The 2-day conference will discuss the future of the European project and the citizen’s role in making it a reality. Developing citizenship in Europe is one of the essential needs that should be addressed during the European Year of Citizens 2013 and the Cultural Coalition for a Citizens’ Europe believes that culture is the key to increasing this spirit of citizenship. The cultural backgrounds of European citizens are an integral part of a cultural process that will mark the change from national to European solutions to the complex issues surrounding contemporary life and their practice will lead to a new balance of power between the citizens and powerful stakeholders.
he lectures and workshops in this encounter will move beyond the theoretical-legal-philosophical discussion and show that citizenship and its cultural component is something we should practice in our daily lives. It also aims to emphasize that arts and culture do not only bring “added value” to citizenship and governance, but are the core, the driving force, which allow and push us to re-evaluate these concepts, thus strengthening democracy and human rights. Together we will examine the applicability of general concepts and specific topics within the scope of the cultural component of citizenship. Questions that will be explored include: How can top-down processes be complimentary and interlinked with grassroots efforts? What position does civil society hold within these efforts? How can the public space for such efforts be expanded? These will be supported by examples, theoretical background, expert opinions, and citizens’ experiences.
The discussions will establish a link between culture and citizenship and the crises that are currently affecting Europe: financial, economic, social, environmental, as well as a “loss of direction.” In the midst of these crises, Patrice Meyer-Bisch will investigate the state of democracy and cultural rights in Europe, revealing how the active involvement of citizens can be the basis for all future development at the local, national, European, and global levels. Alicja Gescinskawill explore the role of fear and resentment in the decline of civic values while many more experts and citizens are invited to share their views and to propose solutions.
The Brussels Conversations 2012 will demonstrate that policies should inspire citizens to act on their own responsibility and convictions for the benefit of a shared Europe, pursuing their own individual activities to further the common European project. The ultimate aim is to endorse the fundamental right to access culture and to advance the search for creative manners in which to develop a European citizenship based on its cultural component.