Rethinking European Cultural Policy after the Coronavirus crisis
So often did I think that Europe’s cultural and creative sector should stop for one day all its events, shows, programmes, activities to make visible how much the quality of our lives depends on art and culture. No museums, galleries, theatres, libraries, orchestras, cultural TV and radio programmes…
And then came corona. The pandemic crisis has shown us how essential art and culture are to our lives, how they make us connect across walls and differences, and how much they are the very fundament of our societies and our humanity.
This insight must not be forgotten, and it must have sound repercussions on the political decision-making level, now and in future. There is no return to “the old normal”, but an opportunity, a necessity to rethink the value and centrality of arts and culture to us individuals, communities, nations, the European Union. This includes a new approach to and design of European cultural policy:
Some initial points of reflection:
1. Resilience: Art and culture are essential to our lives. They provide the necessary imagination and creativity to resist extreme pressures and to support us in times of crisis – make culture the antidote to crisis.
2. Solidarity: The virus knows no geographic and social borders. It affects all of us but deepens already existing inequalities and social injustices. Culture has shown its capacity to unite us – grow a culture of solidarity of Europe.
3. Demography: The young and the elderly are differently impacted by the epidemic. There is a risk of generations splitting apart. Art and culture unite us across generations – develop a culture of collective care.
4. Democracy: Research has revealed significant correlations between cultural values and key aspects of democratic openness, including political engagement, trust in society and wellbeing – place culture at the heart of democracy.
5. Sustainability: The crisis has unmistakably evidenced the fault lines of our development model, and the end of a cycle. It has revealed the urgent need of a profound overhaul of our global system – invest in a culture of sustainability.
6. Innovation: Culture is a prerequisite to social innovation, and creativity is the base to technological, digital and human innovation – invest in culture as a driver for tech, and non-tech innovation.
7. Economic value: The cultural and creative sectors contribute significantly to the EU economy. The crisis puts a whole generation of creatives at risk and a lot of creators are drawn into poverty – safeguard Europe’s creative talents to thrive again after the crisis.
8. Digital sovereignty: While digital tools and platforms have offered spaces out of confinement, they also raise questions of security and remuneration of creatives – ensure culture as a safe space and just remuneration in the digital age.
9. Imagination, audacity and ingenuity: Covid-19 has shown that emergency measures and funding instruments are not sufficient to respond to the many and multi-layered challenges. We need new models of cooperation and forms of pooling of resources – devise cultural public-private philanthropic partnerships.
10. Europe: The crisis puts the EU at a test and so far the member states are the ones to have regained credit among their citizens. Anti-European sentiments are developing across the continent while the only way out of the crisis is deeper cooperation and greater solidarity – work towards a solidary cultural European Union.
For the German version read here.