Ποιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do

Session 2: Local and regional authorities, their cultural policies and Europe 2020 Strategy

Moderator: Eduard Miralles, Chairman – Fundació Interarts, Barcelona, Spain

He introduces the session by stating a paradox to be grasped only if we wish to think objectively:

  1. culture is more than an instrument or a tool for economic development, so that the use of culture can be a perverse use (and the fact that he states this, it is propable that he has found the voice of an artist)

  2. at the EU Commission level, culture has not succeeded in finding its legitimate place in the state and in civil society.


Lecture: Dr. Fabrice Thuriot

Coordinator, researcher and lecturer in public law and on cultural policies in France, Europe and North America – Centre of Research on Territorial Decentralisation, University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne, France

His critical points shall concentrate on two aspects:

1) criticism of the programme from the point of view of local and regional authorities with regards to urban regeneration.

2) Cultural Programme and use of the Structural Fund


Second aspect: urban regeneration becomes necessary where depression and decline along with loss of services alters the profile and composition of a city – artists can move in to fill these empty spaces


All aspects are important (cultural, environmental,...) related to both temporary and permanent activities, so the notion is how to mix and how to bring them together. The example of festivals taking place in cities makes apparent the need to link to rural areas. There is a disposition to support temporary activities while all long term activities are delegated to other companies and organizations.

The role of the local authorities is to have a long term vision and to give local actors the means to develop, so that the local population does benefit from this.


Question by Eduard Miralles:


Round table with representatives of local and regional authorities:

Jean-Damien Collin, Director for cultural development – Conseil Général du Territoire de Belfort, France

Two focus:

Ready for the new EU 2020 vision – link with Brussels through an office there – programme for youth

Renee Heijnen Senior policy advisor for music City of Utrecht

Utrecht is one of the four big cities in Holland 320 000 inhabitants – fast growing city - 75 000 students – dedicated to education and culture – we think culture is heart of our city development – we face budget cuts from both national and provincial level but the city decided not to cut the cultural budget which had been growing over the past 15 years – we had to make tough decisions – who is getting the subsidies – published a strategic papers: answer to questions what you want – our cultural vision 2012-2022 is called 'open space' to underline what is important to us. We are growing but we want to be smart and stay smart so change in strategy is to move more in relationship to the outer world – think more in terms of partnerships and ownerships – the people of the city are the ones who make this city work also in a cultural way. What kind of a city we want to be and what do you need to get there. A good model are the European Capitals of Culture – we are in a bid right now – good way to study the cultural DNA of the city. How to study which organizations are sustainable – which ones can sustain by themselves so which ones need to be sustained – these organizations are also smart and seek their own partnerships – looking more to the business world – creative sector is moving from culture to a more creative way of interactions e.g. musicians not only playing in ensembles but also teaching. The cultural sector is moving far beyond the traditional administrative sector and therefore we speak about the outside world which is very strange for us and therefore try to find a new role for the local authority.


Eduard Miralles:

important role of local and regional authorities -

importance of culture


Renee Heijnen: we think cities are important – are the points where creative and energies come together – new ideas / new products – and cities together with territory are important – the national level is not so important and even can be a hindrance – we see that with the Right Wing parties which started to cut culture due to their views – that was not the view of the cities – so also the government was against raising the budget for Creative Europe – so we try to influence things through networks such as Euro Cities – to be smart you have to create own network: small city network – university cities / open for research,

Edinburgh, Stuttgart,

Exchange policy / exchange cultural

With Edinburgh about festivals

Typical transition areas – adapt to changing local authorities


Jean-Damien Collin


Further remarks:

  1. each local authority has 2 ways to help culture – control / legislation and support – what is the situation in Holland?

    Answer: all 3 levels shared responsibilities for cultural activities but now national has withdrawn but still subsidies certain national flagships – no more compensation and no more shared vision

  2. Odile Wolfs states that not every region and city had a cut in their cultural budget as in Maastricht but it is really a puzzle - what about the regional level for here only a small part is being financed still for festivals organized by the city of Utrecht – 2013: Treaty of Utrecht

  3. to Collin about cross border work – what methods – Swiss Confederation which is purely economical, and the then each canton has its own cultural link – created a common fund together with the Cantons close to us – share in networks and fund some activities and this worked quite well – on the French side that helped to do some festivals e.g. cinema – it allowed us to bring out – call for tenders which included Belfour: 40 projects at 18 000 Euro to help people work on projects – work with people for six months to bring ideas to fruition – once Switzerland joined Schengen that changed also mobility – so all look at the things differently – work together – long term perspective

  4. 2020 strategies – competitive Europe – while local authorities have difficulties in cultural policy implementations: can these be brought together: Fabrice Thuriot a) administrative aspect: too much administration from a general point of views, but also from a practical one – EU funds are important and heavy because of added internal rules and that creates the paradox when compared to the liberal economy while we experience a re-centralization – that is not productive but rather limits things – divides those who have the means and those who have it not – this administrative problem reinforces this gap. b) cultural policy – EU guided us towards strategic planning – that used to be the case in France – the planification gave the opportunity to develop middle term perspectives – planning horizon of up to 7 years – strangely enough in France not to have a cultural plan in five or seven year terms – own initiatives. Collin – I had difficulties with the funding policy of public servants and affected our actions for culture, and a second point is the PPP with which he has no problems e.g. festivals – public subsidy complemented by private funds- relates to ongoing discussions e.g. in Germany 'cultural heart strokes'.


Study about Greece:

Cultural projects with a local-regional dimension means taking things out of the grip of the Ministry of Culture which is orientated towards archaeological / cultural heritage preservation measures even if valorization in terms of attracting tourists is an added component when justifying spending.

It matters what filter / selection principles are used for the funding of culture – see here the investment priorities of the EU and the confusion between various levels of categories:

cultural heritage cultural infrastructure cultural services

tangible from buildings to festivals studies and research

intangible to media public accessible knowledge



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