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World Day for Cultural Diversity: an overview of EU funding programmes for culture in Ukraine

Humanity shares a common inheritance that is culture. It requires our defence, advocacy, and promotion. Closing the cultural divide is vital and required for identity, stability, and unity among diverse societies. 21 May, is known as the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) proclaimed its celebration by adopting the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity in 2001, in an effort to recognise the need to unite global cultures in a way to achieve ongoing prosperity and peaceful existence. The official establishment of this day provides people across the globe with an opportunity to deepen their understanding of other people’s cultural values, and to contribute to the promotion of their own.

As a union of different nations and cultures, social cohesion and cultural diversity are key among the European Union’s concerns. Indeed, the EU funds a range of  programmes, cultural and creative projects aimed at enriching Europe’s cultural landscape while promoting intercultural dialogue and cooperation

Today we will be immersed in the EU world of extensive opportunities for CULTURE, and for YOU. Through this research, I want to showcase a large number of chances to contribute to cultural diplomacy, and in addition, to emphasise the importance of representation of your ethnic roots to other nations.

Let’s review EU funding programmes for culture

1. Culture Moves Europe is the permanent mobility scheme funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union and implemented by the Goethe-Institut. It provides mobility grants for artists and cultural professionals in all 40 Creative Europe countries, covering the sectors of architecture, cultural heritage, design and fashion design, literature, music, performing arts and visual arts. There are two ways for applications: Individual Mobility Action and Residencies for host organisations. A project should pursue two of the following goals: to explore; to create; to learn; to connect.

Opportunity for those interested in the programme: Open call for individual mobility of artists and cultural professionals Deadline: 31 May 2024, 23:59 CEST

2. House of Europe is an EU programme designed to support creative cooperation between Ukrainians and their EU counterparts in the field of culture and the creative industry. The head-office is based  in Kyiv. The programme is initiated by the EU Delegation to Ukraine and funded by the European Union. Implementation of House of Europe is led by Goethe-Institut Ukraine, with the British Council, Institut Français, and České Centrum as consortium partners, which also co-finance the project.

In the words of, Head of Programme House of Europe, Franziska Simon:

“House of Europe is an EU-funded programme that started in 2019. It aims to foster professional and creative exchange between Ukrainians working in the fields of culture and creative industries, education and youth work, social entrepreneurship, and media with colleagues in the EU. We offer over 20 separate programme lines enabling to keep working despite the war, to carry out personal projects, or to enrol in courses, conferences, and internships in the EU and the UK. 

“Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, we have redirected financing to emergency support, gathered hundreds of opportunities for displaced persons, and focused on creating new support schemes to address the wartime challenges. For example, in 2022, we assisted the DocuDays UA International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival in archiving videos of war crimes. We also purchased laptops for teachers from Mariupol, and contributed to evacuating museum collections from heavily affected regions. And we’re grateful to have played a part in that. More details on our impact can be found here.”

3. Noteworthy Art Residencies, as a way of borrowing the experience of interpersonal interactions for Ukrainian artists in the EU and vice versa. It’s a unique chance to contribute to design, production, documentation, or reflection. For instance, Residence for exhibition curators in Croatia: this is an opportunity to create an exhibition for the Croatian creative hub Prostor. The main theme of the residency is deviation. 

Open call for those interested in the opportunity: Residence for exhibition curators in Croatia  Deadline: 26 May 2024,  23:59 Kyiv time

4. LINA Architecture Programmes The LINA platform is a Creative Europe funded network that works to steer architecture towards more sustainable practices. It seeks ambitious architects, landscape designers, artists, curators, urban planners with courageous project ideas. 

5. Erasmus+ Youth exchanges and Erasmus+ academic exchanges are part of the Erasmus+ programme which promote formal and non-formal education, and  facilitate mobility across Europe. During these academic exchanges and short-term projects you are given opportunities to experience and appreciate diverse cultural expressions firsthand. So-called ‘intercultural nights’ are an activity, which particularly happens during the evening, for international students from diverse backgrounds. Here, they come together and  present their cultures, bringing food and drinks, music, folk dances, telling recipes, wearing traditional clothes. 

Maryna Sabashenko, YEA in Ukraine, has been an active participant in various Erasmus+ projects: “As part of the Erasmus+ programme, I attended two training courses and three youth exchanges. First of all, I would like to say that it gave me the opportunity to meet incredible people from all over Europe and beyond. It was extremely interesting to observe how diverse, unique and similar we are at the same time. I try to attend projects with representatives of countries whose cultures I don’t know yet, because it’s a unique opportunity to get to know them and broaden my horizons. Thus, during my last project in Nea Anchialos (Greece), I had the opportunity to meet young people from Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Turkey, Croatia and Greece. This experience was truly unique, because their cultures, customs and mentality were quite close to me. My favourite part of Erasmus+ projects is getting to know a new culture, namely the so-called cultural nights. That’s how I had the opportunity to try real Turkish coffee, Serbian rakija, Romanian vishnovka, Bulgarian martinia, Croatian napolitanke and Greek tzatziki. In turn, the participants were able to taste a variety of Ukrainian sweets and sausages. Unmarried guys tried to bite the kalita, and in the end we learned to dance the Hutsul Arkan together and danced to SHUM by Go-A.”

6. ‘Horizon Europe’ is the EU’s key funding programme for research and innovation. It tackles climate change, helps to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and boosts the EU’s competitiveness and technologies. Beyond that, this ambitious EU programme has a particular focus on the European Green Deal, the digital and sustainability transition and recovery from the coronavirus crisis.

7. ‘Creative Europe’ is a framework programme of the European Commission aimed at supporting the cultural, creative and audiovisual sectors, as well as preserving and promoting the cultural and linguistic diversity of European countries. It consists of three sub-programmes: ‘Culture’; ‘Media’; ‘cross- sectoral strand’. It is managed by the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) on behalf of the European Commission. By safeguarding cultural diversity, this programme contributes to the vibrant tapestry of European identity, celebrating the unique contributions of each member state.

Here you can read about successfully implemented projects within the Creative Europe Desk Ukraine: Success stories in UA 

Moreover, within the ‘Creative Europe’ programme are Grants, provided by the Goethe-Institut for professional travel for artists and cultural workers. You have the opportunity to attend an international theatre festival, represent Ukraine at a book fair, do an internship at a renowned gallery, or come up with something else – the itinerary is up to you. The trip should last from 7 to 60 days.

Open call for those interested in the opportunity:  Grants for professional travel for artists and cultural professionals Deadline: 31 May 2024, 23:59 Kyiv time

8. Creative Europe: Innovative Labs European Media Art Platform Residencies (EMAP) initiated by Werkleitz and co-funded by Creative Europe since 2018, this is a consortium of 16 leading European media art organisations specialised in Digital and Media Art, Bio Art and Robotic Art. EMAP members offer practitioners two-month residencies built on the legacy of the European Media Artist in Residence Exchange (EMARE). EMAP also acts as a marketplace for media art partners to select artists and works for their own festivals and exhibitions. 

Thus, at a time of increasing globalisation fostering a sense of European identity and solidarity is of paramount importance. EU-funded cultural programmes play a vital role in this endeavour by promoting a shared cultural narrative and sense of belonging among Europeans. Meanwhile, they provide crucial support to creative industries, enabling them to thrive in an increasingly competitive global market. Moreover, these programmes stimulate job creation, foster innovation, and promote artists and their works, as a result, driving economic growth and social progress. By highlighting the interconnectedness of European cultures, EU-funded  programmes strengthen the bonds of solidarity and cohesion within the EU, fostering a sense of pride in Europe’s rich cultural heritage and collective achievements. 

 And let us not forget:

“Culture is the sum of all the forms of art, of love, and of thought, which, in the course of centuries, have enabled man to be less enslaved.”

André Malraux, French novelist, art theorist, and minister of cultural affairs.

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