The EUNIC network has embarked on several major projects since the General Assembly in December.
It is important for us to remember the 3 key objectives set out in the GA for the development of EUNIC: to further strengthen our clusters, to set up new collaborative or flagship projects, and to further develop our relationship with European institutions
SUPPORT FOR CLUSTERS
The grants made available from the second Cluster Fund have been. In 2014, the amount increased by 25%, rising from 80,000 € in 2013 to 100,000 € in 2014. The fund is also expected to increase again in 2015 on the basis of voluntary contributions from EUNIC Heads. For the period of 2014 18 projects have been selected.
The support given is not only financial, it covers human resources and methodologies available to the clusters. With regards to HR, the EUNIC Global office based in Brussels will carry out a pilot scheme using The European Voluntary Service. With regards to pilot projects, an agreement has been negotiated with ‘Cartooning for Peace’, that will lead to an exhibition, a film, and a debate with a panel of cartoonists. An appeal will soon be launched to all clusters asking them to come up with a databank for pilot projects.
The EUNIC handbook for cluster governance is continuously being updated and a small pilot project for the self-assessment of clusters is now under way.
The preparation of the 6th China Dialogue is on track. The theme for the meeting taking place in October is Urban Spaces. The first workshop was held in late February in Bucharest, as the Romanian Cultural Institute is hosting the event. The China Dialogue will itself explore case studies on the different approaches to the issue. Furthermore several of EUNICs members will welcome artists in residence who will then meet in Bucharest in October. A professional development workshop for museum directors will also take place. The next meeting with the Chinese team will take place in May.
With regards to MENA countries, the project manager is preparing a training program for cultural frameworks based on concrete projects connected to the 7 clusters in the MENA region. The partners working with EUNIC are Racines (Morrocco), the Union for the development of Lebanon and the Marcel Hicter foundation, that has a long history of issuing the European Diploma in Administration which is recognized by the Council of European Cultural Projects.
A great deal of time spent at the EUNIC Global office in Brussels has been devoted to the preparation of the Support to Networks application to the European Commission under the Creative Europe program. It has given us the opportunity to set up an ambitious project for three years which will include a research component, capacity building and support for mobility. The programmes EUNIC Academy and Hosting EUNIC will be integrated within this project.
RELATIONSHIPS WITH EUROPEAN INSTITUTIONS
The Presidency has continued its pursuit of contacts with the European Parliament, the Commission and the European External Action Service.
This years major project is the preparation and monitoring of the report of the Consortium in charge of the Preparatory Action ‘Culture in EU External Relations’. Several meetings have taken place various stakeholders surrounding the areas under discussion, in particular with the new adviser on cultural affairs to the Secretary General of the European External Action Service.
The Preparatory Action Conference took place on the 7th and 8th April in Brussels, which involved a presentation of results the Consortium and a debate. EUNIC is finding it’s place within the system that is being implemented, as well as acting as an advisory body to the European External Action Service and as a Brussels based operational partner of EU delegations in this field.
EUNIC ON THE MOVE
Unfortunately there is not enough space to outline all of EUNIC Global’s activities : liasing with other networks and the media and publishing the 2012-2013 Biennial Activity Report to name a few.
In February, the Board of Directors had a meeting at the Instituto Cervantes headquarters in Madrid and our Spanish colleagues took advantage of the opportunity to introduce the EUNIC team to policy makers, diplomats, and cultural and educational experts. More than 110 people responded to the call.
Finally, a word on the Strategy Group meeting, which took place on the 9th April. The main item on the agenda was a first reflection on the cultural implications for the Transatlantic Free Trade negotiations.