Europa Nostra
#7 - 22 May 2020
Dear Collegues & Friends,
Our weekly newsletter comes to you at the end of yet another momentous week for the cultural heritage in Europe. We have celebrated the gradual re-opening of museums, cultural organisations and heritage sites on the occasion of the International Museum Day on 18 May. We have also applauded the forceful statement by EU HRVP Josep Borrell and EU Commissioner Mariya Gabriel published on 21 May, the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development (read the statement here). They stressed, among others, that “cultural heritage is one of the richest expressions of cultural diversity” but also recalled that “heritage is a non-renewable, irreplaceable common good, frequently under threat due to environmental challenges, conflict, neglect and decay”. Alas, we have also mourned the loss of a heritage site of great architectural, cultural and social significance following the brutal demolition of the National Theater in Tirana (read our statement).
The National Theater in Tirana was included on the 2020 List of 7 Most Endangered Heritage Sites in Europe, jointly published last March by Europa Nostra and the European Investment Bank Institute, following the large-scale mobilisation of artists, journalists and civil society activists to save the Theater from demolition for the sake of making space for a large real-estate development in the historic center of Tirana. In spite of the fact that on 15 May EU Commissioner Mariya Gabriel urged the authorities to engage in an open dialogue with civil society before taking any irreversible decisions regarding the future of the Theater, and in spite of the fact that the previous day the President of the Republic of Albania requested the Constitutional Court to examine the legality of the decision by the government to transfer the property of the National Theater to the Municipality of Tirana with the purpose of his demolition, the authorities made use of the last day of special measures introduced as a response to COVID19 pandemic to send a large police force to arrest activists that were guarding the building and the bulldozers to brutally demolish the building.
Europa Nostra has strongly condemned the way in which the authorities decided to demolish a most significant heritage building housing a cultural institution of importance to Albanian artistic and intellectual life and located in the protected monumental axis of the capital city of Albania. We have done so via social media and also during interviews given to Albanian TV channels, both by Prof. Paolo Vitti, Board member of Europa Nostra who gave an interview to Ora News TV channel (watch the video) and by myself for Euronews Albania (watch the full broadcasted interview here and the english version here, or watch a small video excerpt here).
On the eve of the Video-conference of EU Ministers in charge of culture on 19 May 2020 during which the Ministers gave its endorsement to the Council conclusions prepared by the Croatian Presidency on “Fostering European cooperation on heritage at risk”, Europa Nostra has also sent in a letter to Nina Obuljen Koržinek, Croatian Minister of Culture and Acting Chair of the EU Council of Ministers, expressing our deep concern with what has happened in Albania.
Given the huge positive and cohesive value which our cultural heritage has for our society, economy and environment, especially in today’s trying times, we must indeed step up our efforts to promote solidarity and foster European cooperation to save endangered sites in Europe - some of which are included in our 7 Most Endangered List. We must do this through shared expertise, constructive dialogue and positive mobilisation of all public and private stakeholders. Because, once lost, our heritage is lost forever.
Ahead of the EU Council meeting, Europa Nostra also thanked Minister Obuljen for her important participation and contribution (watch the video) to our Europe Day Webinar and kindly asked her to share with all EU Ministers of Culture, the Europe Day Manifesto “Cultural Heritage: a powerful catalyst for the future of Europe”, launched by the European Heritage Alliance on 9 May 2020. This Manifesto which was also communicated to the Presidents of all EU Institutions, puts forward 7 of the most important ways in which cultural heritage can act as a catalyst for positive change.
The Europe Day Manifesto is now open for signatures by individuals and organisations and is already available in several languages (English, French, Dutch, Polish and German). Further language versions will be soon available our aim is to translate it in all European languages. Now, more than ever, we shall join forces to unfold the cohesive power of cultural heritage for the Future of Europe. We warmly invite you to sign and help us widely disseminate the Manifesto now: there is strength in numbers!
Wishing you yet another inspiring journey through our Europa Nostra Agora,
Sneška Quaedvlieg-Mihailović
Secretary General
Norway: Fjords - As Norway’s National Day took place on 17 May, let us (re)discover its natural heritage through virtual panoramic tours. A Fjord is a long, narrow inlet with steep sides or cliffs, created by a glacier, and Norway’s coastline is home to nearly 1,200 fjords. Explore for example the deep blue Geirangerfjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site surrounded by majestic, snow-covered mountain peaks, wild waterfalls and lush, green vegetation, or the Storfjord, a landscape with thick woodlands and many waterfalls while its deep rivers flow into glaciers and glacial lakes. In this isolated, rugged, yet beautiful terrain, volunteers of Friends of the Storfjord, who have received a European Heritage Award / Europa Nostra Award in 2016 have laboured to preserve the vernacular architecture of the historic farms which dot the landscape along the fjords.
Norway: Y-block - Another important Norwegian cultural heritage site lies in the heart of Oslo. The Y-block, so-called because of its plan shape, is a modernist building from the 1960s, with an iconic architectural form and sandblasted murals by Picasso. Apart from its architectural, artistic and heritage value, following a terrorist attack the building withstood in 2011, the site now stands as a memorial to all victims of the attacks. However, the building is now set to be demolished by the government, due to security concerns in the wake of the 2011 tragedy. Recognising its immense value for the European heritage and memory, Europa Nostra has included Y-block on the 2020 List of 7 Most Endangered Heritage Sites in Europe. Fortidsminneforeningen – The National Trust of Norway, the nominator of the site, believes the Y-block has a future which can translate a dark moment into a lasting meaningful benefit, symbolising peace in European society and resilience of the democratic values that the terrorist failed to destroy. A huge civil society campaign has been launched to “Save the Y-block” backed by Europa Nostra (follow the campaign on Facebook). Join the civil society campaign to save it by signing here.
Hungary - Discover the country’s cultural and natural heritage through an interactive map. Choose a region, city or area and go on an immersive tour of impressive and stunning heritage sites, such as the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, which won a European Heritage Award / Europa Nostra Award Grand Prix in 2015, or the Tokaj Wine Region Historic Cultural Landscape, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can also discover historic city centres in Szeged, Pécs, or Debrecen.
European Union Youth Orchestra: Beethoven’s 9th Symphony - In the year when we celebrate the 250th anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven, watch one of the EUYO’s most symbolic performances free on ARTE.The replay of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony performed on 4 August 2019 at the Young Euro Classic festival, and followed by thousands of people gathered in front of Berlin’s Konzerthaus to sing Schiller’s Ode to Joy, is available until 15 June.
Ireland: Other Voices' Courage - The National Gallery of Ireland has teamed up with the concert series Other Voices as part of their new project called “Courage”. Courage broadcasts performances from a number of iconic locations on Tuesday and Thursday nights and are made available worldwide, free of charge, thanks to the support of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Intel and RTÉ. Tune in via the National Gallery of Ireland Facebook Live to watch the concerts live from the Shaw Room, or watch on Other Voices YouTube, Other Voices Facebook Live and RTÉ.ie. You can also replay the previous concerts of Denise Chaila, Iarla Ó Lionáird and Steve Cooney and Lisa Hannigan here.
Festival Scope - In partnership with the most prestigious international film festivals, Festival Scope is proud to present a selection of films, very often right after their world premieres live at the Festival! By making these titles available for very few days following their premiere, Festival Scope aims not only to give film lovers a glimpse of upcoming releases, but also to promote and help these films reach their deserved audiences. Until 22 May, you can play one of the movies selected for the European Film Festival “Meet the Neighbours of the Neighbours during COVID-19 time”.
Michelangelo Foundation for Creativity & Craftsmanship - Every week, the Michelangelo Foundation is posting engaging content about master artisans, crafts and design. Do not miss their three social media series (on Instagram and Facebook):
  • #AtHomeWith: a Q&A tailored to specific master artisans and themes, looking at their everyday human gestures and getting a glimpse into their creative processes, unique journeys and individual narratives. You can send in your questions beforehand!
  • #EverydayExcellence Challenge: Share an example of #EverydayExcellence related to the weekly theme, this can be an object, a piece of furniture, a decorative item, anything that has been handcrafted by a skilled artisan. To submit your entries, simply upload an image of the piece to your Instagram feed or stories and include @michelangelofoundation #EverydayExcellence and #AtHomeWith with a short description.
  • Initiative of the Week: An exemplary initiative created as a response to the COVID-19 crisis is shared every Saturday. To discover more about the initiative, check the Instagram stories.
#AnArchiveIs #UnArchivoEs #UneArchiveCest - Ahead of International Archives Day on 9 June 2020, the International Council on Archives is calling the archival community, its users and the general public to contribute their view and opinions on what #AnArchiveIs to them. It is not only an occasion to consider new and innovative ways to reach out to people to tell them about why archives and records are important, but it is also time to rethink our definition of archives! Use #IAW2020 and #UnArchivoEs and check out this social media package to download GIFs, quote cards, videos, banners and customizable posters to share your thoughts with the world! More information here.
#IFLAFromHome - With this new engaging series of content, IFLA (the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions) will be sharing tools, ideas and resources so you can benefit from being part of a strong and united global library field in these social distancing times. Look out for tools and materials on how you can help implement the IFLA Strategy, ideas on how to get involved in the global field, memories of past Congresses, and tools and other reports that can help you in your work! Simply keep an eye on our social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram), follow the hashtags #WeAreIFLA and #IFLAStrategy, or wait for update emails through the IFLA-L mailing list.
#Rijksmuseumfromhome - Rijksmuseum curators share short videos from home with stories about their favourite works of art. All the videos are posted to Rijksmuseum social media channels (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter) and on a dedicated YouTube playlist. Check the latest video in which paintings conservator Susan Smelt, who had the pleasure of restoring Marten and Oopjen, the world famous couple painted by Rembrandt, is showing us all the amazing (hidden) details in these portraits.
#TrustinMediaSEE #MilClicksSEE - UNESCO launches social media campaign to address Covid-19 disinformation in South East Europe and Turkey. To rapidly provide users with practical skills that can easily be integrated into online habits, UNESCO has launched a social media campaign under the #TrustinMediaSEE and #MilClicksSEE hashtags. The campaign is based on a series of infographics available in all local languages of the South East Europe region, as well as in Turkish. Moreover, the UNESCO-led MIL Alliance (GAPMIL) has come together to provide webinars on various topics that will be available on the UNESCO MIL Clicks Facebook page. Find more information here.
IMPORTANT: Do not forget to join & contribute to our conversation on social media with the hashtag #EuropaNostraAgora on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook! We also invite you to follow the just-launched Twitter account of the European Heritage Alliance!
Routledge History, Heritage Studies & Archaeology has put together a collection of articles centered around the theme of International Museum Day 2020 ‘Museums for Equality: Diversity and Inclusion’, which are available for free until 30 June 2020. The collection explores the broad yet poignant aspects of the terms Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and how this relates to museum environments and professional practice. It aims to both celebrate the current research on overcoming bias in museum communities and inspire further study on how we can strive for equality in our museum spaces and beyond.
Europe Jazz Network - The Europe Jazz Network, a nonprofit Europe-wide association of experts specialising in creative music, contemporary jazz and improvised music created from a distinctly European perspective, has announced a series of public online webinars dealing with the manifold aspects of the COVID-19 crisis and its effects on the creative music sector. Developed and discussed by the EJN think-tank, the webinars also aim to share best practices that emerged during this period, recommendations and possible actions. The webinars will be live streamed on the EJN social media accounts (Facebook, YouTube) every Monday and Thursday at 17.00 CEST. However, they will also remain available to watch at a later stage. Interested about the programme and the themes of each webinar? Then consult the programme below:
  • Monday 18 May 2020 - #1: Things Ain’t What They Used To Be
  • Thursday 21 May 2020 - #2: Alone Together
  • Monday 25 May 2020 - #3: Tomorrow is the Question
  • Thursday 28 May 2020 - #4: How Long Has This Been Going On
  • Monday 01 June 2020 - #5: Everything Must Change
  • Thursday 04 June 2020 - #6: A House Is Not A Home
  • Monday 08 June 2020 - #7: Work Song
  • Thursday 11 June 2020 - #8: Someone To Watch Over Me
To learn more, please visit this page on the Europe Jazz Network website.
Europa Media Trainings - Considering ways to boost your project during the COVID-19 lock down? Europa Media Trainings have gone fully online and offer the opportunity for remote capacity building. Benefit from a number of online course series from proposal development to post project audit and more.
Connected to Culture - A new collaboration between International Council of Museums (ICOM) and Google Arts & Culture has resulted in a digital toolkit built to help organisations continue their cultural programmes online. The toolkit is designed to assist those in the cultural sector digitize their programmes, thus ensuring both the uninterrupted participation of our communities to culture and cultural heritage, in these trying times, and bringing people together.
‘Digital transformation in the time of COVID-19’ Workshops - The outburst of the COVID-19 pandemic followed by the iminent lock down of thousand museums and heritage sites worldwide has made more than clear the urgency for the digital transformation of the cultural world. Sensing the need for guidance during this digital transformation journey, Europeana organises a series of weekly workshops addressing this topic and exploring capacity building to empower the cultural heritage sector.
The workshops will support participants to:
  • Develop strategic thinking around digital transformation that will support work at an institutional level.
  • Contribute to a broader discussion about digital transformation in the cultural heritage sector in a (post-)COVID-19 world.
  • Generate and share actionable insights and identify new paths through the COVID-19 crisis for digital culture.
  • Enhance our mutual capacity for longer-term planning beyond the immediate crisis.
  • Gain new perspectives from working with your peers and experts in digital cultural heritage.
Explore the programme here.
Europa Nostra strongly condemns the brutal demolition of the Albanian National Theater in Tirana. Prior to the Video-conference of EU Ministers in charge of culture, held on 19 May 2020, Europa Nostra conveyed to Nina Obuljen Koržinek, Croatian Minister of Culture and Acting Chair of the EU Council of Ministers, a letter expressing its condemnation of the demolition of the National Theater of Albania in Tirana which took place on 17 May 2020. The National Theatre, a site of great architectural, cultural and social significance, had been included on Europa Nostra’s 2020 List of 7 Most Endangered Heritage Sites in Europe. Civil society, citizens, cultural heritage stakeholders and policy-makers at all levels of governance mourn the destruction of an irreplaceable heritage site which has been regrettably erased from the map. Read Europa Nostra’s statement here.
On 19 May 2020, EU Ministers in charge of Culture virtually met at the Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council (EYCS) of the European Union to exchange views on the impact of COVID-19 on the cultural and creative sectors. The discussion took place in the context of the gradual lifting of restrictions and the lessons learnt since the start of the pandemic. The video-meeting was chaired by Nina Obuljen Koržinek, Minister for Culture of Croatia, holding the rotating Presidency of the EU, with the participation of the European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Mariya Gabriel. Ahead of the ministerial meeting, Europa Nostra conveyed to the Croatian Presidency of the EU two important messages: 1) The Europe Day Manifesto ‘Cultural Heritage: a powerful catalyst for the future of Europe’ for possible inspiration and 2) A strong condemnation of the brutal demolition of the National Theater in Tirana, Albania (above). Watch the press conference following the video conference of ministers of culture here. Read the Press Release here.
On the occasion of World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development on 21 May, European Union High Representative and Vice-President Josep Borrell and Commissioner Mariya Gabriel released a joint statement to celebrate cultural diversity in the European Union and underline its importance in fostering dialogue and respect between people all around the world. “Cultural heritage is one of the richest expressions of cultural diversity. We should remember that it is a non-renewable, irreplaceable common good, frequently under threat due to environmental challenges, conflict, neglect and decay.” state Josep Borrell and Mariya Gabriel in the statement. Europa Nostra strongly supports this forceful joint statement that is fully in line with our civil society and policy action namely the 7 Most Endangered programme - a campaign to save Europe’s most threatened heritage sites - and most recently the Europe Day Manifesto “Cultural Heritage: a powerful catalyst for the future of Europe”. In these trying times, we reinforce the words of the statement that “Culture is at the heart of progress: it can play a truly key role in the aftermath of the current crisis” and we make a pledge to ensure that cultural heritage is at the heart of progress & recovery in Europe. As we stress in our Europe Day Manifesto, “Culture and cultural heritage are key drivers for enhancing respect, understanding, and trust as the prerequisites for global solidarity and cooperation”. Europe should therefore take advantage of its full capacity and dynamic and become the champion of a positive and constructive change, while embracing culture and cultural heritage and the world.
On 20 May 2020, the European Tourism Manifesto alliance issued a statement welcoming and reacting to the European Commission’s guidance on how to safely resume travel and reboot Europe's tourism in 2020 and beyond, which was issued on 13 May. Among other points, the statement highlights the current crisis as an opportunity to create a more resilient and sustainable “destination Europe” in the future. The Statement was published prior to the video-conference of EU ministers responsible for tourism held on the same date. Watch the Press conference following the virtual meeting here.
Ahead of the meeting of EU Ministers in charge of Culture on 19 May, the Europaplatform sent a letter to Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Stef Blok, Minister of Education, Culture and Science Ingrid van Engelshoven, Minister of Finance Wopke Hoekstra and Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Sigrid Kaag, to draw their attention to the urgent situation of the cultural and creative sector in Europe due to the covid-19 crisis. In the letter, the Europaplatform highlights what the current and future problems are, with the possible actions and opportunities.The Europaplatform is an initiative of Kunsten '92, the European Cultural Foundation, Culture Action Europe and Europa Nostra and gathers Dutch cultural, creative and heritage institutions active in Europe. Read more here.
#culture2030goal - On 20 April 2020, partners of the #culture2030goal campaign released a Statement on Culture and the COVID-19 pandemic. Signed by eight international cultural networks, the statement emphasises the need to place culture at the heart of the response to the Covid-19 crisis today and at the centre of all endeavours, at all scales, to rebuild our societies, tomorrow. The official launch of the campaign took place on 21 May 2020, the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. The date illustrates the commitment of the campaign to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda and the need to ensure that culture is at the heart of the UN Decade of Action for the Sustainable Development Goals. The campaign welcomes endorsements of the Statement via this page, and calls on the culture community to come together to advocate collectively for the role of culture at the United Nations. Europa Nostra has gladly endorsed this important Statement and encourages other organisations to add its support as well.
Reimagining Museums for Climate Action - On the International Museum Day 18 May 2020, the design competition “Reimagining Museums for Climate Action was launched. The competition invites creative and out of the box thinking of new approaches regarding design, organisation and experience of museums, which can amplify and accelerate climate action, enabling museums and society to achieve together a radically sustainable future. Proposals challenging traditional museological approaches and addressing the themes of Climate Justice and Green Futures, core aims of the Glasgow Science Centre, are particularly welcome. Entries will be examined by an international inter-disciplinary panel of museum, architecture and design, climate change, heritage and sustainability experts. Eight finalists will each receive € 2.797 to illustrate their ideas through exhibits, which will be displayed at Glasgow Science Centre ahead of and during the United Nations Climate Change conference (COP26) in 2021. Find more information here.
“Stories from the lockdown” Call for Nominations - The European Civic Forum, a transnational network working towards a more civic and democratic ownership of Europe, is calling for civil society to share “Stories from the lockdown”, born as a reaction to the COVID-19 crisis, to ensure rights are at the centre of the response in face of a restricted civic space. Six contributions will be selected by the European Civic Forum based on:
  1.  the positive impact of their action on their communities as well as on the political and public life;
  2. the potential for positive spill-over effects in the aftermath of the crisis;
  3. the general state of civic space and fundamental rights in the European Union countries in which they operate.
The selected nominations will be invited to a reward ceremony in Brussels in winter 2020 and their stories will be collected in the Activizenship #5 magazine. Nominations are open until 31 May. Complete the nomination form here.
European Parliament: European Citizen’s Prize - This prize is an award for exceptional achievements in the following areas:
  • Projects promoting better mutual understanding and closer integration between citizens of the Member States or facilitating cross-border or transnational cooperation within the European Union
  • Projects involving long-term, cross-border or transnational cultural cooperation contributing to the strengthening of a European spirit
  • Projects linked to the current European Year (if applicable)
  • Projects giving concrete expression to the values enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.
Citizens, groups of citizens, associations or organizations can apply for the European Citizen’s Prize for projects they have carried out, or can nominate one other citizen, group, association or organisation for the European Citizen’s Prize.
Deadline: 30 June. More information here.
The Rolex Awards for Enterprise 2021 - The Rolex Awards support and celebrate men and women who share the passion, vision and commitment to make the world a better place, and who embody the belief that anyone can change everything. They are united by a talent for independent thinking and the capacity to embrace projects that require creativity and determination. Projects are grouped broadly in the areas of applied technology, cultural heritage, the environment, exploration, and science and health. Deadline: 31 May 2020. More information here.
Greece - The Greek Ministry of Culture announced in April 15 million euros funding to enhance contemporary culture and support artists during the coronavirus pandemic. According to the ministry, culture and creative sectors account for 3% of Greece’s working force with 100,000 employees in over 40,000 mostly small and medium-sized businesses (more info here). The support measures included a 800-euro compensation to employees with active contracts or people belonging to particular categories of employees before the lockdown, and presented programs for unemployed artists. While the unions of artists are organising protests, pointing out that the pandemic first impacted the arts and culture sector long before the lockdown was imposed, and highlighting the contribution of the sector to keeping morale within society high, additional measures were announced in May. The new plan mainly added more categories of employees to the measures already existing. Moreover, a decision was taken to create an artists' registry as “a long-term strategic reform that will clear up the landscape", stated Lina Mendoni, Greek Minister of Culture.
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