Welcome to Week 3

In week 1 and 2 we have looked at the different definitions and practices of cultural diplomacy as well as at the actors that take part in international cultural relations both within and beyond states. We have illustrated the role of international organisations, but also of cities and regions as para-diplomatic actors that develop networks and activities at the international level taking part in their country’s cultural diplomacy. We have also looked at how companies can influence cultural diplomacy.

This week we focus on the European Union, highlighting its new strategy of cultural diplomacy. We discuss the origins of this strategy and how it has evolved in terms of ambition and mandate. We discuss its objectives and the main actors involved as well as the activities they can put in place. Most importantly we shed light to the tensions that (may) exist between the national and the European level of cultural diplomacy. Reviewing briefly the oldest and largest national cultural institutes (the British Council, the Institut Français and the Goethe Institut), and the cultural strategies of member states and those at the EU level, we highlight whether there can be synergies between the national and the European level, or whether competition is unavoidable. We analyze specific cases such as the role of the European Union Network of Cultural Institutes (EUNIC) and its cluster initiatives, the role of cultural and arts festivals, like Manifesta, as well as the role of cultural policy programmes, such as the Creative Europe programme, we highlight the strengths and limitations of a European strategy for cultural diplomacy in the 21st century.

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Cultural Diplomacy

European University Institute (EUI)

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