The EUNIC Cluster Fund 2023 will co-finance 19 projects with a total of 330,700.00€ to be implemented throughout 2024.
Building on EUNIC’s ongoing committment to the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals, the EUNIC General Assembly identified climate action as one of EUNIC’s priority topics in June 2022. This led within others to the EUNIC Climate Cultures Creative Lab implemented from March to June 2023. In continuation of these efforts and looking ahead to explore future possibilities of engagement, this year's call had an optional thematic focus on cultural relations & climate action, particularly welcoming project proposals that address the climate crisis directly through their cultural activities.
While selected proposals address the topic at different levels and incorporate it at different depths, the vast majority addresses the optional topic in a way or another, which reflects the importance of the subject to the network globally.
The projects co-financed under the Cluster Fund 2023 are the following:
Algeria - A journey from waste to art
The project aims to develop the local capacity of individuals and institutions to create recycled art while instilling the importance of recycling in new generations and encouraging them to draw inspiration from recycled waste. In collaboration with local partners and artists, the goal is to create an open platform for mutual knowledge exchange, discussions, and the sharing of best practices. This will occur not only through interactions between European and Algerian artists, but also between European and Algerian NGOs, particularly in the realm of recycling and waste collection. In addition to the cultural and artistic aspects, the focus will be on raising awareness among schoolchildren and students of art in Algiers through theoretical and practical sessions.
This project will unfold in three stages : In the first phase, Algerian artists and local NGOs will lead discussions with European artists and European NGOs with the objective of understanding the current situation and community needs within the context of recycling. In the second phase, there will be a theoretical component where artists from both sides will conduct workshops with Algerian students, helping them gain a deeper understanding of artistic materials and their creative potential, hence responding to gaps identified in the first phase.Thirdly, the students will produce pieces of art thanks to the knowledge acquired during workshops, showcasing learning outcomes and further inspiring other organisations.
Ankara - European Heritage Days #3
Initiated by the EUNIC Ankara cluster, the European Heritage Days, which were not celebrated in Turkey despite the fact that Turkey is member of the European Council, have been organized twice, very modestly in 2022 (4 Embassies opened their doors to the public: Belgium, France, Poland, Switzerland) and more ambitiously in 2023, extending it to the local Turkish partners with a profesionnal communication. On 16-17 September 2023, 7 Embassies and more than 16 Turkish partners (museums, linked to the Ministry of Culture or independent; municipalities; foundations; associations; artists collectives etc.) joined hands to celebrate Ankara's heritage. In total, 57 activities have been organized throughout the week-end, from guided tours of the Embassies and museums to exibitions, concerts and children workshops; all of them were free and upon registration (with limited quotas). More than 4000 people attended the different activities. Institut français Ankara, as the cluster chair, dedicated some financial and human resources to create a unique, original and lasting visual identity and put in place some communication partnerships (with local influencers and the metropolitan municipality to display the event on digital billboards throughout the city). Faced with the success of the event (each institution received almost three times the number of applications for registration compared to the number of places available), the EUNIC cluster in Ankara and its partners decided to renew the event in 2024 and, beyond, make it a long-term annual cultural event.
Bosnia & Herzegovina - Films for Future: film festival for climate action
"Films for Future" is the first film festival in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) dedicated to climate action that deals with the consequences of environmental violations and climate change in postwar BiH and worldwide calling for action for change and sustainable development. The project includes a week-long film festival with short films and documentaries from BiH and different EU countries, highlighting issues ranging from contamination of air, soil and water, exploitation of natural resources to non-green waste disposal under the premises of economic growth and technological progress. The festival will take place in 4 cities in BiH where the environment is particularly deteriorated and CSOs are actively involved in environmental protection: Tuzla, Zenica, Banja Luka and Sarajevo. The film screenings will be followed by Q&A sessions and panel discussions with international and local filmmakers, experts, journalists and activists. To ensure the visibility and outcome of the project, local journalists will be invited to a training parallel to the festival. Each local festival will be accompanied by workshops where local CSOs together with experts and activists would help citizens - especially young people - to design small-scale projects contributing to the improvement of the environment in their local community. The best project developed in each workshop will be awarded with a small-scale project grant for the implementation. A symposium in Sarajevo will conclude the project.
Bulgaria - “See it, Say it, Film it!” Filming the Future: Exploring Climate Change through Cinema
How can young people use their mobile phones for impact? How do filmmakers do it? How can young people become filmmakers with a cause themselves? We have chosen to work with young people in three remote areas in Bulgaria where there are different aspects of urgent environmental issues and empower them to use audiovisual media for change : Аir and river pollution in Vidin; unregulated waste discharge in Troyan and preserving biodiversity in the region of Karpachevo.
The project will consist of three stages: First young people will attend film screenings of European films on environmental topics related to themes of environmental concern for each region, followed by workshops and discussion. Second, inspiring filmmakers will tutor them on how to express themselves and find a powerful way to communicate through film important messages for their community. Finally, the films they’ve made will be shown in closing public events in each area.
Colombia - “Laboratorio La Comunidad de la Pala”- EUNIC-Colombia and AXP
Many grassroots organizations in the outskirts of Bogotá are exploring forms of territorial self-management with solutions based on understanding and dialogue with nature. Despite their ecosystemic characteristics, their cultural and artistic languages and the urban challenges they face are different, they all share the idea of a self-management of the countryside and nature, reinterpreted in urban life. This is the essence of "the shovel community". The project “La comunidad de la pala”, led by Arquitectura Expandida (AXP), recognizes these groups as relevant actors in the construction of bottom-up city visions and promotes their articulation based on the idea that there is no ecological connectivity without social and cultural connectivity. To this end, 12 collectives and artists from 4 territorial clusters on the edges of Bogota will be invited to participate in a creative laboratory that includes tours, co-creation of territorial visions based on their artistic languages, architectural prototyping of experimental environmental governance for their territories and meetings to show results and open dialogue with citizens, policy makers, academia, artists and cultural managers. Four conceptual lines have been defined for the development of the collective research-action-creation laboratory "La comunidad de la pala": (1) territorial connectivity;(2) urban dynamics; (3) cultural, artistic and patrimonial languages of the communities; and (4) dialogue with other forms of life.
Hong Kong - EU Street Art Meets Hong Kong 2024: "Green for Street"
After successful participation of European artists at HKWALLS 2023, the EUNIC Hong Kong cluster has decided to take the cooperation further and bring in more actors, both international and local. Apart from four members of the EUNIC Hong Kong cluster, the EU Delegation and Consulates General of Belgium and Ireland will take part. In total, six European street artists will come and join the 2024 edition of HKWALLS in March 2024 and will take the topic of climate change to Hong Kong's walls. Students of HK Baptist University (Academy of Visual Arts) will be involved in mentor-mentee relationships during the HKWALLS so that they can curate and prepare their own exhibition at the end of term (April 2024). Wanderlust Walks will again guide both artists and general public/students on specialized guided walks around EU Street Art. Participation of 6 co-curated artists will not only mean the usual programme of creating murals and taking part in the HKWALLS busy schedule, but they will be part of specialized workshops and sharings with students and general public. Other Member States will have the opportunity to present their street art at the EU Street Art Party. HKWALLS is a non-profit arts organisation that aims to create opportunities for local and international artists to showcase their talent in Hong Kong and internationally through the mediums of street art and street culture. HKWALLS celebrates creativity, originality and community, and organisations worldwide through high-quality public art.
Indonesia - Heritage & Museum Forum - 'Exploring the Future of Cultural Preservation in Indonesia through International Exchange and Workshops'
The Museum & Heritage Forum is a project born out of a triple observation:
- A rich ecosystem: Indonesia is home of 500 museums and 9 UNESCO-listed sites, yet the richness of their collections often does not match the quality of their presentation.
- A proactive cultural policy: The Indonesian government has recognized the precarious state of some museums and heritage sites and has initiated a proactive cultural policy for museums and heritage by establishing the National Agency for Museums and Heritage of Indonesia (BLU MCB) in 2023.
- A request for capacity building: Indonesian museum and heritage institutions, through their National Agency have expressed a strong need for international assistance in the training of their experts. Several European countries have been approached independently by the Indonesian government.
The project aims to organise a major Museum & Heritage Forum in Indonesia. The event will help highlight a diverse array of international approaches that spotlight effective techniques in preserving cultural heritage and engaging local communities. The EUNIC Indonesia cluster will invite world experts from various disciplines from its networks in Europe, and also in non-western countries from Asia, South America and Africa. The goal is to contribute to the national reflection of what could be a museum of the future. The forum will be completed by several workshops and short training sessions from invited experts directed to museums and heritage site professionals.
Kenya - Mombasa Ocean Festival
To coincide with the World Oceans Day on 8th June, the EUNIC Kenya cluster, in partnership with institutional partners and artists in Mombasa, will organize the Mombasa Ocean Festival, coordinated by the Alliance Française Mombasa. The festival will comprise a series of cultural and educational activities aimed at informing the public about the impact of human actions on the ocean. The objective is to use the power of art, entertainment, and science to connect people and engage them in responsible behaviour that positively impacts our oceans and our environment. Over a period of three months starting in March 2024, various educational training sessions including environmental film production, ocean literacy campaigns, community art and theatre workshops will be organized in schools and communities with European and Kenyan artists and trainers. All this will culminate in a 5-day event from 4th to 8th June 2024 showcasing the results of the trainings through film screenings, theatre performances, art installations, science cafés and music concerts. These activities will contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals 3 (good health), 11 (sustainable cities), 12 (responsible consumption and production), 13 (climate action) and 14 (life below water) and will be part of the Ocean Decade activities (United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2010 - 2030).
Latvia - SustainARTability
"SustainARTability" is a two-week residency program for a group of 8 Latvian students and 8 students from other European countries, co-organised by EUNIC Latvia and one Latvian university. Latvian participants are selected in partnership with a single Latvian university, while European ones are selected in collaboration with several European partners, one for each cluster member. Latvian and foreign students work in tandems to create sustainable design objects, starting from a brief based on the daily problems of life on campus, developed through an open online consultation process. The results of the students' work is shown in a final exhibition at the end of the residency period, open to the public. During the 10-day period, workshops and lectures are provided so to enrich the students' experience, involving a team of mentors composed both of local teachers and professionals and guest speakers invited by cluster members. Some lectures are also open to the public.
Mongolia - Nomad Spirit - Art for Public Awareness of Climate Change
Mongolia is one of the countries most affected by climate change. During the last decades, hundreds of lakes and rivers dried up due to high temperatures. Excessive water consumption in the mining sector and overbreeding of animals have also contributed to the severity of water scarcity. Nomadic people living in the southern areas are bearing the most adverse impacts of climate change, whose cultures and economic activities are in danger.
Nomad Spirit is an international art program to be held in Mongolia in September 2024, initiated with the aim to raise public awareness on climate change and its impact on the cultures and lives of ordinary people. The program brings together artists from France, Germany, Austria, Finland, and Mongolia, working in various disciplines such as painting, site-specific installation, sound, media, performance, and photography and organizes inspiring public art programs to engage people with green attitudes and initiatives.
The program will also facilitate artistic research to be conducted in the Gobi Desert area where artists will explore the ecological conditions, the culture, and the daily life of the nomadic people and collect materials for their artworks for later presentation. The process will be recorded and a documentary film will be produced.
New Delhi - sā: Himalayan Land Art Festival 2024 for Climate, Culture and Community
sā is a pioneering and immersive annual public arts initiative, bringing together artists, organisations, the youth and communities from the Himalayan region, wider India and abroad in Leh, Ladakh, India from 1 to 10 June 2024. sā, meaning soil in Ladakhi language, is also Asia’s highest ever contemporary land art group exhibition at 3600m in the Indian Himalayas. All sā activities are based around three pillars: climate, culture and community with the theme of “climate optimism” rippled through. The project will engage over 300 students from Ladakh and schools from the EUNIC member states and aims to attract over 2000 visitors and engage over 1,000,000 people digitally.
sā’s first edition (2023) was established in partnership with the Austrian, German and Swiss Embassies to India, Austrian Cultural Forum and Pro Helvetia; alongside corporate sponsors such as Royal Enfield and Snapchat. sā edition two in 2024 will increase the impact through a renewed and enhanced selection of site-specific art installations and sculptures using only discarded, renewable or reusable materials, schools outreach, artist film screenings, augmented reality artworks and cutting-edge digital projections onto the landscape.
New York - Garden of collective futures mural
Seeking to underline the role of art in adressing the ongoing climate crisis, the mural project "Garden of Collective Futures" features muralists from EU countries and regions in collaboration with Ukrainian muralist Misha Tyutyunik, and in partnership with the non-profit arts and education organization CityARTS. In order to emphasize the vital role of community participation, the project seeks to involve youth who will be invited to participate in the design process as well as to help the professional muralists execute the design on the wall. The design itself will explore the impact of human activity on the environment and climate, emphasizing the importance of international cooperation and the fact that this urgent matter has global consequences. The mural will creatively explore themes such as the exploitation of nature, climate change, global warming, biodiversity loss, the visualization of new utopias, or the restorative qualities of nature. The mural will be created on a wall facing a park in Long Island City, Queens. The ribbon-cutting ceremony, planned for May 2024, will be accompanied by a program of related panel discussions, artist talks and musical performances from participating EUNIC members.
Peru - Cortolabs
The European Union Delegation (EUD) in Peru organizes an annual European Film Festival in November. The Festival has, as of 2023, 35 editions. Since 2018, the European Film Festival has been enriched with an initiative by EUNIC Peru, called CINELABS: a series of workshops, masterclasses and labs, aimed at film students and young filmmakers who work in diferent fields in the industry. We propose CORTOLABS as a step forward for CINELABS, a laboratory that will give a group of local junior filmmakers the tools and learning opportunities to create a short film. The subject of the film should address sustainability, and the final outcome will feature a local business, institutional entity, or project that would be considered. The entity, the company or the project author will be considered CORTOLABS partners. The entity, business or project featured in the film will be chosen from an open call. The call will be be based on a transparent set of rules and involve public participation. The film will remain the property of EUNIC and the contributing members, who may grant its use to local entities in order to support environmental sustainability and climate change projects.
Romania - Flowing Streams: A Cultural Exploration of Water in Rural Romania
In the context of the climate crisis and shrinking mobility opportunities for pan-european exchange, "Flowing Streams" aims to foster collaborations among architects, anthropologists and artists from across Europe. The programme makes space for co-creation, mutual listening and learning, centred around the theme of water and the natural ecosystem. Five European practitioners, selected through an open call, will immerse themselves in the unique natural landscape of rural Romania, hosted by local organisations which are involved in the climate change emergency response. Participants will explore the interconnectedness between water, land and life, with the aim of sharing knowledge and fostering deeper understanding of sustainable coexistence, but also to co-develop community engagement instruments that can involve local communities in the conversation. The project is dedicated to building understanding, trust and empathy among the participants and partners of the programme. The outcome of the residencies will be the creation of meaningful connections, sharing knowledge and co-learning, while documenting the process through photography and journals. The residencies will be documented by an art photographer and an exhibition showcasing the process, participants and areas of the residencies will then be created to be iterated across Romania. The community engagement programme will be co-created by the residency participants and local partners.
Saudi Arabia - The Great Heat
Saudi Arabia is facing environmental challenges such as desertification, biodiversity loss and the depletion of natural resources, all of which pose an ecological threat. Far more than European countries, it's geographical location means that it is seeing threatening signs of environmental change. With its national development plan, Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia has, in recent years, embraced on an unprecedented process of technological and social modernization. This movement is in line with the Sustainable Development Goals and the Saudi Green Initiative Forum, which both set up a roadmap for protecting the environment and combating climate change. However, the population remains largely unaware of the challenges facing future generations. In this context, it seems a priority for the EUNIC cluster to offer a series of debates dedicated to these issues.
Given this dynamic, art is a prism for understand the evolution. While science provides data and facts, art has the power to touch us emotionally, raise awareness, change mentalities, and offer a new vision of our world. Looking beyond environmental issues, art questions the crises and profound social transformations that underpin ecological challenges, while proposing perspectives for the future. This is where our current project proposal takes center stage. EUNIC Saudi Arabia will organise a three-day congress to address the role and responsibility of artists, art professionals and cultural institutions in this context.
Serbia - Belgrade Urban Oases: Sustainable Transformation of Neglected Spaces
“Belgrade Urban Oases” is dedicated to revitalizing neglected urban spaces in Belgrade. These suffer from a lack of beauty and functionality, fostered by accumulation of waste, distruction and sound pollution. Through collaboration with local organizations, one university faculty and artists and experts from Belgrade and EUNIC countries, we aim for urban change.
Three sites shall be rejuvenated by re-designing them, introducing greening, leisure activities, and urban furniture, facilitated through workshops for user-centered design, public events and art interventions with the future users. The sites are located next to children shelters/daycare and on university premises and both students and children will be empowered and supported to redesign the spaces according to their needs. At the projects half-time, the oases will be presented on BINA (Belgrade International Architecture Week) in June where public outreach will set the issue of sustainability on the city’s public agenda and valuable feedback will be gathered from the public to be implemented in the second half of the year’s activities.
The overall goal of the project is to create urban focal points that foster environmental awareness, resilience, and inclusiveness, with a strong emphasis on involving future users in design, implementation, and maintenance and capacity-building for the next generation of climate and sustainability advocates.
Sri Lanka - Eco-creative mapping: Connecting Sri Lanka’s actors of change
The global ecological crisis, illustrated by recent environmental dramas, has reached a point of urgency that calls for a response commensurate with the stakes. The creative industries have a role to play in this immense challenge: they offer new solutions, can contribute to social cohesion, and help to shape a more sustainable world of tomorrow. The creative industries also offer a tangible economic opportunity, and (as demonstrated by their measurable economic contribution elsewhere around the world) could become a core plank of Sri Lanka’s economic recovery, with tremendous potential to enhance employability prospects for young Sri Lankan creatives, a large proportion of which are women. This project will build on the findings from the 2020 British Council report and, in the absence of any structured frameworks or government policy in this field, will seek to increase visibility, and to prompt collective inspiration to Sri Lanka’s creative ensemble, in all its diversity and complementarity, across the general public, the private sector, and government decision makers. The focus will be put on ethical and sustainable practices with the hope to bring a contribution to strengthening the sector.
Backed by locally identified incubators to manage the project, the project will be organized in two phase: Phase one will identify and mobilize those creative industries which already focus on environmental issues. Phase two will be more event-oriented: workshops and open studio activities involving the general public and artistic productions.
Sweden - European Festival: Ukrainian Spring 2024
The “European Festival: Ukrainian Spring” is a unique intercultural event that in a different, soft and creative way engages a broad audience in Sweden and unites it around the most important challenges Europe is facing right now, giving them an opportunity to experience the, for historical reasons largely unknown, part of Europe where people now give their lives for European integration and values. Through the kaleidoscope of dance, film, concerts, art exhibitions, literature, talks and workshops we invite the audience to engage in a dialogue, to reflect on the concept of freedom, evoke their interest in still-to-be written period of European history and encourage them, by gaining this new knowledge, to consciously engage in shaping the future of Europe. By introducing new collaborations with Ukrainian organizations and Ukrainian cultural workers, we wish to create long-term partnerships that have not been there before. Through our performance and workshop series “Rising Stars: Ukraine”, featuring young musicians from Ukraine, whose everyday life experience now differs hugely from their peers, and through collaboration with Swedish music educational institutions, we also want to reach out to the younger audiences, giving them possibilities and encouraging them to engage in dialogue. We build on the first edition of the festival (14.04-09.05 2023). The festival again centers around Europe Day (09.05), which showcases the most important aspect of the festival.
Thailand - Building a sustainable cultural and creative sector
Thailand boasts a rich selection of cultural and creative festivals and events. While the creative economy in Thailand offers a large potential for sustainable development by promoting sustainability and environmental awareness to the broader public, sustainability as such has not yet been placed at the heart of the cultural sector. The project will organize a two-day conference to connect European and local festival organizers, cultural institutions, sustainability managers/experts and providers of green services with a view of sharing best practices and lessons learned in the sustainable transformation of festivals and the cultural sector at large and to pass on practical knowledge. Based on identified gaps and local needs, the conference will develop a toolkit for the creation and promotion of environmentally sustainable cultural events, with concrete recommendations for event organizers and service providers and useful information on promoting sustainable practices by EUNIC members.