The Hungarian ENCC member “Kulturális Központok Országos Szövetsége (KKOSZ)” in cooperation with ENCC organised the Shortcut Europe 2008 entitled “Cultural Vitality – Mapping Europe”. Defining cultural vitality as “evidence of creating, disseminating, validating, and supporting arts and culture as a dimension of everyday life in communities” (Jackson/ Kabwasa-Green/ Herranz 2006, p. 4).
ENCC dedicated this conference to the following key questions:
- What differs in cultural policies from one member state to another in terms of supporting local cultural and community centres?
- Are cultural and community centres sufficiently recognized through national cultural policies? What kind of development can be observed?
- Do cultural centres influence cultural policies and vice versa?
- What do cultural centres expect from their national cultural policies?
- Given the above mentioned inclusive definition, cultural vitality is about opportunities and support systems for cultural participation. Is cultural vitality taken into consideration when it comes to policy discussions and decision making?
- What is the role of culturally vital communities in bringing European citizens closer together in daily life?
Since Pécs considers itself as the gate of the Balkans, and Essen, Istanbul and Pécs are going to be the European Capitals of Culture in 2010, the conference organisers used the opportunity to talk about cultural cooperation and cultural vitality even beyond the current borders of the European Union.