News

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.

Amateo Stakeholder Survey

As part of the four-year Arts Take Part project, Amateo is working with an external evaluator to help measure our success in various areas and our impact on the wider European sector. At the end of 2018, we worked with Ruth Stevenson to conduct our first stakeholder survey. The external evaluation of the Arts Take Part project looks outwards – assessing the extent to which the project has had an effect on those that it aims to reach. As part of this external evaluation, the survey was planned to ask all of those engaging with the project about their experience of participation.

In total, 99 different stakeholders took part in the survey in 2018. The respondents spanned 17 countries, most often Belgium, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Slovenia and Denmark. Almost half of the respondents (45) represented a member of the growing Amateo network. Respondents were asked several questions about the way in which they had engaged with Amateo in the previous year and how they felt this benefitted them — as well as questions about what they’d like to see in the future.

Almost half (48%) of stakeholders attended Amateo events, with 12% considering attending and 27% hearing about the events. Almost one in five (18%) stakeholders entered the Amateo awards, with 2% considering entering and 54% hearing about the awards. The response to Amateo’s range of activities and outputs was positive:
▪ 77% agreed that the themes are relevant to their work
▪ 62% agreed that the content is high in quality
▪ 55% agreed that the information comes in a format which is easy to share

Responses were also positive when asked about Amateo’s delivery on key objectives. 74% said that Amateo was performing well in relation to supporting international cooperation, 70% said that Amateo was performing well in relation to maintaining a strong network, 64% said that Amateo was performing well in relation to providing opportunities to share learning, and 64% said that Amateo was performing well in relation to providing advocacy for amateur arts.

Overall, 86% of respondents agreed that there is a need for a network like Amateo and 81% agreeing that it is a valuable network. With the survey following the first year of the Arts Take Part project, stakeholders already recognised a positive influence by Amateo on both national and European policy and also public participation.

Individuals recognised the personal impact that involvement with Amateo and its activites has had on their work and their international connections.
▪ 66% agreed that I made new contacts through it
▪ 66% agreed that I feel better equipped to work internationally because of it
▪ 62% agreed that I made a positive change to my working practices as a result of it
▪ 46% agreed that I shared information about it with others

As we are now past the halfway point of the Arts Take Part project and delivering the third year of activities, a new stakeholder survey will be launched to measure the external impact of the work over the past year. If you’ve been part of our work, please do share your thoughts. The survey will be launched next week via our newsletter and social media channels.

Highlights: CONNECT+, Edinburgh

Speakers at Don't Look Back seminar in Edinburgh (l-r: Ingrid Smit, Sylvia Dow, Anne Gallacher, Janine Husch)

People from across Europe came together last week in Edinburgh to share thoughts and ideas on creativity in an ageing population. The programme of events was organised by Amateo in partnership with Voluntary Arts and Luminate, with support from Creative Scotland as well as Creative Europe. The week included creative workshops for older people from across Europe and a seminar for those working on developing creative projects with the annual Epic Awards ceremony organised by Voluntary Arts bringing an inspiring few days to a close.


Opening Reception

Amateo and our partners were honoured to be guests at the beautiful Institut Français d’Ecosse on Edinburgh’s famous Royal Mile. Guests were welcomed by the Deputy French Consul, Marie Vassallo; Amateo President, Susan Fazakerley; Bailie Lezley Marion Cameron of Edinburgh City Council; Luminate Director, Anne Gallacher and Amateo’s Arts Take Part coordinator, Jim Tough. As well as being treated to some fine Scottish produce throughout the evening, the guests were then treated to a performance by Edinburgh-based choir Forget Me Notes.


CONNECT+

Participants were invited from many European countries to come together, exchange ideas and build new relationships. One strand of the programme brought together those working in the field and amateur and participatory arts with an interest in engaging older people in creative activities. There were exercises to get to know each other and even some speed-dating sessions! There were also presentations from funding bodies, including Creative Europe, to inform people of the opportunities available to support international collaboration. Staff from organisations across Europe discussed potential new projects and collaborations which we hope to see realised in the very near future.

In the Creative Workshops programme, a group of 12 older people from Belgium, Netherlands, Slovenia, Germany, Czech Republic and Scotland came together with artists Janice Parker and Luke Pell and film maker Tao-Anas Le Thanh to explore the Don’t Look Back theme through movement and words. The process resulted in a remarkable filmed exploration on the theme. This was a powerful process of sharing, learning, reflection, and cooperation amongst this group from across Europe that will live long in the hearts and minds of those involved.


Seminar: Don’t Look Back

Taking inspiration from Bob Dylan and challenging the preconception that almost all creative work with older people needs to be about reminiscence, this one-day seminar at the University of Edinburgh’s InSpace sought to recognise that we all have a creative future. Each of the speakers gave a short presentation which led to a provocation to be discussed and debated by the participants. The event was chaired by playwright Sylvia Dow.

Throughout the day, we heard from Ingrid Smit (LKCA, Netherlands) about the Lang Leve Kunst project (Long Live Art), Janine Husch (Kubia, Germany) about the work the organisation delivers and the challenges they face in reaching a diverse range of participants, and Anne Gallacher (Luminate, Scotland) about partnership working to improve creative opportunities for older people in Scotland.


Epic Awards ceremony

The annual Epic Awards celebrate the achievements of voluntary-led creative groups and projects across the UK and Ireland. This year’s awards ceremony was held in Edinburgh to close our week of events in Scotland’s capital city. Awards were presented to winners for Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales as well as the Peer Award (voted for by the nominated groups), the People’s Choice Award (voted for by thousands of members of the public) and the Celebrating Diversity Award which this year went to Kirrie Connections, a community dementia support hub in the rural Scottish town of Kirriemuir.

The evening was hosted by BBC Scotland’s Janice Forsyth and included an opening speech by Ben Macpherson MSP, Minister for Europe, Migration and International Development in the Scottish Government. The ceremony was opened with a performance from Scotland award runners-up, 24 Carat Gold, a dance group of women aged 60 – 87 years old, while the closing performance by Scotland award winners, Musicians in Exile, had the audience up dancing in Edinburgh’s Central Hall.

It was a really enjoyable and very moving finale to a week of connection, collaboration and inspiration in Edinburgh. We’re now looking forward to upcoming Amateo events during 2020. Subscribe to our newsletter to be the first to receive invitations.


Campaign for culture in Commissioner Gabriel’s title

The new President-elect of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has announced the nominations of 27 new commissioners, due to be formally appointed once approved by the European Parliament on 1 November. While the gender balance of the new commission has been welcomed, the removal of culture from a commissioner’s job title is seen as a backward step.

Mariya Gabriel from Bulgaria, who previously served as Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, has been nominated for the new role of Commissioner for Innovation and Youth. Recognition of culture has been removed from headline titles of the commission, having previously been included in the role of Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport (Tibor Navracsics, 2014-2019).

“At a time when the need to recognise how our shared culture can bind us together as European citizens is so important, it is extremely disappointing to see culture neglected in this way. The challenges of the coming years can only be addressed by coming together and understanding each other’s experiences and world views so that we can work collectively for the common good. Millions of Europeans use culture and creativity to enjoy themselves and build lasting relationships locally and internationally.

The crucial work of the Creative Europe programme and the countless networks, organisations and volunteers around Europe help bring culture to the fore so that we can celebrate our distinct cultural backgrounds and our shared human desire for self expression. We believe that cultural exchange and broader cultural understanding is essential in building a peaceful, collaborative Europe for the future and this should be recognised in the commissioner’s title.”

Amateo President, Susan Fazakerley

Culture Action Europe has launched a petition to call on Ursula von der Leyen to bring culture back into Commissioner Gabriel’s title. Amateo is proudly supporting this call for all those who value culture to sign the petition.

SUSAV – Serbia

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

Member country: Serbia
Contact person: Savo Mučibabić, Secretary

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

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

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

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

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

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

LKCA – The Netherlands

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

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

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

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

What?
LKCA is committed to:

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

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

LKCA (credit: Hanne Nijhuis)

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

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

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

LKCA (credit: Ineke Fey)

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

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


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

Highlights: Amateo annual Conference & Award, Novi Sad 2019

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.

There are many more photos you can see on the Amateo Facebook page and some videos of musical performances from ceremony on the Amateo YouTube channel.

You can also view some of the presentations from conference:

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!

CONNECT+, Edinburgh

SAVE THE DATE!

CONNECT+ and the Epic Awards

1st – 3rd October 2019
Edinburgh, Scotland                          

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.

Programme

Opening Reception
Tuesday 1st October, 6:30–8:30pm, Institut Français, Parliament Square, Edinburgh
Contact jim@amateo.org for booking.

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
Contact jim@amateo.org for booking.

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, University of 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 Gallacher, 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

Epic Awards 2019 ceremony
Thursday 3rd October, 6:30pm, Central Hall, Edinburgh
Book your place on the Voluntary Arts website.

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.


JSKD – Slovenia

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

320px-Slovenia_in_its_region.svg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ATP Pioneer Projects

Members of the pioneer grant jury Inga Remeta and Amateo President, Suzan Fazakerley have selected three project plans for a Pioneer Project grant from Amateo:

  • FanfaKids X Brassbandschool
  • Hidden Tracks
  • Meeting Unknown

All three projects were created as a result of new connections that were made at CONNECT2019 in Narva, Estonia, in March 2019.

Granted projects:

FANFAKIDS X BRASSBANDSCHOOL

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.

IMG_9314

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.

HIDDEN TRACKS

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.

MEETING UNKNOWN

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.”


The Arts Take Part Pioneer Project team will continue to collect and share information about the pioneering projects using a monitoring format. Check back here for updates or follow Amateo on Facebook and Twitter.