Highlights: Conference & Award, Ljubljana

Amateo celebrated its tenth birthday in Ljubljana, Slovenia, where the network was originally founded in 2008. The annual conference was held in Ljubljana at Cankarjev dom, while the first ever Amateo Award was presented at a special ceremony in Kranj as part of the launch of the Slovenian Week of Amateur Arts (Teden ljubiteljske kulture).

Slovenia’s national broadcaster, RTV Slovenija, featured the announcement of the inaugural Amateo Award in their news broadcasts. Watch the clip and read the news article here.

As well as this, Susan Fazakerley, President of Amateo, was interviewed on Slovenian radio about the importance of participation in culture. Listen to the interview here.

See photos below and on the Amateo Facebook page. You can also view the presentations of Réka Bálog (Europa Cantat) and Akademska folklorna skupina France Marolt.

During the annual General Assembly 2018 of Amateo, held on 10 May in Ljubljana, we were delighted that four new members joined our growing European network:

  • Fèisean nan Gàidheal, UK
  • Making Music, UK
  • House of Children and Youth of the capital city Prague, Czech Republic
  • Consulta Periferie Milano, Italy
'Before you say YES', Amateo Annual Conference, Ljubljana, May 2018
‘Before you say YES’, Amateo Annual Conference, Ljubljana, May 2018
Réka Bálog, Europa Cantat, keynote presentation at Amateo Annual Conference, Ljubljana, May 2018
Réka Bálog, Europa Cantat, keynote presentation at Amateo Annual Conference, Ljubljana, May 2018
Vuk Cosic, presentation at Amateo Annual Conference, Ljubljana, May 2018
Vuk Cosic, presentation at Amateo Annual Conference, Ljubljana, May 2018
Pioneer project presentation at Glej Theatre, Ljubljana, May 2018
Pioneer project presentation at Glej Theatre, Ljubljana, May 2018
First ever Amateo Award winners, EdvanHoornFucktheSystem from the Netherlands.
First ever Amateo Award winners, EdvanHoornFucktheSystem from the Netherlands.

Amateo Award 2018 winner announced

The first annual Amateo Award has been announced at a ceremony held in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

The inaugural winners are EdvanHoornFucktheSystem from the Netherlands!

In 2017 the Dutch theatre group Op Roet decided to make the performance, EdVanHoornFuckTheSystem, about a very special guy from the city of Hoorn, his name is Ed. It’s based on a true story about a guy – a loner – who works at a refugee camp in Syria. He finds himself fighting the systems at NGOs, the United Nations… because the money does not always reach the people/refugees who really need it. They made this play with 40 actors, musicians and singers. By matching 20 refugees from Syria, Iraq and Eritrea with a Dutch buddy, the creative process became an inclusive and social process as well, with a beautiful and inspiring result. The refugees played an integral part of the performance and this performance gave them a natural way to learn the language and, most importantly, to make new friends.

The jury selected this project for their outstanding social impact, their innovative way of making a non-professional theatre performance and the beautiful artistic result that was the result of this performance.

“We were very, very proud and honoured. It means a lot to us because now we are sure that we made a project & a performance with a lot of participation from the community and universal meaning, so it means a lot to us.

I think there are a lot of prejudices surrounding refugees and you can only really get away from that if you can really meet, really listen to the refugees’ stories and think ‘there’s a person’. We want to give the refugees a voice and a face.

Every refugee buddied up with a member of the cast, learning about each other and making friends. And the play and the performance of Ed van Hoorn became a very special moment where cultures were shared. Every performance, it was so very special to see that the audience was very touched when the story of the individual refugee was told by them.”

– Lyda Tijsen, Op Roet

“All of the projects on the Amateo Award shortlist were incredibly inspiring in different ways. It was a very difficult decision for the judging panel to select just one winner. Op Roet’s EdvanHoornFucktheSystem project really stood out as an example that embodies the power of participatory culture to have real, positive impact in our communities. The creativity and dedication evident in this project makes it a thoroughly deserving winner of the first ever Amateo Award!”

– Klemen Janežič, Slovenian actor and guest judge for the Amateo Award 2018

See more about the five Amateo Award nominated projects here.

Stay up to date on future Amateo events and awards by subscribing to our newsletter.

Amateo Award 2018 Nominations

Our new programme Arts Take Part – supported by Creative Europe – aims to grow and strengthen the network over the next four years. As part of this new programme and to celebrate our 10th anniversary we have initiated the new Amateo Award celebrating participatory arts in Europe.

These inaugural awards have attracted significant interest from across Europe and we are excited to have received 42 applications from 16 countries. The five shortlisted projects represent exceptional work from Denmark, Slovenia, Belgium, Netherlands and Scotland. All five will be represented at the announcement of the winner on 10 May 2018 in Ljubljana, as part of the Amateo Annual Conference “Before You Say Yes”. The conference is being hosted by Amateo member JSKD in Slovenia.

Aled Rhys-Jones – former Amateo president and member of judging panel said:

“The shortlisting jury for the first Amateo Award considered 42 eligible applications from creative cultural projects in 16 different countries. The range of projects was startlingly diverse from established large scale events involving thousands of participants, to innovative, new, first-time-out projects led by individuals. I was amazed by the breadth of diverse applications in this our first Amateo award and it was very gratifying for the jury to have such a breadth of high quality applications to consider.”

The Buddy Beat

Buddy Beat – UK

The judging panel were impressed with the positive impact this project has had on the quality of life the participants. It has nurtured mental well being, grown their confidence and created a real sense of belonging and support. Their public performances add to both their enjoyment as well as showing the rest of the world how active participation in arts can have a positive effect.


DAOS – Denmark

This summer school can be set as an example throughout Europe. The jury were impressed by the simple, but effective design of this project. This project is intergenerational and focuses on classical music. By it’s simple design they are able to reach a large scale of people and they ensure that people from every age group can actively participate in classical music.

Over mijn lijf

“Over mijn lijf” (‘About my body’) – Belgium

“Over mijn lijf” (‘About My Body’) OPENDOEK Flanders, Belgium. A project which focuses on working with seniors through the challenging medium of physical theatre. This project interested the shortlisting jury for considering the issues relating to senior citizens and active cultural participation. Older amateur actors often withdraw from performing owing to the pressures of line-learning; when, owing to advancing years and failing sensory or memory issues, an otherwise capable performer can suddenly be relegated to serving the refreshments in the interval. The project offers older actors new exciting challenges through working with physical theatre and finding new ways of expression and communication and a new ‘voice’, supported by professional input. The new work is then toured and performed for senior audiences.

Ed from Hoorn, Fuck The System

EdvanHoornFucktheSystem – The Netherlands

The jury was impressed by their interaction with refugees together with actors and musicians from the Netherlands. They use the refugee theme to create an intense and original play with over 40 actors and musicians. By allocating the refugees with a Dutch buddy, the creative process became an inclusive and social process as well, with a beautiful and inspiring result.


Touching (Dotikanja) – Slovenia

The judging panel were impressed with the positive impact this project has had on community of dystrophic people in Slovenia. Many exhibitions taking place all over Slovenia and the final product wall calendar with finger prints of artists showed artistic value of Dotikanja and great receipt from audience and amateurs. The project gave to the participants energy and power to do more and to express themselves through fine arts.

Before you say YES

The programme for our Amateo Annual Conference in Ljlubljana – Before You Say YES, Management Challenges in Active Participation in Culture is now online!

Speakers will include Réka Bálog (HU), Chief programme manager & international executive of the Pannon Philharmonic Orchestra in Pécs, Vuk Ćosić (CRO), internet veteran and internationally acclaimed classic of internet art, who si also an author of the communications strategy for Rijeka 2020 European Capital of Culture, MSc. Livija Rojc Štremfelj (SLO), Certified Fund Raising Executive and Master of Non-profit Organisations.

How to deal with the management of cultural projects is the main topic of this year’s Amateo conference organised for the tenth consecutive year by the European Network for Active Participation in Cultural Activities (Amateo). The program of the conference answers questions that all organisers of cultural events are asking: as creators we are constantly faced with organisational challenges – how to organise a successful and rewarding cultural event? On the 10th anniversary of Amateo we would like to focus on you, cultural organisers, who are doing your best so that artistic achievements can be appropriately presented. The management of cultural projects is multifaceted. The knowledge of leadership, management, promotion and acquisition of resources are challenging tasks, which are often neglected in amateur culture and therefore we are constantly discovering how to deal with those tasks.

Check out the full program [PDF]and register your place. (see registration form for details).

Sign up until 5 May 2018.

The participation fee for the two-day Amateo conference is € 80.00. For participants from Slovenia a half of the fee is covered by the Public Fund of the Republic of Slovenia for Cultural Activities. For participants from Croatia a half of the fee is covered by the Croatian Culture Council.

For more information, please contact:
Marjeta Turk, JSKD, +38612410524, marjeta.turk@jskd.si
Jan Pirnat, JSKD, +38612410528, jan.pirnat@jskd.si

Amateo Pioneers

As part of Arts Take Part project, Amateo wants to share and highlight some of the many already excisting pioneer projects in the wonderful world of amateur arts. We are looking for unique creative projects with an experimental nature that can inspire others to develop the practises and products of amateurs in new ways. Thus moving the world of amateur culture in new directions and taking an active part in developing new artistic trends.

What’s a pioneer project?

In our view, a pioneer project is a small scale art project – which is experimental in nature, made by and/or performed by (mainly) non-professional artist/performers. It’s fundamentally designed to try out new things, like working methods, artistic approaches or collaborations as a kind of laboratory of arts.

A pioneer project can be in any kind of creative or performing artform. It can be more traditional like dance, drama, literature, painting and music or more contemporary like performance, installation, “poetry slam”, street- or urban art, digital art etc. We are very open to different kinds of submissions.

Within the ATP the pilot/pioneer projects should however:

  • have an international component (European collaboration and/or exchange)
  • have to do with target groups like the elderly, the disadvantaged, youth, peripheral areas, lifelong learning, democracy building, people with disabilities etc.
  • have an interdisciplinary component

The project should meet at least two of the demands mentioned above.

What are we asking you to do? And what do you gain?

We want you to send in one or more suggestions to pioneer projects by filling out the form below describing the goals, processes and results or your pioneer project by Tuesday 20 March 2018.

Enter your pioneer project here:


From all the projects send in, a jury of 4 people will chose three projects by the 1st of April. The chosen project will be highlighted at the annual Amateo conference in Ljubljana from 10 – 12 May 2018 as part of the programme. The travel expenses to go to Ljubljana will be paid by Amateo.

Besides being highlighted at the conference in Ljubljana, the 3 chosen projects will be shared digitally on the Amateo website, presenting the projects and their formats for inspiration and contact.

All in all we are offering a chance to share and highlight your pioneer project and for you to inspire others and show your work in a broader European context.

Jury: The members of the jury in 2018 are Susan Fazakerley (Denmark), Helen Jones (United Kingdom), Guido Bosua (Netherlands) and Matjaž Šmalc (Slovenia). The members of the jury cannot be involved in any way with the submitted projects.

Opportunity: Fundraising & Sponsorship Consultant

Freelance Fundraising & Sponsorship Consultant
Deadline: Friday 23 February 2018

Arts Take Part is a unique and exciting new project being undertaken by Amateo, a network that serves and promotes people’s participation in the voluntary and amateur arts. Arts Take Part, supported by Creative Europe and Amateo member organisations, will help to strengthen the organisations involved in this work, grow the network and offer training, knowledge exchange and events.

The project is being delivered by a Management Team and five Activity Teams. The application for funding from Creative Europe included match-funding from the network and targets for income from fundraising and sponsorship. As such, the Board of Amateo are now seeking to recruit a freelance Fundraising & Sponsorship Consultant.

Fee: up to €7,000 (including all expenses)

Download the Fundraising and Sponsorship Consultant Brief

Applications should be sent to Project Co-ordinator, Jim Tough at jim@amateo.org by Friday 23 February 2018.

CONNECT: Workshop & Conference

CONNECT – Arts for everyone!

A four-day workshop and conference for young creatives, organisations and festivals working in the field of performing arts created and performed by children and young people, based in Europe and neighbouring countries.

16  – 19 March 2018
Huis voor de Amateurkunst – Deventer (Netherlands)

All over Europe, and beyond, there are people and organisations making performing arts with children and young people. During CONNECT, we are offering time and space to meet many of these people, see some inspiring examples of practice, take part in a workshop and try to develop new European collaborations.

Performing Arts for everyone!
During CONNECT we are focusing on one theme: how to reach the young people that are hard to reach. How can we progress the idea that art is for everyone and performing arts should be open for all? How do we include the young people living in the rural areas, those young people now struggling with war trauma, displacement and languages, LGBT young people and also disabled young people. How can we ensure that what we do is open to all of them, giving them space to express themselves, being recognised by the rest of the society.

CONNECT is organised by PLATFORM THEATER (NL), Kunstbaken Festival (Theaterschip, NL) and Amateo.

CONNECT is a flexible programme, in which we ask you to pick the format that suits you best.

  • CONNECT is a four day programme, but you can also choose to follow a part of the programme
  • There is a three day workshop for young creatives. In this workshop you will be working with an inspiring artistic leader, specialising in making multi-disciplinary performing arts productions, performed by young people from a variety of backgrounds.
  • For Dutch attendees; you can also attend just for the Monday. Monday is now designed as a moment to be informed about many possibilities for European collaboration and exchanges, and time for networking with peers.

Friday 16 March

18.00 – 20.00 hrs welcome dinner
20.00 – 21.00 hrs see a performance; ‘We, the people’ – Theater DeGasten, Amsterdam
21.00 – 22.00 hrs social time

Saturday 17 March

09.30 – 10.00 hrs welcome, kick off; what are we going to do?
10.00 – 10.30 hrs keynote speaker
10.30 – 11.00 hrs discussion
11.00 – 11.30 hrs coffee break
11.30 – 13.30 hrs young creatives; workshop round 1
11.30 – 12.30 hrs Organisations: Who are we? What are we looking for? What do we have to offer?
12.30 – 13.30 hrs Organisations; worldcafé; conversations in smaller groups: what are our experiences in working with targeted groups?
13.30 – 14.30 hrs lunch break
14.30 – 18.30 hrs young creatives; workshop round 2
14.30 – 19.00 hrs Organisations; local safari; go to different projects in Deventer, neighbouring cities and the rural area. See some interesting projects, and meet up with the performers and makers. Key words; international/interdisciplinairy/targeted young people.
19.00 – 20.00 hrs see a performance
20.00 – 21.30 hrs dinner

Sunday 18 March

09.30 – 10.00 hrs starting together; what are the expectations of the day?
10.00 – 13.00 hrs young creatives; workshop round 3
10.00 – 11.00 hrs organisations; workshop
11.00 – 11.30 hrs coffee break
11.30 – 12.30 hrs Organisations; workshop; Work in smaller groups, design a European project, and think how you will work with volunteers and/or engage with the targeted groups.
12.30 – 13.00 hrs short presentation of the projects, commented by the other groups.
13.00 – 14.00 hrs lunch

14.00 – 15.30 hrs young creatives; workhsop; preparation of the presentation
Organisations: speed dating; just two minutes to speak each organisations; what would you like to do?
15.30 – 16.00 hrs break
16.00 – 16.30 hrs presentation of the young creatives workshop
16.30 – 17.30  hrs round table conversation; what do the young creatives need from the organisations, festivals and networks to work in a European context?
17.30 – 19.00 hrs time to meet and speak with the organisations/each other
19.00 – 20.30 hrs dinner

Monday 19 March
– conference day; focusing on international working

08.00 – 09.00 hrs breakfast
09.30 – 10.00 hrs start together; what do we expect of today?
10.00 – 10.30 hrs best practice; one good and inspiring example, to get inspiration.
10.30 – 11.30 hrs presentation of some European funders and organisations like TANDEM, ECP, FCP, SocioKultur, Dutch Culture, Erasmus+, Creative Europe, etc.
11.30 – 11.45 hrs coffee break
11.45 – 12.00 hrs short introduction of the organisations that joined today
12.00 – 13.00 hrs work in small groups; design your super European project
13.00 – 14.00 hrs lunch
14.00 – 15.30 hrs presentation of these project proposals, comments by the funders, to see how they can be financed
15.30 – 16.00 hrs wrapping up and closing down


How to book your place? Visit the Theatreschip website and click the green button, then fill in the form.

Please note: hotels are not included; you have to arrange your own accommodation. If you like, Theaterschip can make some suggestions (info@theaterschip.nl).

All prices are VAT inclusive. There are four different options:

  1. You book on behalf of an organisation as a pair. One of you is representing your organisation, the other one is a young creative, and joining the young creative workshop. You are joining for four days. This arrangement includes 3 lunches, 3 dinners, coffee, tea and a drink during dinners. Total price: €150,–
  2. You subscibe on behalf of an organisation, and you will be representing your organisation. You are joining for four days. This arrangement includes 3 lunches, 3 diners, coffee, tea and a drink during dinners. Total price: € 90,–
  3. You book on behalf of an organisation as a pair. One of you is representing your organisation, the other one is a young creative, and joining the young creative workshop. You are joining for three days (Friday, Saturday and Sunday). This arrangement includes 2 lunches, 2 dinners, coffee, tea and a drink during dinners. Total price: €130,–
  4. You book on behalf of an organisation, and you will be representing your organisation. You are joining for three days. This arrangement includes 2 lunches, 2 dinners, coffee, tea and a drink during dinners. Total price: € 75,–

Please, specify your arrangement in the ‘comments’ field in the booking form. For students, we can offer a 25% discount on all options. If you are a student, please also specify this in the ‘comments’ field.

CONNECT: Arts For Everyone

European conference: Sharing Arts & Heritage

Call for sessions

European Conference on cultural education and participation
17 – 20 October 2018, Leeuwarden-Friesland, NL (European Capital of Culture 2018)

Arts and culture are key factors for building a sustainable Europe, that is now facing growing diversity and polarisation. This international conference investigates how cultural education and cultural participation relate to challenges of access, social cohesion, heritage and cooperation. How can we best channel our research and policies to promote an open, inclusive, resilient European society?

The conference organisers ask researchers, practitioners, educators and policy-makers to submit topics for sessions on one of the four themes chosen for the conference. The basis for each session is research, policy and / or practice.

The themes are:

  • Access for everyone in a diverse Europe,
  • Arts & culture for social challenges,
  • Arts, culture, heritage and identity &
  • European co-operation.

Through these themes, together with the key note speeches, the conference will explore the role of cultural education and participation in a changing Europe.

Deadline: Tuesday 13 February 2018

Visit the LKCA website to see full conference themes and submit a session proposal.

Amateo Award 2018 launched

Celebrating 10 years since the founding of the Amateo network, 2018 will see the inaugural Amateo Award celebrating participatory arts in Europe.


Amateo wants to award an outstanding participatory arts project. The award will go to the project with the most added value for their community. Tell us about great initiatives taking place in your country!


All European projects can enter themselves and each Amateo member organisation will select one project from their country (in which the member organisation is not directly involved) to put forward as well.


The award will be presented during the Slovenian Week of Amateur Arts in Ljubljana on 10 May 2018. Projects can register from 15 December 2017 until 15 February 2018. The jury will select a shortlist of 5 nominees in March 2018.


A professional jury will select the shortlist of 5 nominees. These 5 nominees will be invited to the official ceremony in Ljubljana in May 2018.

In Ljubljana, an external jury will select the very first winner of the Amateo Award. The winner will become Amateo Ambassador for a year and will be invited to present their project at the Amateo conferences during the next year. They will also be invited to take part in a special residency in Ljubljana.

Download the Terms and Conditions – Amateo Award.

Enter your project in Amateo Award 2018 here.

Highlights: Annual Conference, Pécs

The Amateo annual conference for 2017 took place from 28-30 November in the city of Pécs in Hungary.

The theme of this year’s conference was “Traditional artforms as a foundation for modern European culture”.

Keynote speech by Katy Spicer, English Folk Dance & Song Society
Keynote speech by Katy Spicer, English Folk Dance & Song Society at Cella Septichora, Pécs

The opening reception and keynote speech took place in Cella Septichora in the centre of Pécs. After the speeches, guests were treated to a performance by local a capella group Vivat Bacchus and a tour of the 4th century ruins.

Hungarian folk dance workshop led by Zengö at Kodály Központ.
Hungarian folk dance workshop led by Zengö at Kodály Központ.

The main conference was hosted at the Kodály Központ conference centre and featured talks and presentations by speakers from across Europe and another performance by a local folk group Zengö, who also invited the conference participants to join in an impromptu folk dance workshop.

Villy Dall, President of AKKS (Denmark) has written a commentary on the Pécs conference.