The Working Group Youth of the European Music Council held a highly successful European Forum on Music entitled Access! in Turin, Italy from 15th-17th October 2010. The more than sixty participants from all corners of Europe, mostly in their twenties, agreed that this was an invaluable opportunity to network and learn from one another. They shared their concerns and ideas for the future of the European music sector in a series of interactive workshops and worked together towards producing a European Agenda for Youth and Music.
The forum was opened by two inspiring young keynote speakers: cellist and pioneer of contemporary music Peter Gregson (23, from the United Kingdom) and Zuhal Sultan music activist and founder of the National Youth Orchestra of Iraq (20, from Iraq). Next up was an introduction to European youth policy and music given by Antoine Mertzeisen from the European Youth Forum and Kate Declerck from Jeunesses Musicales International. The first day was rounded off by a concert presented by hosts Feniarco, the Italian Choral Association, at the Conservatoire Giuseppe Verdi. This featured local young musicians as well as guest Jennifer Port, harpist and singer from Live Music Now Scotland. Another musical highlight was provided by the local youth choir Coro G in a performance during the guided city tour they gave participants on Saturday.
A wide range of workshopswere offered to participants covering themes such as cultural policy, music education, arts management, branding and digital strategies, and music and social change. The European Music Café, which took place in the evening, gave all participants and speakers a chance to get to know each other and further discuss issues raised in the forum, whilst enjoying a varied musical programme including young Italian musicians, the musical results of the workshops, and a jam session, all in the beautiful setting of a palazzo!
The last morning was dedicated to the European Agenda for Youth and Music with participants presenting the results of the workshops and addressing the issues which are important for young people involved in music today in further small group discussions. The results were collated and will form the core of the Manifesto for Youth and Music in Europe which will be disseminated widely to ensure that policy makers, institutions and individuals take into account the needs of the young people who will be shaping the future of the European cultural sphere.
I went to the European Youth Forum on Music expecting to enter an inspirational environment and that's exactly what I got. The diversity of people attending this forum triggered our brains into rethinking issues and reconsidering beliefs.
For me participating in "Access" was helpful to realize that we are not the only ones thinking about the role of music and youth in the 21st century. It was nice to get new impulses for our work, especially through discussing the topic of how better access to music can be achieved in our future society.
Access! is a unique platform to meet people with same interests, to share ideas on music and youth and to gain inspiration for your own activities. It is a chance for everybody who feels engaged to join forces in order to move something in the field of youth and music.
Attending the first European Youth Forum on Music gave me a warm and inspired feeling that lasted for a long time after I came home. It was impressive to experience the power, energy and capabilities of a group of young people, united by their love for music. Youth and music, a very powerful combination!