Photo credit: Brice Robert
Five years have gone by since we first embarked on the We are Europe journey. Together, we have given hundreds of artists and speakers the opportunity to perform, share ideas and connect through our events. We have also witnessed a period of profound political, social and cultural transformation throughout the world. This renewal is all around us — it has an impact on our daily lives, what we see on the news, our view of the world, our cultural practices and our activities.
As cultural actors, we must address and respond to these changes. We have a duty to reflect on our activities, practices, events and, most importantly, to amplify the voices of those who are fighting for fairer societies. With this in mind, we have decided to launch a media platform to report on the cultural transformations that are shaping the Europe of tomorrow.
An independent media platform to create new possibilities for the future
When we first discussed this idea back in 2018, our aim was to be able to support our events beyond geographical and temporal limits. We wanted to pursue our activities all year round and to give a platform to Europe’s most inspiring change-makers. As we write, the global health emergency and prolonged ban on mass gatherings have only served to make this project even more relevant.
The artistic and cultural sectors face many challenges in these unprecedented times. Political discourse often dismisses creativity and creation either as mere expressions of soft power or as “non-essential” to our societies. But decades spent organising events have taught us otherwise. Culture is what binds people together. And more than that, it empowers citizens to resist the pre-established rules and to come together to reinvent their future.
We have a responsibility to support artistic creation, communities and activists. We must make their voices heard to a wider audience, and never more so than the present, when all of us are in need of alternative narratives to believe in. This is what we want our media platform to be used for.
What we are presenting today is, for now, only a prototype. It is a framework upon which to experiment, to learn and to bend the rules. We intend to use this digital space to explore the topics that we believe are key to reshaping the future of Europe. We want to highlight new narratives, untold stories and emerging voices.
We will also use our events to build bridges with local and physical realities. As passionate as we are about new technologies, we know that virtual communication can never replace physical interaction. Encouraging environmentally responsible travel around Europe and further afield remains one of our main priorities, as does creating accessible spaces for citizens to connect and share their views.
Reinventing the European project through its communities
We are part of a continent that is made up of a multitude of cultures and languages. Beyond our borders and singularities, we share a common history and political aspirations. We want to believe in a European project defined by democratic values, social justice, peace and freedom.
In 2019, we launched the Faces of We are Europe, an annual selection aimed at identifying and shedding light on the figures that we believe best embody the future of Europe. They represent a generation of new activists and change makers who work tirelessly to challenge the rules of the game.
Developing a media platform is an opportunity to strengthen the community that we have created. We aim to collaborate with writers, contributors and cutting-edge creators from diverse cultural backgrounds and countries to tell underreported stories. We hope that such wide-scale cooperation will not only facilitate the better circulation of ideas throughout the continent but also cement bonds between generations and territories.
We are Europe only if we stand together for a more diverse, cultural, thoughtful and open European society.
Last but not least: how?
Multiple storytelling formats. We enjoy reading features, but we also love watching videos and listening to podcasts. We want to experiment with multimedia narratives, ensuring that every story is told in the best way possible.
Opportunities to engage with a wider community. Communities have always played an essential role in our activities. Finding ways to develop community engagement, both physically and online, remains one of our top priorities.
A variety of topics, ranging from club culture to the challenges facing democracy. Our content is structured around seven collections, based on topics that we believe are key to changing our societies: Beyond the City, Arts, Agora Europe, Nightivism, Cyber Space, Planet: Reconnect and Culture: Reset!.
We are Europe is a Creative Europe cooperation project launched in 2015 and powered by c/o pop Festival & Convention, Elevate, Insomnia, Nuits sonores & European Lab, Reworks Festival & Reworks Agora, Sónar & Sónar+D, TodaysArt and Unsound.