The Social Circus project by Anasa Cultural Center in Greece has been awarded the 2020 Amateo Award in an online ceremony with participants from all over Europe. In the winner, the jury especially loved the great spirit and passion.
“The project is authentic and resonates right to the heart. It shows a mix of creativity and human aspects. A team of voluntary trainers work with all kind of different skills and artforms with young refugees from all over the world. The person we interviewed has experienced the power of the project itself.”
The winners described what this project means to them:
“Social circus and circus skills in general always involve a challenge. You are challenged to learn to ride a unicycle. You are challenged to break your fear of heights and go on stilts… You are challenged to exceed yourself. You go beyond what you think your limits are.
We thought that the social circus is a way where youth can understand that there are enormous capabilities when you are trying. So through the medium of art you are learning to be persistent. To empower yourself. Because you see that the only thing that is stopping you is your mind.”
Some 64 projects from across Europe competed for the €1,000 prize which celebrates exceptional amateur arts projects. The finalists from Belgium, Germany, Greece, Slovenia and The Netherlands were all represented at the online announcement of the winner.
The Amateo Award is in its third year and was launched by Amateo, the European Network for Active Participation in Cultural Activities in Europe. The Award has been part of the Arts Take Part project co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.
You are warmly invited to an international celebration of participatory arts and collaboration!
This year, the Awards Ceremony will take place online with guests joining from home across Europe.
Friday 19 June, 18:00- 19:00 CET (that’s 17:00- 18:00 GMT and 19:00 – 20:00 CEET)
This year, 64 projects from 16 countries across Europe applied for the Amateo Award 2020 and featured activity focused on young people, older people (including those with dementia), those with different cultural or migrant backgrounds and projects to improve the community or environment. Five groups have been shortlisted by the jury, representing work from Belgium, Greece, Germany, Slovenia and The Netherlands. Read more about the finalists…
FIVE FINALISTS ANNOUNCED FOR THE AMATEO AWARD 2020
Exceptional amateur arts groups are having a profound impact on their communities across Europe. Some 64 projects from 16 countries across Europe applied for the Amateo Award 2020, a €1000 prize supported by Creative Europe to celebrate and strengthen participatory arts. The applications show a wide scope of themes, featuring initiatives focused on young people, projects with older people (including those with dementia) and those with different cultural or migrant backgrounds and projects to improve the community or environment.
Five finalists have been announced representing work from Belgium, Greece, Germany, Slovenia and The Netherlands. The jury loved the diversity and the impact of the initiatives in their communities.
The project “Heimatkarawane” from 1. Stage Divers(e) e.V. – Germany is examining and crossing many borders: between remote and urban areas, the past and present, traditional and new residents and between all art forms.
Fanfakids from Belgium is about 20 young people (aged 7-15) who transform their youthful energy in an explosive concoction of rhythms. The uniqueness of the project is the collaboration between a youth group that supports the young people on a social basis, and an artistic organisation which guarantees the artistic quality of the group.
The Hand-in-Hand Dance Program in the Netherlands connects older adults experiencing dementia with young children in non-verbal contact through dance and music. The model involves dance workshops with different work forms.
Social Circus from Greece is a voluntary initiative which uses circus techniques to share the beauty of skill, art, team work, and self-discipline with unaccompanied minors from the refugee camps of Greece. The initiative aims to create the first refugee-led circus academy in the long-term future.
In Slovenia “The flock of experienced birds” takes the viewer along a pre-drawn path overflowing with the visual colours of the city’s landscapes. It expands views into the memory of all participants using headphones and creates a unique story of the city.
The finalists will be represented at the announcement of the winner in an online event on Friday, June 19th at 18:00 CET.
The Amateo Award is in its third 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 now 51 members 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 co-funded by Creative Europe and aims to grow and strengthen the network over the next four years. The winner of 2019 was Moving Ground from Belgium. 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.
ABOUT THE PROJECTS Our 2020 Finalists
Stage Divers(e) e.V. Germany The project „Heimatkarawane- wie klingt das Land heute“ is examining and crossing many borders: Crossing those dividing remote and urban areas, the past and present, traditional and new residents, as well as those between music, poetry, acrobatics and theatre. The participants and the team have very diverse backgrounds from around the world (Chile, Israel, Iran, Arabic countries and Germany). New impressions are made that are experienced by all residents, both new and local. The team works on creating an atmosphere that is built on trust and equality, using a variety of artistic realisations. Through the work they do together they artistically create both the old and the new, the known and the strange, and present the overall result in a performance: an authentic picture of the village gets created, focussing on the definition of the word “Home”. Unexpectedly the corona crisis is further expanding the project and the network, by using digitally meetings, which gave others the opportunity to participate. Website:http://www.heimatkarawane.de/
Fanfakids Belgium The Fanfakids are about 20 of youngsters (7-15 of age) who transform their youthful energy in an explosive concoction of rhythms. Their groove is the metropolitan music mix that they grew up with in their headquarters (Youth house Centrum West, Brussels). The uniqueness of the project is the collaboration between a youth house (Centrum West – D’Broej) who supports the youngsters on a social basis, and an artistic organisation (Met-X Moving Music) who guarantees the artistic quality of the group. Despite their age, they have already performed in numerous venues over the globe (Europe & Africa). Over the years, they have developed a strong relationship with different drum and dance groups in Ghana and Guinea. Fanfakids exists in 2020 for 20 years and is been supported by a lot of voluntary work. Website: http://www.fanfakids.be / http://www.metx.be/en/projecten/fanfakids-3/
Hand-in-Hand The Hand-in-Hand Dance Program in the Netherlands is stimulating to connect older adults with dementia with young children with non-verbal contact through dance and music. An accompanying teacher: “I see behavior of my children that I never thought possible.” And a health care worker: “Our elderly don’t only have to receive, they can give so much love and tenderness. That moves me to tears.” The dance form at the heart of Hand-in-Hand is Biodanza, which means “Dance of Life”. It is a dance style involving a wide range of forms of movement which doesn’t require learning complicated dance moves. The Hand-in-Hand model involves 9 dance workshops in total, with different work forms with dance, but also discussion and a drawing of their experiences. To date, 60 Dutch dance teachers and more than 20 schools and care institutions have been carrying out inter-generational dance projects or still are. This spring we expect the first group of refugee children to dance together with elderly people with dementia. Website:http://www.vriendenvanbiodanza.nl
Social Circus by Anasa Cultural Center Social Circus is a voluntary initiative which uses circus techniques to share the beauty of skill, art, team work, and self-discipline to unaccompanied minors from the refugee camps of Greece. A total of four trainers in circus arts, such as juggling, monocycling, acrobatics, slackline, stilt technique, and rhythm games came together on a voluntary basis to share their knowledge with refugees aged 12-18 who have arrived in Greece on their own in the recent years. The social circus team officially started doing outreach programmes in 2018 in refugee shelters, asylum centers, and camps around Athens, Greece. This led to a weekly 3-hour training in 2019 open to all kids of migrant or Greek origin in Kerameikos area. The initiative aims in creating the first refugee-driven circus academy in the long-term future. Youth from Syria, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, UK, Norway, and Greece come together under this non-verbal art form. Website:http://www.anasa.org.gr
The Flock of Experienced Birds The flock of experienced birds takes the viewer along a pre-drawn path through the city with headphones that can be overflowed with the visual colours of the city’s landscapes. It expands views into the memory of all participants and creates a unique story of city. The first-person narrative, with its heavy subjectivity, expands on the many things of the perceptions of individual places in the city, and thus, with the sensitivity of spreading the conversation about change, passing, memories, many, interdependence and connectedness. Even though the views are intimate, are so unique that the common can indirectly recognise themselves in them as well as announce the beauty of the mutual differences in our own vulnerability. The project became a part of the program Kranj 2025 – application for the European Capital of Culture. The project has long term plans to create sustainable environment, programme and content for new generations of elderly. Website:odprti.art
Applications for the Amateo Award 2020 have now closed
By the award application deadline, we received a total of 62 applications from more European countries than ever before, which we are very happy about. We want to thank you all for sharing your great projects with us by entering the Amateo Award 2020.
There are all kinds of creative projects among the applications – it’s wonderful to see how art projects thrive and show good practises all around Europe – even in these times of challenge.
The Amateo Award 2020 is an opportunity to profile your amateur arts group or creative project to an international audience and, in turn, to make connections with participants, policy makers and funders from across Europe. Previous applicants have also found the Amateo Award gave increased recognition and support at a local level.
Hear more from previous winners Evelyn from Moving Ground in Belgium, the Amateo Award winner 2019, and Ingrid from OpRoet in The Netherlands, the Amateo Award winner 2018.
‘Ed Van Hoorn, F*** the System’ won the first Award in 2018, an amazing project from the Dutch city of Hoorn which united newcomers from Syria, Eritrea and Palestine. “We were very, very proud and honoured,” said Lyda Tijsen from Op Roet, the theatrical group which created the project.
The production had a profound impact on all those who took part including cast member Ayat from Syria: “Before Ed van Hoorn I was afraid, I was alone all the time, it was like living in the dark. But afterwards, my life is sunny. I met many Dutch people and made new friends.”
“After winning the Amateo Award we have gotten a lot of positive feedback from our community and a lot more support from the municipality. However, most of all, we gained a lot of confidence. Being a little, local project that got European recognition made us think bigger. In the near future we are starting up a festival where we want to network with different organizations that use dance as a tool for empowerment in the community.”
Amateo – the European Network for Active Participation in Cultural Activities
BELGIUM ARTISTS IMPROVING CHILDREN’S LIVES WIN €1,000 EUROPEAN ARTS PRIZE
Belgium arts group Moving Ground has been awarded the 2019 Amateo Award at a ceremony in Novi Sad, Serbia.
Jurors for the EU-backed arts prize said it was a project “from the heart to the heart” which had a huge impact on the youngsters involved in an area struggling with poverty and cultural division.
Dancers Evelyne Van Hecke and Roxette Chikua run Club MG which last summer set-up in a square in Terloplein in Borgerhout. They worked with local children to create a show for them to perform to their neighbours in this ethnically-diverse part of Antwerp.
Focusing 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 behaviour and what they wanted to do.
“They heard about each other’s feelings and the ‘us and them’ thinking got broken a bit, that made them feel safer in the square when we were gone,” said Evelyne Van Hecke. “One of the girls said months later ‘the boys are still nicer to us! And one of the boys said the biggest thing he’d learnt was to talk about his problems instead of trying to solve them with violence.”
“It’s quite an honour for us for Amateo to recognise this project and gives us more strength to continue our work.”
Jurors said it was clear how a small project focused on one area could have a significant impact. All the children have gone on to be involved in other art groups.
Ingrid Doctor, winner 2018 and member of the jury, said: “The jury was really touched by the bottom-up approach of this project. By helping the young people connect it had a big impact on them and the community. If there were more projects like this, the world would be a better place.”
Some 65 projects from across Europe competed for the €1,000 prize which celebrates exceptional amateur arts projects.
“Our five finalists have all done amazing things, “ said Susan Fazakerley, President of Amateo. “Choosing a winner was difficult, every project has in its own way made a hugely positive contribution to its participants and their communities.”
The finalists from Serbia, Northern Ireland, Austria, Belgium and The Netherlands were all represented at the announcement of the winner in Novi Sad as part of the Bridges of Creativity 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.
It was won by OpRoet in 2018, 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.
Notes for Editors
Our 2019 Finalists
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 after 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. Its resonance & sustainability is also demonstrated by the fact it’s inspired similar projects in eight European cities for International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
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!” (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.
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.
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.
The Amateo 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 the Creative Europe programme of the European Union and aims to grow and strengthen the network over the next four years.
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.
Thank you for your interest in the Amateo Award! The submission period for the Award 2019 is now closed. Out of 65 beautiful projects and initiatives the jury will select 5 finalists. In January 2020 the third edition of the Award will start. We hope to meet you then.
On Thursday 11th May 2018, the Op Roet theatre foundation received the first European Amateo Award in Ljubljana for their performance of Ed van Hoorn FucktheSystem. The jury of the Amateo Award was impressed with the artistic and meaningful impact of the performance. Ed van Hoorn FtS was one of 42 cultural projects that were nominated for the prize, from 16 European countries.
One part of the Amateo Award consists of being an ambassador for participatory art projects. For one year, Op Roet will use this ambassadorship to facilitate interaction between newcomers and inhabitants through art and theatre.
The performance of Ed van Hoorn FtS has shown what such interaction between newcomers and inhabitants can yield. It’s a way to uncover and reduce biases, and a way to stimulate social integration. The performance showed how important it is to listen and share stories with each other and how cultural differences are precious and form special relationships.
As part of the ambassadorship Op Roet has created a program consisting of 4 parts: a trailer, a new performance, new encounters, and the makers. These 4 parts can be combined or used individually.
Trailer of Ed van Hoorn FtS
A taste of the atmosphere of the performance and interviews with newcomers, who talk about what participating in the performance meant for them. The trailer is 7 minutes long and is in English.
Ed van Hoorn FtS lead to the making of a new performance: Friends to be… What happens when a Arab and a westerner meet and want to become friends? How can they learn from each other, what do they have in common?
Nour Mardini and Gerard Venverloo will go on a quest to find the right answers. They ask the questions that often stay untouched. The performance will be 40 minutes long and it will be in English.
Monique Schoorl, director of the Language training centre: “Nour takes us on a journey about the power of people: when your own world literally collapses, and you accept this fate, you can start again, in a strange and foreign country”.
Op Roet aims to emphasise on interaction between local newcomers and visitors of Amateo events. Together with local organisations in charge of integration (which will differ per country), Op Roet will organise encounters within the programme of the current Amateo congresses and symposia. As such, Op Roet has developed a program consisting of theatrical speed dates, that have already proven to be successful.
Lyda Tijsen and Ingrid Docter are, as director and writer, responsible for connecting and shaping the various parts of the program. The foundation Op Roet develops art & theatre projects with immaterial heritage as main inspiration. The purpose of these projects is to create a dynamic and vivid connection between material and immaterial heritage in the past, present and future.
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
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.”
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” (‘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.
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.