OP/TIL (Belgium)

AMATEO MEMBER: Steunpunt voor Bovenlokale Cultuur – OP/TIL

Member country: Belgium
Contact person: Benedikte De Vos, staff member data collection and research at OP/TIL (and former secretariat of Amateo 😊)


Steunpunt voor Bovenlokale Cultuur grew out of Amateur Arts Forum, the supporting organisation for the amateur arts sector in Flanders, Belgium. In a big rationalization process, led by the government, the amateur arts sector lost its support and advocacy organization by the end of 2018. However, in De Federatie, the amateur arts sector found a new advocacy organization whilst the nine discipline-specific umbrella organisations professionalized a lot during the past years. Steunpunt voor Bovenlokale Cultuur has a broader and somehow different focus. There is, since 2019, a new Flemish decree that stimulates cultural projects to transcend the borders of their local community or city and to work together with partners on a broader geographical scale. It also has as a goal to connect cultural players from all different cultural subsectors (amateur and professional arts, cultural heritage…) with each other and/or with  organizations from others sectors, such as education, well-being, tourism etc. Next to this project funding, there are subsidies for small groups of municipalities and towns, who act as a connector and facilitator for culture in their region. Steunpunt voor Bovenlokale Cultuur is the new supporting organization for all these new initiatives. We inspire and connect players from the broad range cultural sector. Beyond the boundaries of municipalities, sectors and disciplines.


Our organization wants to connect and inspire cultural actors and organizations to work and cooperate across the borders of their community, their discipline, their cultural habitat. Therefore, we bring people together and organize networking events where we show good examples and give stage to inspirational speakers. We give workshops to inform on the possibilities to get funding and take time for  1 on 1 advice to organizations who have a good idea,  but not yet the experience to start a (large-scale) project. We go to other domains and convince them of the opportunities that new cooperations might have. We gather knowledge about new and challenging cooperations and let this knowledge flow back to the field.

Why Amateo?

Our predecessor, Amateur Arts Forum was a founding member of Amateo. From our own regional context, we learned that amateur arts organizations are good at building bridges with other cultural sub-sectors and domains. At Amateo conferences, and from our contacts with other member organizations, we discovered a lot of good examples, where amateur arts work together with professionals arts, with the health care sector etc. These good examples help us in our current challenge and can stimulate other sectors to leave their comfort zone and work together with non-usual suspects.

Importance of international connections?

Stimulate cultural actors to collaborate across borders is in the mission of our organization! Going for the unknown, finding new, undiscovered partners, learning about common issues you have with people on the other side of the country (or Europe)…it can only help to enrich yourself and to grow in a way you would not have down without these partners. You always learn a lot from new collaborations, not only how others do things differently, but also about yourself. Within a few years, when Steunpunt voor Bovenlokale Cultuur is operating at full speed, we want to introduce the international scope in all our services and stimulate cultural actors from Flanders to work internationally.

Future hopes?

Here in Flanders, the amateur arts sector has proven to be flexible and innovative during the Corona crisis and semi-lockdown in Flanders, Belgium. And I believe it was the same in most European countries. The myriad of spontaneous initiatives showed the need we have for culture, on a personal and societal scale. It is this power to bring people together, to connect and to move people that we should foster.

This is also what I hope for the amateur arts sector and for Amateo, who is as a valuable partner in the field: that they will be visible and appreciated, both by the public and by policy makers. The imaging of the added value is now more important than ever. For all people, young and old, whatever their background or families they come from: I hope they have opportunities to take part in the arts discipline they feel attracted to, get chances to develop themselves and make friendships for a lifetime!

If you want to read more about OP/TIL, please visit their web page!

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

Voluntary Arts (UK & Ireland)

AMATEO MEMBER: voluntary arts

Member countries: UK & Ireland
Contact persons: Damien McGlynn, Communications & Partnerships Director, and Andreea Lupu, Communications Administrator


Voluntary Arts is the representative organisation for the voluntary arts sector across the UK and Ireland, founded in 1991. It promotes voluntary participation in creative cultural activity in order to develop a healthy, creative and engaged civil society. We aim to provide a universal voice to more than 60,000 voluntary-led creative groups which regularly involve more than 10 million people. Voluntary Arts’ strategy focuses on fostering collaborations, strengthening social connectedness and providing spaces for creative cultural activities. 

“Voluntarily doing creative cultural activity is not just a nice thing to do, it is the key to a happy human life”

— Martyn Evans, Chief Executive, Carnegie (UK) Trust, July 2018


Voluntary Arts works across a wide network of amateur arts umbrella bodies, local organisations and media partners in the public and private sector. Actively liaising with government bodies, we seek to improve existing policies and infrastructure in the arts and culture sector and to make creativity an inherent part of the daily lives of individuals and groups of all backgrounds. We offer guidance materials, resources, workshops and conversation platforms to support and develop local initiatives that are inclusive and highly engaging.

Some of Voluntary Arts’s main initiatives include:

  • Annual campaigns and events, such as the Get Creative Festival and the Epic Awards
  • Collaborations with local media, including BBC radio as part of the Up For Arts project
  • Extensive resources, including helpful briefings on a range of topics, listings of opportunities, funding and much more.

One of the most recent initiatives is #CreativeNetwork – a series of online conversations open to anyone involved in arts, culture and creativity in order to connect and collaborate in these unusual times. Facilitating these conversations has enabled people from across the UK and Ireland to talk with others, develop ideas and projects, and find sustainable ways to continue or improve their work in changing circumstances. 

Why Amateo?

Amateo is a unique network developing the capacity of many different participatory arts organisations all across Europe. Helping to shape its goals and programme as a founder member was a natural step towards upscaling our activity in the voluntary and amateur arts sector internationally. With a shared mission to support and promote people’s active engagement with creative activities, we have been building exchange-based collaborations with peer organisations across Europe for quite a few years now. 

We strongly believe that a joint effort towards creating and facilitating a stimulating environment for inclusive and accessible participation in cultural activities is a key ingredient of a lasting meaningful impact in different communities and decision-making structures at an international level. Thanks to the amazing quality of the arts and creativity to transcend borders — as well as to the genuine commitment of Amateo member organisations to developing trans-national cooperation — there is much potential to be further explored.

Importance of international connections?

The international outlook of any organisation working in the cultural sector in today’s interconnected world is key to maintaining a good sense of awareness of the practices and policies applied from a local to a global scale. There is much knowledge and practical insights to be exchanged and built upon as part of trans-national collaborations. The focus of our activity makes it ever more necessary to be in a constant flux of international and intercultural communication in order to ensure the diversity, relevance and inclusion of our endeavours. We have been able to achieve and celebrate many good results since Amateo began in 2008 and we are excited to raise the profile of our partnerships and projects across Europe. Being able to welcome guests from all over Europe to events in the UK and Ireland have been among the highlights of our work in the past decade.

Future hopes?

There are many challenges in the world at the moment, whether you are an individual, an organisation, a country or an international network! We hope that Amateo’s members can work together to ensure that the right of every individual to freely participate in cultural life is protected across Europe and beyond, and that the many benefits of creative participation — for individuals and communities of all sizes — are widely recognised. It is easy to make political declarations of unity but to truly understand each other and move forward together we must understand each other’s culture and heritage. Participating in cultural activities together, sharing what we do and what we care about, is essential in creating a world where we can collaborate and face challenges together.

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

Amateo Award Winner 2020



The Social Circus project by Anasa Cultural Center in Greece has been awarded the 2020
Amateo Award
in an online ceremony with participants from all over Europe. In the winner, the jury especially loved the great spirit and passion.

“The project is authentic and resonates right to the heart. It shows a mix of creativity and human aspects. A team of voluntary trainers work with all kind of different skills and artforms with young refugees from all over the world. The person we interviewed has experienced the power of the project itself.”

Social Circus (Greece)
Social Circus

The winners described what this project means to them:

“Social circus and circus skills in general always involve a challenge. You are challenged to learn to ride a unicycle. You are challenged to break your fear of heights and go on stilts… You are challenged to exceed yourself. You go beyond what you think your limits are.

We thought that the social circus is a way where youth can understand that there are enormous capabilities when you are trying. So through the medium of art you are learning to be persistent. To empower yourself. Because you see that the only thing that is stopping you is your mind.” 

– Social Circus

You can read more about Social Circus on www.anasa.org.gr

Some 64 projects from across Europe competed for the €1,000 prize which celebrates exceptional amateur arts projects. The finalists from Belgium, Germany, Greece, Slovenia and The Netherlands were all represented at the online announcement of the winner.

The Amateo Award is in its third year and was launched by Amateo, the European Network for Active Participation in Cultural Activities in Europe. The Award has been part of the Arts Take Part project co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.

The 2019 Amateo Award was won by Moving Ground from Belgium.

#Double4Culture Campaign

Amateo, the European Network for Active Participation in Cultural Activities, is joining with other members of the Culture Action Europe network in calling for European Council to urgently consider substantial increases in the EU budgets supporting culture and the Creative Europe programme for the coming years.

Through our work supporting grassroots creative participation across Europe, we see the incredible positive effects this has for individuals and communities. Our network helps participants and professionals to connect through culture across borders and find common ground and mutual understanding. This kind of cultural unity is desperately needed to face the challenges of the coming years and adequately supporting Europe’s collaborative cultural sector is a necessary first step in ensuring that this important work can continue in challenging times.

Amateo supports the statement of Culture Action Europe calling for the doubling of the Creative Europe budget, and to ensure that funds from the Next Generation EU initiative support cultural activities and practitioners in the recovery from the current pandemic.

We encourage Amateo members and supporters to sign and share the new petition below or on the CAE website ahead of the European Council meeting on 19 June 2020.


Online Music & Video Event made by Young People

UPDATE: Watch the final video below!

Do you make music or is the camera your best friend? And are you between 12 and 25 years old? Then this is the chance to make yourself heard!

For the international Make Music Day 2020, dozens of young people from six European countries are working together on a very cool and cross-border online project; the film images and the soundtrack for the “Rebels with a Cause” short film. Whether you come from Lithuania, Slovenia, United Kingdom, Belgium, Slovakia or the Netherlands; together you can speak from your heart!

We would very much like to know what concerns you as a young person. What helps you get through this bizarre time? What are you worried about, or maybe not? What do you want to leave behind from before this time? What do you want to take into the future? Together with dozens of young people from all over Europe, you answer these questions in your own way. By making music or submitting a video. Film & sound professionals make out of all submissions the first international short film of “Rebels with a Cause”.

The short film – premiere online – in six European countries – Sunday 21st June at 13:00 CEST! In the Netherlands, through social media of Leeuwarden-Fryslân European Capital of Culture, with more than 100,000 followers.

You can sign up for music or film!


We invite you to join our online orchestra! Reinout Douma, conductor of the Noordpool Orkest, has composed a great basic soundtrack. If you sign up, you will receive a link to download the scores for your instrument and instructions for recording.


If you sign up to participate in this project, you will certainly not regret it. Because you can participate for free in useful online video workshops about script development and making a movie (with your mobile phone). You will receive tips & tricks from professionals from film platform New Noardic Wave and Editors from Lithuania to make your short video of up to 1 minute as cool as possible.

Your video is used for the short film and also posted on the webpage: http://www.lockdownstories.net. There are already many videos for inspiration!

  • Register before June 5! You will receive more information about what to do as soon as possible.
  • Submissions no later than June 15!
  • Premiere Sunday June 21 at 13:00 CEST during Make Music Day

Contact person:

Jan-Willem van Kruyssen (OMF): jwvankruyssen@omfryslan.nl +31631665582

Rebels with a Cause is a project by:
  • Amateo (European Network for Active Participation in Cultural Activities)
  • OMF (Organisation of Music Associations in Fryslân, the Netherlands)
  • Noordpool Orkest / Noordpool Troupe (Groningen, the Netherlands, musicians between 14 and 23 years old)
  • New Noardic Wave, film platform for makers in the Northern Netherlands
  • Fulkaan, talent platform for young musicians (Fryslân, the Netherlands)
  • iktoon, LKCA (Utrecht, the Netherlands)
  • Making Music UK (London, United Kingdom)
  • House of Activity and Creativity (Public Institution, Zapyskis, Lithuania)
  • NĂĄrodnĂŠ osvetovĂŠ centrum (Bratislava, Slovakia)
  • VZW Kuumba (Brussels, Belgium)
  • JSKD, Javni Sklad za Kulturne Dejavnosti (Ljubljana, Slovenia)

Amateo Award Finalists 2020


Exceptional amateur arts groups are having a profound impact on their communities across Europe. Some 64 projects from 16 countries across Europe applied for the Amateo Award 2020, a €1000 prize supported by Creative Europe to celebrate and strengthen participatory arts. The applications show a wide scope of themes, featuring initiatives focused on young people, projects with older people (including those with dementia) and those with different cultural or migrant backgrounds and projects to improve the community or environment.

Five finalists have been announced representing work from Belgium, Greece, Germany, Slovenia and The Netherlands. The jury loved the diversity and the impact of the initiatives in their communities.

The project “Heimatkarawane” from 1. Stage Divers(e) e.V. – Germany is examining and crossing many borders: between remote and urban areas, the past and present, traditional and new residents and between all art forms.

Fanfakids from Belgium is about 20 young people (aged 7-15) who transform their youthful energy in an explosive concoction of rhythms. The uniqueness of the project is the collaboration between a youth group that supports the young people on a social basis, and an artistic organisation which guarantees the artistic quality of the group.

The Hand-in-Hand Dance Program in the Netherlands connects older adults experiencing dementia with young children in non-verbal contact through dance and music. The model involves dance workshops with different work forms.

Social Circus from Greece is a voluntary initiative which uses circus techniques to share the beauty of skill, art, team work, and self-discipline with unaccompanied minors from the refugee camps of Greece. The initiative aims to create the first refugee-led circus academy in the long-term future.

In Slovenia “The flock of experienced birds” takes the viewer along a pre-drawn path overflowing with the visual colours of the city’s landscapes. It expands views into the memory of all participants using headphones and creates a unique story of the city.

The finalists will be represented at the announcement of the winner in an online event on Friday, June 19th at 18:00 CET.

Hand-in-Hand (Netherlands)
Hand-in-Hand (NL)

The Amateo Award is in its third year now and was launched by Amateo, the European Network for Active Participation in Cultural Activities in Europe. The Network was founded in 2008 as the multi-disciplinary European organisation within the field of participatory arts and cultural activities. There are now 51 members 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 co-funded by Creative Europe and aims to grow and strengthen the network over the next four years. The winner of 2019 was Moving Ground from Belgium. Amateo sees active participation in the arts as a core value for a free and open society as enshrined in Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Our 2020 Finalists

  1. Stage Divers(e) e.V. Germany
    The project „Heimatkarawane- wie klingt das Land heute“ is examining and crossing many borders: Crossing those dividing remote and urban areas, the past and present, traditional and new residents, as well as those between music, poetry, acrobatics and theatre.
    The participants and the team have very diverse backgrounds from around the world (Chile, Israel, Iran, Arabic countries and Germany). New impressions are made that are experienced by all residents, both new and local. The team works on creating an atmosphere that is built on trust and equality, using a variety of artistic realisations. Through the work they do together they artistically
    create both the old and the new, the known and the strange, and present the overall result in a performance: an authentic picture of the village gets created, focussing on the definition of the word “Home”. Unexpectedly the corona crisis is further expanding the project and the network, by using digitally meetings, which gave others the opportunity to participate.
    Website: http://www.heimatkarawane.de/
  2. Fanfakids Belgium
    The Fanfakids are about 20 of youngsters (7-15 of age) who transform their youthful energy in an explosive concoction of rhythms. Their groove is the metropolitan music mix that they grew up with in their headquarters (Youth house Centrum West, Brussels). The uniqueness of the project is the collaboration between a youth house (Centrum West – D’Broej) who supports the youngsters on a social basis, and an artistic organisation (Met-X Moving Music) who guarantees the artistic quality of the group. Despite their age, they have already performed in numerous venues over the globe (Europe & Africa). Over the years, they have developed a strong relationship with different drum and dance groups in Ghana and Guinea. Fanfakids exists in 2020 for 20 years and is been supported by a
    lot of voluntary work.
    Website: http://www.fanfakids.be / http://www.metx.be/en/projecten/fanfakids-3/
  3. Hand-in-Hand
    The Hand-in-Hand Dance Program in the Netherlands is stimulating to connect older adults with dementia with young children with non-verbal contact through dance and music. An accompanying teacher: “I see behavior of my children that I never thought possible.” And a health care worker: “Our elderly don’t only have to receive, they can give so much love and tenderness. That moves me to tears.” The dance form at the heart of Hand-in-Hand is Biodanza, which means “Dance of Life”. It is a dance style involving a wide range of forms of movement which doesn’t require learning complicated dance moves. The Hand-in-Hand model involves 9 dance workshops in total, with different work forms with dance, but also discussion and a drawing of their experiences. To date, 60 Dutch dance teachers and more than 20 schools and care institutions have been carrying out inter-generational dance projects or still are. This spring we expect the first group of refugee children to dance together with elderly people with dementia.
    Website: http://www.vriendenvanbiodanza.nl
  4. Social Circus by Anasa Cultural Center
    Social Circus is a voluntary initiative which uses circus techniques to share the beauty of skill, art, team work, and self-discipline to unaccompanied minors from the refugee camps of Greece. A total of four trainers in circus arts, such as juggling, monocycling, acrobatics, slackline, stilt technique, and rhythm games came together on a voluntary basis to share their knowledge with refugees aged 12-18 who have arrived in Greece on their own in the recent years. The social circus team officially started doing outreach programmes in 2018 in refugee shelters, asylum centers, and camps around Athens, Greece. This led to a weekly 3-hour training in 2019 open to all kids of migrant or Greek origin in Kerameikos area. The initiative aims in creating the first refugee-driven circus academy in the long-term future. Youth from Syria, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, UK, Norway, and Greece come together under this non-verbal art form.
    Website: http://www.anasa.org.gr
  5. The Flock of Experienced Birds
    The flock of experienced birds takes the viewer along a pre-drawn path through the city with headphones that can be overflowed with the visual colours of the city’s landscapes. It expands views into the memory of all participants and creates a unique story of city. The first-person narrative, with its heavy subjectivity, expands on the many things of the perceptions of individual places in the city, and thus, with the sensitivity of spreading the conversation about change, passing, memories, many, interdependence and connectedness. Even though the views are intimate, are so unique that the common can indirectly recognise themselves in them as well as announce the beauty of the mutual differences in our own vulnerability. The project became a part of the program Kranj 2025 – application for the European Capital of Culture. The project has long term plans to create sustainable environment, programme and content for new generations of elderly.
    Website: http://imaginationofexpectations.org/new/social-choreography-in-iii-period-of-life/

Press enquiries:

info [at] amateo.org | comms [at] amateo.org
Damien McGlynn
+44 [UK] 7818 028128

NIPOS – Czech Republic

Amateo member: National Information and Consulting Centre for Culture (NIPOS)

Member Country: Czech Republic

Contact Person: Kateřina Klementová, Project Manager

Who is NIPOS?

National Information and Consulting Centre for Culture (NIPOS), re-established in 1991, is a governmental organization which has history leading back to 1925, when Masaryk, the first president of Czechoslovakia, founded a cultural/educational institute for his new citizens. Nowadays, NIPOS is a nationwide organization working as a coordinating body for more than 20 artistic specializations in non-professional art, is the official provider of national statistics on culture and realizes cultural research, methodological and expert service for the Ministry of Culture and offers consultation and advisory service for people.

What do you do?

Apart from large-scale statistical work and service for the Ministry of Culture, our work in non-professional art activities covers project managing, consultation, methodology issues, festivals, education and publishing activity in many different artistic specializations. NIPOS takes care of the very wide variety of regional festivals throughout the Czech Republic, which are leading to 21 large national festivals being the „grand finale“ for many amateur artist’s activities of the year. But it’s not only about presentation, NIPOS seeks to cherish the different art disciplines in terms of quality and development of the art forms. And so the natural part of every festival is education, workshops, seminars and (sensitive) expert reflection of what has been seen.

In the long-term perspective, NIPOS is taking care about the methodology and development of the different art branches: publishing perdiodicals and books in different arts, being in permanent touch with the artists, educators and cultural stakeholders of the time, works towards a better environment for amateur arts in the Czech Republic. That’s why we provide research: for many years, we are developing The Czech Amateur  Theatre Database. Currently, NIPOS is the leader of two larger research projects about seniors, culture and inter-generational dialogue and an oral history project on roots of contemporary dance in the Czech Republic.  

Why did you join Amateo?

NIPOS was there when Amateo was founded in 2008. As an umbrella organization for many amateur art forms, we felt it was necessary to share our experience, visions and problems we have been facing, with other similar European organizations. We were interested in the others’ experience and wanted to learn from them too. This curiosity remains up to these days and will last (hopefully) forever!

Why are international connections important?

International connections are essential for our work, in two ways: exchange of ideas, visions and sharing the never-ending creativity across nations is such an exciting experience (and makes fun of course!). It can change anybody’s life forever. On the other hand (and more seriously put): methodology, advocacy and knowledge of the broader (European) context of non-professional art helps us to better understand the field of amateur arts in the Czech Republic: where are we now and how can we do better? How can we help our (still quite young) democracy to take care about the unique world of amateur arts?

What are your future hopes?

We hope that our work will help the amateur arts to develop and flourish across Europe, with the help of our work together in different countries.

In creativity, we all are equal. We believe that creativity is the way that we can better discover each other and do something for calming the „restless times“ we live in Europe now.

Interested in being part of the Amateo network? Find out more about the members and how to join!

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!

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.

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