Conference at Europahuset, Regeringsgatan 65, Stockholm
December 9th, 08.45-16.00, 2nd floor
Intercult arranges, in collaboration with Riksteatern (Swedish National Touring Theatre), Culture Action Europe and Europe Direct Intercult, a full day conference on Migration & Culture. The conference is part of Intercult’s ongoing concern for the future of the European Project. What misconceptions need to resolved for the EU to play a more healthy role in culture and society? Can Europe reinvent itself as a sustainable ”cultural project”? What does the future promise?
On 20 September 2016, the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR estimated that more than 45 million people are on the run on our planet. This is an exceptional situation. In 2015, 163 000 people applied for asylum in Sweden. Expectations of a flow of refugees towards Europe grow, as many as 1 million people could arrive next year, with great hope and great need. In this context: what role can cultural strategies play in constructive negotiation? How do we create worthy spaces for meeting the challenges and the newcomers?
Cultural encounters, in our divided and unjust world, are occasions where one can still interact physically, in the same room, with people completely different from one’s self. We develop fluid and multiple identities; we develop empathy. Culture gives us a shared space in a fragmented society. It creates meetings in the public space – in times otherwise characterized by privatization and passive consumption.
No subject in Europe is more important or more debated than migration. We approach the phenomen from different angles, reflected through concrete cultural initiatives and through proposals for policy changes placing culture at the heart of early encounters with migrants. How can we create conditions for a fruitful exchange, in Sweden as in the rest of Europe?
We have divided the conference into three inter-connected sessions. The three parts together form a narrative for a sustainable and international response to large-scale migration. In each session we approach from three directions: Context, Action, Impact.
- Moving Inwards
Faced with rapid population changes, pressure is put on the dominant culture to adapt. What happens to us when we welcome a critical mass of people with diverse values, cultural experiences and traditions? What are we willing to change inside of ourselves? How can we prepare ourselves for a worthy mutual transformation?
- Moving Outwards
How can we contribute to constructive development for the ”Others”, the newcomers? How can we provide conditions for each individual to realize his/her potential? What are the critical factors: language? education? jobs? housing? security? How important is a sense of belonging?
- Moving Together
There are many examples of meaningful collaborations between citizens and refugees, in the early stages of their arrival, throughout Europe. These often are the result of actions of cultural solidarity with a long-term perspective. What can we learn from our European colleagues? What initiatives – like the Voices of Culture, the structured dialogue group on migration and refugees – are happening at the EU level? What can be done to create space and conditions for an empowering dialogue?