This survey has been commissioned by Amateo and is being carried out by independent research organisation Ruthless Research. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Ruth.
Galway-based visual artist Jennifer Cunningham leading a workshop on self portraiture, using collage to represent aspects of the self and home. Find out more [Image: ‘Telling Stories’ by Jennifer Cunningham. See more examples of Jennifer’s work]
11AM-1.30PM (GMT +1CET/+2EET), SATURDAY 28TH NOVEMBEr
Galway-based textile artist Kathy Ross, sharing her techniques of ‘painting with wool, drawing with thread’. Download a sketch template of Galway Bay and list of materials needed, or use your own scene and Kathy will guide you through the embroidery and needle felting techniques to complete the scene. [Image: ‘Rasai Na Hucieri’ by Kathy Ross. See more examples of Kathy’s landscape work]
We were happy to be one of the 110 pan European networks who signed the recent letter from Culture Action Europe which was sent to people of power and influence across Europe. As the world deals with the pandemic and its’ consequences our plea is for the creative and cultural aspects of our lives to be recognized, supported and valued. This isn’t simply about the money. Its about how we understand the importance of our creative lives to our well-being as individuals and as communities.
American author Kurt Vonnegut Jr. captured this sentiment well: ‘The arts are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or how badly. Is a way to make your soul grow.’
Each of us has coped with the impact of the pandemic in our own way. It appears for many tapping into our creativity has been important both for ourselves and for our connection to others. Many of you may recall the spontaneous balcony choirs in Italy thanking their health workers. One of the hardest aspects of lockdown for my wife and I was not being able to see our young grandchildren.
Our antidote was to create some small books for them, stories about them and about us. A limited edition of 2. One for Alba and one for Seumas!
It made us feel better, more connected.
It’s the same spirit that inspires our new Postcards from Home project. This power of creativity and connection is at the heart of what Amateo believes in. We want to share that belief, we want to have the wonderful work of our member organizations become more visible, become increasingly valued and yes, be supported by the European and national funders.
As we approach the final year of our Arts Take Part project we plan an advocacy campaign in support of the work of our members and the citizens that they represent. We hope that next year you will join us in that chorus of celebration!
Open letters campaign for 2% of recovery budgets to support culture
Amateo has co-signed two letters, alongside Culture Action Europe and 108 other networks and associations from across Europe, asking the European Commission and national governments to commit to allocating at least 2% of national Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) budgets to culture and creative sectors.
Amateo believes that culture and creativity is essential to the functioning of our society and will require support now and in the future, to ensure that the infrastructure and opportunities will be available for everyone in Europe to participate fully in cultural life, in line with Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
We are pleased that the European Parliament asked for similar levels of support for culture in the recent Cultural Recovery of Europe resolution and we look forward to working with our members and partners all across Europe to ensure that this remains central to our recovery efforts in the coming months and years.
Read the open letters below (via Culture Action Europe’s website):
Online creative sessions linked to the live event ‘CONNECT The Unexpected‘ in Maribor (Slovenia).
The words and images created by everyone taking part in the Postcards from Home project, across Europe, will inspire new collaborative participatory creative works that blend the art-forms and themes shared between November and May.
Find out more about the live programme and register for the CONNECT the Unexpected creative residency
Member country: Netherlands Contact person:Judith Ensel, director
Art-fact is a platform, fund and intermediary for arts in leisure time. We work for the city government of Tilburg, the Netherlands. We represent and support amateur and community arts in our municipality.
We support and facilitate amateur and community arts with funds. We connect artists and organizations and make artists and their work visible through our platform, on and offline.
Because we have the same goal: facilitating Active Participation in Cultural Activities and to see what happens on a more international level in this area of the arts.
Why international connections?
By doing so we can exchange knowledge and ideas. We can inspire others and be inspired by them and we can show that arts have not been limited by international boundaries.
That despite of Corona and other complicating matters, we can keep doing what we love and have to do: make art and culture available for everyone, because art can be the answer to come to a better understanding between people and helps us to find out what is really important in this world.
If you want to read much more about Art-Fact, please visit their web page!
There will be no exchange of money or items of financial value
Public sharing of postcards sent to Amateo will be anonymised unless attribution is requested
Amateo cannot guarantee information shared within your creative exchange is not personally identifiable, this remains the responsibility of the sender. Stories and images shared should not contain personal or sensitive information that you wish to remain confidential.
Postcards sent to the project may inspire new creative works. Attribution is by request only, under Creative Commons terms, excluding NoDerivs (see creativecommons.org)
Creative outcomes in the postcards that you share remain your own work
Postcards will not be returned to you unless agreed with your partner. Amateo can take no responsibility (please keep a personal record or send copies).
Member country: Austria Contact person:Yvonne Gimpel, Managing Director
IG Kultur Österreich, located in Vienna, Austria, is the association, voice and network of more than 800 independent cultural initiatives in Austria. Focusing on contemporary cultural expressions and community-driven initiatives our main goal is to improve the working conditions for those working in the field of contemporary arts and culture – from culture professionals to volunteers.
IG Kultur Österreich pursues advocacy activities, pushes for legislative improvements and regulatory measures to create an enabling environment, for example ensuring structural safety of cultural initiatives, stable financing conditions, fair pay and social security for those involved in cultural work.
In addition to mediating between cultural initiatives and public authorities, IG Kultur Österreich provides hands-on advice to its members on all matters related to everyday cultural work, such as financing, tax and social security, legal requirements, networking, mobility, etc. In addition we offer workshops and seminars to strengthen the professional development of the sector. Regarding communication we strive to fill the gap in the traditional media discourse on cultural policy issues as well as cultural practices through our public relations work, our magazine and website. We attempt to change the perceptions of cultural work, it’s contribution and relevance for today’s society in constant transformation.
Why join Amateo?
The emancipatory potential of participation in arts and culture has yet to be fully unleashed and recognized – a quest which cannot be confined to the national level, but is a true European agenda. This entails working and thinking beyond national borders – in terms of cultural practices, networking and exchange as well as in terms of advocacy and public relations.
Amateo enables connecting the dots between those working in similar settings – no matter in which country they’re based.
Creating possibilities for networking, exchange and collaboration between culture professionals in the field of participatory arts
Lifting the learning curve through cross-border exchange on developments, good as well as failed practices, and project collaboration
Contribute to the recognition of participatory cultural work, its contribution and relevance for today’s society – beyond added value legitimisation discourses
If you want to read more about IG Kultur, please visit their web page!
Member country: Belgium Contact person:Benedikte De Vos, staff member data collection and research at OP/TIL (andformer secretariat of Amateo 😊)
Steunpunt voor Bovenlokale Cultuurgrew out of Amateur Arts Forum, the supporting organisation for the amateur arts sector in Flanders, Belgium. In a big rationalization process, led by the government, the amateur arts sector lost its support and advocacy organization by the end of 2018. However, in De Federatie, the amateur arts sector found a new advocacy organization whilst the nine discipline-specific umbrella organisations professionalized a lot during the past years. Steunpunt voor Bovenlokale Cultuur has a broader and somehow different focus. There is, since 2019, a new Flemish decree that stimulates cultural projects to transcend the borders of their local community or city and to work together with partners on a broader geographical scale. It also has as a goal to connect cultural players from all different cultural subsectors (amateur and professional arts, cultural heritage…) with each other and/or with organizations from others sectors, such as education, well-being, tourism etc. Next to this project funding, there are subsidies for small groups of municipalities and towns, who act as a connector and facilitator for culture in their region. Steunpunt voor Bovenlokale Cultuur is the new supporting organization for all these new initiatives. We inspire and connect players from the broad range cultural sector. Beyond the boundaries of municipalities, sectors and disciplines.
Our organization wants to connect and inspire cultural actors and organizations to work and cooperate across the borders of their community, their discipline, their cultural habitat. Therefore, we bring people together and organize networking events where we show good examples and give stage to inspirational speakers. We give workshops to inform on the possibilities to get funding and take time for 1 on 1 advice to organizations who have a good idea, but not yet the experience to start a (large-scale) project. We go to other domains and convince them of the opportunities that new cooperations might have. We gather knowledge about new and challenging cooperations and let this knowledge flow back to the field.
Our predecessor, Amateur Arts Forum was a founding member of Amateo. From our own regional context, we learned that amateur arts organizations are good at building bridges with other cultural sub-sectors and domains. At Amateo conferences, and from our contacts with other member organizations, we discovered a lot of good examples, where amateur arts work together with professionals arts, with the health care sector etc. These good examples help us in our current challenge and can stimulate other sectors to leave their comfort zone and work together with non-usual suspects.
Importance of international connections?
Stimulate cultural actors to collaborate across borders is in the mission of our organization! Going for the unknown, finding new, undiscovered partners, learning about common issues you have with people on the other side of the country (or Europe)…it can only help to enrich yourself and to grow in a way you would not have down without these partners. You always learn a lot from new collaborations, not only how others do things differently, but also about yourself. Within a few years, when Steunpunt voor Bovenlokale Cultuur is operating at full speed, we want to introduce the international scope in all our services and stimulate cultural actors from Flanders to work internationally.
Here in Flanders, the amateur arts sector has proven to be flexible and innovative during the Corona crisis and semi-lockdown in Flanders, Belgium. And I believe it was the same in most European countries. The myriad of spontaneous initiatives showed the need we have for culture, on a personal and societal scale. It is this power to bring people together, to connect and to move people that we should foster.
This is also what I hope for the amateur arts sector and for Amateo, who is as a valuable partner in the field: that they will be visible and appreciated, both by the public and by policy makers. The imaging of the added value is now more important than ever. For all people, young and old, whatever their background or families they come from: I hope they have opportunities to take part in the arts discipline they feel attracted to, get chances to develop themselves and make friendships for a lifetime!
If you want to read more about OP/TIL, please visit their web page!
Member country: Netherlands Contact person: Jan Brands, director
Cultuurconnectie is the national sector association for cultural education, cultural participation and community colleges. The organization is based in Utrecht, Netherlands. We represent music schools, centers for the arts, community colleges and organizations occupied in amateur arts or cultural participation.
We are a member organization, offering membership and advice, advocacy and campaigning. We are also the employers association who arrange, together with the workers associations, collective employment contracts.
We joined the Amateo network because we care about open, inclusive and qualitative cultural participation for everybody.
It is important to make international connections and collaborate across borders because we can learn from each other, get inspired by other countries, cultures and practices and because together we can gain strength in reaching our common goals.
By sharing, informing, inspiring and collaborating on a European level we can increase the visibility and approval of our work and also strengthen the organizations who support them.
If you want to read more about Cultuurconnectie, please visit their web page!