Voices of Culture

Voices Of Culture is the structured dialogue between the cultural sector in the European Union and the European Commission. It provides a platform for civil society representatives of the cultural sector to give input to the European Commission on a range of topics.

Successful applicants are invited to a Brainstorming Meeting on behalf of their organisation. A Brainstorming Report is produced by participants after the Brainstorming Meeting. This Brainstorming Report is then presented to and discussed with the European Commission at a Dialogue Meeting in Brussels, Belgium.

Voices Of Culture launches regular calls for applications on different topics, which are salient in the policy making process of the European Commission. 

Learn more about the Voices of Culture process and background here

VoC Brainstorming Reports

Culture and Creative Sectors Driving the Green Transition and Facing the Energy Crisis

September 2023

In the report "Culture and Creative Sectors and Industries driving the Green Transition and facing the Energy Crisis", cultural experts analyse ways and opportunities to speed up the green transition and to address the energy crisis in and through the cultural and creative sectors and industries (CCSI).

The three main questions tackled in the report are:

  • How can European policies and programmes support CCSI across Europe to help people envision and build a thriving and enticing world - one in which our diverse ways of living are sustainable, biodiversity is restored, and we are learning new meaning for wellbeing and resilience?
  • How might EU policy, programming, approaches and strategies effectively integrate culture and creativity as a driver of sustainability across other industries, in accordance with the integrated approach of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?
  • What kinds of support and tools are most crucial for accelerating, expanding, and making the process of reducing climate emissions in cultural activities and the CCSI more effective, affordable, sustainable, and in line with Europe's goals for 2030 and 2050?

The report is aimed at both cultural practioners on local and national levels, and policy makers, providing both with useful tools and recommendations for their work.

The EMC was one of the 31 selected organisations (from an Open Call) that participated in the discussion and preparation of the report.

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Youth, Mental Health and Culture

January 2023

Scientific investigations on the impact of culture and the arts on health and wellbeing have resulted in a huge body of knowledge and many activities on the subject. However, the recognition from policymakers and the health and social sector of the essential and systemic role that culture and the arts play in society is still lacking. The Voices of Culture exchange on "Youth, Mental Health and Culture" collected insights, experiences and recommendations on the topic from civil society from the relevant sectors across Europe. The report is aimed at cultural practitioners with examples and good practices but also policymakers with useful tools for their work in these five chapters:

  • Contribution of the cultural and creative sectors to improving the mental health and well-being of young people, at the local and national level.
  • International evidence on the fuction of art and culture in the mental healt of the youth population.
  • Inter-sectoral collaboration to support Youth Mental Health: synergies and innovations.
  • Examples of interventions with robust evidence of successful outcomes, particularly for disadvantaged young people.
  • Conditions for success.

The EMC was one of the 53 selected organisations (from an Open Call) that participated in the discussion and preparation of the report.

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International Cultural Relations

June 2022

In recent years Culture in the EU External Relations has gained a lot of attention in Europe and beyond from various stakeholders – be it institutional, private, civil society, networks, non-state actors etc. to name only a few. The addition and inclusion of culture in the foreign action of the EU, notably by the adoption of a communication towards a strategy for international cultural relations in 2016, provides a policy framework for action.

The report offers a collection of topics, recommendations, tangible steps and project ideas drawn from the Voices of Culture Structured Dialogue on international cultural relations. Four considerations - equity, space, access and time – have been used to address complex topics in international cultural relations. They enhance, within this framework, a more inclusive approach and bring new voices into the co-design of international cultural relations activities and the exploring of funding mechanisms. 

40 participants have been selected by the European Commission to participate in the exchange, including the International Music Council.

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(Re)-Engaging digital audiences in the cultural sectors - Improving audience data

June 2022

The latest Voices of Culture Brainstorming Report on “(Re)-Engaging Digital Audiences in the cultural sectors - improving audience data” was published in June 2022. It results from an online Brainstorming Meeting in December 2021 and a subsequent workshop with the European Commission in April 2022. The report provides guidelines and recommendations to cultural practitioners and policy makers in three main areas:

  • COVID-19 recovery, impact on cultural consumption by digital means and the EU’s role in assisting cultural organisations,
  • Digital audience management and a supportive role for the EU, (3) Aspects of data collection and management with regard to rebuilding and reaching existing and new audiences via digital means.

The EMC was represented by board member Michalis Karakatsanis in this dialouge.

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Status and Working Conditions of Artists and Cultural and Creative Professionals

June 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has put a new urgency on policy makers on national and European level to address the working conditions in the cultural and creative sector. A new Voices of Culture Brainstorming Report on the topic has just been published. This report is the result of a dialogue between representatives of the cultural and creative sector and the European Commission in which the EMC and several of its members were actively involved. In the following five chapters, the report lists a number of recommendations and best practice examples:

  •  Legal status, recognition, social security
  • Fair pay, collective bargaining, intellectual property, flattening income variations, financial support
  • research, lifelong learning, representation, entrepreneurship
  • mobility
  • artistic freedom and freedom of expression

Starting in autumn 2021, representatives of the EU Member States will also discuss this topic through the so-called “Open Method of Coordination” (OMC) over the next years.

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In October 2021, the European Parliament adopted the resolution "The situation of artists and the cultural recovery in the EU" which addresses three main topics: cross-border mobility, copryright income and streaming platforms as well as artistic freedom defence. It also calls on the European Commission to propose a "European Status of the Artist" while respecting the national competences for labour and cultural policy.

“The situation of Artists and Cultural Workers and post-COVID-19 cultural recovery in the EU” is a background analysis implemented by Culture Action Europe for the Culture and Education Committee (CULT) of the European Parliament. It provides an overview of key characteristics of artists’ status across Europe, their working conditions, precariousness and career paths. By summarising the main profiles of the relevant competencies of the EU, this background analysis outlines the legislative and non-legislatives instruments in the EU to adopt a comprehensive policy approach on this topic.

Summary by Culture Action Europe
Full background analysis

In December 2020, the European Commission had published a study on "The status and working conditions of artists and cultural and creative professionals" which was conducted in close collaboration with Culture Action Europe, IETM, On the Move, Pearle* and Freemuse.


Culture and the Sustainable Development Goals: Challenges and Opportunities

February 2021

The ‘Culture and the UN Sustainable Development Goals: Challenges and Opportunities’ Brainstorming Report results from a Brainstorming Meeting organised by Voices of Culture on the 2nd and 3rd of December 2020. This Brainstorming Report was presented to the European Commission in a Dialogue Meeting on the 11 February 2021. The EMC actively participated in both meetings.

The Brainstorming Report focuses on three of the Sustainable Development Goals and outlines recommendations and best practice examples:

• Culture & decent work, economic growth and employment (SDG 8)
• Culture & sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11)
• Culture as a transformational pathway for just transition (SDG 13)

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Gender equality: gender balance in the cultural and creative sectors

September 2019

The dialogue meeting on 'Gender equality: gender balance in the cultural and creative sectors' took place in September 2019. The Brainstorming Report was presented to the European Commission in November 2019. The EMC was actively involved in the Dialogue process.

The topic is further explored with recommendations and best practice examples focused on the following issues:

• Equal access for women to the labour market and leadership positions
• Education and training: gender stereotypes, representation and role models
• An end to sexual violence
• Systemic discrimination demands systemic change

Read the report