Skip main navigation

The experience of EUNIC

Andrew Murray, director of EUNIC tells us the challenges of building cooperation between different national cultural institutes.
I look after what’s called the Global Office of Eunic. And it’s rather like trying to herd cats since each country’s institute has its own particular take on what cultural diplomacy and/or cultural relations is. So what we’re trying to do is find common ground. How can we add value as an association, a club of national institutes for culture, and ministries of culture, and ministries of foreign affairs are interested in culture and external relations. If you look at our statutes, and that’s the most important thing, you’ll see there are several purposes. And the first is to the obvious one– with any club, it’s to share knowledge, and learning, and to basically get together now and again, and chew the cud.
So that’s what we do. We have to general assemblies. The other purposes, though, are a little bit more difficult for some of our members. So for example, one of our purposes is to become a partner of the European Union’s institutions for shaping and delivering cultural policy. And that’s inside and outside the EU. Our third purpose is to support and strengthen an independent cultural sector. That’s proving difficult for some of our members at the moment. I won’t name any names, but it’s obvious who we might talk about. And these purposes, now, are starting to take over from the original purpose, which was just to get together so often and share knowledge and learning.
In particular, the partnership with the institutions, and the key document here, the key, I suppose, moment is in June 2016, when the joint communication on an EU international culture relations strategy was published. And in that document, aside from principles and priorities, was also laid out the partnership for implementing these priorities and principles. And it was a partnership mainly between member states and EU institutions. And here, it was important to acknowledge. And it is acknowledged in the document that competence in this area of culture and education belongs to member states. So what we’re trying to do at the moment is to work out how member states can work with the institutions to implement that strategic approach. It’s not a strategy.
There is no plan. There are principles and approaches, but at the moment, it’s only an approach. So as Eunic, what we’re doing in our clusters– we have clusters of around 105 around the world, 40 or so in the EU, the rest around the world– is to work with delegations, and work in this very grey area of competence. Because we know that delegations could add value to the work of member states. But member states need to cooperate more rather than compete. So what’s happening now, then, are several big contracts are being negotiated in Tunisia and Ukraine, both approaching 20 million each between a delegation and a Eunic cluster to pilot this new approach to international cultural relations for the EU.

Andrew Murray, director of EUNIC, tells us the challenges of building cooperation between different national cultural institutes.

This article is from the free online

Cultural Diplomacy

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now