ICCE highlights the IFA Conference “Europe from the Outside”

ICCE highlights the IFA Conference “Europe from the Outside”

12 December, Brussels, Belgium


The Institut für Auslandsbezieehungen (German Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations) organised last week a conference reflecting on ‘European external cultural relations: Expectations from the outside’. The event, part of an on going reflection on the connection of cultures, provided participants with a much needed insight into how European external cultural relations are viewed outside of Europe and what is expected of them. Dr Carla Figueira attended on behalf of ICCE.

Insightful keynotes were provided by Dr. Natalia Chaban, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand and by Farai Mpfunya, Executive Director of the Culture Fund of Zimbabwe Trust. A further number of interventions questioned perceptions and expectations. ICCE highlights the question asked by Katelijn Verstraete (British Council Singapore, previously Asia-Europe Foundation): “Is Europe really relevant to others?” – a powerful reality check prompt – and the advice provided by Anmol Vellani, Executive Director of the India Foundation for the Arts, that emphasised the need of European organisations to educate themselves about their partners and the contexts in which they will work and the importance of taking risks and learning from mistakes.

Proceedings of the event will be included in the 2013 EUNIC- Yearbook.

Full information on the conference is available at:




ICCE leads ENCATC Academy Cultural Relations and Diplomacy

ICCE leads ENCATC Academy Cultural Relations and Diplomacy

5-7 December, Brussels , Belgium

ICCE’s Director, Gerald Lidstone and Visiting Tutor, Dr. Carla Figueira led an intensive 3-day learning programme on cultural relations and diplomacy, for senior and medium level professionals, in Brussels last week.

The event, a joint initiative with ENCATC, the European network on Cultural Management and Cultural Policy Education, provided participants – which included arts managers and cultural professionals, EU policy officers, academics and senior staff of foreign cultural representations – with the opportunity to explore concepts, as well as discuss the transformations the field of culture in external relations is going through.

The event started with a though provoking intervention by Berthold Franke, Head of the Goethe Institute in Brussels on the terminology used in the field, followed by an interesting discussion on policy shifts in EU Countries drawing on research by Rod Fisher, Director of International Intelligence on Culture. The importance of the arts was highlighted by interventions by Paul Dujardin, Director of BOZAR, a hub of  international  cultural activity in Brussels, and Kristine de Mulder, Director of the prestigious EUROPALIA festival. The role of the creative industries was illustrated by the initiative ‘Diplomacy through Fashion’ presented by Dr. Michelle Loewinger, wife to the United States Ambassador to Belgium. The cutting edge of cultural relations and diplomacy was presented by Dominic Campbell (Founder and Director of Futuregov) and Colin Hicks (former Cultural Attaché Quebec, Director of Vizir). Emphasis was also placed on analysing the role of EU institutions, and relations with China were a focus of attention. This strand of the programme was enriched by the contributions of Marietje Schaake, Member of the European Parliament, Helena Kovarikova, Director of EUNIC Global, Jolita Pons, European External Action Service, and David Fouquet, President of the European Institute for Asian Studies. The role of the State was reflected upon in the intervention of Jean-Baptist Cuzin, head of international and multilateral affairs in the French Ministry for Culture and Communication.

Further details on the programme are available here: http://www.encatc.org/pages/index.php?id=271

 Dominic DSC03108 American DSC03323 ENCATC  ACADEMY DSC03234 ENCATC 2 DSC03379

1 Dominic Cambell of Futuregov –

  2 The American Ambassador United States Embassy to Belgium, Dr. Michelle Loewinger  Academy Speaker on Fashion Diplomacy [ Wife of the Ambassador ], Giannalia Cogliandro Beyens, ENCATC General Secretary, Gerald Lidstone

3 The Academy at RoyalFlemishAcademy for Sciences and the Arts

4 Colin Hicks  of Director of VIZIR Former Cultural Attaché Quebec,   Dr  Carla Figueira, Gerald Lidstone

3rd EU – China High Level Cultural Forum, Gerald Lidstone



Gerald Lidstone, Director of ICCE, was invited to speak as at the 3rd EU -China High Level Cultural Forum as part of the closing ceremony of the EU China year of Intercultural Dialogue. Gerald represented with two other speakers the EU commission and were joined by thee speakers from China. He had been invited in his role as Vice President of ENCATC [European Network of Cultural Administration Training Centres] based in Brussels. The day revolved around the policy trends in cultural diplomacy/cultural relations revealed in research by Rod Fisher and Carla Figueria based in ICCE referring to some key drivers of policy change and likely challenges and opportunities that face governments and their agencies. This also covered the terminology employed in cultural relations (on which there remains confusion in and beyond Europe).

Gerald cited the recent Ditchly Foundation report highlighting the role of commercial contribution from countries that may have a greater impact than those official actions by countries. Looking at examples such as Psy from Korea and Borgen and Forbrydelsen from Denmark, as well as fashion and ‘product’ diplomacy – but also making the case to fund future projects that work on a ‘people to people’ level which do not have proscribed outcomes – that allow for risk and trust, to build stronger relationships. He also quoted the recent speech by Berthold Franke, director of the Goethe-Institut Brussels:

“Cultural exchange without the broad absence of interests is no cultural exchange. If you want to facilitate exchange of this kind, then you must create the possibility for encounters free of interests and free of power, and also always assume that this possibility exists, so as to achieve the true liberation of the potential that is held within the concept of intercultural dialogue”.

Gerald looked at reinforcing the potential for dialogue without the state – through social media and the joint development of cultural industries. At the end of the event a new agreement was signed by the Ministers of Culture of the EU and China to develop new instruments to develop intercultural dialogue.

A follow up conference in the new year in Brussels will start with the idea that:

“the classical definition of diplomacy is insufficient to encompass the existing interactions. Culture plays a crucial role in the relations between nations and in the definition of identities. Increasingly, foreign relations on both bilateral and multilateral levels are driven by public diplomacy, cultural and environmental cooperation. This is why ‘soft diplomacy’, a new angle of examining diplomacy, which involves new and non-governmental actors, becomes more and more relevant to bridge the gap between different cultures.”

It is therefore apposite that ICCE will start the first MA in Cultural Policy, Relations and Diplomacy in September 2013

Gerald is very grateful to ICCE MA students who translated his presentation for him.