NIPOS – Czech Republic

Amateo member: National Information and Consulting Centre for Culture (NIPOS)

Member Country: Czech Republic

Contact Person: Kateřina Klementová, Project Manager

Who is NIPOS?

National Information and Consulting Centre for Culture (NIPOS), re-established in 1991, is a governmental organization which has history leading back to 1925, when Masaryk, the first president of Czechoslovakia, founded a cultural/educational institute for his new citizens. Nowadays, NIPOS is a nationwide organization working as a coordinating body for more than 20 artistic specializations in non-professional art, is the official provider of national statistics on culture and realizes cultural research, methodological and expert service for the Ministry of Culture and offers consultation and advisory service for people.

What do you do?

Apart from large-scale statistical work and service for the Ministry of Culture, our work in non-professional art activities covers project managing, consultation, methodology issues, festivals, education and publishing activity in many different artistic specializations. NIPOS takes care of the very wide variety of regional festivals throughout the Czech Republic, which are leading to 21 large national festivals being the „grand finale“ for many amateur artist’s activities of the year. But it’s not only about presentation, NIPOS seeks to cherish the different art disciplines in terms of quality and development of the art forms. And so the natural part of every festival is education, workshops, seminars and (sensitive) expert reflection of what has been seen.

In the long-term perspective, NIPOS is taking care about the methodology and development of the different art branches: publishing perdiodicals and books in different arts, being in permanent touch with the artists, educators and cultural stakeholders of the time, works towards a better environment for amateur arts in the Czech Republic. That’s why we provide research: for many years, we are developing The Czech Amateur  Theatre Database. Currently, NIPOS is the leader of two larger research projects about seniors, culture and inter-generational dialogue and an oral history project on roots of contemporary dance in the Czech Republic.  

Why did you join Amateo?

NIPOS was there when Amateo was founded in 2008. As an umbrella organization for many amateur art forms, we felt it was necessary to share our experience, visions and problems we have been facing, with other similar European organizations. We were interested in the others’ experience and wanted to learn from them too. This curiosity remains up to these days and will last (hopefully) forever!

Why are international connections important?

International connections are essential for our work, in two ways: exchange of ideas, visions and sharing the never-ending creativity across nations is such an exciting experience (and makes fun of course!). It can change anybody’s life forever. On the other hand (and more seriously put): methodology, advocacy and knowledge of the broader (European) context of non-professional art helps us to better understand the field of amateur arts in the Czech Republic: where are we now and how can we do better? How can we help our (still quite young) democracy to take care about the unique world of amateur arts?

What are your future hopes?

We hope that our work will help the amateur arts to develop and flourish across Europe, with the help of our work together in different countries.

In creativity, we all are equal. We believe that creativity is the way that we can better discover each other and do something for calming the „restless times“ we live in Europe now.


Interested in being part of the Amateo network? Find out more about the members and how to join!

AX – Sweden

AMATEO MEMBER: AX

Member Country: Sweden
Contact person: Anna Rydborg, President and Anna-Karin Waldemarson, Vice-President.

Who is Ax?

Ax, represents voluntary art’s organizations in Sweden. We are 21 organizations for participatory culture and art. Among the members you will find music organizations, choir organizations, theatre organizations, dance organization, video and film organizations, storytelling organizations, art and craft organizations, and experimental art organizations.

What kind of work does Ax normally do?

Ax is an organization for national political influences aimed for creating more visibility, better conditions, and a deeper understanding among politicians and civil servants in the fields of art and culture. Ax initiates discussions with state authorities on issues related to voluntary art and culture, f.i. to gain worthy Ministry grants for the sector of voluntary arts, to collect statistics on active participation in cultural activities, to recognize the value of culturally active citizens and organizations for a more sustainable and healthier society, to strengthen the democratic people’s movement through active and creative participation in local cultural activities. Ax supports the member organizations to gain influence on cultural politics on the regional and local levels. Ax rewards the “Voluntary Art’s Municipality of the Year”.

Why has Ax joined the Amateo network?

Active participation in cultural activities is a huge movement – taking account of the number of individuals, clubs, and organizations in the European countries. This will give Ax the opportunity to take part in a broad cultural community, to exchange knowledge, experiences, and ideas on supporting and developing our field.

Why is it important to make international connections and collaborate across borders?

Every European country has different organizational and political structures for culture and participatory arts, the insights of the Amateo member organizations’ ways of working will give Ax tools to develop. The European voluntary arts organizations have a lot of common challenges, the Amateo network gives us a chance to learn from each other and to support each other. 

What hopes does Ax have for the future of the Amateo network and cultural participation in Europe?

To create more cultural projects together that will give us the opportunity to cooperate with individuals, clubs, and organizations in other countries.


Interested in being part of the Amateo network? Find out more about the members and how to join!


Youth Theatre Arts Scotland

AMATEO MEMBER: YOUTH THEATRE ARTS SCOTLAND

Member country: United Kingdom
Contact person: Hollie Wegner-Jaszkin, Communications and Marketing Manager

Who is YTAS? Youth Theatre Arts Scotland (YTAS) is the national development organisation and umbrella body for Scotland’s youth theatre sector. We support inspiring experiences for young people by connecting and training the people who work with them.

What do you do? As a development body, we celebrate and encourage ambition, innovation and progression: improving pathways and aiming for quality in all that we do. We support a membership of around 120 youth theatre organisations and practitioners all across Scotland. Each week they engage around 25,000 young people in youth theatre activity. YTAS provides direct services to young people, youth groups and their leaders through a combination of youth theatre projects, training and professional development, and information and advocacy.

Beacon Young Company - How to Save the World…ish - Thu 16 November 2017 - Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh (Photographer: Andy Catlin www.andycatlin.com)
Beacon Young Company – How to Save the World…ish – Thu 16 November 2017 – Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh

Why have you joined Amateo? We have joined Amateo to share knowledge, skills, and resources across seas and borders, and to support our international outlook.

What is the importance of international connections? As part of our focus on international connections, YTAS is the lead partner of a new project called the BUZZ Network. We, and other leading arts organisations from Ireland, Norway, Belgium and Germany, have been awarded funding from the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union to share and develop youth theatre practice across the continent for the first time.

Over the next three years, the BUZZ Network will deliver multinational training events for youth theatre practitioners, engaging over 100 professionals from around twenty European countries. Alongside training, the BUZZ Network will undertake the first mapping research of youth theatre across Europe, and create a new web portal to increase awareness of cross-border opportunities for over 28,500 European youth theatre participants and professionals.

What are you future plans? YTAS and their BUZZ Network partners are currently recruiting European-based youth theatre artists to take part in training events all across the continent. To apply or to read more, go to buzznetwork.eu or ytas.org.uk/buzz-network.

Platform Young Company - Shaking the Habitual - Sat 17 November 2018 - Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh (Photographer: Andy Catlin www.andycatlin.com)
Platform Young Company – Shaking the Habitual – Sat 17 November 2018 – Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh

Interested in being part of the Amateo network? Find out more about the members and how to join!


UFACG – Montenegro

AMATEO MEMBER: UDRUŽENJE FOLKLORNIH ANSAMBALA CRNE GORE / THE FOLKLORE ENSEMBLES ASSOCIATION OF MONTENEGRO

Member country: Montenegro
Contact person: Danijela Bokan, President of organisation

Who? Our organisation works all over Montenegro and represents a union of 28 independent folk groups at the moment. We welcome all organisations working in the field of tradition and culture. Cultural heritage in Montenegro is great and we are trying to explore the old days and retell the story in a complete new way.

What? We normally organise international festivals as well as national staging events such as a festival for children, veterans and active folklore groups, various cultural manifestations for folk dancing groups and choirs. We are also working in the education field and have organised about 15 seminars and workshops for interested groups, even international. All this is done with a scope to promote tradition, culture and heritage. 


Why Amateo? We have joined the Amateo network to de-provincialise our tradition and find partners with similar interests, find friends and be part of big Amateo family across Europe.

Importance of international connections? For us it is very important to make international connections and collaborate, getting the opportunity to represent all Montenegrin treasures and to learn about heritage, culture and art from other countries, to learn how to be more tolerant and to accept all types of differences.

Future hopes? We hope that we shall find the way to participate together in some new Amateo project, we wish that the Amateo network becomes bigger and stronger, to connect people and promote eternal values, art, culture and humanism. We send to all the best greetings from Montenegro!

10 years of UFACG

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

SSCW – Estonia

AMATEO MEMBER: Sillamäe Lastekaitse Ühing / Sillamäe Society for Child Welfare (SSCW)

Member country: Estonia

Contact person: Mr. Vassili Golikov, programme director of Sillamäe Society for Child Welfare

Who is SSCW? Sillamäe Society for Child Welfare (SSCW) is a public interest non-governmental organisation that was created December, 8th in 1989. During these years, SSCW has been working actively towards creating a child and youth friendly environment in our society. Each year we have broadened the reach of our activities to initiate broad-based and society-wide noticeable initiatives. Today SSCW has conducted and supported more than 220 projects, not only in the county but also lately on an international level by using culture and education as one of the good methods to reach organisation goals. 

What do you do? SSCW activity is consistently expanding. Activities have been directed at the entire nation and more specifically different areas of Estonian country. SSCW has been actively working with partners on culture (promoting cultural cooperation), education (intercultural education cooperation) and youth (youth participation, engagement and advocacy and volunteer work) from the following countries: Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Latvia, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Russia, Slovenia, Belgium, etc. SSCW is celebrating its own 30th anniversary in 2019. A small regional organisation has grown over three decades into a respected organisation, capable of conducting creative projects and initiatives on the local, national and international level and is a part of (among other things) Estonian Civil Society Concept joint committee, European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN), Anna Lindh Foundation Estonian network, Estonian Roundtable for Development Cooperation, Amateo and has a consultative status with ECOSOC at the UN.

Although the organisation has received bigger international opportunities, SSCW has always valued local development at Ida-Virumaa and actively involving organisations who don’t speak Estonian as a main language. SSCW translates information related to civil society and organises events to increase awareness and skills, among them Ida-Virumaa Civil Society Forum and Ida-Virumaa Youth Forum. A special programme is also developed for youth and culture fields – by promoting cooperation between youth and adults via culture, by staging performances, running a creative training and conferences (conference.sscw.ee), musicals (muusikal.sscw.ee), singing in a choir (pcao.sscw.ee), running a cultural festivals etc.

SSCW is presently also in charge of Ida-Virumaa Civil Society Network that involves culture organisations, social and educational organisations and experts. Our development cooperation consists of activities that we do in the frameworks of our projects, especially relating to international cooperation. We have done several projects in cooperation with our partners from Africa, Middle East, Asia and Southern American countries. With countries of North-Africa (Morocco, Egypt and Tunisia) we cooperate on developing their civil society and we support (when we can) cultural and youth organisations and community development. We are also an active partner in the networks of Peace Child International and Water & Youth, where we contribute to environmental issues and have participated in expert meetings in Scotland (UK), Korea, Canada, Argentina, Turkey, Brazil and Spain. In addition, one of our organisation’s programmes is propagating healthy and environmentally conscious lifestyle and raising awareness of Intercultural Dialogue and World Education.  

Why did you join Amateo? Our organisation has joined with the Amateo network because we are interested to cooperate with culture and creative organisations, including cultural research organisations. We want to get a new impulse in cultural cooperation with European cultural cooperation, get new skills and knowledge from European colleagues. We also were happy to host a meeting of the CONNECT programme in March 2019.   

Why are international connections important? It’s important to communicate and collaborate with international partners, as is increasing capacity of involved parties. We are happy to be part of the network, as it connects a unique European network of creative practitioners, cultural policy-makers, civil society organisations, research organsiations and other interested bodies, united to create together real and lasting change in cultural field’s most pressing problems. Collaboration with international partners is a great opportunity to get new skills, knowledge, influence on national and EU policies, also advocate our common goals and run joint workshops, training, study visits, and cultural projects including new methods and visions.

What are your future hopes? We hope that the Amateo network will became a strong influential advocacy and culture cooperation organisation, that will be recognised by the EU member states and European Commission as an important player in culture and creative fields.

We hope that the Amateo network will increase its capacity by empowering its own members and running a strong practical joint cooperation between its members, by providing necessary support and tools for this better cultural participation in Europe.

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

FSU – Finland

Amateo Member: Finlands Svenska Ungdomförbund (FSU) / Finnish-Swedish Youth Federation

Member country: Finland
Contact person: Sebastian Gripenberg, Executive Director

Sebastian Gripenberg, Executive Director, FSU

Who?

FSU is a youth organization. We represent swedish-speaking youth in Finland and focus on cultural youth work. We have approximately 50000 members and 300 local associations within our organization.

What?

We focus primarily on cultural activities, including events. A large part of our activities are concerned with non-formal education, events, support to our organizations and advocacy.

Why join Amateo?

To increase our understanding of the voluntary cultural field in Europe, to learn about the great things being done in other countries and to make new friends.

Importance of international connections?

No one individual or organization has all the answers. We are all concerned with similar problems and challenges and need to learn from each other. True integration in Europe requires real popular engagement, and organizations like Amateo have an important role to play here.

Future hopes?

I hope that Amateo can develop its capacities and increase its reach and strive to bring the member organizations closer together.

SUSAV – Serbia

amateo member: SAVEZ UMETNIČKOG STVARALAŠTVA AMATERA VOJVODINE SUSAV / AMATEUR ART ASSOCIATION OF VOJVODINA

Member country: Serbia
Contact person: Savo Mučibabić, Secretary

Who? SUSAV is an umbrella organization for amateur culture in Vojvodina, a province of Serbia. During the last four years it is working as a non-governmental member organization which reunite over 250.000 adults, children and youths engaged in different cultural activities. The majority of the programs are carried out through a pyramid scheme – from almost every local community in the province of Vojvodina, through municipal and regional competitions to final province and republic festivals. This systematic selection provides qualitative development.

What? SUSAV supervises the implementation of cultural competitions on lower – municipal and regional levels and organize province festivals for various cultural activities ranging from choirs, orchestras (both folk/traditional and classical music), folklore, theater and recitations to visual art. At all these levels, work also includes cultural education: expert jury teams conduct interviews with the ensemble leaders in order to educate and improve the quality of their work. Apart of this, our alliance organise special courses and seminars for advanced professional training for all ensembles leaders who want to raise their level of professional work and to achieve results on scenes around the world.

Why join Amateo? We are convinced that membership in the European network Amateo can help us to improve the national status and care for all amateur creativity in our country. Another, no less important reason is to get new contacts and find an inspiration for new cultural cooperation.

Importance of international connections? International cooperation is important for acquiring new experiences, knowledge and acquaintance with examples of good practice. Also, we want to give our members more opportunities for international knowledge and skills sharing.

Future hopes? Our hope for the Amateo network is that the EU will continue to support its work. It will also be a positive indication to all national governments how to behave towards amateur arts. It is our wish that Amateo becomes the founder of the Amateo Olympiad project, which will bring together the best national representatives from various fields of amateur art.

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

LKCA – The Netherlands

Amateo member:
LANDELIJK KENNISINSTITUUT CULTUUREDUCATIE EN AMATEURKUNST (LKCA)
The Netherlands in Europe
Member country: The Netherlands
Contact person: Piet Roorda, senior cultural participation officer

Who?
LKCA is the National Centre of Expertise for Cultural Education and Amateur Arts in the Netherlands, based in Utrecht. LKCA is for everyone who is committed to education and participation in culture and the arts, both within the education system and beyond. Anyone working in or involved with these sectors can benefit from the expertise and opportunities for active knowledge exchange that LKCA offers.

Aim
Our aim is to help a wide range of people, including art teachers, internal culture coordinators and coaches, education officers within cultural institutions, policy officers, politicians, researchers, school managers, and administrators in the education sector and in umbrella organisations for the amateur arts. Volunteers working in areas such as the amateur arts can also consult LKCA for information.

Funding
LKCA is part of the Dutch Cultural System and receives funding from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science for its nationwide support of the education and amateur arts sectors.

What?
LKCA is committed to:

  • facilitating high-quality, active cultural education, both inside and outside school
  • encouraging active cultural participation that is available and accessible to all
  • increasing support for cultural education and participation
  • connecting cultural education and active cultural participation with society as a whole.

Meeting fellow professionals through LKCA
LKCA regularly organises conferences and network meetings on specific topics and brings professionals, policy makers and administrators into contact with each other. These meetings are publicised through a number of channels, most notably the events calendar and the LKCA newsletter.

LKCA (credit: Hanne Nijhuis)

Knowledge and knowledge exchange: website, publications, social media
The LKCA website provides independent information on cultural education and participation in the broadest sense of the term. This includes the latest news from the sector and reliable information on a wide range of issues relating to cultural education and participation. On the LKCA website there are various platforms for sharing your knowledge with other visitors.

Research
LKCA conducts independent research on developments in cultural education and participation. The institute can undertake this research on behalf of all decision-makers in this field. We help shape political and public opinion by providing stakeholders with information, both unsolicited and on request.

Partners
As a national organisation LKCA works together with a lot of partners. Among others, LKCA works with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Cultural Participation Fund, the Association of Netherlands Municipalities, the Council of Twelve and its members, and umbrella organisations in the amateur arts sector.

LKCA (credit: Ineke Fey)

Why join Amateo?
LKCA is active in a lot of international organisations and networks and supports Amateo from the beginning. We find this important because international collaboration contributes to mutual exchange and to learning from each other. By sharing research, practices and experiences we strengthen cultural participation in our own country as well as on an European level. Making visible facts and values of cultural participation to policy makers and governments we think is also an important aspect of the work from Amateo, as it is from LKCA in the Netherlands. For that LKCA is both active in the board and in the ATP program.

Future hopes?
We hope that the Amateo network will grow. More sharing and exchange and more working together can enlarge the impact of our work for participants, professionals and for the policy level. Our hope is too that the support of cultural participation and education on a European, national and other levels will grow in the future and keep (or get) a solid base.


More information: https://www.lkca.nl/lkca-english/about-lkca
Piet Roorda is working at LKCA as a senior cultural participation officer and as a team coach.

JSKD – Slovenia

AMATEO MEMBER:
JAVNI SKLAD REPUBLIKE SLOVENIJE ZA KULTURNE DEJAVNOSTI / REPUBLIC OF SLOVENIA PUBLIC FUND FOR CULTURAL ACTIVITIES (JSKD)

320px-Slovenia_in_its_region.svg

Member country: Slovenia
Contact person: Jan Pirnat, project manager

Who? JSKD is a state umbrella organization for amateur culture in Slovenia. The nationwide network was established in 1998. In Slovenia there are approximately 5000 cultural societies, associations and groups, which reunite over 100.000 adult members engaged in cultural activities. The headquarters with an expert unit and 59 regional branch offices (all over Slovenia) are enabling multi directional interaction between cultural societies, local communities and public institutions. The spatial dispersion and integration into the local environment are key to balanced development and crucial for networking on the regional, national and international level.

What? JSKD supervises the implementation of the national cultural program for various activities ranging from vocal and instrumental music, theater and puppets, folklore, dance and film to visual art and literary activity. 

Work also includes cultural education and introduction of new practices. In addition, JSKD carries out the procedures for co-financing of amateur cultural programs and projects, organizes events (festivals, competitions, concerts, exhibitions, etc.) and publishes professional literature (books, magazines, music collections, …) covering all topics of creativity in amateur art. 

The majority of the programs are carried out through a pyramid scheme (local, regional and state level) – systematic selection that promotes qualitative development. Groups that are selected for the state level are invited to national festivals, competitions, exhibitions. 

JSKD also provides advocacy for active participation in culture and is one of two main organisers of Week of Amateur Culture. WAC seeks to create greater accessibility and mobility of cultural assets. The openness of the creative space can be seen in the interaction of amateurs and professionals, who make significant contributions to the creation of amateur culture. 

Why join Amateo? JSKD was one of the founding members of Amateo network. Behind the network start up was an idea of sharing ideas and promoting active participation in culture on an international scale. 

On the international level JSKD cooperates with other national organizations in various EU programs and projects. It is also a member of numerous international professional organizations and networks dealing with amateur culture.

Importance of international connections? Connecting with partners in international projects and networks grants partners but also participants in countries where the member organisations are working the access to information that helps to develop their full creative potential.

Future hopes? Our hopes for the Amateo network are that the network will grow not only in numbers but it will also develop in an idea hub and platform for information flow and flow of projects and participants, volunteers and groups between EU countries.

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

HSK – Croatia

AMATEO MEMBER:
Hrvatski sabor kulture / Croatian Cultural Association

Member country: Croatia
Contact person: Valentina Dačnik, Head of dance department

Who? The Croatian Cultural Association is umbrella organisation of amateur arts in Croatia and it is also a non-governmental organization that provides for amateur culture. We are working on our mission to be a strong network of 21 county cultural associations with the goal of development and preservation of Croatian amateur arts and Croatian national and cultural identity.

What? Our programme activities are:

  • Organisation of lectures, courses and seminars for advanced professional training and competence
  • Publishing activities (printing winning compositions and publication of two specialised series: Croatian Folk Costumes and Croatian Folk Dances
  • Stimulating domestic music creativity (competitions for new compositions)
  • Organising manifestations at the state level for presentation and evaluation of the best accomplishments in amateur artistic creativity (encounters and festivals of choirs, small vocal groups, wind and tamburitza orchestras, folklore, dance and theatre ensembles, literary and art groups)
  • Ongoing professional and organisational help to individual members
  • Selecting choirs, orchestras, folklore, dance and theatre ensembles for participation at international festivals

Why join Amateo? To grow our organisation internationally and to provide artistic and educational exchanges of groups and professionals for our members

Importance of international connections? HSK is a member and in co-operation with many similar European cultural associations and networks. It is very important to gain new knowledge, experiences and to get to know new people, methods and best practices.

Future hopes? That people understand the power and the benefits of amateur culture for everybody.