Weimar is the European City of Culture in 1999. This provides an opportunity to take up and develop an initiative which first came to life in 1996 as part of Copenhagen’s European City of Culture program: Shortcut Europe.
The aim of Shortcut Europe 1999 is to make visible and promote dialogue among those cultural projects and initiatives which across Europe are mainly based in Cultural Houses, Socio-Cultural Centers, Social Action Centers, Community Centers, Maisons de la Culture and other similar institutions. Since the 1970s these houses and centers have developed a specific working approach which makes social issues a priority and attempts to link artistic production and reception with everyday experience and environments. Despite many differences, they all share the belief that culture also includes the way in which we communicate with our fellow citizens, how we cooperate and how we deal with conflicts.
By focusing on „Culture and Conflict“ we have decided to pick up on a theme which also received a great deal of attention in the previous Shortcut program in Copenhagen: the relationship between culture and democracy. In Weimar we will above all address the requirements and goals of the kind of culture and cultural work which is dedicated to democratic principles and which contributes not only to overcoming prejudice, discrimination and conflicts but also to developing tolerance, creativity and curiosity.
Shortcut Europe 1999 will combine specialist contributions and discussion with the presentation of useful practical models in order to identify what experiences have been gathered in dealing with social conflict in socio-cultural institutions. The possibilities of cultural intervention will be investigated along a variety of lines of conflict such as changes in social and working life, growing racism, and the emergence of new youth cultures. With this goal in mind, „best practice“ projects will be presented - projects that are already successfully working at social flash points and can therefore point the way to a culture of conflict. New and innovative working models developed in many European countries often go ignored because too little attention is drawn to them. The Shortcut conference will enable us to learn more from each other and thus help to pave the way for future cultural cooperation in Europe.
Shortcut Europe 1999 is directed at:
- Men and women who work in Cultural Houses, Socio-Cultural Centers, Social Action Centers, Community Centers, Maisons de la Culture and other similar projects
- Representatives of politics, administration, culture, social and youth affairs, education and urban development
- Press and media
- Organisations and institutions involved in European and international cultural exchange
- Representatives of science and research
WHAT YOU SHOULD LOOK FORWARD TO at "Shortcut Europe 1999"
At the end of the century and going into the new millennium, there are new challenges facing cultural politics. People engaged in cultural politics and the creation of culture will report from a range of European countries, offering stimulating ideas and facing up to critical dialogue.
Shortcut means taking the direct path to communication and understanding. Roundtable discussions and workshops will help to intensify the exchange of ideas and provide an opportunity for cross-border dialogue.
Best-practice projects successfully working along lines of social and cultural conflict will be presented. Model socio-cultural projects from a total of eight European countries will present the results of their work and cultural intervention..
Shortcut will enable you to visit local cultural centers in Weimar and the surrounding region: 10 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall - what changes have there been in cultural life in eastern Germany?
Within the framework of the "Frankenstein" Theater Festival, Theaterhof Priessenthal, one of Germany's leading independent theater groups, will perform their play "Brother Frankenstein", a journey through time and the madness of everyday life.
Who is organising the conference?
Fonds Soziokultur is organising the conference in cooperation with Bundesvereinigung sozio-kultureller Zentren, Kulturpolitische Gesellschaft and Landesarbeitsgemeinschaft Soziokultureller Zentren Thüringen.