Productivity of Culture

The ECCM-Network Symposium and The Kids' Guernica Exhibition in 2007

Greek Version (PDF)

October 18th - 19th 2007

Venue: Zappeion Megaron - Athens - Greece

The ECCM Symposium "Productivity of Culture" follows the first ECCM Symposium which took place in Athens 2005.

The focus of the Symposium was the relationship between culture and economy as follow-up to a study on the same subject published by the European Commission. One aim is to verify the contents of that study onhand of experiences made by cities when undertaking to be European Capitals of Culture for one year.

The Symposium included besides discussions about cultural policy and the role of culture as well the new field of cultural planning. Linked to that was a special session on 'dialogue between cultures' and therefore sessions to see what cultural networks can realize in such a world. 

Departing from previous discussions about European Capitals of Culture, such as the one held at the conference "Culture empowers Europe" held in June 2007, a main concern about this designation has become that culture is reduced to an events calendar and used solely for purpose to legitimize investments in cultural infrastructure related projects. At the same time the many vibrant cultures brought about by European Capitals of Culture are not recognized. Here the ECCM Network in its effort to create an archive could do something about this lack of awareness what is achieved during this one year. After the Bob Palmer Report which poses in a most serious manner the question of sustainability after that one year has been completed, there have followed several good reports e.g. Luxembourg 2007 while a new publication by Juergen Mittag from the Institute for Social Movements in Germany has been able to bring together various viewpoints (financial, political, cultural etc.) to tell the story of the European Capitals of Culture anew. 

In anticipation of 2009 being for the European Union the year of 'creativity and innovation' the discussion should have focused more on how culture can facilitate the bringing about a knowledge base as the declared aim of the Lisbon strategy. Here a Symposium with the title 'productivity of culture' wanted to make a start as outlined in a discussion paper by Spyros Mercouris (see session 'culture and economy'), but it was never clarified sufficiently how economic theory, concepts of rationality and dialogue can be linked to the cultural economy. Most important is here what Bart Verschaffel cautioned as philosopher, namely that 'creativity' cannot be planned. 

As to cultural planning and the art of letting culture unfold, it can happen in manifolded ways. Here the history of European Capitals of Culture can indicate how small poetry translations or theatrical performances can open up the local community to the diversity of European cultures. Of interest is as well what dialogue the three cities designated for 2010 have entered, namely Pecs, Essen - Ruhr 2010 and Istanbul.

As to the Kids' Guernica exhibition which took place jointly with the Symposium, there were exhibited from all over the world, including Australia, Afghanistan, Japan, Nepal, USA, Georgia, Turkey-Greece, India, Palestine, Lebanon, Martinique and Greece. All children's peace murals have the same size as Picasso's Guernica (7,8 x 3,5 m). One of these paintings was done by children from Chios, Greece and from Izmir, Turkey. They got together in Izmir to underline the theme of the Symposium, namely dialogue between cultures.

The organization of both the Symposium and the Kids' Guernica exhibition have been realized by the ECCM-Network in co-operation with the Municipality of Athens, the Cultural Centre of Athens, the European Union Club of Athens, the Melina Mercouri Foundation, the NGO Horizons Activities and the Non Profit Urban Society Poiein kai Prattein.

The joint event was made possible by the kind support of the Niarchos and Eugenides Foundations as well as by the Karouzas Construction and Development Company.

All was done thanks to the initiative by Spyros Mercouris, Honorary President of the ECCM-Network in collaboration with Philippos Logothetis from the European Union Club and Anna Arvanitaki, Hatto Fischer and Thomas Economacos from Poiein Kai Prattein.

Topics of the Symposium:



Wednesday 17 October 2007:

Poetry Reading

at Athens Centre
48, Archimidous Street116 36 Athens Greece
organised by the Greek-Irish Society

Thursday 18 October 2007:


Cultural Policy

Opening of the Kids' Guernica Exhibition

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Spyros Mercouris, special advisor to Kids' Guernica

The role of culture

Dialogue between cultures

Cultural Planning

Friday October 19th

Culture and Economy

Presentation of the European Cultural Capitals

Network of Networks - the global dimension of culture



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