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CONNECT & EMPOWER – young voices in the arts

CONNECT & EMPOWER – young voices in the arts

CONNECT 2020 focuses on youth empowerment.

Empowering young people is a key objective for organisations of all scale and increasing priority within cultural policy. But how do we let go of control, while offering just the right amount support, challenge and experience to help young people to develop their skills and understanding?

In times of increasing mobility, social media and digitalisation, traditional arts organisations are struggling to connect with the younger generations. Structures that have been working for decades are not working anymore. Art itself has become more fluid. The traditional way of running art projects in theatre/dance/music/poetry etc. don’t always connect.

One way to get a grip on these new developments is involving young amateur artists directly in your organisation: as advisors, as artistic co-creators, as organisers or programming their own projects or even festivals. 

But how to deal with this empowerment of youth? How much freedom can they handle? And how much responsibility? Can you lead a group instead of realise your own personal, creative ideas? How can you develop your skills to become accepted and involved with your experience as a coach?  Might failure maybe a part of the concept? 

CONNECT 2020 brings together inspiring examples, provocations and practices.

WHEN: Friday 20 – Sunday 22 March 2020 (Friday at 18.00 – Sunday at 16.00)
Deadline to register: Saturday 29 February 2020

WHERE: BRUSSELS, Belgium

JES – Sleep in
Werkhuizenstraat 3
1080 Brussels

FOR WHO:

Creating European Pioneer Projects/Expert meeting: Amateur Associations and arts professionals (producers, directors, teachers, coordinators, cultural managers etc) who are making art with children and/or young people, network organisations and policymakers.

Interdisciplinary Creative Workshops: Young people (aged 18-25 or 16-27 with prior agreement) that want to work internationally and interdisciplinary and have relevant experience with one or more artforms themselves.

These sessions will also be valuable for arts students and people who have recently finished their studies, who want to become teachers in one of the artforms.

WHAT:

CONNECT is a combination of an international expert meeting for art professionals and amateur associations as well as a creative workshop programme for young people.

The ultimate goal of CONNECT – arts professionals and amateur associations programme is to create time and space to find a partner and design an international interdisciplinary project in the CONNECT theme. Amateo will award the three most inspiring concepts with a grant of € 2,500 each.

CONNECT 2020 European Pioneer Projects Expert meeting:
Brings together art professionals and amateur associations to focus on the theme of empowerment of young people through discussions, key notes and interactive methods. 

CONNECT Interdisciplinary Creative Workshops:
The young amateur artists workshop programme is a series of 4 workshops of 90 minutes, in which a group of young international amateur artists will experiment and explore different combinations of interdisciplinary artforms; how to combine spoken word and folklore|traditional music? Or urban dance and theatre? Every workshop will be led by young mentors from 4 different European countries, with different artistic backgrounds. It is a lab of unexpected combinations. 

CONNECT also combines parts of the programme:
– Friday’s joint welcome programme includes a surprise performance and workshop
– On Saturday afternoon we explore Brussel by local safari, following an innovative cultural devepment board game, created by Lasso.
– We finish on Sunday afternoon with a mixed diversity workshop.

WHY:

Three days in a good company, watching, talking about, talking with, designing projects and making art with young people. Everywhere in Europe this work is happening but each country and region has its own approach. CONNECT is a platform where people can share their experiences, be curious, find shared goals and start international adventures together.

COST:

Participants fee for arts professionals: € 200
Young people workshop programme: € 100
Costs cover all sessions, food and shared accomodation. If you live in Brussels and don’t sleep in the Jes Sleep in, costs are: € 100 for professionals and € 50 for young participants

Register here to secure your place

Deadline to register: Saturday 29 February 2020


CONNECT2020 is an initiative of Amateo’s Art Take Part pioneers projects, organised together MetX and Lasso (Brussels) and co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.

Do you want to know more? Send an email to pioneers@amateo.org or go to Facebook and check the event.

Pioneer Projects Update

The three pioneer projects funded as a result of new connections made at CONNECT2019 in Estonia, March 2019 are all at varying stages of delivery. Check on their progress:

Following CONNECT at Amateo’s Don’t Look Back conference in Scotland, October 2019, they’ve been joined by Remembering Places – Crafting Our Future.

From February 23 – 29 2020, Hidden Tracks brings the 16 young people and musicians from the Czech Republic, Estonia and Germany together to get the goods shed in Geestenseth trembling with music & more in a workshop.

On Saturday, 29 February 2020 at 19:00 we invite you to the live Hidden Tracks performance!

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!

Enter Amateo Award 2020

Are you making an impact through your creative group?


Apply for the Amateo Award 2020

Are you bringing people together with dance? Do people sing themselves happy in your choir? Is your craft circle breaking down barriers to inclusion?

If your creative group could inspire others to try something different, enter the Amateo Award and you could win 1,000 euros and a trip to the beautiful city of Vienna on 18 June 2020. Please share the call for applications far and wide.

AMATEO AWARD 2020 – open for entries until 31 March 2020  


APPLY HERE


WHAT WE ARE LOOKING FOR?

Inspiring creative projects that are having a powerful, positive impact on their community.

In 2019 all 64 projects from 10 different nations were judged – from large scale events to first-time projects led by individuals. Previous finalists have included a Scottish group drumming to improve their mental health, a theatre production from Belgium involving amateur actors exploring the experience of aging, life-enhancing musical summer camps in Denmark and a project from Slovenia involving paintings based on fingerprints created by artists living with muscle-wasting conditions.

WHY GET INVOLVED?

Completing the short Application Form will not take much time. If you know of other inspiring projects, please share this invitation or encourage them to apply. 

The Amateo Award 2020 is an opportunity for you to profile your amateur arts group or creative project to an international audience and, in turn, to make connections with participants, policy makers and funders from across Europe. Previous applicants have also found the Amateo Award gave increased recognition and support at a local level.

Hear more from previous winners Evelyn from Moving Ground in Belgium, the Amateo Award winner 2019, and Ingrid from OpRoet in The Netherlands, the Amateo Award winner 2018.

https://youtu.be/Kukoqfbe7a4

Ed Van Hoorn, F*** the System’ won the first Award in 2018, an amazing project from the Dutch city of Hoorn which united newcomers from Syria, Eritrea and Palestine. “We were very, very proud and honoured,” said Lyda Tijsen from Op Roet, the theatrical group which created the project.

The production had a profound impact on all those who took part including cast member Ayat from Syria: “Before Ed van Hoorn I was afraid, I was alone all the time, it was like living in the dark. But afterwards, my life is sunny. I met many Dutch people and made new friends.”

Evelyn, Moving Ground, Belgium – winner of the Amateo Award in 2019:

“After winning the Amateo Award we have gotten a lot of positive feedback from our community and a lot more support from the municipality. However, most of all, we gained a lot of confidence. Being a little, local project that got European recognition made us think bigger. In the near future we are starting up a festival where we want to network with different organizations that use dance as a tool for empowerment in the community.”


Amateo – the European Network for Active Participation in Cultural Activities 

Funding for Creative Europe

Currently, Amateo’s Arts Take Part project (2017-21) is co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union. Our aim is to support creative participation in all communities in Europe and work to bring different cultures together in shared understanding and mutual respect. Culture and creativity can unite the people of Europe in a unique and powerful way and we feel it is essential for the European Union to recognise this power and support the efforts of networks, organisers and individuals all over the continent.

This work requires proper funding that reflects the importance of the work that cultural organisations are undertaking, the added value that is created, and the urgent need to address divisive agendas within Europe. The European Parliament’s recent recommendations on this matter should be taken forward. With talks taking place at the European Council about the future funding of EU programmes, the Chair of Culture and Education Committee, Sabine Verheyen, made the following statement:

“The Culture and Education Committee has had a very constructive relationship with the Finnish Presidency of the Council during the trilogue negotiations on Erasmus+, Creative Europe and the European Solidarity, but the Finnish Presidency proposal for European Council discussions on the next EU long-term budget is really wide of the mark. Although, so far, we have no figures for any of the education, culture and youth programmes, we have been crunching the numbers and the picture is bleak. As things stand, based on equal across-the-board cuts for those programmes where no figure is included, we’re looking at 20% cuts for all three programmes compared to the Commission proposal, 48% for Erasmus+ compared to the Parliament proposal and 53% for Creative Europe compared to the Parliament position. This is deeply worrying.

Parliament called for the Erasmus+ budget to be tripled, because we want the new programme to do more for more people, to reach out to those with fewer opportunities and to deliver the ambitious flagship initiatives the Commission proposes – European Universities, Vocational Education and Training Centres of Excellence and DiscoverEU. We need a budget that matches these ambitions and what’s on the table now falls woefully short.

The Parliament also insisted on doubling the resources for Creative Europe. This is the sole EU programme for the cultural and creative sector and is currently hugely over-subscribed. Again, we must do more if we are to deliver even more added value to the sector and the people engaged in it.

An investment in education, culture and youth is an investment in people and is the very essence of European cooperation. I urge the Council and the European Council to go back to the drawing board and think again. The Culture and Education Committee stands ready to press forward with negotiations on Erasmus+, Creative Europe and the European Solidarity Corps, but any political agreement on the scope and actions to be financed depends on the budget. We therefore call on the Council and European Council to avoid further delays and to show the necessary ambition.”

Join Amateo, Culture Action Europe and many others across Europe by signing the CAE petition calling for the necessary support to be given to culture.

Travelling Light

Amateo’s Carbon Footprint
by Arts Take Part coordinator, Jim Tough

In Amateo, the European membership network for active participation in cultural activities, we value the opportunity to bring people together to learn, share and explore. With vital support from Creative Europe our Arts Take Part programme has helped us come together in venues across Europe. The opportunity for human contact, the face-to-face and personal experiences for our staff and members is at the heart of our work. But there is a price. The price of travel in Euros and in carbon emissions. Our carbon footprint is a European shoe size 47! So, inspired and challenged by the climate emergency and Extinction Rebellion activists, we decided to take the first steps towards smaller footprint.

We challenged our Arts Take Part team of 23 workers from across Europe to explore how to travel lighter to our meeting in Utrecht, Netherlands. So we thought it would be useful to share some of the personal experiences of taking on that challenge and what we learned as a result.

ATP team dinner in Utrecht

Mixing business and pleasure — in some cases taking a different means of travel meant there was time for other things. So Claire took the overnight ferry from Newcastle to Amsterdam and cycled 70 km from Ijmuiden to Utrecht. The pleasure of the cycle part helped make the longer trip acceptable at a personal level. Anna-Karin built in a stay with a friend in Stockholm to help with her rail travel plans. Jan travelled by train from Ljubljana but took the opportunity to visit friends in Haarlem. My own travel from Scotland to Utrecht by train meant an additional night away in a London hotel. But I timed the travel to allow a visit to the theatre in London. 

It takes time — what became clear is that to avoid air travel there is usually a time cost. For all of us with busy working lives, that extra day or two to travel by train, ferry or bicycle can be a problem. But maybe this is part of the bigger problem of the pace and demands of modern work cultures. It’s as much about a change in how we see the world of work and the pace of life. I know I find travelling by train far less stressful and more productive. Joining Damien on the leg from Rotterdam to Utrecht we were able to add some value to the team meeting agenda in preparing a session. I find air travel can be soulless and impersonal. Travel by land may take a bit longer but we may arrive in a better state of mind.

Inflexible bureaucracies — one challenge for some our our members from different national systems is the requirements of their own financial rules. So the common sense of travelling from one meeting for a project in Frankfurt by direct train to Utrecht was not permitted because the two projects are supported from different budgets. So Katerina had to go back to Prague to restart her journey to Utrecht! The good news is that by raising this issue the rules may change. 

It can be more expensive — yes, indeed it can. But the worst of that can be minimised by good forward planning of the dates for our meetings and being thoughtful about where we meet to reduce other costs such as accommodation. Travel to and accommodation in Brussels where Creative Europe holds its briefing meetings can be very expensive and very often the dates are late in being planned and confirmed. So our friends that fund all of this good work could help by planning meetings well ahead so we can get the best value for trains and hotels. 

It makes a difference — this was a first attempt but it was encouraging. By inviting the team to try out different approaches we reduced our carbon footprint by 33%. It added about 73% in journey time (but much of that time was used well) and about 20% in cost. It reminds me of an old quote – “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance”. In the current crisis we might suggest that if you think reducing your carbon footprint is expensive try a global environmental catastrophe.

ATP team meeting in Utrecht

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!

SAVE THE DATE – CONNECT 2020

Young participants from Estonia, Sweden and Slovakia in the object theatre workshop by Tin Grabnar (Si), during CONNECT 2019 in Narva, Estonia

CONNECT & EMPOWER – young voices in the arts

The next CONNECT2020 focuses on the issue of empowerment of young people. What do they need to organise their own local, regional or international project? For example: A workshop camp, a youth network, an international exchange or a festival? How do you involve them in designing a project? Where do you give them guidance, and when will we follow them in their ideas? Can they make decisions, or only give advice? Inspiring examples will show and/or tell their stories.

WHEN:

20/21/22 March 2020

WHERE:

BRUSSELS, Belgium

FOR WHO:

– Young people (aged 18-25) that want 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 who are focussing on art with children and/or young people

– Network organisations and policy-makers

WHAT:

Three days to:

– See inspiring performances and art initiatives made/performed by young people

– Hear inspiring keynote speakers, share knowledge and have some new experiences

– Meet and speak with inspiring colleagues, and young people from all over Europe

– Explore the cultural field in Brussels

– Get to know each other, find a potential partner and design a small project together.

Amateo is rewarding three proposals each with a € 2.500,– grant.

WHY:

Three days in a 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.

CONNECT is an initiative of Amateo’s pioneer projects; a Arts take part project group which wants to initiate and stimulate small-scaled, international and (preferably) interdisciplinary projects in the field of amateur arts, to gain and share experiences, and to stimulate new forms and approaches within amateur arts.

The full programme will be published before the end of 2019. Do you want to know more? Send an email to pioneers@amateo.org. Or go to Facebook and check the event.


CONNECT2020 is an initiative of Amateo’s Art Take Part pioneers projects, organised together MetX and Lasso (Brussels) and co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.

Arts Take Part: Courses & Conferences Team

Courses & Conferences Team is one of the implementing teams of Arts Take Part, a unique and exciting four-year Amateo network project co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union. Let see what the team members say about their recent work!

Tell us about your Team?

Our team is international, but it has a Slavic soul, since the team members
are from Croatia, Slovakia and Slovenia. The last team member from the
Netherlands joined us just recently. I think we share a common vision with all the other teams within Arts Take Part and also with other people who work in the field of amateur culture. We try to encourage people to recognize the value of their work in this field, trying to gain visibility of the Amateo network, involve new partners and members in Amateo activities, to provide the paid and voluntary staff in participatory arts associations in European countries with new opportunities. In order to do that we promote and provide trans-national courses and conferences where good practices and experiences from different European countries can be shared.

What has the team been doing recently?

Lately, we have been communicating a lot with our partners from Austria
and Italy for the organisation of the conferences next year. Now we are
in the middle of program preparations for our next conference in June 2020, which will take place in Vienna, Austria. We are also planning promotional campaigns and trying to get as close as possible to potential participants and members. At the same time, it was also necessary to design a work program for the coming year, with collaboration between teams that differentiate the quality and diversity of our events as a key element. The Amateo Conference is also a place where the annual Amateo Award and CONNECT project has its part. The Amateo Award is aiming to highlight and support the individuals and groups whose projects are recognized as outstanding on a European level.

Workshop, Novi Sad, Serbia, June 2019
What are you working on for the future?

We have been working for a long time to find ways and methods which can
help to share knowledge and skills with as many interested people as possible. In the future, we will endeavour to use modern information channels to display our events and to implement e-learning. It is sometimes difficult to choose the right form for a specific target audience among many forms and communication channels, and we will continue to pay much attention to this in the future. We also work with various organisations to participate in the implementation of events in the future, including a one-day conference in Galway, Ireland and in a conference in Milan, Italy.

What are your recent highlights?

Meeting interesting new people, seeing happiness on the faces of award winners, facilitating new transnational exchange of knowledge and collaborations, feeling positive energy and, at the end, satisfaction when plans become reality!

CONNECT 2019, Tallinn, Estonia
How can other Amateo members or non-members get involved with this work?

We would like to involve as many members and non-members as possible into our activities. The main aim of our team is to give people the opportunity for sharing experience and knowledge, for international collaboration to participate actively at Amateo events (seminars, conferences), give ideas for future events, be a host of the events, share positive energy… In short – to place active participation in culture under the spotlight.


Follow us on our Facebook page or contact info@amateo.org.


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

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.