Global Cultural Relations Programme
13 Dec 2021

It’s a wrap: what we’ve learned from GCRP 2021

“The GCRP has exceeded all my expectations. It has been such a transformative experience to be able to bring our whole selves to the table, to be dreamers and shakers at the same time. Thanks for the inclusive design and thoughtful organisation ot the programme… It has been truly empowering and constructively disruptive for us all”

Veronka Köver, GCRP participant 2021, Germany

From 15 to 30 November, we brought together 59 cultural innovators and changemakers from 49 countries to collaborate, share skills and ideas, and develop their international networks for our Global Cultural Relations Programme 2021. It was an inspiring and energising experience, for the Cultural Relations Platform team as well as the participants. Here are some of the things we took away from the programme.

Be provocative

This year, our Global Cultural Relations Programme explored how we can respond to the new normal in international cultural relations and opened with a provocation from Emmy award-winning filmmaker Lisa Russell. She explored power and privilege and encouraged the participants to take this opportunity to create new narratives for international cultural relations.  

“Local contexts were brought in beautifully to address cultural challenges across the globe.”

Pravali Vangeti, GCRP participant 2021, India

Be disruptive

Our participants agreed that international cultural relations can be an important tool to tackle the challenges we face. Together, they outlined key themes they wanted to address and after day three, broke off into groups to discuss the themes they were most interested in and develop ideas for collaborative, international cultural projects.

Many of these projects sought to challenge existing power structures and take a creative approach to the biggest issues facing the world today. These included the climate crisis, decolonisation, opening up mobility opportunities to the Global South, the Sustainable Development Goals and overcoming language barriers.

In the last two days of the programme, they pitched their projects to their peers.

Be creative

The Global Cultural Relations Programme wouldn’t be what it is without the energy, creativity and enthusiasm of our participants. Aged 24 – 39, they came from countries around the world and from various sectors including performing arts, music, audio visual, cultural heritage and visual arts, bringing a variety of perspectives and experiences. Read all about them here.

We also had some brilliant facilitators who helped us take the programme online for the first time: Emma Jayne Park and Anton Nielsen Bjerg. Together with Sue Kay, who has been involved with the programme since it began in 2016, they helped us all to think creatively and collaboratively despite our geographical distance.  

“It’s inspiring how people who were perfect strangers until a couple of weeks ago found the way to work together and unite around a common cause or project.” 

Eleonora Sermoneta, GCRP participant 2021, Canada/Italy

This isn’t the end!

This isn’t the end of the journey for the GCRP 2021 participants: all of them will have the opportunity to develop their project ideas with our team, and to join our group of GCRP alumni from around the world to collaborate and share ideas.

We regularly collaborate with our alumni, and give them the opportunity to connect with the European Union and engage with its diverse representatives and programmes worldwide. Find out more about what our alumni have achieved so far.

“It has been a great pleasure being part of GCRP 2021. Through the programme, I got the chance to discuss big questions in the field of international cultural relations, and to develop a project that focuses on art in rural areas. Looking forward to see plans happening on the ground.”

Taghreed Almadani, GCRP participant 2021, Saudi Arabia

GCRP 2022 isn’t far away

We’re happy to announce that the next edition of the Global Cultural Relations Programme will take place in May 2022.

If you’d like to apply for GCRP 2022, you can find out more about the programme here. Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter to be among the first to know when we launch our call for applications.