Who we are
The Cultural Relations Platform (CRP) is an EU-funded project launched in April 2020, designed to support the European Union to engage in international cultural relations.
The project is related in many aspects to the previous Cultural Diplomacy Platform (2016-2020). It provides a renewed approach based on a set of shared principles, and new activities, aiming to promote and facilitate sustainable cultural exchanges, people-to-people activities, and co-creation processes between Europeans and citizens from countries all over the world.
The CRP activities range from policy support for EU Institutions to supporting cooperation between European and global cultural and creative sectors as well as strengthening communities of practitioners trough dedicated trainings and enhanced exchanges.
The Cultural Relations Platform has a global geographical coverage.
What we do
The Platform’s mission is to strengthen the EU’s ability to engage meaningfully with different audiences and stakeholders in its partner countries, through enhanced cultural relations and cultural cooperation.
The CRP’s main objectives are to:
• Provide policy support on international cultural relations through conducting research, mappings, and in organising local meetings, conferences, workshops, and trainings
• Support cooperation among cultural and creative sectors in facilitating contacts and networking of different EU and third country cultural actors, including cultural institutions, private foundations, civil society, and other organisations
• Strengthen communities and networks of cultural practitioners in developing training programmes for cultural managers in leadership positions both within and outside of Europe
The CRP activities follow the principles, approach and logic of the European strategic approach to international cultural relations and rely on the experience of practitioners, including cultural operators and artists. Each activity is therefore organised in cooperation and co-creation with local partners within a sustainable framework and involving civil society.
** Update due to COVID-19 crisis **
In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the first activities of the Platform have had to face some adaptations and some of our planned activities will now be postponed or adjusted if appropriate into virtual exchange format. Therefore, as its first task the Cultural Relations Platform will look to assess the impact of the global COVID-19 crisis on international cultural relations.
Over the last 10 years, the European Union has strongly reinforced its commitment to international cultural relations (ICR). On 8 June 2016, the EU High Representative and Vice-President Federica Mogherini and Commissioner for Education and Culture Tibor Navracsics put forward a proposal to develop an ‘EU Strategy for international cultural relations’. In the same year, our predecessor the Cultural Diplomacy Platform was launched by the Service for Foreign Policy Instruments of the European Commission in order to support the EU institutions in the implementation of this new strategy.
The development of a strategic approach to external cultural relations emerged from the Preparatory Action ‘Culture in EU External Relations’ which took place in 2013-2014 and was requested by the European Parliament.
Since then, the EU institutions have endeavored to engage in ICR. In May 2018, the European Commission adopted the New European Agenda for Culture, in which the external dimension has been particularly strengthened. The same year, the European Council recognised ICR as one of its five priorities in its Work Plan for culture for 2019-2022.
The Council took a further step in 2019 by adopting Conclusions on an EU strategic approach to international cultural relations and establishing a framework for action. It calls on Member States, the Commission, and the European External Action Service to strengthen coordination and strategic guidance on the best way to promote ICR.
“The EU is strongly engaged in international cultural relations, with programmes supporting the cultural sector of its partner countries. It also fosters cultural cooperation, as it strongly contributes to inter-cultural dialogue, conflict prevention, reconciliation and resilience (…)”
Commissioner Mariya Gabriel and High Representative & Vice-President Josep Borrell on World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development – 21 May 2020
Meet the team
As an independent cultural relations consultant, Sana Ouchtati is the Team Leader of the Cultural Relations Platform. She is also involved in and steering initiatives dedicated to external culture relations. She has two Master’s degrees, in EU policies and in International Relations & Business Administration. In 2001-2011, she worked at the European Institutions in Brussels, mainly on trade agreements. She has also been responsible for the cultural dimension of the EU external relations mainly with ACP-, Neighbourhood- and Emerging- Countries. She has a thorough knowledge of the cultural field, international relations as well as EU policies and instruments dedicated to external relations, culture and intercultural dialogue.
As an independent expert, Jermina Stanojev, PhD, is a project officer for the Cultural Relations Platform. She is also a postdoctoral researcher and independent consultant in the field of external cultural relations, cultural heritage and development. She has established competences and wide experience in fields of cultural relations and cultural heritage working in different international organisations within worldwide geographical scope and focusing on the Western Balkans. She holds a PhD in participatory and integrated governance of cultural heritage in the Western Balkans and appointed as an individual expert by the European Commission to the expert group on cultural heritage.
Rie Alkemade joined the team as a project officer for the Cultural Relations Platform in May 2020. Previously, she has been working in the broader creative and cultural sectors over the past several years across Japan, Hong Kong, and the Netherlands which has led to her interest in multicultural cultural initiatives. Her experience lies primarily in project and event management as well as in cultivating partnerships. She has freelanced for global, large-scale commercial art fairs and festivals as well as for smaller-scale local cultural operators as a project manager and a producer.
After joining the Cultural Diplomacy Platform in September 2019, Marine Berginiat took the position of project & communication assistant for the new Cultural Relations Platform. She had a previous experience with the independent cultural initiative More Europe, external cultural relations. Marine holds a master’s degree in European and International Relations from Sciences Po Rennes (France). She also studied cultural management and cultural policy during her first year of master degree.
Antonia Blau is the head of the EU office at the Goethe-Institut Brussels. She has been working with different European programmes in the sectors of culture, education, civil society and youth. From 2012-2015, Antonia Blau coordinated the establishment of an antenna of the Goethe-Institut in Marseilles in the framework of the European Capital of Culture Marseille-Provence 2013. She is interested in the contact points between politics and arts and culture in an international context and holds a M.A. degree in North American Studies, political sciences and German literature from Freie Universität Berlin.
The Cultural Relations Platform is implemented by a consortium consisting of four organisations: Goethe-Institut Brussels (BE), ECF – European Cultural Foundation (NL), IETM – International network for contemporary performing arts (BE), and Università degli Studi di Siena (IT).
The Goethe-Institut is the Platform’s consortium leader. It promotes the study of the German language abroad and encourages international cultural exchange, including through European projects.
The European Cultural Foundation promotes an European sentiment through developing and supporting cultural initiatives that let us share, experience and imagine Europe.
IETM – International network for contemporary performing arts is one of the oldest and largest cultural networks, which represents the voice of over 500 performing arts organisations and institutions, including theatres and arts centres, festivals, performing companies, curators and programmers, producers, art councils and associations from about 50 countries.
Università degli Studi di Siena (University of Siena) is one of the oldest universities in Europe with a well-established tradition of high-quality teaching and research. Two departments are particularly involved in training and research activities in the field of cultural relations, cultural diplomacy, and cultural heritage.