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Jaarverslag European Cultural Foundation

19 september 2016, 10:00
Jaarverslag European Cultural Foundation
Jaarverslag European Cultural Foundation
Director’s Report
The ambition of the European Cultural Foundation (ECF) is to catalyse, connect and amplify ideas and the people behind them that are creating cultural change across Europe and beyond. Our goal is to strengthen the key role culture can play in the health of our communities and the future of Europe.
The connection between local activities supported by ECF and their relevance or contribution to the rest of Europe may seem tenuous. But one only has to look at an example, say from Solin, Croatia, to get an idea of the impact of the cultural initiatives we support. In Solin, one visionary change-maker called Antonija Eremut had the idea of transforming an abandoned quarry into a cultural performance space – working with and for local citizens. ECF recognised the potential of her idea. We invited Antonija to attend our Connected Action for the Commons Idea Camp in 2014, she was awarded one of our R&D grants and by the end of 2015 a citizen-led initiative called Majdan Solin! had taken flight. With the support of the local municipality, Majdan Solin! are now full partners in a multi-year EU URBACT programme. ECF’s support nurtured a seed that allowed Antonija’s idea to flourish.
In 2015, ECF brought 50 idea makers like Antonija together in our latest Idea Camp in Botkyrka, Sweden, and awarded 25 new R&D grants that are seeding equally innovative ideas. This unique programme – along with others such as our Tandem programme, STEP Beyond Travel Grants, Connected Action for the Commons network and knowledge exchanges on ECF Labs – witness the burgeoning network of people-driven community change realised through engaged cultural actions.
We cannot do this work alone and there are many partners who share our commitment to strengthening and empowering civil society. ECF supports change-making initiatives through open calls but also through targeted partnerships. In total, 43% of our expenditure – or €2,715,900 – was distributed through grants and partnerships in 2015.
ECF is hugely grateful for our invaluable sustained partnership with the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, which, through lottery support, has made much of our work possible over the past years. In 2015 changes in the lotteries resulted in diminished resources. ECF needed to tighten our belt and find savings and efficiencies – which we did without reducing our financial contribution to grantees. In the longer term, in order to meet our ambitions, we will continue to build revenue sources beyond the lotteries in the Netherlands, which amounted to 29% of our income in 2015.
As ECF looks towards a new four-year plan (2017-2020), our work in 2016 will both evaluate and reflect on the current plan – Connecting Culture, Communities and Democracy – and take a long-term view of the role ECF can and must play in ensuring that culture creates a space where we can negotiate, understand and live alongside one another. In a world of increasing fragmentation, our focus will be on how we can connect people and communities across Europe and how we can work together to create a better future – inclusive of all voices and perspectives. We look forward to continuing to work with our partners and to widening and diversifying our collaborations in future to make our vision a reality.
Görgün Taner and Katherine Watson
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