In an era of globalization, which does not only come with positive consequences but also with challenges like, the migration crisis and economic turmoil, we experience that events, which take place on the other side of the globe, can have a direct impact on our lives. These developments provoke the return of thinking in terms of confrontational blocs or radicalization and violent extremism, or simply the feeling of being overburdened with images and news about violence, suffering and destruction.
What can be the role of culture in these circumstances?
The answer for us cultural diplomates is: Culture unites, moves and provides insights. Cultural cooperation counters stereotypes and prejudice by nurturing dialogue, open-mindedness, dignity and mutual respect. Cultural projects allow you to dive in a very safely and protected way into different worlds. Getting in contact with different cultures through people-to people exchanges and listening to other opinions helps to understand different views and perspectives and, thereby, makes inter-cultural dialogue possible, which might be a way to prevent conflicts and foster reconciliation within and between countries.
Within the European Union culture has so far remained a national competence. In order to enhance cooperation the European National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC) were created with the Austrian Cultural Fora being founding members.
Against the above mentioned background of common challenges, it is no coincidence that Frederica Mogherini, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy stated at the Culture forum in Brussels in April 2016 that in “today’s world it is crucial to make sense of our identities and our differences. Fear originates when we don’t recognize each other, because we perceive diversity as a threat, or when we don’t know or understand each other.” She concluded that “Culture has to be part and parcel of our foreign policy” being a powerful tool to build bridges between people, notably the young, and reinforce mutual understanding.
Therefore, EUNIC Global decided in a strategic paper to provide a framework for cultural diplomacy and cultural relations at the European and international level by pooling together the resources and expertise of its members in order to design transnationals projects connecting culture and society.
At present, the EUNIC Cluster Romania consists of 15 members and one associated member from Turkey. Under the current Austrian chairmanship EUNIC Romania developed a 3-year-cluster strategy responding to topical demands. 2016 was dedicated to the strengthening and consolidation of EUNIC Romania as a cluster, but starting by 2017 we will pool our energy and dedicate our efforts to carry out joint projects in two selected key areas – social inclusion through art and culture (including mapping and facilitating of creative solutions in dealing with social issues) and promotion of languages and multilingualism to facilitate mutual understanding between different cultures.
Current projects of the Austrian Cultural Forum:
Victoria Art Center, Calea Victoriei 12C
25th October – 25. of November
Fact and Fiction in Recent History
Written and oral history, historical files, archives can be created or interpreted and manipulated. From schoolbooks, television broadcast and tabloids, from academic publications to satires this project aims to question mechanisms of writing and fabricating histories and their impact on personal and collective memory.
Works of Ana Adamović, Ana Hoffner, Cătălin Burcea, Christine Niehoff, Corina Ilea, Judith Saupper, Mihai Zgondoiu and Zsolt Azstalos
Austrian Cultural Days in Arad
Women have far too often been forgotten, overlooked, and marginalised in Austria’s official historiography—a fact that lends all the more importance to the special focus of the Austrian Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and External Affairs on outstanding Austrian women.
Within the frame of the Austrian Cultural Days we present the exhibition „Home to great daughters – Remarkable Austrian women from two centuries” a selection of the “Tricky Women” animation film festival – the only animation film festival dedicated to female film directors and a filmscreening of “The piano player” based on a novel by Nobel prize winner Elfriede Jelinek.
Austrian Cultural Days in Timisoara
14th of November till 16th of November
With a focus on “300 years of enlightement – 300 years of the takeover of the Banat by Prinz Eugen” and equally as in Arad “Women in society, art and culture”.
Exhibition “Survival spaces” by Akademie Graz
6th of December till 15th of December
UAUIM Facultatea de Arhitectura Bucuresti
“Survival spaces” documents an artistic research on informal settlements and slums by Lidija Mirkovic (DE/RS), Marina Roselle (F) and Tudor Bratu (RO/NL) supplemented by an scholarly commentary by Stefan Benedik (A)