Ideias do Levante – Portugal

AMATEO MEMBER: Ideias do Levante – Cultural Association

Member country: Portugal
Contact person: Roberto Estorninho, chairman of the board

Ideias do Levante is a non profit cultural association based in the south of Portugal, in the Algarve, in the city of Lagoa. As a cultural association, we stage events, festivals, provide education about performing arts and fine arts. And we promote healthy and sustainable activities.

It was inspired by the restlessness of the wind, which gave it its name, which emerged as the non-profit, the Cultural Association of Lagoa – Ideias do Levante, on 27 April 1995. At its origin, there was a group of young people who, bewitched by the south-east wind and by the force of their ideas, desired to foment culture in the Municipality of Lagoa under the motto “grab your dreams!”.

There are several cultural activities (and other activities) that the association develops throughout each year in order to build new audiences and participants for the association. Among all these activities, we highlight the regular classes, training and workshops in various aspects, and the nuclei of the association, namely in the areas of Theater, Music, Dance, Cinema, Photography, and the Internet.

We have joined the Amateo network to connect with other institutions and to share knowledge and support. By connecting internationally we will be profiting from a better understanding regarding different realities, different cultures and different ways to act and to react.

We believe that Amateo, as a network, can make the difference and add value to culture, locally and globally. On behalf of Ideias do Levante, we are so grateful to be part of it.

Video message from Roberto Estorninho, President of Ideias do Levante

If you want to read more about Ideas do Levante, please visit their web page!

Interested in joining Amateo’s European network? Find out more!

Post Bellum – Czech Republic

AMATEO MEMBER: Post Bellum – Memory of Nation’s Theatre

Member country: Czech Republic
Contact person: Tamara Pomoriski, M.A., theatre maker, artistic director


Post Bellum is a non-governmental, non-profit organization which documents the memories of witnesses of the important historical phenomena of the 20th century and which tries to pass these testimonies on to the broader public since 2001. We are led by the conviction that witnesses of historic events need to have an opportunity to tell their stories in detail and in their entirety. These memories bear precious testimony not only about modern history, but about the character of the Czech people as well. If they are not preserved for the present-day and future generations, the society will hardly be able to cope with its history of totalitarianism. Our aim is to form a collection of interviews as extensive as possible – a collection of authentic personal stories and testimonies.


Apart from recording witnesses’ memories, Post Bellum tries to pass on their stories to the broader public. We prepare exhibitions, publish books and organize social events. We continuously search for new ways of getting people interested in the topic, of stirring up a society-wide debate on democratic values. Memory of Nation’s Theatre is an educational and creative project for youngsters. The participants learn about the stories and historical events of the 20th century and get to know the different perspectives, circumstances and attitudes of people who have experienced the dramatic moments of World War II and Communism. On the basis of a specific story, participants will understand the historical context of the 20th century and become familiar with the essence of totalitarian regimes. The project offers to young people the opportunity to respond to recent historical events.

Why Amateo?

Post Bellum wants to be part of a network of partner organizations within and without Europe, and is actively working to create and develop such a network. We bring together documentarians, historians, journalists, teachers and artists in order to preserve peoples’ memories, develop critical thinking and support the values at the core of our society.

Importance of international cooperation?

We want to bring together people who care about the past and who support its preservation – not only through theatre and not only among young people. Our goal is to expand this approach within Europe and beyond. Our international collection,, is one of the broadest open databases of witness testimonies and contains hundreds of recordings of foreign witnesses from tens of countries.

Future hopes?

Thanks to Amateo, we have established cooperation with several international partners (from the Netherlands, Germany, Estonia and Belgium) at the Memory of the Nation’s Theatre and created amazing projects such as Hidden Tracks, Meeting Unknown and We are the Memory. We look forward to new international friendships and new projects!

If you want to read more about Post Bellum, please visit their web page!

Interested in joining Amateo’s European network? Find out more!

Resetting the Stage: Programme

Amateo online Conference

Friday 22 January 2021

10:30 – 12:00 CET: Keynote speakers/interviews
13:30 – 14:00 CET: ‘Your Stage’
14:00 – 15:00 CET: Workshop

Amateo invites you to join this special online conference where we will discuss how participatory arts can help to tackle the big issues in our world. We will hear from experts from across Europe, share our past experiences and think positively and ambitiously about the future.

By means of best practices we want to explore new opportunities and inspire practitioners and organisers of participatory arts, politicians, and others. Together with inspiring experts, we’ll assess ways to collaborate and Reset the Stage by means of some examples that go beyond art for art’s sake, they make art for our sake.

During some engaging and interactive sessions we’ll try to find answers to these questions: How to stimulate collaboration between the participatory arts and other sectors/domains (like health & wellbeing / Sustainable Development Goals / biodiversity / agriculture / shrinkage areas / children’s rights / gender equality). And how can local/regional government authorities become cooperation partners of organisations in the voluntary and amateur arts?

How do we tackle global problems with imagination, beauty and creativity?

As well as an inspiring session in the morning, you will also have the chance to present your own ideas or proposals on creative community art projects that aim for broader societal impact in the afternoon programme. No slides, no sales pitches – just inspiring ideas! The stage is yours…

Merlijn Twaalfhoven will send us into the weekend with an inspiring workshop: Long-term thinking for a short-term world.


10:30 – 12:00 (CET)
Keynote speakers & interviews
  • Tania Banotti (IE), Director of Creative Ireland: ‘Engaging the Public on Climate Change through the Cultural and Creative Sectors. More about Tania….
  • Andreas Ceska (AT), Art Director, Theatre for Education: ‘Using performing art with children and young people in India, for children’s rights, education, health care, gender equality and against poverty and climate change’. More about Andreas….
  • Sjoerd Feitsma (NL), Director of Platform ACCT (Platform Labor Market Cultural and Creative Future) and former councilor of the city of Leeuwarden (European Capital of Culture 2018): ‘Opportunities for governments in collaboration with the cultural and creative sector’. More about Sjoerd…
  • Merlijn Twaalfhoven (NL), Director, The Turn Club, musician, composer and organiser of (music) events: ‘Tackling world problems with imagination, beauty and creativity’. More about Merlijn…
  • Juraj Čarný (SK), Director of WANDERING GALLERY nomadSpace: ‘Artistic Activism with mobile art projects and exhibitions and mobilizing art to reach all walks of life’. More about Juraj….
  • Q&A

13:30 – 14:00 (CET)
‘Your Stage’

Do you have an idea worth spreading?
Have you thought of a project or are you currently bringing a project to life?
Do you have an inspiring idea you want to share, or are you looking for tips/European partners?
We are looking for 2-3 minute talks about ideas or proposals on creative community art projects that aim for broader societal impact. No slides, no sales pitches – just inspiring ideas! The stage is yours…

14:00 – 15:00 (CET) Workshop
Merlijn Twaalfhoven: Long-term thinking for a short-term world

Underneath all the major problems the world is grappling with is one crystal clear cause; we only think of the short term.
In this workshop, Merlijn Twaalfhoven takes us out of this time bubble. He takes us on a tour of how we can see beyond our own generation.
A new way to stand in time so that we can ultimately be a good ancestor to our grandchildren’s children. How can we give voice to future generations? And how can creativity help us to realize that we can do things ourselves?

Jan-Willem van Kruyssen & Francesca Robson


Registration is closed.
This event took place on 22 January 2021.

Vlamo – Belgium

AMATEO MEMBER: VLAMO (The Flemish Association of Music Bands and Musicians)

Member country: Belgium
Contact person: Jan Matthys, CEO


VLAMO wants amateur instrumental music to flourish in Flanders, Belgium. We work for 1200 amateur orchestras (or 65000 musicians) around Flanders. Most of the orchestras are wind bands and fanfare orchestras (typical for the low countries), but we also have members which are brass bands, symphony orchestras, string orchestras, pipe bands, show bands, drum bands, accordion orchestras, majorettes and twirlers, etc.


We have a broad range of services. We support our members with advice, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. We organise events, festivals, projects and competitions. We have a music library with 40000 music scores, recordings, books and magazines. But maybe most important, we want to be a platform and connect people in real life and through digital platforms. We try to improve the image of our amateur music scene. Through advocacy we try to improve the framework for amateur orchestras and musicians.

Why Amateo?

We joined Amateo to exchange knowledge and to make international connections. In the first years going to the annual Amateo conference was also a team building activity for the Flemish amateur arts organisations, which was really fun!

Importance of international cooperation?

We all live in a European context and sharing knowledge can be interesting for all members. Benchmarking can be useful for advocacy and policy workers. Flanders is a small region in the heart of Europe. For us it is unthinkable not to cooperate internationally. The borders of our neighboring countries are always very close. For our members it is always an enriching experience to go abroad, meet other European orchestras and cultures. It confronts us with the beautiful diversity within the European Union, and at the same time it strengthens the unity of the union.

Future hopes?

I hope Amateo becomes a strong network and the go-to organisation for people who have questions about amateur arts in Europe. It would be very nice if we could put the amateur arts higher on the European agenda. The amateur arts can be used as a tool to build a more connected Europe. It can help to build an open, diverse and inclusive society.

If you want to read more about VLAMO, please visit their web page!

Interested in joining Amateo’s European network? Find out more!

New Amateo Research Publication: Slovenia


In 2020, as part of the “Arts Take Part” project, our team managed to translate into English and publish another research publication (this time it is a Slovenian publication) and we are excited to share it with you!

The purpose of this research is to identify the needs and priorities for networking and advocacy in amateur cultural activities by analyzing the financing, human resources and spatial capacities of cultural societies, mentorships, advocacy, consulting, informing, networking and cooperation with related organizations. It was led by The Union of Cultural Societies of Slovenia in cooperation with the Republic of Slovenia Public Fund for Cultural Activities (JSKD).


Amateur culture in Slovenia is a wide-ranging sector compared to other cultural sectors, which is why it is difficult to precisely delimit or define its area of activity. There are around 5.000 cultural societies and groups active on the field of amateur art and culture in Slovenia, with more than 100.000 actively involved adults. They showcase approximately 25.000 cultural events per year, which are viewed by 4.000.000 visitors.


Generally, cultural societies find the situation in amateur culture good locally and nationally. Only a few respondents (5.6% for the local level and 3.9% for the national level) believe that the general state of amateur culture is insufficient, which shows that both the state and local communities take good care of amateur culture and creativity. The respondents identified several reasons for low scores (sufficient and insufficient) for amateur culture in local communities (26.4%) and in general (21.3%). The most common reasons are related to financing, but other reasons are: insufficient engagement and presence in devising local cultural policies, insufficient interest of municipal authorities in the development of cultural activities, spatial problems, disinterest in amateur culture, especially among young people, insufficient programme cooperation and interaction between different activities of societies, vast bureaucracy, small audiences, lack of adequate staff, lack of young people to carry on work, ageing members of cultural societies, poor regulation of remuneration to mentors, lack of local education and training, insufficient promotion of amateur culture, lack of concrete instructions for monitoring and adapting to amendments to legislation, inadequate national cultural policy, lack of concrete guidelines for societies’ operation, poor links between culture and tourism, lack of time for proper preparation of cultural programmes, activities and events.

Get Inspired! Amateo Award Winners

Amateo Award Winner 2018

Op Roet (Netherlands): EdvanHoornFucktheSystem 

Around the Dutch city of Hoorn in 2018, refugees united with more than 40 amateur actors, singers and musicians to create a very special musical.

The script was based on the real story of EdvanHoorn who was born in Hoorn and worked for 25 years with refugees, mostly in Syria. He’s credited with building camps, roads and hospitals. The play is the story of Ed, a loner, who wants to help the refugees fight against the systems that prevent them from improving their conditions.

20 refugees from Syria, Eritrea and Iraq staying in the region took part and joined the performance in Phylipsfactory, where the rough walls of the great old factory were filled with projected images as the backdrop to the play. 2000 people came to watch the performance. 

Every refugee buddied-up with a Dutch member of the cast, learning the language and making friends. The play and performance of EdvanHoorn – with food and drink circulated afterwards – became a special moment where cultures were shared.

Kulturanova – Serbia

AMATEO MEMBER: Asocijacija Kulturanova / Association Kulturanova

Member country: Serbia
Contact person: Milan Vračar, CEO


Association Kulturanova is an NGO founded in May 2001 in Novi Sad, Serbia. The organization was founded as an “umbrella” association of various non-formal independent art groups, individuals and young artists from Novi Sad.

Kulturanova initiates intercultural and intersectoral dialogue in society, fostering youth creativity through art education, production of cultural content and promotion of public policies in the field of culture and youth. Our main values are: interculturalism, intersectoral, peace-building, equality and participation.

What kind of work do you normally do?

  1. Festivals and events
  2. Production of theater and contemporary dance performances, film and music
  3. Lectures and conferences
  4. Workshops, seminars, trainings

Why Amateo?

Kulturanova shares Amateo’s values; we believe that active participation in the arts is an important part of establishing free, open and democratic society. Through our activities, we empower people to express themselves in an artistic way, showing that art practices aren’t exclusively reserved for professional artists. We believe that Amateo helps us broaden our experience and knowledge related to the topic of active participation in the arts.

Importance of international cooperation?

Kulturanova represents the opinion that international networking is one of the key elements for a successful CCI (Culture & Creative Industry) organization. It helps us to meet with new points of view and new approaches to the certain social or other issues, which often results with innovative ideas for new projects. Networking is the best way to promote trans-national skills and to strengthen sector’s capacity.

Future hopes?

We would certainly like to network and collaborate with Amateo and its members on some of our future projects. In Amateo, we see the opportunity to educate our employees through common projects or training, but also to share our experience and knowledge with other members, and thus to strengthen our cross-border contact.

Interested in joining Amateo’s European network? Find out more!

Conference: Resetting the Stage

Amateo Online Conference | Friday January 22nd 2021 

Cultural budgets are coming under more and more pressure. On top of that, the cultural and creative sectors themselves are among the most seriously damaged by the effects of the pandemic. Many cultural activities are being halted, millions of jobs are frozen or wiped out, micro and small businesses are on the brink of bankruptcy and many talents are forced to leave the sector altogether.

In response to the current pandemic situation, a pan-European community of 110 networks and associations called on the European Commission to encourage Member States to fully integrate culture in their national recovery and resilience plans, allocating at the very least 2% of the RRF budgets to the culture and creative sectors, as called for by the European Parliament in its recent resolution on the “Cultural Recovery of Europe”. Now it is of course important to support the cultural and creative sectors in these difficult times, it is perhaps even more important to give this sector an active role in the national recovery and resilience plans of their respective countries.

Coronavirus is not the only crisis we find ourselves in, but also the decline in biodiversity, the climate crisis and the energy transition. These are major issues that we now have to tackle! It takes imagination, and a creative process to change things. The culture and creative sectors can do that. It is increasingly recognized that art and culture have a special function as accelerators of change – through the ability to reach people at the level of emotions and beliefs, provide new ways to see problems and develop creative solutions.

How can we stimulate collaboration between the participatory arts and other sectors/domains (like health & wellbeing / Sustainable Development Goals / biodiversity / agriculture / shrinkage areas)? And how can local/regional government authorities become cooperation partners of organisations in the voluntary and amateur arts?

By means of Best Practices, we want to explore new opportunities and inspire practitioners and organisers of participatory arts, politicians, etc. Together we will assess ways to collaborate and Reset the Stage by means of some examples that go beyond art for art’s sake, they make art for our sake.

Contact: Jan-Willem van Kruyssen,, +31 (0)631665582

ZKDS – Slovenia

AMATEO MEMBER: Zveza kulturnih društev Slovenije / Association of Cultural Societies of Slovenia

Member country: Slovenia
Contact person: Dr. Sara Špelec, Secretary


The association ZKDS is a non-governmental organization based in Ljubljana, Slovenia, uniting municipal and regional societies of cultural associations and sectoral associations. As part of civil society, it represents the interests of amateur culture on a national level and is, as such, the original and direct voice of the people who work in cultural associations and formulate the proposals and requirements for further operation and development of amateur culture.

The association is the successor to the nation-wide cultural organization in Slovenia which – with its activities in the 19th and 20th centuries – significantly contributed to the formation of national identity and the creation of an independent state in 1991.


The main task of the association is to advocate for the field, i.e. to be involved in all phases of development and adoption of strategic acts, national programs and other development documents of the country, as well as to set uniform standards for working conditions and funding, all in the field of amateur culture. ZKDS are a direct representative of amateur culture in Slovenia, and act as a negotiator with the authorities and holders of certain rights (copyright, business, tourism, education), which are the basis for the implementation of our programs, and present a bridge that connects us with professional associations.

The association ZKDS supports:

  • a multitude of amateur cultural creations,
  • diversity of areas of amateur cultural creation (maintaining tradition and enabling modern forms of activity),
  • quality of amateur creativity,
  • professional culture – reciprocity of cooperation
  • works hand-in-hand with other associations, maintaining at the same time an autonomous position.

In performing all these tasks, close cooperation with the state Public Fund for Cultural Activities – JSKD (also a member of Amateo), which is the main operational implementer of the adopted cultural policy and programs in this field, is essential to ZKDS.

Why Amateo?

ZKDS joined the Amateo network because of the opportunity to learn about experiences and good practices of both neighbouring and distant cultures and to subsequently try to apply them in our environment, but also because of the opportunity to meet new people – our colleagues with whom we share the love of art and culture, and many times a similar worldview as well. Conversely, we want to bring our own good practices closer to foreign cultures, which may then imitate an approach or a way of working of ours – those belonging to a tiny country, but with a well-established tradition of amateur culture, which is practically anchored in the ‘national gene’.

Importance of international connections?

We are aware of the fact that cultural participation of people, the opportunity to develop their talents, enabled by the universality of art and culture, is one of the most important elements of preserving humanity, which is indispensable for the improvement of both individual lives and nations in general. Europe has already done a plethora of good deeds in this regard but also in the fields of environment.  It can also help other environments and at the same time take its own creativity to a new level by incorporating elements of other cultures into its own. If we do this together, we will be more successful.

Future hopes?

We believe that Amateo will strengthen its role and gradually attract to its activities other organizations, not only from Europe but from all over the world. That would be a success and a huge benefit for all of us. Now more than ever, culture must be a link between different nations and peoples who believe in the sense and the beauty of human existence.

If you want to read more about ZKDS, please visit their web page!

Interested in joining Amateo’s European network? Find out more!


One of the good things we discovered during reCONNECT (the online alternative for CONNECT2020, originally planned in Brussels), was it was relatively simple to meet by Zoom. We had participants that would not have been able to come to Brussels physically, who now joined the event. At the end of this experimental week, we agreed to follow up.

And so we did; Thursday November 12th we had an open Zoom session for all former participants of the CONNECT events of the last three years. Fifteen people joined the session. Some of them were participants of the very first CONNECT (Deventer, NL, 2018), some had planned to come to Brussels, but could not join reCONNECT, and some of them were new Amateo members.

It was good to see everyone, and hear the stories about pioneer projects that started without a grant (4ID), and are still meeting, and working on further collaboration. Also the three projects that received grants in 2020 are preparing their projects. Of course, COVID-19 delays things, and makes things uncertain, but that doesn’t stop us being creative, and finding solutions for these project ideas.

The next rereCONNECT Zoom meeting is planned for Thursday January 28th 2021, at 16.00 hrs CET. If you would like to join this, please send an email to