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
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.
‘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.”
“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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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, 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 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
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.
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.