A memorable year comes to an end.

A year that changed Europe in a way not seen since 1989. The war has replaced the pandemic as people’s main concern, and we are seeing an increasing number of in-presence meetings and events which might be seen as an indication that the continent is gradually entering a kind of post-covid phase.

Advocating with partners

Among these in-presence meetings and events, some of the most prominent ones take usually place in November – not only the AEC Annual Congress but also the ELIA Biennial which was this year held in Helsinki. The event provided an opportunity to further consolidate the intense collaboration between the sister organisations ELIA and AEC and to showcase some outcomes of this long-standing and successful partnership. In a panel, in which also the Society of Artistis Research (SAR) was involved, the status of our joint efforts to improve the recognition of artistic research was presented. A breakthrough in this matter was not achieved in a first attempt, and the meeting in Helsinki was a good opportunity to discuss how to proceed.

The AEC Chief Executive was also involved in another panel which was entitled ‘European Policy and Funding‘ and provided the opportunity to discuss the needs and concerns of the Arts HE sector with representatives of the European Commission. The key document this session referred to was the European Strategy for Universities published by the European Commission in January 2022, which is meant to support and enable universities to adapt to current challenges, so they can contribute to Europe’s resilience and recovery. In this context, the session was also about, on the one hand, presenting the specific needs of the music and music HEI’s sector to the Commission, and on the other hand, bundling forces across art disciplines.

Work Plan for Culture 2023-2026 endorsed by the Ministers of Culture & Education

When a year comes to its end, almost as reliably as the opening of the Christmas market, a meeting of the EU member states’ ministers for Culture and Education takes place in Brussels. The agenda of this year’s meeting included the endorsement of the European Commission’s new Work Plan for Culture 2023-2026, which had been developed under the Czech Council Presidency. The plan recommends 21 concrete actions to be implemented by 2026 with the support of member states. Some of these measures relate to specific art sectors and disciplines and are not relevant to the music and HME sectors. Some other measures confirm priorities which have been set earlier, but are not new per se, such as ‘Artistic freedom’ and ‘Stimulating the green transition of the cultural and creative sectors‘.

The catalogue of actions, however, also includes some topics that deserve to be highlighted here, not least because they are closely related to the topics that AEC is addressing as part of its current Creative Europe project ARTEMIS: ‘Culture and promoting democracy: towards cultural citizenship in Europe‘ (obviously inspired by the Porto Santo Charter), ‘Culture and health’, ‘The role of culture and cultural professionals in the promotion and defence of democracy and human rights in fragile contexts’.

Upcoming public consultation as part of the Erasmus+ 2021-27 interim evaluation

As part of the evaluations of the current EU funding programmes which are regularly organised by the European Commission, a public consultation is scheduled for the first half of 2023 at the halfway point of the Erasmus+ programme period 2021-27. AEC’s partner organisation European University Association (EUA) designed and launched a survey on the occasion of this public consultation to ensure that the experiences of higher education institutions are reflected in this interim report in an appropriate and structured way. Please feel welcome and encouraged to participate in this survey. The more Music HEIs participate and fill out the questionnaire, the more we learn about Music HEIs’ particular experiences and needs. The results of the survey will be made public on the EUA website before this feedback round will be closed in June/July 2023.

More information about this survey and how to take part can be found here.