What is it about?

Voices of Culture, the platform for dialogue offered to civil society by the European Commission, is inviting interested organisations from EU member states to apply to participate in the upcoming topic on Culture and Creative Sectors and Industries driving Green Transition and facing the Energy Crisis. This fourth Voices of Culture topic 2021-2023 will reflect on the state of the art and generate recommendations for policy and actions for decision-makers on this topic.

Why is it important?

It is evident that human societies face multiple, compounding existential risks on a scale and of a complexity that are barely comprehensible. We are far from prepared to face them nor well progressed in achieving the profound, transformative changes to our ways of living that we need if we are to survive en masse.

Europe is experiencing an energy crisis and inflation, and the world is facing a looming food crisis, along with worsening climate change effects, pollution, and biodiversity loss. It is crucial that effective and enduring solutions are found at an unprecedented speed and scale, both individually and collectively.

The 2022 report from the Open Method of Coordination (OMC) group of EU Member States’ experts on the cultural dimension of sustainable development calls for the integration of the role of culture and the creative industries into Europe’s sustainable development action:

“Culture is needed as a catalyst and accelerator of multifaceted changes today and tomorrow in Europe and beyond. Hence it is high time that we solved the problem of the absurd underuse of cultural power for sustainable development”.

(Stormy Times. Nature and Humans: Cultural courage for change – 11 messages for and from Europe, OMC report, July 2022, 16.)

Cultural activities and creative industries are amongst Europe’s most competitive and energy-intensive industries that contribute to Green House Gas emissions and waste production. They were cruelly affected or transformed by the effects of COVID-19, resulting in notably increased emissions in some cases. However, Culture and creativity offer a source of innovation for climate change mitigation, hold the key to reshaping behaviours and living practices meaningfully and at scale, and are a source of principles and behaviours for societal resilience in the face of climate change effects. It is indeed time to harness the power of cultural activities and the CCSI in service of human transformation, accelerating the green transition and, in the immediate context, contributing to address the energy crisis and resulting energy poverty.

For a more detailed overview of this Voices of Culture topic, please read the topic paper by the expert Dr Kirsten Dunlop.

How will we do it?

Successful applicants will be invited to a Brainstorming meeting in the European Capital of Culture 2024, Tartu in Estonia, on 15 and 16 June 2023. The meeting will in person in Tartu only.

Why Tartu? Tartu has been selected for the European Commission´s mission 100 Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities by 2030 and is moving towards climate neutality. With the artistic concept for the Tartu European Capital of Culture 2024 being “Arts of Survival” these initiatives makes Tartu a most inspiring destination for this specific Voices of Culture topic.

Selected participants are invited to reflect on the following questions for the Brainstorming discussion:

  • How to power up the role of culture and the creative sectors and industries (CCSI) across European actions (such as the European Green Deal) to address the climate emergency, unlocking the fundamental asset of culture to enable innovation for a thriving, inclusive, resilient, sustainable and environmentally responsible future
  • How to better integrate the power of culture and the CCSI into other socio-economic activities and industries across Europe to address and contain climate change, through emissions reductions (decarbonisation), resilience in the face of climate change effects (adaptation), biodiversity and environmental restoration, greater social cohesion.
  • How to enable and accelerate the greening of cultural activities and the CCSI, comprehensive of the scope 1, 2, 3, 4, and scope x emissions associated with each.

After the Brainstorming meeting the selected participants will jointly write a Brainstorming report of around 20-30 pages reflecting on their discussions and recommendations for decision makers on this topic. The report will be presented to the European Commission at a Dialogue meeting on 12 September 2023 in Brussels. The report writing process will be facilitated by the Voices of Culture team, but the participants will be responsible for writing and editing the content.

To learn more and apply before 3 May, please visit the website of Voices of Culture.