Five finalists announced for the Amateo Award 2019
Exceptional amateur arts groups are having a profound impact on their communities across Europe.
Some 65 projects from across the continent applied for the Amateo Award 2019, a €1,000 prize supported by Creative Europe to celebrate and strengthen participatory arts.
Today five finalists have been announced representing work from Serbia, The Netherlands, Belgium, Austria and Northern Ireland.
“The ability of the voluntary arts to make people’s lives better are writ large in the applications we’ve seen for this prize,” said Jim Tough, coordinator of the Arts Take Part project which runs the Award programme.
“Our finalists have done amazing things. Moving Ground in Belgium helped children connect with each other, express themselves & develop their talents in a tough neighbourhood by putting on a show for their neighbours. The Irish Video Game Orchestra has bridged communities in Belfast through their work, inspiring youngsters to embrace orchestral music by playing the themes to classic video games like Mario & Zelda.
“In the Netherlands, Theater Na de Dam brought young people together with WW2 survivors, sharing stories that inspired theatre performances shown in multiple locations after the national two-minute silence.
“In Serbia, a city has been united in art by Art Kvart – Start! as over 100 workshops took place touching an incredible 14,000 people. And in Austria the 10+10 Bridges project saw a human rights group and a contemporary dance organisation bring local communities together with refugees, creating collaborative dance shows and sparking friendships.
“Every project has on its own way made a hugely positive contribution to its participants and their communities.”
The finalists will be represented at the announcement of the winner on June 7th in Novi Sad, Serbia as part of the Amateur Art & Youth in Intercultural Society Conference hosted by Amateo member the Amateur Art Association of Vojvodina.
The Amateo Award is in its second year now and was launched by Amateo, the European Network for Active Participation in Cultural Activities in Europe.
The Network was founded in 2008 as the multi-disciplinary European organisation within the field of participatory arts and cultural activities. There are 32 national and regional umbrella groups and associations from 14 EU member states and 2 programme countries, with contacts to a huge network of regional and local associations within the European field of amateur arts.
Amateo’s 4-year programme Arts Take Part is supported by Creative Europe and aims to grow and strengthen the network over the next four years. As part of this programme and to celebrate its 10th anniversary, the first annual Amateo Award was held in Ljubljana, Slovenia last year.
It was won by OpRoet, an amazing collective from The Netherlands who brought together refugees with over 40 local actors and musicians to create the show ‘Ed van Hoorn, Fuck the System’ about a local activist credited with building refugee camps.
Amateo sees active participation in the arts as a core value for a free and open society as enshrined in Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Notes for Editors
Our 2019 Finalists
The Irish Video Game Orchestra, Northern Ireland
The Irish Video Game Orchestra has wowed audiences throughout Ireland and the UK by bringing the music of video games to life with a live orchestra. It began in 2015 and has evolved into a group of over 40 young musicians playing the scores of classic games like Mario and Zelda accompanied by video and a light show. The group is based in Belfast in Northern Ireland and aims to bridge community divides by encouraging cross-community membership.
The jury loved the way this project combined orchestral performance and games culture in an innovative way, engaging young people. The work bridging communities in Belfast, a city divided by sectarian violence in the past, was also felt to be very valuable – especially with Brexit looming.
Moving Ground, ClubMG, Belgium
The dance group Moving Ground spent a summer with children in Terloplein in Borgerhout creating a show for them to perform to their community in this ethnically-diverse neighbourhood in Antwerp. Working on the theme “Kattenkwaad” meaning mischief, artists worked with the children exploring what made them want to behave badly sometimes, how they felt unsafe when on the receiving end of bad behavior and what they wanted to do. It brought the children closer together and afterwards they said they felt safer playing outside.
Jurors were impressed at how this project gave children from different backgrounds the chance to connect and express themselves. It was also clear how a small project focused on one area can have a big impact. All the children have gone on to be involved in other art groups.
Theater na de Dam, The Netherlands
For a special act of remembrance for the war dead of the Netherlands, this project brought young people together with older citizens to hear their stories of WW2. Those exchanges were used to inspire theatre performances, which on May 4th (Dutch Remembrance Day), were performed simultaneously alongside the traditional two-minute’s silence. More than 40 venues took part.
The Amateo jury said this was a profound way to connect a new generation with the impact of war and give the act of Remembrance renewed significance. It’s resonance & sustainability is also demonstrated by the fact it’s inspired a similar projects: in the Czech Republic (also produced by Theater Na de Dam as a part of their international ambitions), in Carrara and Berlin.
RedSapata Tanzfabrik: 10+10 Bridges, Austria
This Austrian project aims to bridge the gap between the local community and migrants with a refugee background in a very special way. It was initiated and supported by a human rights organization and a contemporary dance platform (RedSapata Tanzfabrik). Artistic goals and the aim of integrating and connecting people are combined. The jury was impressed by the creative way the work was made involving a collaboration in which all members (non-professional artists) were invited to share their individual stories and ideas. This resulted in strong networks that are highly valuable for the people involved and also for the audience. The video shows also the artistic impact of the performance. At the moment the 3rd edition has been started with “10+10 Brücken #3”.
Art Kvart – Start!, Serbia
“Art Kvart-Start!” (Start Art in your Quarter) is an annual art project by NGO Novo kulturno naselje, held in Novi Sad, Serbia. It aims to decentralize culture and art-making by encouraging unemployed emerging/professional artists to get involved in working with youngsters. The jury was impressed by the project’s big impact in the city with more than 100 events and workshops held attracting an audience of 14,000 people. Especially valuable for the jury is the goal of giving people ‘a better place to live in’. The website shows on its front page the diversity and the creativity at work. The concept can also be used by other organizations and in other countries.
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