Future of Democracy

Event report: Europe takes part!

What challenges are the European art and culture scenes facing during the coronavirus crisis and what challenges will they face in the future? How can digital tools strengthen and protect cultural players here? These and other questions were discussed on 29 April 2021 at the digital summit “Europe takes part! A Summit on European Cultural Politics and New Digital Solutions” under the patronage of Michelle Müntefering. The focus of the summit was on strengthening cultural and creative workers in Europe.

The event was planned by the Goethe-Institut and implemented in cooperation with Das Progressive Zentrum with support from the Federal Foreign Office. Politicians and players from the European art and culture scene engaged in dialogue in various panels and Deep Dive sessions, took part in discussions and exchanged experiences.


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Dialogue between European politicians, experts, and cultural workers

As well as Minister of State Michelle Müntefering, her Spanish colleague José Manuel Rodríguez Uribes, and the Italian Minister of Culture Dario Franceschini provided political input at the opening of the event. They underlined the importance of a common cultural policy and the value of culture for European societies.

Also taking part in the digital summit were French Minister of Culture Roselyne Bachelot, Portuguese State Secretary Nuno Artur Silva, EU Commissioner Viviane Hoffmann, and Sabine Verheyen, Chair of the Committee on Culture and Education at the European Parliament. Johannes Ebert, Secretary-General of the Goethe-Institut, and Dominic Schwickert, Executive Director of Das Progressive Zentrum, opened the event, part of which was streamed live from the Federal Foreign Office studio.

There were public statements and panel debates in the three blocks “Culture in Europe – A Question of Solidarity?”, “A Future European Cultural Policy” and “Future European Digital and Public Spheres for Culture”. These were supplemented by various Deep Dive sessions in which politicians, artists, and experts engaged in discussion and addressed participants’ questions.
Offering an exchange that was as direct as possible for the approximately 260 European participants was one of the digital summit’s primary objectives.

“The fact that cultural workers and politicians could engage in dialogue on an equal footing made the event special – an important exchange“ (Shelly Kupferberg, moderator and culture expert). High-level experts from across Europe were represented at the event, including Abdullah Miniawy, an artist, writer, and musician from France, political scientist Dr. Michael Wimmer from Austria, Tuomas Muraja, a journalist and writer from Finland and the gallerist Anca Poterașu from Romania.



During the panel discussions and Deep Dive sessions, politicians, cultural workers, and experts discussed the specific political measures required to strengthen the European cultural scenes. Digital whiteboards were then used to brainstorm demands to policymakers.

“Make funding more accessible” and “develop better European artists’ networks” were some of the wishes expressed, along with a call “to ensure the complementarity of national and EU funding“. There were also calls to create “digital spaces outside the business context” and for “IT experts and cultural workers to be put touch with one another at EU level“.

“We have organized this conference today because we want to be shapers. Europe needs to play an active role in developing digital cultural space […] I am convinced that we need a pan-European digital culture space because individual states will not be able to overcome the challenges of digital transformation alone”

opening speech, Minister of State Michelle Müntefering.

“Thank you for the opportunity to express my point of view,” said Anca Poterasu, a gallery owner from Bucharest (panel speaker), further stating that “it is necessary and important to enable cultural workers in Europe to engage in a public dialogue.”

The conference programme was accompanied by cultural contributions: “Fluid” by the Julia Hülsmann Quartet & Hildegunn Øiseth, the desktop performance “It´s Ophelia… Bitch!” by Elias Adam and the video performance “Intensional Particle” by Hiroaki Umeda.

“Congratulations on the fantastic summit on Arts & Culture in Europe yesterday! You’ve made it a real European event on a high political and artistic level.”

Christine Lötsch, Project Management, European Alliance of Academies, Akademie der Künste (participant).

The project continues

The overall project “Europe takes part! Striving for a European Public Sphere“ is ongoing and aims to give impetus to Europe’s cultural policy discourses, questions and perspectives. The project consists of three parts:

  • At our digital summit on 29 April, we gave a platform for exchange and discussions between cultural practitioners and politicians.
  • In our co-creative workshop series, we are developing digital tools to support arts and culture practitioners from across Europe.
  • After a programming and testing phase from June to December 2021, the digital tool will be integrated into the European Hub for Civic Engagement and launched in January 2022.



Learn more about 'Europe takes part!'

Rewatch the Event


Annika Hoffmann

published on

6 June 2021