Culture important component of European Year of Creativity and Innovation

22 January 2009

At the occasion of the artistic launch of the European Year of Creativity and Innovation (EYCI) taking place on 20 January 2009, EFA members gathered in Brussels to discuss festivals’ contribution to the 2009 European Year of Creativity and Innovation. The artistic launch was organised by the European Association of Conservatoires (AEC) and the European League of Institutes of the Arts (ELIA) and highlighted arts and culture as key element of the EYCI. The two European organisations for higher arts education representing more than 600 institutions in all European countries presented a set of recommendations to EU institutions and Member States. Key note speakers were Ján Figel’, European Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Youth, Katerina Batzeli, MEP and Chair of the European Parliament Culture Committee, Blanka Hašová, President of the Cultural Affairs Committee in the Council of the EU on behalf of the Czech EU Presidency, Chris Wainwright, President of ELIA, and Johannes Johansson, President of AEC. Quoting Albert Einstein, Ján Figel’ stressed: “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” With the slogan “art is in” the Culture Commissioner emphasised that the European Year of Creativity and Innovation is by no means only about economics and that in times of crisis one has to invest even more in culture, arts and education. Figel’ highlighted that artistic creativity plays an important role, that therefore arts education is fundamental and that cross-cultural exchange and interdisciplinarity need to be supported. He underlined that the cultural dimension is and will remain essential for the EU’s vision of 2009 and beyond. “We need continuity beyond 2009 and beyond Europe.” The EFA delegation agreed to embed these objectives in their 2009 activities, to make their crucial contribution to the fostering of artistic creativity and innovation and to focus major efforts on raising awareness of the importance of culture in times of change and challenges. Blanka Hašová referred to culture as a catalyst for creativity and to creativity as the origin of innovation. AEC President Johansson suggests that artistic activities have to be supported in a sustainable manner. This view is also reflected in the recommendations in which the European Commission is urged “to acknowledge within the European Year of Creativity & Innovation 2009 the role of the arts as an important contributor to innovation in society and the economy by giving particular support to activities, projects, organisations and networks in this field in the work programme of the year.” One of the next major events in the context of the EYCI involving the cultural sector is the “Forum for a Creative Europe”, a Czech EU Presidency event taking place 26/27 March in Prague. EFA will attend the ministerial conference to make the voice of the cultural sectors in general and the voice of festivals in particular heard. More information to follow soon. Related documents and links: • EU website for the European Year of Innovation and CreativityRecommendations by the European Association of Conservatoires (AEC) and the European League of Institutes of the Arts (ELIA)