2022 ENCATC Congress on Cultural Management and Policy: “Internationalization in focus: theoretical, strategic, and management perspectives in education, research, policy and practice”
The 2022 ENCATC Congress on Cultural Management and Policy “Internationalization in focus: theoretical, strategic, and management perspectives in education, research, policy and practice” took place from 17- 19 October 2022 in Brussels and Antwerp, Belgium.
Since 1992, the ENCATC annual gathering has witnessed the confluence of academics, researchers, decision makers, influential experts, and practitioners linked to the cultural policy and management education sector from across the world. This year a very special edition of the ENCATC Congress took place in Brussels and Antwerp, marking ENCATC’s 30th anniversary and affirming once again its key role in the field of cultural management and policy.
Over the course of 3 days, ENCATC brought together more than 150 scholars, educators, policy makers, cultural managers and artists to debate together on the most pressing issues of our time, sharing a global conversation about internationalization in the contemporary world. The knowledge, exchange and peer learning opportunities that were generated through the action-packed programme including interactive debates, presentations, panel discussions, group sessions, and networking are impressive.
Keynote on internationalization: Bernd Fesel points out opportunities during crises
The first session of the Congress on October 17 was the Keynote intervention by Bernd Fesel, Interim Chief Executive Officer of EIT Culture & Creativity. In his speech, entitled “The challenges and opportunities of internationalization”, Fesel addressed the challenges that the cultural sector is currently facing, touching upon the necessity to reinvent the field dictated by the pandemic, and the role of digital solutions in this mission.
As the newest Knowledge and Innovation Community (KIC) of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, EIT Culture and Creativity will build world-class partnerships embodied in innovation communities capable of bringing the sector forward.
Furthermore, Fesel reminded the audience of the opportunities that the current crises pose, calling on everyone to contribute, cooperate, and network to help the recovery and sustain the field’s flourishment.
Education and Research sessions & Young and Emerging Researchers Forum: A unique opportunity to professionalize the career of emerging and established researchers
At the Congress, academic research is a key component. Thanks to the precious contribution of the University of Antwerp, the first afternoon of the conference was the opportunity to profit from the wealth of knowledge made available during the event, through the Education and Research Sessions and the Young and Emerging Researchers’ Forum.
The E&R sessions addressed 6 different thematic tracks related to current issues in the cultural management and policy field. Organised around 10 sessions, it saw over 50 researchers bringing their knowledge to the table through 33 presentations, fostering a global exchange among participants.
The Young and Emerging Researchers Forum (YERF), the section of the Congress specifically designed for the new generation of talented researchers, saw various sessions taking place over the course of the afternoon.
ENCATC offered the YERF as a contribution to the European Year of Youth, fostering visibility, exchange and networking for the new generation of young academic talents.
ENCATC Research Award Ceremony: Congratulations to Kathrin Schmidt, the winner of this year’s edition!
The first day of the Congress featured the Ceremony of the ENCATC Research Award, the recognition aimed at stimulating academic research in the field of cultural management and policy. During the ceremony, three finalists presented their research. The winner, Kathrin Schmidt, a PhD student from Goldsmiths University, presented a thesis on Performing Salone: The impact of local and global flows on the aesthetics and ecology of contemporary Krio theatre in Sierra Leone.
As per tradition, the winning PhD researcher will now see their work published in the Cultural Management and Cultural Policy Education Book Series, a series of publications specialising in topics related to cultural management and cultural policy, published by leading academic publisher Routledge. One of many practical examples of ENCATC’s commitment to sustaining young researchers and the advancement of the field in academia.
The Global Conversation or the challenges of decolonizing culture: Deconstructing current mental structures while pushing internationalization
Organized in partnership with the Association of Arts Administration Educators, AAAE, this year’s Global Conversation, entitled “Decolonising and diversifying internationalization: from theory to practice”, touched upon the challenges that the wider topic of decolonization poses.
A number of speakers, coming from the four corners of the planet to take part in the debate, engaged with the difficulty of reconciling, on one hand, the need to deconstruct current mental structures, and, on the other hand, the current tendency towards internationalization of cultural education programmes. They reminded of the necessity to encourage the adoption of precise actions inside education institutions, and also to continue interrogating the capital-centered system, promoting a shift in focus towards other kinds of values – social, spiritual, emotional.
Partnerships and local legacy: UNESCO, European Commission and city representatives joined us
At the Congress, ENCATC received support from all its key partners, who took an active role in the event. At the international level, Ernesto Renato Ottone Ramirez, Assistant Director-General for Culture of UNESCO, took part. From the city of Brussels, ENCATC welcomed Paul Dujardin, Chief Project Director 50/200, KMKH-MRAH | Jubelpark – Cinquantenaire, and Delphine Houba, Alderwoman of Culture, Tourism, Big Events and Municipal Equipment of the city of Brussels.
Finally, from the European Commission the Congress was joined by Barbara Gessler, Head of Unit at Creative Europe, Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture, Catherine Magnant, Deputy to the Director and Head of the Cultural Policies department at DGEAC, and Walter Zampieri, Head of Culture at EACEA.
Three days, many sessions: Roundtables, panel sessions, debates and more
The richness of the Congress was evident in the great variety of sessions it offered. These ranged from a panel session on “Mentoring in education in the cultural and creative sector: an international perspective”, focusing on mentoring practices in the field, to a roundtable named “From data to evidence-based cultural policies: policy actions, research perspective and practical experiences in international cultural cooperation” which delved into the use of data for developing policies in the cultural field.
During the “Resources for collaborative and sustainable practices supporting the international dimension of research in digital times”, panelists focused on the role of financing programs like Horizon Europe in the academic and research field. Finally, presentations under the label “The Art of Teaching” provided participants with interesting and innovative insights in educational methods in the cultural field.
Open source ENCATC Journal launch: Innovative publishing agreement between ENCATC and Frontiers on EJCMP
During the Congress, ENCATC announced the special agreement it recently reached with the academic open-source publisher Frontiers. Thanks to this agreement, ENCATC’s European Journal of Cultural Management and Policy (EJCMP) will become the first ever publication in the cultural management and policy field to be published on Frontiers. As the 3rd most cited and 6th largest publisher and open science platform, Frontiers will act as a special platform for ENCATC to reach a whole new international dimension, in the pursuit to engage with scholars, educators, policymakers and cultural managers.
Gala dinner to celebrate the anniversary and retrace the legacy of 30 years of history: With the launch of the 2023 Academy and Congress
The second day of the Congress was coronated, in the wonderful premises of the Stanhope Hotel, by a special Gala dinner to celebrate ENCATC’s 30th anniversary. The evening, marked by the presence of distinguished guests, was the opportunity to celebrate ENCATC’s new birthday with old and new members, retracing the history of the organization together with some of its founding members, recalling the legacy of thirty years of initiatives and events, and exploring the lookout towards future projects, by reuniting together in a cheerful and convivial evening.
The evening represented an opportunity to launch the next series of appointments that ENCATC will host during the course of 2023. Among these, there is the next ENCATC Congress to take place in Helsinki, and also the prestigious Encatc Academy on Sustainable Cultural management and policy, developed in partnership with the city of Santander, and which will take place from 24 to 27 April 2023 in the beautiful capital of Cantabria. During the Academy, cultural practitioners, high level experts, academics, researchers and policy makers will gather to build a dialogue on cultural sustainable development, with a view to advance the sector in an innovative way. It will also be a unique opportunity to discover the very rich cultural offer of the city and some of its key cultural landmarks, like the Centre Botin.
Cultural programme at the Congress: Giving young confirmed and emerging artists the opportunity to have a global audience
With the aim to contribute to the European Year of Youth, during the Congress special attention was devoted to promoting young talents in culture, particularly in the field of music. To this end, during the Gala dinner a young European musical talent was invited to perform: Antonin Musset, French violoncellist, winner of many important competitions and active performer in important festivals such as Verbier and the Seiji Ozawa International Academy, currently an artist in residence of the Queen Elizabeth Music Chapel since September 2021.
Furthermore, with the aim to offer ENCATC members a privileged space to disseminate deliverables from EU funded projects among the Congress giveaways, participants received a music record linked to a project by ENCATC member, the International Yehudi Menuhin Foundation. The Foundation, which promotes power of the arts to transform society, works through programmes such as the Artist Ambassadors project, a network of artists that act as spokespersons of the values promoted by the Foundation, and MUS-E, a longstanding programme devoted to implementing the use of creative arts in primary school curriculums.
Study Visits, bridging theory and practice at the Congress: 4 different destinations and topics around the city of Brussels
The third day of the Congress focused on the link from theory to practice, bridging the discourses and themes raised during the first two days with in person activities developed with local realities, involving participants in a series of Study Visits and Members’ Talks. Divided up in 4 different destinations, participants had an opportunity to look more closely into what some of the most important Belgian cultural institutions, from the Royal Museum for Central Africa to the Migration Museum, the Holland House and the AMVB museum, are doing to innovate, decolonize and experiment on and with their cultural programming.
To conclude the Congress, the Fellowship Award Keynote was delivered by the 2019 Laureate, Milena Dragićević Šešić. She gave an inspiring talk on Ethical Challenges in the Era of Academic Capitalism: Mission of Critically Engaged University. It was stressed that universities are facing contradictory policy demands and have heavier pressure to be more entrepreneurial and more capitalist. Higher education institutions are expected to compete on the global stage, but also at the same time serve their local communities. It was also important to discuss the role of networks in this era of facing ethical challenges for academic capitalism. Professor Dragićević Šešić said a network like ENCATC is crucial because it provides a place for the academic community to gather, collaborate and stand in solidarity for one another.
Sustainability Policy Debate: A contribution to the European Year of Youth
The Policy Debate on “How to make internationalization greener? Young generation perspectives and recommendations for more sustainable transnational cooperation” raised important questions on one of the hottest topics of today’s agenda in the cultural field. Involving young representatives of the cultural sector alongside policymakers, the session was an opportunity to reflect on the opportunities and challenges posed by the Covid pandemic, and on the numerous positive examples introducing concrete sustainability actions into cultural initiatives and projects. Within the framework of the ENCATC Congress, the Policy Debate was a direct contribution to the European Year of Youth, providing emerging professionals with a platform to share their voices and be heard by decision makers.
Promoting environment-friendly practices at the Congress: Acting to reduce the conference’s impact
At the Congress, we adopted as many steps as possible to lower the conference’s impact on the environment and climate. We acted by recommending to participants hotels with an ‘environmental sustainability’ label, easily accessible from the conference venues on foot or by a short public transport ride. We made sure to keep track of participants’ means of transport to Brussels and the Congress location, encouraging to travel by train or making other sustainable travel arrangements.
During the Congress, catering was selected following sustainability criteria, featuring local, seasonal and vegetarian options. Finally, printed materials and giveaways were kept to a minimum. The Congress tote bags were made of recycled fabric, kindly offered by MAD, Home of Creators, a platform for gathering expertise from Brussels’ Fashion and design sectors.
ENCATC Cultural Happy Hour: Drinks & Literature Talk at Bozar
In the frame of the 30th ENCATC Congress, a networking opportunity was offered to participants attending the 2022 ENCATC Congress, taking part in a political and poetic evening at BOZAR about the role of authors under repressive regimes. Egyptian poets and philosophers Lina Attalah, Ahdaf Soueif & Iman Mersal engaged in a conversation on writing as an act of resistance and a way to remember oppression, but also as the foundation for new ideas for a different future. Sponsored by ENCATC members BOZAR and the Creative Europe Desk Flanders, this evening was based on the book of the same name by Alaa Abd el-Fattah, an independent philosopher and political prisoner, who was published in English last year. The line is a metaphor for the fight for justice, as well as a message of hope.
2023 Agenda: ENCATC Congress in Helsinki and ENCATC Academy in Santander: Leading the sector in innovative ways
During the Congress ENCATC launched the next appointments that it will host in the course of 2023, continuing to lead the sector in always innovative ways. Two of them will be the highlights of next year. On one hand, the next Encatc Congress, which will take place in Helsinki on the 11-13 of October 2023, in collaboration with ENCATC’s Finnish partners. On the other hand, from the 24 to 27 April 2023 the prestigious Encatc Academy on Sustainable Cultural management and policy will take place in the beautiful city of Santander. Do not forget to mark these dates down!
The 30th edition of ENCATC’s annual Congress helped each participant to deepen and expand their knowledge with latest expertise on the 2022 theme and provided many opportunities to learn about innovative research, projects and teaching methodologies. In a convivial environment, participants exchanged practices, networked with peers, and expanded and strengthened professional relationships across the globe.
The sessions of the 2022 Congress will undoubtedly contribute to the advancement of the scientific debate, to the promotion of new policies and practices, and to the development of new partnerships at the international and local level. The enthusiasm of the numerous participants is a testament to the importance of this event as the occasion to explore ground-breaking innovations, bridge the knowledge gap, promote research esteem and encourage steps to ensure significant improvements in the industry. The high number of participants coming from all over the globe proves again that the ENCATC Congress is today a must for the cultural management and policy community around the world.
To learn more about the 2022 Congress, see the programme, speakers, partners and more, see the dedicated event page on ENCATC’s website by clicking here.
To download the 2022 Congress Flash Report presenting this article’s information in an illustrated PDF document, click here.