Manifesto: European Parliament Elections 2019

Active participation for Creative Europe

Amateo’s Manifesto for European Parliament 2019 – 2024

Manifesto → download PDF here

This manifesto, addressed to European policy makers as we approach the European elections in 2019, is written to profile the amateur and voluntary arts sector. The sector is not only fundamental to culture and civil society. It helps build a more inclusive Europe, supports innovation and builds cohesive societies. Therefore, our sector contributes immensely to the new European Agenda for Culture.

Amateo is a young and diverse European network with more than 40 member organisations from 18 different countries. We are the voice of  the millions of amateur artists who passionately engage in the arts in their free time. They sing in a choir, make drawings or paintings, dance, play music or perform theatre. They learn new skills and express their own artistic passion. But taking part in arts also creates a sense of belonging. Actively engaging in the arts promotes cultural cohesion, social inclusion and active citizenship.

“Culture has always been at the heart of the European project. It is what brings people together. The cultural and creative sectors also have a crucial role in driving economic and social development, and they enable us to build strong international relations. We have big ambitions for culture, and a strong Creative Europe will enable us to make them a reality. I call on all Member States and the European Parliament to back this approach.”

Tibor Navracsics, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport

The amateur arts sector and the new European Agenda for Culture: a match made in heaven

Social Dimension

→ Amateur arts create social cohesion

Amateur arts practice contributes directly to social cohesion and inclusion and work against tendencies of  fragmentation and polarisation. Amateur arts work as a binding force between individuals, cultures and communities. There are fewer barriers to actively take part in the arts than there are to being part of an audience, where there are considerable barriers, like cost, travel, inaccessibility and lack of understanding, etc. Cultural participation is associated with a more active lifestyle; those who are excluded from participating in cultural activities also have lower level of social cohesion (Morrone, De Mauro: 2008).

→ Amateur arts contribute to cultural participation

The amateur arts are egalitarian and democratic and available to everybody, regardless of ability, age, gender, sexuality, race, ethnic origin, belief system, economic status or social background, etc. By focusing on cultural capability as the guiding principle in the new European Agenda for Culture, and thus promoting opportunities for all to take part and to create, we believe that our work is more important than ever. Numerous projects that are developed within the amateur arts sector all over Europe reach out to specific target groups and tackle the inequality in access to culture.

  • In Croatia, the project ‘Back pack full of culture’ enabled young children in rural areas access to culture.
  • In Belgium, the project ‘Sing Me In’ fostered the inclusion of migrants into the choir world and the local community.

Amateur arts contribute to intercultural dialogue

Discover the voluntary arts throughout Europe and you experience the European identity in all its diversity. People who practise or perform the arts seek out similar-minded people to create, interact, exchange and collaborate. The numerous international exchanges, emerging friendships and intercultural learning experiences within and beyond Europe between amateur artists, open the door to new cultures, help to understand cultural diversity and build bridges across European communities.

→ Amateur arts contribute to the quality of life and have positive effects on health and wellbeing

The Associations Monitor, research report by LKCA in the Netherlands, concluded that ‘the many performances, shows and expositions contribute to the quality of life of small villages, neighbourhoods and cities.’ For older people arts practice helps to remain active and healthy longer, boosts self esteem, ensures social interaction, provides personal support networks and stimulates creativity. With an ageing population in Europe active cultural participation offers huge potentials for elder citizens in sharing experience and in addressing cross-generational issues.

  • ‘The voice of my memory’ from Belgium started many choirs for people with dementia

Economic Dimension

→ Amateur arts contribute substantially to the economy

38 % of the European population is engaged in the arts in their free time. They invest in their artistic hobby by buying musical instruments, costumes, books and other materials. They pay for training and education. Amateur art groups often travel abroad to take part in festivals, events and workshops. All together, they make a substantial contribution towards national economies.

→ Amateur arts is a source of  innovation and creative thinking

Amateur arts lay close to the field of cultural education; by practising amateur arts, people learn new skills and continue to develop these skills throughout life. Research shows that learning is a key motivation for people to engage in arts practice. Through active participation, people gain and develop skills that are useful to different areas of life.

 Amateur arts provide jobs for professional artists by employing instructors and teachers

The levels of education of amateurs arts have risen over the years. The training and education of dancers, writers, performers, painters, musicians, etc., involves professional artists which raises the standard of the work and the quality of the experience as well as creating employment opportunities for this artists themselves.

→ Supporting active participation in arts is supporting the audience for professional arts

Research has shown that active engagement in the arts as a child results in both receptive and active participation in cultural activities in later life.


From stakeholders in European policy we ask to:

1. Recognise and promote the value of active cultural participation

The intrinsic value of culture and participation is reflected in the new European agenda. To support and sustain the amateur arts sector, European policy and politicians could:

  • secure easy access to funding for it’s participants in all EU programs (Horizon 2020, regional funds…)
  • give us more exposure by your attendance at the annual Amateo award ceremony and handing the prize over to the winner
  • stress the importance of national support, since many Amateo member organisations experience a decline in support for culture and participatory arts on a national level

2. Support Amateo in gathering comparable data on amateur arts practice throughout Europe

Several member countries have already conducted research on amateur arts. However, due to differences in research scale, design and concepts, the results are difficult to compare. The special Eurobarometer, which investigated the number of EU population engaged in arts in their free time, dates from 2013. Up-to-date data and a resumption of the special Eurobarometer would be essential to create a pan-European picture on the practise of amateur arts and the need for support on a national and supranational level.

3. Create opportunities for professional artists (e.g. coaches, teachers, directors, etc.) that work with amateur artists within the new mobility funding scheme under Creative Europe

The new Creative Europe programme will contain a funding scheme for the mobility of professional artists. There is a vast number of paid staff and artists that work in and for associations to provide art-based activities for non-professional artists. Promoting the new funding for this kind of artistic work would create an added value for both professional artists and amateur artist groups who are challenged by working in different cultural contexts.

4. Create opportunities for small-scale projects and transversal projects to get support

New practices and methods, innovation and experimental work often grow bottom-up. Amateur art associations often work transversal with, e.g., the health sector; innovation and technology sector; education; civil society. By merging the expertise and experience from different domains, the output and impact of the project can be even bigger. While micro-organisations make up 95% of the cultural and creative sector, they barely get funded by EU. Creating possibilities for fair funding for the smaller NGOs would value the work of these important pioneers

Amateo Manifesto: EU Parliament elections 2019
Cover Letter for Amateo manifesto


Amateo

 As the European network for amateur arts we are committed to stimulate the debate and dialogue on the value and role of amateur arts and culture in society. Reflections on this memorandum and opportunities to engage in conversation on its content will be welcomed and appreciated.  

President, Susan Fazakerley, president@amateo.org  |  www.amateo.org
Secretariat, Benedikte De Vos, info@amateo.org   |  www.facebook.com/amateo.org

Amateo is a  membership organisation that works as an advocate and provides support and opportunities for exchange and collaboration amongst its members, who are national and regional organisations working in the field of amateur, voluntary and participatory arts and culture. We currently have 41 national and regional umbrellas and associations from 17 EU member states and three programme countries.

Amateo is looking for new Board Members

Do you (voluntarily) work for a member organisation of Amateo, do you have a passion for amateur arts, time to attend 3 international Board Meetings in a year, an open view and a bright spirit? Then we are looking for you! **

Amateo supports and promotes the activities of the amateur arts sector cause we believe that all European citizens should have access and opportunities to enjoy, participate in and benefit from creative and cultural experiences of their choice.

Arts Takes Part, supported by Creative Europe and Amateo member organisations, helps to strengthen the organisations involved in this work, grow the network and offer training, knowledge exchange and events.

Do you want to follow our Arts Take Part project from closeby and at the same time give direction to our long-term evolution as a network? Then join the Board of Amateo!

What do you get? You get the chance to be part of an international and enthusiastic team of Board members, learn and exchange with colleagues from all over Europe and follow our events from the first row.

Are you interested? Then put forward your candidacy by sending your CV and a short motivation letter from your organisation to president@amateo.org.

Do you have questions? Need more info? Contact the secretariat (info@amateo.org) or our president Susan Fazakerly (president@amateo.org).

**We are also looking for a new treasurer, so having some experience with accountancy would be great (but is not at all a must!).

“My short time in the Amateo board has really opened my eyes for the diverse and valuable work in voluntary and amateur arts in Europe. This network has given our organisation new possibilities for European collaboration that otherwise never would have happened. Amateo connects us and truly is an organisation with a big and open heart.”

Jani Lastuniemi, Project leader FSU, Finland

 

“8 years has past by rather fast. I worked with great people all over the Europe and I am glad that I have learned so much new and great stuff. I started when Amateo was just young and unknown and I am leaving now with great experience of being a part of Arts Take Part project. Thank you all and wish you the best!”

Valentina Dačnik, prof., Hrvatski Sabor Kulture, Croatia

Amateo Award 2019 finalists

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.

Continue reading “Amateo Award 2019 finalists”

Democracy NOW

Democracy NOW – an example of Amateo co-operation

In the spring of 2018 The Joint Council of Amateur Arts Associations in Denmark (AKKS), interviewed all it’s 19 national music organisations. One of the themes mentioned throughout all the interviews was the difficulty the organisations were experiencing, attracting young members to take part in the management of the organisations. As this is both an organisational and democratic challenge for the survival of the voluntary based organisations, something needed to be done…

Continue reading “Democracy NOW”

Arts Take Part: Courses & Conferences

What is the overall mission of this team during the Arts Take Part project?

Gain visibility of Amateo network, involve new partners/members in Amateo activities, to provide the paid and voluntary staff in participatory arts associations in EU states and programme countries with new trans-national skills, competences and know-how. Promote and provide trans-national courses and conferences. Sharing good practice and experiences from different European countries.

What has the team been doing recently?

Helping to write the Year 3 programme for Arts Take Part, preparing our conference in Novi Sad and preparing an e-guide for Amateo Awards and making first action towards successfully organized CONNECT event in Estonia.

What are you working on for the future?

Trying to set up our first webinar, thinking about themes for future seminars, workshops and conferences and focusing on the target groups.

Pioneer project presentation at Glej Theatre, Ljubljana, May 2018
Pioneer project presentation at Glej Theatre, Ljubljana, May 2018
What are the highlights so far?

CONNECT in Deventer, Netherlands, Amateo conference in Vrsar, Croatia, meeting in Ljubljana and the first Amateo awards in Kranj, Slovenia.

How can other Amateo members or non-members get involved with this work?

Contribute the materials for e-guides/tutorials, participate or present their work at Amateo events (seminars, conferences), give ideas for events in future, be a host of the events in future, share good will, experience and knowledge in organizing events and projects.

Join CONNECT 2019 in Estonia, follow us on the Facebook page or contact info@amateo.org.


Arts Take Part is a four-year network project co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union. Find out more about Arts Take Part on the project page.

ATP and EU emblem banner

Pioneer Projects grants

One of the goals of Amateo’s Arts Take Part programme is to stimulate small scaled, international and interdisciplinary projects, share the experiences and outcomes of these projects, and build an international network of people and organisations who like to develop new methods, unexpected combinations and surprising projects.

Amateo’s CONNECT is a moment in time and place to meet other pioneers and organisations, and find one or more possible partners to work on a project plan. These project plans can be sent to Amateo. We will choose the three most exciting project ideas, and reward each of them with an Amateo grant of € 2.500,–. This money has to be spent on the project.

Continue reading “Pioneer Projects grants”

Making Music – UK

AMATEO MEMBER:
MAKING MUSIC (UK)

United Kingdom in Europe map

Member country: United Kingdom
Contact person: Barbara Eifler (Chief Executive)

Who?: Barbara Eifler is the Chief Executive of Making Music. Making Music is the UK organisation for leisure-time music groups, with over 3,500 member groups throughout the UK. Our members are choral societies, gospel choirs, community choirs, amateur orchestras, brass bands, jazz ensembles, folk groups, ukulele groups, drumming circles, handbell ringers, samba groups, hobby rock bands, etc.

Continue reading “Making Music – UK”

CONNECT2019 – Estonia

CONNECT2019 – Create New Perspectives
14 – 18 March 2019

Book your place!

FOR WHO

  • Young people wanting to work internationally and interdisciplinary, and have relevant experience with one or more artforms themselves
  • Arts students and students who want to become a teacher in one of the artforms as well as people who have recently finished one of these studies
  • Organisations focusing on art with children and/or young people
  • Network organisations and policymakers

Continue reading “CONNECT2019 – Estonia”

Arts Take Part: Pioneer Projects

What is the overall mission of this team during the Arts Take Part project?

The mission of the Pioneer Project Team is officially ‘To implement full support to innovative cross-border pilot work, identify and assess new innovative cross-border pilot work, exchange good practice and share innovative ideas, including topics of engaging marginalised social groups (ageing, disadvantaged, ethnic, migrants)’, and we do that by ‘providing contact fora, project fair meetings, and advice and helpdesk; and initiate one own pilot project and allocate micro-grants to new initiatives – which is of course a lot of work for a team of four people.

Continue reading “Arts Take Part: Pioneer Projects”