Memo September 2015


A memo sent to correspondents, friends and acquaintances of the Budapest Observatory (BO) in September 2015

Countries seem to be drifting apart in Europe which makes cross-border bonds more important.

Three platforms

The announcement of the results of the European platforms completed the cultural projects in the second year of the Creative Europe programme. Three “platforms” were added to the original five, rewarded with a bit less than €1.5 million. The three main organisers from the Netherlands, Slovenia and the UK involved 37 partners. Disregarding four instances when the leader and the platform member are from the same country, 33 new transborder bonds have been established in the frame of these projects.

784 cross-border bonds

In May BO analysed the 751 couplings created till then. This time we look at the (751+33=) 784 connexions established in 41 plus 67 smaller scale, and 21 plus 17 larger scale cooperation projects, as well as the eight platforms.

Instead of ranking countries by the number of winners, i.e. leaders of projects, this time the graph shows the amount of cooperation offers accepted. On top of being great winners, British cultural operations are by far the most popular as invited partners. From the east, Poles are involved in cultural cooperation in the greatest number. (The last column * stands for nine more countries with altogether 27 bonds.)

Two eras

Such data gain real sense by comparing them to earlier periods. This we can do with 2007-2011: BO keeps the data from the first five years of the Culture Programme when we identified 1982 bilateral transborder links in the cooperation projects. (* = seventeen more countries with 91 bonds)

Here are some of the most interesting findings of the comparison:

  • The UK was not always on the top, in those years German cooperating partners were the most attractive.
  • The concentration increased on the top: 37% of participating operations was from the same five countries in 2014-15 (against 32% before).
  • Poland is slipping out of the leading group.
  • The greatest changes occurred in the east. HR catapulted to the 9th position from the 21st: in the past two years 3.8% of participating partners are Croatian, which is double the former 1.9%.
  • Serbs almost the same: RS now with 21 bonds the 16th while earlier they were only 25th.
  • Losers are next door. With only six operations included in winning projects Bulgaria is 29th, dreaming about the lost 19th place.
  • The dynamic of Romanian involvement is almost the exact opposite of Croatia, dropping to 23rd position from the 9th, in spite of the exceptionally strong presence in Italian-led projects (10 instances). 

Croatian patterns

Take a closer look at the composition of the cooperation network of the emerging champion in two periods:

Croatians invited in 2007-2011:                                                      And in 2014-2015:


On the whole, the five years between 2007-2011 produced two and a half more bonds than the past two years. Yet in case of Croatia the two are almost the same: 38 Croatian organisations were absorbed before and 30 ones in Creative Europe. Next to the powerful small neighbour Slovenia no other eastern country seems to have built sustainable strings. These days Croatians have about as strong appeal to UK project leaders as they did to Austrians before. Italians are stable third, at inviting partners from Croatia. The French have lost interest.

Strasbourg – Linz – Bonn

This combined city tour wants to take you to some recent developments in the Council of Europe (CoE) culture landscape. In fact we start from Baku, the site of the first platform exchange. The format is specific to CoE, a combination of seminar and workshop. Digitisation was the main topic but left some issues to discuss at the second platform exchange in Linz. This second link lists connections to all the wisdom lately accumulated by CoE in the field of culture (including one from BO).

The website of the Compendium, a flagship of the CoE culture fleet has a new design. It includes a new page which pleads for donations

The chosen dozen

The international jury of the European festival label did not define upfront categories; they just browsed and screened the 760 labelled festivals for a handful that best feature the wealth of the cultural festival scene in Europe. BO likes the result.



760 and more

The EFFE award ceremony was at the same time a “community launch”. Instead of a static tableau of 760 labelled festivals, the portal is hoped to engage them into a network of lively interactions.

What is more, the organisers consider reaching out to involve “non-labelled” festivals which associate themselves with the values that served as selecting criteria for the EFFE label:

  • (high level) artistic commitment
  • (authentic) community involvement and
  • (meaningful) European and international engagement

Reminder: this is a two-year pilot programme initiated by the European Parliament and there is still no decision about its continuation.  

Inside a real hub

The 250 participants of the community launch were hosted by the Google Cultural Institute in Paris. It is the production centre of the Art Project that BO followed since it comprised 265 collections, then again with 561 collections. Today there are 596 on the map.

Besides treating the festival flock, Google composed an EFFE exhibition. Nice of them, isn’t it?