New Year Message: THE FUTURE IS NOW! Back

New Year Message: THE FUTURE IS NOW!

Photo credit: Annette Hauschild/OSTKREUZ, from the "die Helfer" series

Dear partners and friends,

We are living through pandemic times. In addition to Covid-19, there is a climate pandemic, a pandemic of inequality, a pandemic of polarisation. These individual pandemics are interconnected and together they are creating unpredictable dynamics. There is no going back to a normality that never existed anyway. We need to learn how to navigate pandemic times.

Challenging times are also times of possibilities, invention and opportunities. The crisis has forced responses in record time. Some of those responses were unimaginable before, such as the EU Recovery Fund. Some of those emergency measures need to be phased out, such as border closures, social distancing and extensive data mining. Some can be kept and evolve, such as more sustainable travelling and a re-evaluation of global supply chains.

The future is made now and with our initiatives, the European Pavilion, the Europe Challenge, the Culture Deal for Europe, Culture for Climate Action, we are contributing to it. In 2022, we will bring these initiatives together on 9 May, Europe Day, as a curated contribution of ECF and partners to the Conference on the Future of Europe. The future is now.

The ECF Work Plan 2022 will mark the mid-point of our five-year strategic cycle. In 2020/21 we started new initiatives that will be reviewed and adjusted if needed before scaling them further. While we believe the overall themes of our “Challenge 2025” strategy are still relevant, there is room for critical review and upcycling.

The Culture of Solidarity Initiative remains our flexible tool for times of uncertainty and cultural recovery. With the experience and lessons of its first five editions, we will improve the impact, quality and representation by focusing on certain themes and geographies, as well as further developing the multiple partnership models. We continue to pursue public funders to come on board and make the Culture of Solidarity Fund part of the Cultural Deal for Europe for which we advocate.

The climate crisis is here and real. It is not a distant theoretical concept. Everyone has to act, now. Culture is a key to negotiating humankind´s response to the climate crisis. Technology will not be enough. It will need a culture change. From 2022 we will be mainstreaming Culture for Climate Action across our whole organisation: programmes, advocacy, communication, operations and finance.

Operationally, our priority is the physical and mental wellbeing of staff, maintaining the foundation’s physical and digital operations, mainstreaming the ECF climate pledge and to continue developing a sustainable European funding base.

More information on our work plan 2022 here.

I look forward to working together in making 2022 a good year.

With best wishes,

Andre Wilkens and the team of the European Cultural Foundation