During the Fall of 2021, the 12 Amplify hubs each met in participatory workgroups to collaboratively write a recommendation to submit to the Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE) digital platform. The multilingual and digital CoFoE platform is the central hub to collect visions and ideas from people on the Future of Europe. These contributions will determine the topics addressed at the Citizens’ Panels, a key feature of CoFoE. Citizens’ Panels convene 800 randomly chosen Europeans to jointly think about the future they want for the European Union. Through working sessions occurring now until early 2022, these panels will meet to discuss the key topics and ideas from the CoFoE online platform and present the outcome of their discussions and debate them with other participants in the Conference Plenary.
After the Amplify Hub Recommendations were published in early October, they were shared across CAE and member networks on a Day of Action in order to gain public support and dialogue around the contributions from each country. Over 300 participants contributed to the Amplify recommendation-writing process. The methodology for CoFoE indicates that one important metric used to synthesise ideas from the platform is the number of endorsements and comments made with the posts made there.
In December 2021, Culture Action Europe produced “Centre Culture in the Future of Europe,” a document synthesising all 12 hub contributions into one Amplify Collective Recommendation. This document first presents the key focus areas of the issues that project participants discussed as most affecting underrepresented communities across Europe. The recommendations were developed to address these key focus areas. Also included in the full document are “Explanatory Notes,” which provide background information from the Amplify Hubs regarding how each recommendation was developed.
Since the Amplify Day of Action, the CoFoE organizers have released two interim reports for the conference, which collect the recommendations submitted to the CofoE platform and analyse them in order to serve as input into the work of the European Citizens’ Panels and the Conference Plenary.
In the third interim report, which covers contributions up to 3 November 2021, culture and the creative sector finally gained mention within the “Education, culture, youth and sport” topic. “Creative Professionals” was added to the list of key themes synthesized from submissions within this topic. Under this theme, the report points to the Amplify Portugal Hub in the discussion about the professionalisation of cultural workers. The Slovenia Hub’s recommendation was linked to as an example of conversations regarding support for organisations that operate at the local level and the establishment of an integrated system of national and regional co-financing that would facilitate more international cultural cooperation. One final idea regarding the cultural and creative sectors focused on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the working conditions of cultural practitioners, as well as creative communities, which linked to the European Committee of the Region’s call for a ”status for the European artist” and a legal framework covering the health and safety of all cultural workers and artists in their working environment.
The Amplify project was also mentioned as a featured event, linking the Amplify Press Launch, the Portugal Hub’s second Amplify Session, and the Slovenia Hub’s opening event as examples of the diversity of the sub-topics that are included on the CoFoE digital platform.
On 21 December, CAE hosted “Amplify Crossroads,” an informal networking event for participants of the Amplify project to meet other participants across the 12 Amplify countries.
Participants had the opportunity to share their work and upcoming projects in an agora-style setting. Rocío Nogales Muriel, a participant from the Spain Hub, gave a short presentation about her organisation, ” her organisation Red de Espacios y Agentes de Cultura Comunitaria (REACC, Network of Community Culture Spaces and Agents). REACC is a network of more than 200 professionals of community-based culture all around Spain who are embedded in a unique ecosystem of diverse territories, spaces, and communities the primary agents of culture. Rocío shared REACC’s Manifiesto en defensa de la cultura comunitaria, sus gentes y sus espacios (Manifesto in defence of community culture, its people and its spaces). which calls to “raise our voices against the threat to community culture which generates well-being, social innovation, rights and a dignified future for all people.”
Maarten de Groot, affiliated with Citizens Takeover Europe (CTE), joined the Amplify Crossroads meeting to share how the organisation is monitoring the Conference on the Future of Europe process. In their recent campaign #InclusiveCoFoENow, over 50 civil society organisations (including Culture Action Europe) signed an open letter to make an appeal “that the voices of marginalised communities are prevented from being silenced and can be included at the centre of the Conference, and in the debate and decision-making on the future of Europe.” Through their organising work, CTE has been calling for the explicit, credible and sustained effort of implementing strategically inclusive and equitable practices in the Conference process in order to anchor the role of inclusivity in the future of Europe.
Lastly, Juan Delgado, founder of Qistena, joined the gathering to share information about his organisation, which focuses on preserving the cultural and oral heritage of communities affected by conflict and displacement. Recently, Qiseta contributed to the Amplify project by sharing their work engaging with local communities across the UK, Sweden, Turkey and beyond, in cultural events to encourage host communities to learn about the newcomers, their culture and identity. To read more about how Qisetna and their partners are working to engage displaced communities in the preservation of their cultural heritage, read their Amplify contribution here.