Culture is future » Territorial attractiveness and social cohesion


Report: Forum d'Avignon Ruhr 2013 Edition

The second edition of the Forum d’Avignon Ruhr grants culture political ambition, that of spearheading projects and networks.

“There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come”. Garrelt Duin’s, Minister for Economics of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, observation about culture’s spillover effects on economic and social fabrics is at the heart of the Forum d’Avignon Ruhr’s second edition 2013: a positive remark accompanied by a colossal challenge. Thus ended Friday, June 28th, the second day of debates on “Culture as a solution for a post-crisis era”.

Bringing together more than 300 leading figures of 16 different nationalities, from the world of politics, economy, and the sciences, the Forum d’Avignon Ruhr has identified new potential and concrete ways of approaching its slogan “Culture is the Key”. “There is a need to ‘think out of the box’”, declared Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, in her opening remarks which introduced close to sixty cultural projects financed by public and private funds.

The Forum d’Avignon Ruhr becomes a laboratory for artistic experimentation…

Over 40 European project managers (from Latvia, Lithuania, Spain, France, England, Austria, Holland, and the Ruhr region) were divided up into four “creative workshops” which focused on diverse fields such as climate, intercultural conflicts, the economy, and urban development. They met the challenge to develop collective and multidisciplinary proposals.

The results of these workshops, will be available by the end of September, as will those of the scientific study that, since January 2013, has focused on the spillover effects of cultural investments. “The Forum d’Avignon Ruhr 2013 will closely examine, according to specific needs and expectations, the feasibility of new cultural policies in the context of the European crisis”, declared Dieter Gorny, managing director of Ecce, the Forum d’Avignon Ruhr organizer; he continued, “and we will introduce a new generation of actors for cultural diversity”.

... And a European network. The Forum d’Avignon Ruhr was also the opportune moment for the Forum to confirm its membership to NICE, the “Network for Innovation in Culture and Creativity in Europe” and to launch the Catalyse project, of which it is co-partners with the Forum d’Avignon and the Forum d’Avignon Bilbao. The goal of these networks is to promote cultural and creative endeavors as the driving forces and catalysts of urban and territorial development. Catalyse is based on the conviction that the political and social challenges that European nations are currently facing can only be solved through economic measures. These countries need to resort to creative and cultural solutions, on the European scale.

“The creative economy gains the role of project leader”, exulted Garrelt Duin, congratulating these initiatives. “Culture and creativity play a central role in the overturning of our society as a whole, continued Dieter Gorny. It is thus time for Europe to forge new links between culture, economy, and politics. The Ruhr region is, and wants to continue to be, the experimental model for these goals”.          


Photo credits : Boris Knop (Labkultur)