Amateur Art Association of Vojvodina had the honour to host the 11th annual Amateo conference, in Novi Sad, from 07-08. June 2019. In the year when the city of Novi Sad is the European capital of Youth, attendees had the chance to open many questions and to share many good examples.
Bridges of Creativity “Amateur Arts & Youths in intercultural society”
The first day of the conference – after the inspirational keynote of Amateo president Susan Fazakerley – we had an opportunity to hear about the current climate for amateur arts and engagement with youth in Serbia, Netherlands and Slovenia, to listen to live singing presentation of multi traditional music which erase boundaries and finally, to hear about intercultural education and intercultural learning with the aim of overcoming national and all other barriers in multicultural societies with engaging youth in cultural projects.
The second day was dedicated to good practice examples, where we heard about different projects from Netherlands, Germany, Serbia, recently initiated Amateo pioneer projects and how two titles (European Youth Capital 2019 and European Capital of Culture 2021) are helping youth from Novi Sad to participate in cultural activities and expand the voluntary service. Last, but not least, there was an interesting workshop where we found out more about our differences, similarities and prejudices.
Serbia’s regional broadcaster, RT Vojvodina, featured the Bridges of Creativity conference, telling their audience about the importance of amateur arts in their news broadcasts. Watch the clip and read the news article here.
In the beautiful venue of Vojvodina Government building, while we were watching and listening wonderful music performance, we realised how many different cultures live together in Serbia and the province of Vojvodina. The Amateo Award finalists from Serbia, Northern Ireland, Austria, Belgium and The Netherlands were all represented and the winner of Amateo Award 2019 was announced!
Snežana Sedlar, Vice President of the Assembly of Autonomius Province of Vojvodina, opened the Award ceremony, together with Susan Fazakerley, president of Amateo and Savo Mucibabic, Amateur Art Association of Vojvodina secretary. Watch the clip and read the news article here.
Many more articles and extended presentations from the conference, on the theme “Amateur arts, Youth and Interculturalism” will be available to read in the upcoming book – co-published by Amateo, Cultural centre of Vojvodina “Milos Crnjanski” and Amateur Art Association of Vojvodina – later this year. One more great outcome of this Amateo event!
An intimate international gathering to explore and celebrate creativity in an ageing population combined with a high profile celebration of best practice in the participatory arts.
In partnership with Voluntary Arts and Luminate (Scotland’s Creative Ageing organisation), and supported by Creative Scotland, Amateo is presenting this programme to celebrate creativity, collaboration and the International Day of the Older Person.
Opening Reception Tuesday 1st October, 6:00pm (venue to be confirmed)
Celebrating the International Day of the Older Person, this is a chance for guests, delegates and participants to meet informally. There will be food, refreshments and some special guest performers.
Creative Workshops Tuesday 1st October – Thursday 3rd October, Central Hall, Edinburgh
An opportunity for a group of 16 older participants from across Europe to come together, work with and learn from each other. The 2.5 day workshop will be facilitated by professional artists (two Scottish-based artists and an international guest). The focus will be on theatre and dance concluding with a sharing of their work and experience at the Epic Awards ceremony being hosted by Voluntary Arts on the evening of Thursday 3rd October. The theme of ‘Don’t Look Back’ arises from a challenge to the practice of focusing on the past when working with older people. What about their interest in the future? The artist facilitators involved are Janice Parker from Scotland and Tamara Pomoriški from the Czech Republic.
Connect+ Conversations Tuesday 1st October, 10:00am – 4:00pm, Central Hall, Edinburgh Book your free place on the Voluntary Arts website
Practitioners and Amateo member organisations (some will be linked to the member organisations who have come with the creative workshop participants) come together to explore potential collaborations and learn more about the support available for such work. This includes presentations on funding opportunities from Creative Europe and Erasmus+. There will be €2500 available to seed fund proposals that emerge from these discussions.
‘Don’t Look Back’ Seminar and Discussion Wednesday 2nd October, 10:00am – 4:00pm, InSpace, Universityof Edinburgh Book your place on the Voluntary Arts website
An opportunity to share best practice from across Europe in the field of creativity and participation in an ageing population. A seminar format with four speakers that engage the audience in comment and discussion. The event will also be streamed live. There will be opportunity for informal discussion, canapes and refreshments.
The speakers are:
Chair, Sylvia Dow, Playwright, with an introduction speaking on her artist’s perspective
Anne Gallagher, Artistic Director. Luminate, Scotland’s Creative Ageing organisation
Ingrid Smit, LKCA, Netherlands experiences with ‘Long live Arts’ programme
Janine Hüsch, Kubia, Germany, Centre for Creative Ageing
An annual event that celebrates the best in voluntary-led creativity across the UK and Ireland. Taking place in Scotland in 2019, the evening will be hosted by BBC Radio Scotland’s Janice Forsyth and features special performances and presentations from the shortlisted projects and an opening introduction from Fiona Hyslop MSP, Cabinet Secretary for External Affairs and Culture.
Booking details for each element of the programme will be available imminently!
Partners: Centrum West-D’Broej and Met-X Moving Music from Brussels, Belgium and Brassbandschool from Rotterdam, Netherlands
Description of the project:
The first part of the project has already been successfully realised. Seven FanfaKids have visited Rotterdam for two days. On 8th and 9th of June BBS organised a Brassbandbattle during the Festival “WereldsDelfshaven” for young players. Fanfakids joined the battle on Saturday.
The second part of the project will take part from 1st till 3rd of August 2019. Seven BBS players will come to Belgium and together with seven players from FanfaKids will make a performance in four days, guided by teachers from both organisations. On the last day, 3rd of August, these two groups will perform together in Brussels at the big Belgian festival – Reggae Geel.
Partners: Post Bellum and The House of Children and Youth from Prague, Czech Republic; G.O. Tallinn Music College from Tallinn, Estonia, and Das Letzte Kleinod from Schiffdorf, Germany
Description of the project:
In the project “Hidden Tracks”, young people from different countries will look for traditional music and songs that are likely to disappear. Through interviews and meeting different groups of people (older people, folklore dance or song groups, elderly family members and others) the young people will collect “old” songs and develop their own interpretation of traditional music through the means of theatre. The cultures will mix, they will find similarities and differences. Through this project the forgotten melodies will be revived in a new way that corresponds to youngsters of today.
The youngsters will start working in their own countries and then meet all together to create a common performance in Germany. Later the performance should be presented in all the countries who are involved (Czech Republic, Estonia). The youngsters will be accompanied by professional musicians, theatre pedagogues, a dancer and an actress.
Partners: Post Bellum and The House of Children and Youth from Prague, Czech Republic and Centrum West-D’Broej and Met-X Moving Music from Brussels, Belgium
Description of the project:
A cultural exchange between Belgian and Czech students for children who are already active in extracurricular theatre and music programmes. During their visit, participants will learn about the cultural and social backgrounds of the children in the other organisation and actively engage in a workshop led by local theatre and music lecturers together with the local children, with the goal of making a documentary performance about their meeting.
Five Czech students from Prague, in the Czech Republic will visit five Fanfakids from Belgium (ten 11-13 year old children altogether) for five days and create a performance called “Meeting Unknown” accompanied by four teachers (two Czech and two Belgian). The performance will be presented and recorded locally in Belgium before being shown in Prague to a Czech audience.
Subsequently, in 2020, five Fanfakids from Belgium will visit the Czech students and create another documentary theatre performance, this time about the farewell, named “Goodbye Known.”
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.
Preservation and Improvement of amateur Art in the Context of Progress of the Republic of Croatia: Assessment of the State (2015-2017) and strategic Perspectives
The paper evaluates the existing state of amateur art in the Republic of Croatia. Data from the scope of legislation, financing and planning, practice and needs, organization and international cultural cooperation are analyzed and provided a detailed insight into the current situation, essential for creating a strategy for preservation and development of amateur art in the Republic of Croatia. The strategy assumes solutions to problems encountered by cultural and artistic associations in everyday life and work. The solutions to these problems are presented in the form of proposed legislation with the explanation of its potential in the preservation and development of amateur art in the Republic of Croatia because since the formation of the Republic of Croatia to date, a similar legal framework has not been established. Since the paper belongs to the field of applied ethnomusicology, it provides examples of developing new situational “frames” for musical and other amateur art performances in the territory of individual counties. To this end, in the paper are presented initiatives and participation of the author in the project of the establishment of the Community of Cultural Associations of Požega-Slavonia County, as well as in the revitalization and starting county festivals and the national Meeting of Croatian tamburitza orchestras and ensembles.
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.
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.
Member country: Italy Contact person: Giorgio Bacchiega
My name is GiorgioBacchiega and I’m lecturer at the Catholic University of Milan, Director of the Milan’s Urban Peripheries Research Centre for Consulta Periferie Milano and member of the Research and documentation team for Amateo.
Who is Consulta Periferie Milano?
2011 Figino 2b
Consulta Periferie Milano is a network-centric platform (formally a second-level association of undertakings or association of associations of undertakings) formed by 36 cultural, charity, trade, visual and performing arts organisations, cultural centres and local newspapers active in the peripheries of Milan with the purpose of drawing constant attention and find original solutions to the problems of the multifaceted peripheral landscape of Milan in cooperation with academic, political and societal forces.
What does the platform do?
During its first 13 years, CPM has established itself as a working method, operating through the sharing of initiatives and fostering unexpected connections among a wide range of sectors. Its current activities include:
• Elaborating a cartography of all the resources located in the peripheries and devising strategies to make them interact and work together with a shared vision. The map currently gathers, among the more numerous strategic categories CPM has attempted to investigate so far, 109 professional and, especially, amateur theatres, 168 cultural associations and centres and 87 amateur choirs.
• Creating the conditions eventually leading to a consistent development of amateur cultural activities. This goal has led CPM to sharing projects with more than 150 associations based in the peripheries up until now.
• Fostering the establishment of an alternative cultural system that nowadays, just in the field of music, embraces every year around 100 concerts with free admission, taking place in 50 different peripheral locations, involving 50 organisations, 40 amateur choirs and an increasing number of amateur classical musicians, reaching an audience of more than 10.000 people per year.
• Investigating the problems related to the peripheries and developing solutions to debated problems that cause the perceived divide between the centre of the city and its peripheries. Insights are captured during public meetings, then analysed and translated into legislative proposals with the help of the municipal commissions on peripheries and participation and finally submitted for approval to the city government.
Why join Amateo?
Amateo represents a unique, privileged opportunity for gaining information, debating and finding original solutions to complex social problems through participation. Each European country has developed its own specific strategies to give value to amateur arts and CPM aspires to be an important part of this debate, sharing its experience and learning from established practices of other countries.
What are your hopes for the future?
The peripheries are not just a local or national theme, but a global one. There amateur arts do have the potential to thrive for the foreseeable future, contributing to the reshaping of the cities, inspiring positive relationships between people from different backgrounds, nationalities and neighbourhoods and helping urban regeneration, social cohesion and crime prevention.
One of the goals of Amateo’s Arts Take Part programme is to stimulate small scaled, international and interdisciplinary projects, share the experiences and outcomes of these projects, and build an international network of people and organisations who like to develop new methods, unexpected combinations and surprising projects.
Amateo’s CONNECT is a moment in time and place to meet other pioneers and organisations, and find one or more possible partners to work on a project plan. These project plans can be sent to Amateo. We will choose the three most exciting project ideas, and reward each of them with an Amateo grant of € 2.500,–. This money has to be spent on the project.
What is the overall mission of this team during the Arts Take Part project?
The mission of the Pioneer Project Team is officially ‘To implement full support to innovative cross-border pilot work, identify and assess new innovative cross-border pilot work, exchange good practice and share innovative ideas, including topics of engaging marginalised social groups (ageing, disadvantaged, ethnic, migrants)’, and we do that by ‘providing contact fora, project fair meetings, and advice and helpdesk; and initiate one own pilot project and allocate micro-grants to new initiatives – which is of course a lot of work for a team of four people.