Identity, diversity and politics

Report from subcommittee
”Identity, diversity and
Bruges, 16 November 2002

I. A dynamic approach to cultural diversity

In the era of globalisation, the concept of diversity cannot solely be
perceived as regarding entities of nations, even though culture plays an
essential role in nation-building. Today, cultural diversity takes the form of
multifaceted exchange.

This multifaceted exchange may be a source of mutual enrichment, where the
national culture flourishes. However, it can also establish a centre-periphery
relationship between stronger and weaker cultures. The forces of creativity can
strike a balance between two trends. A “Swedish plate (“Smörgasbord”)” can be
used as a metaphor for this situation of equilibrium. On this plate elements
from various cultures can be brought together in order to create a contemporary
identity, respective of the cultural diversity. The possibilities for choosing
and putting together this “plate” must be real and functioning.

II. How is this dynamic approach to cultural diversity facilitated in
Europe today?

Not in a satisfactory way, therefore
some concrete proposals for

- An open Internet portal permitting European cultural exchange.

- Books, or rather forms of media, on European issues, also controversial
issues and issues related to minority cultures (e.g. industrialisation,
urbanisation, the art nouveau movement) made in a truly European context and
thus permitting a sharing of knowledge and a shared understanding of our

- A system of travelling European “ambassadors” in various fields (e.g. fine
arts, archaeology).

- The parallel teaching of European history with national history should be
integrated in the national educational systems.

- Support to translation of literary works and to intensified exchanges in
the domain of performing arts.

- The creation of an MTV for European literature

- The opening up of cultural distribution networks to works from weaker or
peripheral cultures. This concerns especially the art forms with a large public

- Cultural personalities, including the Members of the Cultural Parliament,
cooperating closer with media in order to strengthen the role of arts and
culture in regions and countries and in the debate on European cooperation.

- Encouraging “cultural bridges” and informal networks between independent
artists in various regions and countries.


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