Pioneer Projects grants

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.

Because we are not only aiming to stimulate pioneer projects, but we also want to share experiences and outcomes to help other initiatives, we will monitor the three projects. We will ask questions before, during and after the project, and share the answers on the Amateo website. We intend to do this for a few years, so we can collect a variety of answers on the same series of questions. In the end, these answers will be published in a small took kit; ‘How to start a pioneer project’.

Now – 10 March: Subscribe for CONNECT2019
13 – 18 March: participate in CONNECT2019; meet people, find a partner, make a plan
18 March – 26 April: work on your project plan, and send it in to Amateo
10 May: Amateo will announce the three rewarded project plans
6 –8 June: presentation of the three project plans during Amateo’s Annual conference in Novi Sad, Serbia
8 June – March 2020: time to do your project
March 2020: sharing of the outcomes of your project at CONNECT2020

Making Music – UK


United Kingdom in Europe map

Member country: United Kingdom
Contact person: Barbara Eifler (Chief Executive)

Who?: Barbara Eifler is the Chief Executive of Making Music. Making Music is the UK organisation for leisure-time music groups, with over 3,500 member groups throughout the UK. Our members are choral societies, gospel choirs, community choirs, amateur orchestras, brass bands, jazz ensembles, folk groups, ukulele groups, drumming circles, handbell ringers, samba groups, hobby rock bands, etc.

Kitsch In Sync
Kitsch In Sync

What?: We support our members and the leisure-time music sector in 3 ways:

  • Practical help for running a group. Most of our members are run by volunteers in their spare time, and they want to focus on making music, so we help them run the group: we have an insurance scheme, we help them with guidance on, for example, safeguarding for young people, contracts with conductors, marketing their group, setting up a website, organising their finances, and lots more.
  • Artistic support: we have a project called ‘Adopt a Composer’ which has funding to match an emerging composer with one of our member groups for a year; they work together and the resulting piece of music is recorded and broadcast by BBC Radio 3; we also have a selection of young professional artists and singers that our members can book with a subsidy, so they can play and sing alongside the stars of tomorrow, at an affordable cost; and there are other artistic development projects and opportunities.
  • Lobbying and advocacy: we respond to government consultations and campaign on issues which would make it difficult for our groups to continue or to do well; topics here in the UK include music education (young people and adults), music libraries, licensing for children in performances, and more.

Why join Amateo?: It is always good to connect to other similar networks and learn from what they are doing and how they operate. We are particularly happy that this is an affordable membership – we are only a small charity with no public funding. If meetings are in Europe in cities with cheap flights and hotels, then that is very good for us… Please only meet near Easyjet or Ryanair airports!

International connections give you a new perspective on what is happening in your own country; it can be really good for our members, too, to learn about how leisure-time music works in other countries; and music is a universal language – it’s an opportunity to connect, in a world full of divisions.

Make Music Day UK
Annual Make Music Day UK celebrations

Future hopes?: It’s the people versus the machine. We are all artists, we are all musicians. Never mind what our politicians are up to – with the internet, we can just connect to each other and build the joy of making music in communities.

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

CONNECT2019 – Estonia

CONNECT2019 – Create New Perspectives
14 – 18 March 2019

Book your place!


  • Young people wanting to work internationally and interdisciplinary, and have relevant experience with one or more artforms themselves
  • Arts students and students who want to become a teacher in one of the artforms as well as people who have recently finished one of these studies
  • Organisations focusing on art with children and/or young people
  • Network organisations and policymakers

Four days to:

  • See inspiring performances and artforms made/performed by young people
  • Participate in an inspiring conference with keynote speakers and discussions, share knowledge and have new experiences.
  • Meet and speak with inspiring colleagues, and young people from all over Europe
  • Explore the cultural field in Estonia
  • Get to know each other, find a potential partner and design a small project together and maybe get an Amateo grant of € 2.500,–!

Four days in good company, watching, talking about, talking with, designing projects and making art with young people. Everywhere in Europe it is happening, but each country/region has its own approach. CONNECT wants to be a platform where people can share their experiences, can be curious to each other and hopefully find each other and start international adventures together.

Amateo stimulates new and inspiring cross border and inter-disciplinary art projects. CONNECT gives you an opportunity to find a potential partner and design a small international project together. Amateo will reward the three most inspiring project plans developed after CONNECT with grants of € 2.500,– each!

Participants fee for 3 day CONNECT programme (includes conference) = € 200,–
Young participants fee for 3 day CONNECT programme (young people and young professionals) = € 100,–

Participants fee is based on shared hotel rooms. If you prefer a single room for the whole period, there will be an extra charge of €100,– per person.

Besides a very good and inspiring time, the participation fee covers travelling from Tallinn to Narva on Friday evening and back to Tallinn on Sunday evening, hotel accommodation (based on shared rooms, 3 nights in Narva and 1 night in Tallinn), meals and free entrance to the conference, the CONNECT programme, all performances and presentations.

Meet CONNECT2018 outcome projects!

Book your place!

CONNECT Create New Perspectives

CONNECT 2019 partners

Arts Take Part: Pioneer Projects

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.

What has the team been doing recently?

In year 1 we first focused on trying to formulate a definition. We started as Pilot projects, then we realised that we were not looking for Pilots, but for Pioneers. So we came up with a definition of pioneer projects in the context of Amateo’s Arts Take Part programme, which is:

  • ‘A pioneer project is a kind of artistic laboratory; a small scale project, delivered in a short period of time, with an experimental character, made by and/or performed by (mainly) non-professional artist/performers.
  • A pioneer project is designed to try out new things, like working methods, artistic approaches, or collaborations.
  • A pioneer project delivered as an artistic project in itself, but picked up by Amateo as a good and inspiring example, easily to copy or adapt, without loosing its original approach.’

Within the Arts Take Part project:

  • It should have an international component (European collaboration and/or exchange)
  • It should have to do with one of the targeted groups as mentioned in the Arts Take Part project plan (Older people, the disadvantaged, youth, outskirt areas, lifelong learning, democracy building, disabled people)
  • It should have an interdisciplinary component

Or at least two out of the three above-mentioned elements.

In March 2018 we had our first CONNECT: a four day working-conference in Deventer, Netherlands, where 40 people (young people, young creatives, organisations and policymakers) were together to work, talk, see performances, meet local organisations and make plans for pioneer projects. And we are happy to tell you that one of the projects born here (a cooperation between youth theatre organisations from Finland, Scotland, The Netherlands and Slovenia) just got a Erasmus+ grant.

Pioneer Projects - CONNECT 2018 - Deventer

What are you working on for the future?

Now we are working hard of the second edition of CONNECT, which will take place in Narva, Estonia, from 14 – 17 of March 2019. The sub-title of CONNECT 2019 is ‘create new perspectives’. With this sub-title we would like to encourage young people, young creatives and organisations from all possible arts disciplines to come and join, to stimulate not only the international aspect, but also the interdisciplinary aspect.
And to encourage that, we are also happy to announce that we can reward three project-ideas that are made during CONNECT 2019 with a mini-grant of € 2.500 each.
In the end we would like to build a European community of pioneers within the bigger Amateo family. We can meet during CONNECT or the other pioneer presentations, and we can share information through the Facebook page or the Amateo website

What are the highlights or best moments so far?

CONNECT 2018 was a highlight, because here it was very clear what we as the Pioneer Projects team want to do: bring people together, create time and space to talk and exchange, to get inspired, and to make new plans. But the pioneer presentation in Ljubljana, during the annual Amateo conference was also a highlight. It works very well to talk about art, and at the same time be able to talk with the people we are working for, and see some inspiring performances.

How can other Amateo members, or non-members, get involved with this work?

Join CONNECT 2019 in Estonia, or follow us on the Facebook page.

Arts Take Part is a four-year network project co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union. Find out more about Arts Take Part on the project page.

ATP and EU emblem banner


Amateo Award 2019

Become the 2nd winner of the Amateo Award!

The second edition from the Amateo Award is open for entires. You can apply from now until 1st March 2019.
A professional jury will select a shortlist of 5 nominees, who will be invited to Novi Sad in Serbia.


WHAT? Amateo wants to award an outstanding participatory arts project with added value for their community.

WHO? All European projects can register. Apply now or convince the projects from your country to take part!

WHEN? The award will be presented in Novi Sad, Serbia on 6 June 2019.

PRIZE? The Winner will win € 1000,- and become the Amateo Ambassador for European Amateur Arts. Finalists will be invited to the prize-winners ceremony in Novi Sad.

Enter your project now!

CONNECT2018 – Highlights

In March 2018 the first CONNECT took place in Deventer (NL)!

Fifteen young people joined a theatre workshop by DeGasten (Amsterdam, NL), and in total 44 people from 14 European countries joined the event. In 2018 the focus was mainly on meeting people, making inspiring plans and new connections.

Highlights of CONNECT2018

Boundless in Slovenia

The Dutch Theaterschip and the German Theater am Fluss have made several international projects together. In 2017 they made ‘Boundless’, an interdisciplinary project about feeling at home. In May 2018 they did a remake in Slovenia, together with Glej theatre. Three young professionals (a filmmaker, a choreographer and a theatre-maker) and five young participants (from Germany, the Netherlands and Slovenia) worked for a week, and showed the outcomes during the annual Amateo conference in Ljubljana


During CONNECT2018, Strangetown (Scotland), Glej (Slovenia), Teaterskolan i Svenskfinland (Finland) and Theaterschip (the Netherlands) met each other. After some inspiring and intensive sessions, these four organisations (all making theatre with young people) decided to do some research to see if there are possibilities to organise an exchange programme in 2019.

At the end of 2018 the result was positive: Erasmus+ has accepted the application made by Glej, so in March 2019 the four artistic leaders will meet in Ljubljana, joined by four young professionals and four young participants.

This meeting in Ljubljana is to prepare a big project, planned in October 2019. In this project seven young participants from each country will take part in workshops, see performances and work together on one big performance in one week. A great example of exchange on the level of young participants, young professionals and organisations, born during CONNECT2018.

We are the memory

Tamara Pomoriški joined the full four days of CONNECT2018, as a young professional in the workshop. On Monday, she met Hanna Timmers, from the Dutch organisation Theater na de Dam. Theater na de Dam is a theatre company from Amsterdam that organises annual public performances with young people commemorating International Holocaust Remembrance Day. An agreement was made to spread this concept to other European countries, so in January this year they together made a first theatre project of this kind in Prague, Czech Republic. And it was also agreed that this will become an annual event. Read more about the project.



Supporting Culture is Supporting Europe!


Culture is the foundation of European unity, underpinning our sense of belonging to a common project. It constitutes an enormous economic asset, enhances community cohesion, intercultural understanding and solidarity. Culture promotes democratic participation; in times of growing polarisation and challenges to freedom of expression, safeguarding artistic freedom and diversity is crucial. Therefore, culture needs a proper financial commitment to ensure the sustainability of the European project.

Strong evidence exists on the impacts of culture across EU policy fields. “The Value and Values of Culture” impact review has substantiated “20 reasons why” culture merits financial support in the next 2020 EU budget. The multifaceted nature of EU cultural action requires a robust stand-alone cultural programme and an acknowledgement of cultural cross-overs with other fields of EU action.

Concerned European citizens, cultural operators, artists, policy-makers, researchers, and students have already supported Culture Action Europe’s campaign calling on the European Commission to recognise the EU added value of cultural investment, by:

  • Doubling the budget available for culture in absolute terms, given that the current EU programme dedicated to culture is over-subscribed and suffers from severe under-investment, despite its proven efficacy and relevance.
  • Ensuring that 1% of the budget of each EU policy field is allocated to culture given its positive impact on health and well-being, social cohesion and equality, education, promotion of democratic principles, external relations, alongside with growth and jobs, research and innovation.

The European Commission proposed a new Agenda for Culture on 22 May and a new Creative Europe programme for the 2021-2027 cycle on 30 May. They set ambitious objectives for culture in the social domain, as well as in the area of external relations and the economy. These agendas tackle key challenges for the future, such as the digital transition, the need to build synergies between culture, education and R+D+i, all crucial areas to ensure the common European assets of tomorrow. Proper funding is required to fund this new approach. In addition, current priorities are chronically underfunded, as shown in mid-term evaluation of the Creative Europe programme (2014-2020) published on 30 April. Thus, a double increase of the next Creative Europe programme is necessary to achieve EU added value and the desired impact in both current and future areas of EU action.

Building on Culture Action Europe MFF position, we strongly support sectoral initiatives, such as the open letter signed by 70 organisations from across Europe’s cultural and creative sectors sent to President Juncker and the position put forward by IETM calling for an EU programme for culture in the post-2020 cycle with strengthened financial allocation and, at least, a double budget increase.

Yours sincerely,

Susan Fazakerly

President of Amateo, European network for Active Participation in Cultural Activities and member of Culture Action Europe


Amateo – European Network for Active Participation in Cultural Activities

Amateo is the European Network for Active Participation in Cultural Activities that serves and promotes people’s participation in the voluntary and amateur arts. Founded in 2008 it includes today more then 30 national and regional umbrellas and associations from EU member states and programme countries. 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. Active participation in arts and cultural activities empowers individuals to freely express themselves and promotes cultural cohesion, social inclusion and active citizenship with an added value for humanistic and democratic values.

Arts Takes Part, supported by Creative Europe and Amateo member organisations, is a unique and exciting new project being undertaken by Amateo. It will help to strengthen the organisations involved in this work, grow the network and offer training, knowledge exchange and events. In the process it will raise the profile of the participatory arts and the important impact that has on people’s lives.

Culture Action Europe (CAE)

Culture Action Europe (CAE) is the major European network of cultural organisations, artists, activists, academics and policy-makers. CAE is the first port of call for informed opinion and debate about arts and cultural policy in Europe.

As the only cross-sectoral network, we represent all sub-sectors in culture: from performing arts, literature, visual arts, design and cross-arts initiatives to community centres and activist groups.

Culture Action Europe aims to put culture at the heart of public debate and decision-making by raising awareness of the contribution of culture to the development of sustainable and inclusive societies.

To achieve this aim, Culture Action Europe organises cross-sectoral conferences and workshops, online debates and offline high level panels. We explore, aggregate and disseminate cross-sectoral knowledge, build the capacity of cultural operators and advocate for a better cultural policy for EU citizens and the cultural sector.

KUBIA – Germany



Member country: Germany
Contact person: Janine Hüsch (Communications & Public Relations)

Who? KUBIA is a professional forum and service platform on all issues relating to cultural and arts-based activities for older and/or disabled persons. It is based in Remscheid, Germany. Our target groups are artists, arts facilitators, care professionals, staff of cultural institutions and local authorities.

What? KUBIA provides information, training, networking opportunities and advice on all issues relating to cultural and arts-based activities and lifelong learning. Our aim is to raise awareness of the important role of cultural participation at all ages by developing trend-setting concepts and innovative models.

We focus on professionalising arts-related educational practices for older people and persons with disabilities, promoting inter-generational dialogue through the arts, developing arts-based programmes for the frail and people with dementia, promoting participation and volunteer work in arts and culture in later life as well as developing intercultural and inclusive schemes. KUBIA also runs a forum for theatre by older adults in North Rhine-Westphalia (Theatergold).

Why join Amateo? The philosophy of the Amateo network is very much in line with our conviction that artistic and creative activities and cultural participation are important keys to social inclusion, quality of life and wellbeing. We look forward to working with like-minded partners on an international level.

We appreciate very much being part of Amateo as a European cultural network since we benefit and learn from the mutual exchange and the co-operation for a common cause. International co-operation gives us new inspiration, strengthens our reputation on national level and helps us to improve our work.

Future hopes? Together with the Amateo network we would like to ensure that the artistic and cultural participation, especially by the elderly and people with disabilities, plays an important role in the agenda-setting of social and cultural policies in Europe. For this reason, we wish Amateo to be a fast-growing and strong network for the promotion of participatory arts in Europe.

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

Op Roet: Amateo Ambassador 2018

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.

European Ambassador
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”.

The Interaction
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.

The makers
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.

DATS – Denmark


Denmark map
Member country: Denmark 
Contact person: Peter Rafn Dahm

My name is Peter Rafn Dahm and I work as artistic and developmental consultant for DATS.

DATS Denmark - Glostrup AmateurScene

Who: Danish Amateur Theatre and Stage Arts/Performing Arts – is, as indicated by our
name, an umbrella for all kinds of non-professional drama, theatre and performance activities in Denmark. And we are the only organisation that serve and represent these activities.

Continue reading “DATS – Denmark”