Opendoek – Belgium

AMATEO MEMBER: Opendoek Belgium

Member country: Belgium
Contact person: Bram De Win, project coordinator

Who?

OPENDOEK is the umbrella organization supporting amateur theatre in Flanders and Brussels (Belgium) and wants to reach out to everybody who has a passion for theatre, individual artists as well as theatre companies.

What?

OPENDOEK wants to inspire the field and create a platform to promote and renew amateur theatre. It wants to expand the field and remove boundaries of artists, theatre groups and stage art in general. OPENDOEK is open to everybody, every theatre style, every specialism and all new developments. It puts effort into the hybridity of the theatre field. OPENDOEK offers members and companies organizational and artistic support like insurance, copyright advice, the theatre library, workshops, coaching…

Furthermore, it stimulates creativity, organizes meetings, creates interaction through festivals, diverse projects, encounters… to let amateurs and professionals share experience and inspiration with each other. Through JongDOEK and AGE on stAGE, young and old people get mobilized and inspired to work on the theatre of the future and through initiatives and cooperation OPENDOEK encourages governments to support the amateur arts.

OPENDOEK also works on the internationalization of amateur arts. Through its policy, OPENDOEK works with 4 important parameters and verifies them in every aspect of the organization: inclusive, diverse, sustainable and professional.

Why Amateo?

Het Forum voor Amateurkunsten in Flanders has been the administrative home of Amateo for a long time, and they recommended us to join the Amateo network. For OPENDOEK it is important to meet international partners in order to create sustainable collaborations.

Importance of international cooperation?

All these different origins have different views and perspectives on the world we live in. These connections enrich our organizations and lead us to new creative development.

Future hopes?

Best case scenario, the network will grow with more members and countries and these members will inspire each other. This will result in more and greater collaborations.

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


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

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

Who?

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.

What?

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, www.memoryofnations.eu, 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!

Vlamo – Belgium

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

Member country: Belgium
Contact person: Jan Matthys, CEO

Who?

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.

What?

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!

Kulturanova – Serbia

AMATEO MEMBER: Asocijacija Kulturanova / Association Kulturanova

Member country: Serbia
Contact person: Milan Vračar, CEO

Who?

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!

ZKDS – Slovenia

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

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

Who?

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.

What?

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!

Art-fact (Netherlands)

AMATEO MEMBER: ART-FACT NETHERLANDS

Member country: Netherlands
Contact person: Judith Ensel, director

Who?

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.

What?

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.

Why Amateo?

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.

Future hopes?

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!

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

IG Kultur (Austria)

AMATEO MEMBER: IG Kultur Österreich

Member country: Austria
Contact person: Yvonne Gimpel, Managing Director

Who?

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.

What?

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.

Future hopes?

  • 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!

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

OP/TIL (Belgium)

AMATEO MEMBER: Steunpunt voor Bovenlokale Cultuur – OP/TIL

Member country: Belgium
Contact person: Benedikte De Vos, staff member data collection and research at OP/TIL (and former secretariat of Amateo 😊)

Who?

Steunpunt voor Bovenlokale Cultuur grew 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.

What?

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.

Why Amateo?

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.

Future hopes?

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!

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

Cultuurconnectie (Netherlands)

AMATEO MEMBER: Cultuurconnectie
The Netherlands in Europe

Member country: Netherlands
Contact person: Jan Brands, director

Who?

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.

What?

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.

Why Amateo?

We joined the Amateo network because we care about open, inclusive and qualitative cultural participation for everybody.

International connections?

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.

Future hopes?

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!


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