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One Day More: New Ukrainian artwork presented in Brussels with ECF’s director Back

One Day More: New Ukrainian artwork presented in Brussels with ECF’s director

12 Oct 2022

In the inauguration of the Ukrainian artwork, One day more by Yevgenia Belorusets, our director André Wilkens delivers a speech at the Citizens’ Garden in Brussels on 6 September 2022. You can read the speaking note below.

Towards a joint emergencies response mechanism for medium- and longer-term cultural recovery in Europe

The war in Ukraine has put new relevance to our Culture of Solidarity mission and calls for funding urgent European and cultural action more than ever before.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has violently disrupted the lives of people, cultural places and social systems. The artwork by Yevguenia Belorusets reflects the endless days and weeks of war, experienced by people in Ukraine and it urges our call to stop the war. If it were possible for us to imagine the horror they’ve been experiencing in the past six months.

European Union was in its origin a peace project. Europe’s most urgent task now is to maintain peace and security across the continent, including its Eastern partners. The war and peace in Ukraine is not a regional issue, it is a European issue.

The effects of the war would need years of healing, rebuilding and inspiration. We need to keep the pressing challenges and needs in the center of public attention. To paraphrase Vassyl Cherepanin, ‘Europe must not get used to this war going on for a long time.’  

  1. Unexpected times call for unexpected measures, for creativity in addressing challenges and openness in finding new ways to collaborate – in terms of policy responses and in terms of practical actions on the ground

This is why, in the middle of COVID-19 pandemic – together with our partners CAE and EN – we initiated CULTURAL DEAL FOR EUROPE in 2020 and this is why – the European Cultural Foundation as a foundation – launched its Culture of Solidarity Fund in 2020.

Just as CULTURAL DEAL FOR EUROPE calls for placing culture high on political agenda of the EU within its different spheres of political competence, the CULTURE OF SOLIDARITY FUND with its five funding rounds aimed at helping the grantees from cultural sectors to redesign their activities in response to the Corona Crisis, extend local initiatives to reach across the borders, combat the infodemic or build stronger coalitions.

Culture of Solidarity Fund was launched as a corona-response mechanism, but its intervention logic goes beyond that – aiming at building a better future with culture as a catalyst for change, cohesion, togetherness and solidarity.

Nearly 100 cultural projects that contributed to maintaining and reinforcing European solidarity and the idea of Europe as a shared public space during the pandemic lockdowns have been supported – I encourage you to visit our website to find more about them and their experiences.

  1.  Following Russia’s brutal aggression on Ukraine, it was a no-brainer for us that as the oldest foundation focused on Europe and culture, we want to mobilise our resources to help support European solidarity projects with Ukraine’s cultural sectors and its cultural civil society.

Equipped with our prior experience of Culture of Solidarity as a “COVID” fund, we launched the Culture of Solidarity Fund – Ukraine edition – only some days after the start of the war, with a very simplified application procedure, allowing to disburse the funding quickly.

With pooled resources from more than ten other co-funders, the Culture of Solidarity Fund has relaunched as a broad pan-European effort to respond to cultural emergency needs right from the first days of war. In the past months, our still growing coalition of philanthropic, public and private donors has succeeded in providing 85 European arts and culture solidarity actions in and with Ukraine with a total of 1.3 million EUR.

This includes 28 actions in Ukraine, as well as actions in 22 other countries.

The Fund is supported by Allianz Kulturstiftung, Bundeszentrale für Politische Bildung, European Cultural Foundation, Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Torino, Fondazione Compagnia di San Paolo, GLS Treuhand, Haus des Stiftens, Moleskine Foundation, Sigried Rausing Trust and Zeit Stiftung. CoS Partners: Mitost Association, Gazeta Wyborcza (Poland) such as Visual Culture and Research Centre (VCRC) and Borderland Foundation.

As we speak, dozens of initiatives are being supported from across Ukraine and Europe are being supported, from emergency help and humanitarian relief to the cultural sector (e.g. shelter) to welcome actions in EU countries, residencies, workshops, evacuation of archives and collections of cultural NGOs, special media coverage on Ukraine of different cultural magazines or fact-checking platforms.


  1. The budgets of foundations across Europe amount to 60 billion EUR annually. Imagine if just a fraction of this would be spent to foster European solidarity projects for cultural sectors.


But for this to happen, the European Union and its institutions need to step up their game & be bold to involve philanthropy and European cultural civil society as a meaningful partner. And the time for action is now.

Culture of Solidarity Fund has shown us a good way to mobilise public, private and philanthropic stakeholders and initiate European emergency response and recovery mechanism at European level.  We need to find creative ways to work together – as the representatives of the European cultural philanthropy and European civil society, bringing in many more potential pan-European, national and local partners as multipliers – we stand ready to support the Parliament and the Commission in this endeavour.


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