CUMEDIAE, as manager of virtual creative hub Culture Agora and represented by Director of Strategy and Projects Stefanie Thomas, participated in the first European Creative Hubs Network conference from Thursday 11th to Saturday 13th of April in Athens, Greece. The occasion, representing the evolution of what was originally a project funded by the European Commission, was a celebration and best practice for sustainability beyond the confines of a static funding model. Barbara Stacher, Policy Officer, Culture/Economy of Culture, European Commission eloquently captured the mood with her words in an address for the opening of the conference:  “Everyone worked together to make this new generation of the creative hubs network happen.” She also used the occasion to make a nod to the forward movements made and the development of inclusion of creative hubs in official policy documents.  “If creative hubs ever need validation it is clearly stated in many recent policy products of the European Parliament and Commission”.

Although, ECHN’s primary focus is on physical creative hubs, as a virtual hub, Culture Agora’s ecosystem in intricately adapted to provide a portal for multi-level collaboration, and further develop the visibility and integration of creative hub networks across Europe and beyond and look forward to actively contributing to the life and sustainability of this evolved network.

New Board Elected! 

It was a good occasion to welcome the newest members of the Board of Directors:

Charalampidis Vassilis, Bios, Greece – President
Almeida Santos Tânia, CRU Cowork, Portugal – Vice President
Şahin Atilim, ATÖLYE, Turkey – Secretary General
Lopez Garrido Ivan, Republikken, Denmark – Treasurer
Piškorič Luka, Poligon, Slovenia  – Member
Kühr Wolf, Volumes, France – Alternate member 1
Kolp Ben, The Living Room Coworking, Spain – Alternate member 2

Launch of the FLIP Project 

The event also involved in parallel the Opening Conference of the FLIP Project (Finance, Learning, Innovation and Patenting for Cultural and Creative Industries), a pilot EU funded project for Cultural and Creative Industries. The general objective of this pilot project is to define and test policies and actions for sustaining and developing cultural and creative industries and to generating cross-sectoral benefits and spill-overs in the different areas and sectors the CCIs interface with. Stefanie was able to directly contribute to the various interactive sessions on innovation, improved access to finance, value recognition, and capacities to capture value from IP.  These sessions served to provide benchmarks for further activities within the framework of the project. 

More generally, it was an occasion to share news, exchange ideas and talk about the future steps of the network, and we are happy to be part of this community that aims at supporting the development and growth of the creative and cultural sector all over Europe, enhancing the creative, economic and social impact of hubs.

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As proud member of CAE Network, on March 21st and 22nd CUMEDIAE took part to the Members Forum 2019.
The event was the occasion to discuss the future developments of the network and on how to maximise impact towards advocacy in the cultural and creative sector.

During the first day he strategy for the next three-years period was examined, and the possibility of regional hubs and thematic working groups was brainstormed. The second day was dedicated to analyze and understand the political developments at an European and international level, and the role of CAE and its activities in community development and building key collaborations, also in the view of the European Parliamentary Elections 2019. Members took part in a policy dialogue with a MEP on the future and expectations over the next Creative Europe Programme, to discuss the current proposal and identify issues that need actions from the sector.

CUMEDIAE joins CAE in advocating for a stronger recognition of the cultural dimension of the European Union and culture’s contribution to Europe and encourages voters to make their voice heard by participating in the European Parliamentary elections. For more information see:  Culture Action Europe EP Elections 2019 Campaign and join CAE for the upcoming Live Online Dialogue with MEP candidates on April 25th.

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On Monday 18th, CUMEDIAE will take part to the seminar organized by France Créative in Paris, where Ignasi Guardans will speak together with European personalities from the cultural and creative industries.
The day will be focused on discussing how to shape a common mobilization to strengthen European players in the CCIs, and to share views and ideas for a common agenda for EU’s next mandate.

Testimonies of national actions for culture in different European countries will join. Among the speakers:

  • Dawood Azami, BBC World Service & University of Westminster
  • Christian Ehler, Member of European Parliament, Intergroup Cultural Industries and creatives
  • Sébastien Soriano, President of ARCEP
  • Isabelle Szczepanski, Electron Libre
  • Filippo Sugar, Italia Creativa
  • Iban García del Blanco, Secretary for the Culture of PSOE (Spain)
  • Clément Beaune, Adviser Europe and G20 to the President of the Republic
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Cumediae will participate to the 1st International Conference “Towards a TRansnational Accelerator for a Cultural and Creative EcoSystem” in Bari on February 28th. The conference is dedicated to models of incubators and accelerators for CCIs. The event will act as an idea lab, gathering knowledge, expectations and peculiarities of the sector, while analyzing the creative economy entrepreneurship and the role of cultural incubators in Italy and abroad.
Ignasi Guardans will join a panel of international experts in the round table “How to create the ideal conditions for supporting CCIs growth”, discussing cultural policies on regional, national and European levels.

The conference will take place at Cineporto Bari, and is organized by TECNOPOLIS PST in the framework of the Interreg Traces project, financed under Interreg V-A Greece-Italy Programme.

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On February 6th CUMEDIAE joined the event Modernising Cultural and Creative Industries within the EU: Discussing the New European Agenda for Culture, hosted by Public Policy Exchange, where Chairman Ignasi Guardans participated as key speaker.

Together with him Ana Gaio, Senior Lecturer at School of Arts and Social Sciences at City University London (Event Chair), Sophie Dowden, Policy Officer at Culture Action Europe, Grégoire Polad, Director General at Association of Commercial Television in EuropeLaura Houlgatte, CEO at International Union of Cinemas (UNIC) and Inge Ceustermans, Managing Director at The Festival Academy.

The symposium was created to discuss the recent initiatives and policy developments in the field of CCIs in EU, in particular to analyse the New European Agenda for Culture and exchange views, perspectives and good practices on how to tackle the challenges that the sector faces.

Guardans speech focused on the challenges and opportunities of cross-border collaborations for CCIs in Europe. As he said, this topic is a fundamental one, and needs to be a primary policy objective for every decision maker. Reducing market fragmentation gives the possibility to access the broad European market, thus fostering synergies, building collaborations and improving access to funding. Stimulating artists mobility creates new opportunities for artists, enriching culture while maintaining cultural diversity. Moreover, culture and confront among different cultures are one of the strongest weapons against growing nationalism and populism, something that should be addressed at an European level.

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At the end of this experience I realise how these last 4 months flew away. Although it was only 4 months, I can swear that it had the same density and intensity of any other year of a life. And I’m not just speaking about the huge stock of skills and information I collected during my time here in CUMEDIAE.  I’m also speaking about the human part. I had the chance to meet lots of people coming from lots of different cultural contexts, with whom I could share ideas and considerations. I practiced English and French and I lived for 4 months in a beautiful city, which is Brussels that surprised me in such a positive way, under every possible point of view. Brussels is not only the warm centre of the Europe, where many kinds of cultures meet, are mixed and live together.  Brussels is the city of young minds, of events, of art, of music, of languages. Brussels is the trait d’union of the entire Europe. Then, thanks to the strategic position, I could visit in a blink of an eye several cities around there, as Bruges, Paris and Anvers.

I’ve never worked in an office before. For me it was the first time. The first day I was totally scared. As you can understand that was my biggest drama, I was totally unused to any kind of computer’s job and I was also totally unable to be sat a whole day! But there is always a first time in life! And that was mine. I quickly discovered the big world that is hidden behind an online platform. That’s not just about putting contents in a sterile way.  Behind the name CUMEDIAE we find a connected tangle of minds who share the same thoughts with a specific strategy. Contrary to all expectations they showed me this reality in a clear and direct way and, at the same time, I became part of the team. Sharing time with other colleagues meant spending my time with people who could understand my day mood just having a quick look at my face expressions. We were not just colleagues; we were a family, in which the problem of one was the problem of everyone. This kind of approach kept us linked and closer and led us to have a great team game.

And is only at the end of this experience, that I can deeply realise the entity of feelings I will bring with me at home. I’m aware of how many special people, who kept part of this project, played also a role in the development of my identity, constantly under construction.

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