Welcome to networks - participative democracy

**" This project has been funded with support from the European Commission - Lifelong Learning Program. Any projects publications reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained there in."

A sense of belonging together and having a common destiny cannot be manufactured. It can only arise from a shared cultural awareness, which is why Europe now needs to focus its attention not just on economics but also on education, citizenship and culture." (European Union, 1995-2011)**
As a result to financial and economic crisis, Europe has suffered considerable losses in glamour. But in contrast to the USA, the multicultural continent with its characteristic penchant for increased state control over financial sectors seems to take on an economically slow, yet seemingly sure recovery. As for the time being, the brightness of Europe can hardly be found in economic growth, we decide to look elsewhere. We consider this Europe worth thorough inspection. Apart from fluctuations in economic activity, project Europe disposes of a robustness, granted through microphysical processes in its different societies.
Our objective is to observe and investigate this very phenomenon by artistic means (concepts and approaches). There's probably no other political-cultural space displaying such a dense variety of alternatives. Yet perhaps, in order to perceive this variety as scope for activities, it is necessary to neglect a global perspective, at times, and to dive into the the micro network of the sub cultural, the sub political, and the sub global instead.

This sub cultural zone is precisely where we want to go, together with our partners. To which extend is participative democracy able to negotiate those limits of a cultural space, where fights and violence were - and are - identified? The planned partnership aims at projecting, constructing and broaden networks in a sub cultural environment through collective cultural consciousness. The participant's respective central issues as well as their participative democratic methods are to be mediated. Different approaches elaborated by institutions active in subculture are employed. On the one hand, the whole spectrum from "independent performance collective to culture factory" is to represent the scope of Europe's cultural activities, on the other hand, by linking different regions of Europe, we try to keep the "European idea" untroubled.
This free view can only be sustained by mutual exchange of (producers of) culture. Even if cultural exchange in Europe is considered a leading example as compared with other continents, over the last years changes have taken place that ask for our attention and offer new possibilities of participation for persons and institutions active in the cultural sector.
Opening borders, expansion and friendship with people living in or coming from these "new" countries have enabled us to widen our understanding of culture, or to come to a new definition.
Each regional cultural effort seems worth welcoming attention. However, the term European culture might also serve as integral concept of understanding, just as Europe could be seen more holistically with and through the new political partners. Culture is the one big chance for understanding in a continent of more than 40 nations and more than 100 languages. We, people involved in creating arts, want to contribute to this trans-border understanding!
With overall 6 partners from 5 different nations we draw a bow from Western Europe to Turkey, linking Orient and Occident. Through collaboration with our partners active in different branches we do not only acknowledge their specific cultural background but also their personal notions of Europe.
The topic "networks - participative democracy" is going to gain importance through efforts of a free, peacefully living and well organized society of the 21st century. Reduced (cultural) budgets, respectively the hunt for money and resulting egoism create a situation where a call for sub cultural reaction seems more than necessary. This networking system is to be established soon. A well linked society is able to react decidedly to repressions. The learning partnership is one of the occasions to build up these networks. Yet in order to create a network it is necessary to get a deep insight into the - so far strange - culture of the respective partners. The learning partnership offers the possibility to get in contact with the partners on the spot, in their respective social/political context. Nadine Jessen describes the large gap in the cultural sector, even if by means of festivals and biennals artists and cultural institutions or producers get linked-up:
"A partner like Kampnagel deals with a performance group like God's Entertainment and invites their performances, or works with artists, who also work with hangar in barcelona. But on the structural level there is no point of contact between f.e. Hangar and God's Entertainment. The learning partnerships includes the possibility to coordinate, cooperate between the partners and optimate each participant's situation."

The partnership puts you, so to say, directly on the networks interface, opening up immediate contact with people and institutions concerned. This can be considered as main task: understanding on a sub-cultural level, taking the title "networks - participative democracy" as starting point for a life according to the "European idea"; opening up a network that learns participation from changes in Europe and is able to impart this knowledge.