:

  • A lack of density of cultural institutions, creative makers and participants in cultural offers.
  • A predominately stereotyping approach by policy-makers and the population when thinking about rural areas and the related cultural offers and activities.
  • A misunderstanding of the different types of non-urban areas and the wide diversity of rural spaces and cultural use and non-use-patterns.
  • An under-usage of urban-suburban-rural cooperation potential in culture.
  • The misunderstanding of certain policy-makers that basic services in non-urban areas cannot be compensated by soft measures only, but require hard investments.
  • An uneven availability and distribution of cultural funding and access to support structures in most areas outside the main urban centres.

Who Should Apply?

The call is open to representatives of the cultural and creative sectors - professional organisations, cultural institutions, non-governmental organisations, European networks, foundations, private organisations, local/regional authorities etc - who have relevant expertise on the topic who would like to contribute to discussions with the European Commission. 35 persons will be selected to participate in the Brainstorming and Dialogues meetings. Organisations must be from one of the 28 EU Member States. 

The Brainstorming meeting for the topic will take place on the 4th and 5th February, 2020 at Fagus-Werk in Alfeld, Germany. Travel, accommodation, food will be provided by Voices of Culture.

The Dialogue meeting for this topic will take on the 22nd April 2020 in Brussels, Belgium. Travel, accommodation and food during the meetings will be provided by Voices of Culture.

What will Selected Applicants have to do?

Successful applicants will be invited to a Brainstorming meeting and to a Dialogue meeting to share their input on several questions:

  • Which key priorities should be addressed by policy makers concerning less-dense areas?
  • Which cultural policies contribute to overcoming stereotypes, foster intercultural dialogue in non-urban areas and contribute to sustainable creative tourism and outstanding arts and cultural events outside the metropolises?
  • What are the cultural policy answers to the different types of rural and non-urban areas?
  • How can new cultural policies be developed for non-places like highways used by thousands of citizens every day?
  • What are the new integrated cultural policies that can bridge the current gaps?
  • Which transversal policy answers can the cultural policy develop together with the other policy areas concerned? What are the key features of a non-urban creative industries policy? What does ecological transformation mean for cultural policies in non-urban areas?
  • What are the cultural policy answers for a more balanced access to cultural funding in the EU territories?

Discussion is not limited to these questions. Participants are encouraged to share their opinion on what other aspects they deem important.

How to apply?

You are invited to read a paper by Sylvia Amann that provides the framework for this Voices of Culture topic and proceed to fill in the application form here. The deadline for applications is 10th November, 2019.