Nowadays, the city - the metropolis - is a local and physical centre where different cultures are present and come into contact with each other. Part of the artistic scene deliberately opts to enter into a dialogue with this local urban environment in creating new artistic products.
Since the bankruptcy of the established ideals which used to determine the direction of society, socio-cultural work has constantly been searching for new paths and a conclusive legitimacy. It hopes to find this legitimacy exactly by entering into a relationship with art and with this diversified urban environment.
Therefore, the artistic world increasingly enters a field which has always been considered to be the domain of socio-cultural work, namely the field of dialogue, which involves the starting and maintaining of processes with the city and its inhabitants. In its search for a new legitimacy, the socio-cultural world, for its part, nourishes ever higher running expectations of the artistic scene.
Despite this apparent overlapping, which creates a potential meeting point, both the artistic and the socio-cultural field are inclined to maintain a physical and social distance. Each has its own identity and its own physical working area.
The attempt to build bridges between the artistic and the socio-cultural field in an urban context is the main theme of Shortcut Europe 2000.
The central questions are clear:
- Is it possible for artists and socio-cultural workers to come to terms over working in and with the city? Can the objectives of both fields be reconciled? Are they partners in an urban context? Can they offer each other a surplus value? Or is this merely a fleeting trend ?
- What is the social surplus value (community building) of socio-artistic initiatives?
- What does 'active participation' in artistic events actually mean? Is increasing cultural competence equal to social participation? Or is it only one of the key instruments in the range of socio-cultural instruments?
- What is the contribution of artistic elements in the development of an urban identity? For the inhabitants? For the artists?
- How does one translate the encounter between socio-cultural work and the artistic field into a future-oriented urban cultural policy?
The serie of Shortcut meetings aims at making the variety of socio-cultural activities in Europe transparent, promoting the exchange of experience and facilitating communication between cultural centres in different European countries. The aim is to bring together participants from throughout Europe to discuss the possibilities of cultural intervention and the requirements of today’s cultural work which is dedicated to democratic principles and which contributes to combating social and cultural exclusion.
Shortcut is a recurring international meeting without its own organizational structure. A local institution of the Guest city takes it upon itself to coordinate the events and to create partnerships for the duration of the event.