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Cultures and Identities in Europe

What does it mean to be European? Discover European cultures, identities and policies with this course.

18,324 enrolled on this course

Cultures and Identities in Europe
This course is part of the Exploring Culture and Heritage program, which will enable you to discover the importance of culture and heritage.

Get a greater understanding of Europe and its people

What is European identity? What do we understand and promote as European culture? On this course you will answer these questions and others as you critically consider the formation of diverse identities and cultures in Europe.

You will explore fundamental European policies on culture, creativity and the media, and shed light on the importance of memories and shared heritage. You will also look at the policy behind European cultural and media industries and question current approaches to cultural creativity that rely heavily on economics.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 12 seconds What is European culture today, and which are the elements that compose this unique mixture? Elements from Europe’s past– wars and conflicts, scientific achievements and inventions, philosophies and political theories, religions and ideologies, traditional cultural expressions– are surely fundamental. But other elements also enrich the mixture– lesser-known languages, local customs, minority cultures, migrant communities’ traditions, and new forms of art. Institutions and policies intervene in this process and contribute to the shaping of contemporary European culture.

Skip to 1 minute and 4 seconds This MOOC will provide you with the necessary tools to understand what is nowadays a European culture and a European identity and how they relate to the many that exist at national and local levels in Europe. You will learn how institutions and policies shape European culture, as well as how the cultural heritage of Europe can be mobilised to generate new forms of art to produce cultural goods and to set up new industries.

Skip to 1 minute and 37 seconds Don’t miss this opportunity. Join us in this revealing journey from the past through the present and to the future of Europe.


  • Week 1

    European Identities

    • Welcome to the course

      Get to know the main objectives of the course, meet the educators and introduce yourself!

    • What is Europe?

      How can European identities and cultures be defined? Let's give some conceptual background before launching the discussion.

    • Diversity in Europe

      Diversity is at the basis of European identity. Learn about the different dimensions of European diversity, its challenges, and how it has been integrated in the European project.

    • Week 1 wrap up

      Let's sum up the main points discussed this week on European identities and culture

  • Week 2

    European memory and heritage

    • European memories

      Learn about how Europeans represent their past and how this has evolved over time. We will discuss about the challenges of shaping a European memory that is inclusive towards diverse communities

    • Constructing European heritage

      What do heritage institutions tell us about European culture? Taking distance from a "grand narrative" on European culture, a greater number of institutions are striving to adopt a bottom-up perspective.

    • Week 2 wrap up

      Let's sum up what we learned on the way memory and heritage contribute to the construction of European identity

  • Week 3

    European creativity

    • Cultural industries in Europe

      What are cultural industries and why has it become so important in European policies over the last ten years? Let's discuss the importance of the economic discourse in European cultural policies nowadays.

    • Urban creativity

      European cities are at the forefront of creativity policies. Let's discuss why and how cities are trying to promote their creative sector and why some observers are critical about the notion of "creative city"

    • Cultural creativity and European Futures

      How can creativity be approached beyond an economic perspective? We will discuss the future of cultural policies in Europe

    • Week 3 wrap up

      Let's sum up what we learned this week on creativity and cultural policies in Europe

    • Wrap up of the course

      Let's sum up the main ideas covered and points discussed in the course

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

Learning on this course

You can take this self-guided course and learn at your own pace. On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Engage with current debates on what is 'European identity', what is 'European culture', and what it means to talk of them in the singular or the plural (cultures, identities).
  • Explain the relationship between notions of identity, memory, heritage, and culture.
  • Interpret main approaches to cultural heritage and the public use of history.
  • Identify European policies in the media and cultural sector.
  • Discuss critical approaches to cultural industries.

Who is the course for?

This course is for anyone interested in European culture, but will be of particular interest to those working in the arts, culture and heritage.

Who will you learn with?

Jeremie Molho is Research Fellow at the European University Institute and the National University of Singapore

Anna Triandafyllidou is Canada Excellence Research Chair in Migration and Integration at Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada.

Who developed the course?

European University Institute (EUI)

The European University Institute offers doctoral and post-doctoral training in the social sciences. It hosts the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies and the Historical Archives of the EU.

Global Governance Programme

One of the flagship programmes at the European University institute (EUI), launched in 2010 in response to a growing need for global governance in an ever more interconnected and multipolar world.

Join this course

Start this course for free, upgrade for extra benefits, or buy Unlimited to access this course and hundreds of other short courses for a year.



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  • Access to this course for 5 weeks



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  • Access to this course for as long as it’s on FutureLearn
  • Access to this course’s tests as well as a print and digital Certificate of Achievement once you’re eligible


$189.99 for one year

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Find out more about upgrades or Unlimited.

Available until 22 November 2021 at 23:59 (UTC). T&Cs apply.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps, but you can complete them as quickly or slowly as you like
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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