Voices of Culture ‒ Structured Dialogue between the European Commission and the cultural sector provides a framework for discussions between EU civil society stakeholders and the European Commission with regard to culture. It aims to strengthen the advocacy capacity of the cultural sector in policy debates on culture at European level, while encouraging it to work in a more collaborative way.

To find out more about what the European Commission does in the field of culture, click here.

Voices of Culture will focus on five themes until the end of 2016:
The same process will be applied for each theme as follows:

1. Brainstorming Session

About 35 representatives from civil society in the EU Member States will convene in different European cities to discuss one of the topics in a Brainstorming Session. These representatives will be selected after responding to a call for applications and on the basis of achieving representation from a diverse range of interests and a broad geographical spread.

2. Brainstorming Report

The report of the Brainstorming Session will summarise core ideas gathered during the meeting and messages to be conveyed. All Brainstorming Reports will be made available on this website.

3. Dialogue Meetings

A number of participants of the Brainstorming Session will have the opportunity to meet the European Commission at a Dialogue Meeting in Brussels. The aim is to present and discuss the outcomes and key messages resulting from the Brainstorming.


    In 2007, the European Agenda for Culture, adopted by the Commission, set out three strategic objectives, namely the promotion of cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue, the promotion of culture as a catalyst for creativity and the promotion of culture as a vital element in the Union's international relations. It also introduced two tools for cooperation in the field of culture at EU level: the Open Method of Coordination (OMC) with EU Member States and a Structured Dialogue (SD) with civil society.

    Under the OMC, experts from ministries of culture and national cultural institutions meet five to six times over a 1.5 year period to share good practice and produce policy manuals or toolkits, which are shared widely throughout Europe. Within this framework, EU Member States exchange information on how they design policies and funding schemes. This form of cooperation, referred to as the Open Method of Coordination, is used in many policy areas.

    Through the Structured Dialogue, the Commission maintains a regular dialogue with civil society. During this process, stakeholders provide key ideas and messages that can also be shared with the relevant OMC experts. This dialogue with the culture sector provides a framework for exchanging views and information, and ensures that the voice of civil society organisations is heard.

    From 2008 to 2013, the Structured Dialogue has been made up of two complementary strands: the European Culture Forums and the Civil Society Culture Platforms (Intercultural Europe; Access to Culture; Cultural and Creative Industries).

    The Forums will continue to be organised by the European Commission every two years, with the next edition taking place on 14-15 October. However, as of 2015, the second strand of the Structured Dialogue is taking another form, with the launch of Voices of Culture. This consists of Brainstorming Sessions involving a variety of stakeholders, to be identified for each topic through calls for applications. Two or three topics will be discussed each year.



      The European Commission has selected, through an open call for tenders launched in 2014, a consortium composed of the Goethe Institut, ELIA and Flagey, to contribute to the implementation of Voices of Culture process, through the organisation of the meetings, the drafting of the Brainstorming Reports summarising the stakeholders' core ideas, etc.

      The Goethe-Institute (GI) is the international cultural institute of the Federal Republic of Germany, and operates worldwide.
      ELIA is the leading independent network organisation for higher arts education institutions, representing all art disciplines.
      Flagey is a cultural centre where different artistic disciplines can meet, exchange ideas, discover one another and work together.

      Prof. Dr. Andreas Wiesand

      Prof. Dr. Andreas Wiesand is currently Executive Director of the European Institute for Comparative Cultural Research (ERICarts), Editor of the Council of Europe/ERICarts Compendium of Cultural Policies & Trends in Europe (www.culturalpolicies.net) and Secretary General of the European Association of Cultural Researchers e.V. (ECURES).

      He has been called on numerous times as an expert for the European Commission and Parliament (e.g. Selection and Monitoring Panel of the European Capitals of Culture programme, 2009-11), the Council of Europe, UNESCO, the UN Alliance of Civilisations, the European Cultural Foundation, etc. He has undertaken missions around the world for development agencies, international foundations, governments, the International Federation of Arts Councils and Culture Agencies (IFACCA), universities, as well as the Goethe-Institut.

      Chrissie Tiller

      «What I hope for is that Voices of Culture programme does exactly what its title suggests: offer real and meaningful opportunities for people to speak out on culture. In doing so think it can contribute to creating Cultural Policies that are inclusive, accessible and truly reflective of the diversity of today's Europe.»

      Chrissie Tiller's is a consultant specialising in the contribution of the arts and culture to wider society, with a particular focus on trans-national contexts and intercultural dialogue. She has worked globally as an advisor, researcher and trainer on access and participation in the cultural sector, including Japan, Uganda, Turkey, Israel and Palestine alongside the EU. She is frequently asked to give presentations and chair seminars and conferences on these topics. Following a Churchill Fellowship in 1990 to examine the contribution of the arts and culture to social, political and economic change in Central and Eastern Europe she set up a number of strategic networks across the region including the former Soviet Union, ex-Yugoslavia and the Baltics. Funded by PHARE, the Open Society Fund, DGV, the British Council and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Seeding a Network focused on cultural operators from post-Soviet countries, Branching Out on arts and cultural institutions working with young people and Transmission on the contribution of artists to social change.

      Chrissie has written widely on issues of participation and access to culture and worked as an expert for the European Cultural Foundation, Council of Europe, King Baudouin Foundation, Ministries of Culture in Finland as well as many of the EU cultural networks and platforms including the Platform for Intercultural Dialogue, Platform for Culture, ELIA, IETM and Culture Action Europe. She was President of EunetArt, the European network for organisations working with young people for two years.

      In 2004 she initiated the MA in Participatory and Community Arts at Goldsmiths, London University, which she continues to direct alongside delivering teaching and evaluation for a number of other UK universities. Her current UK clients include the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Arts Council England and the Aspire programme.

      Dr. Ulrich Fuchs

      «Working with hundreds of cultural operators during the last years in order to build up an artistic and cultural programme on an European level, I noticed how important it is to establish long term relations within this community and European institutions.»

      Dr. Ulrich Fuchs is currently an EU-Panel member for the selection and evaluation of European Capitals of Culture (2014 – 2016). Before that, he held a range of positions related to European Capitals of Culture: He was in charge of Bremen's application to become European Capital of Culture in 2003, and from 2005 was the Deputy Director and Programme Director for Linz 2009. Since 2010 Fuchs has been Deputy Managing Director of Marseille-Provence 2013.

      Dr. Fuchs's approach to the Capitals of Culture is to consider these as a meeting point for culture, politics and the economy, mobilising stakeholders around a cultural project to drive urban re-development: "More than just an exceptional programme of artistic and cultural events, 2013 is also a year of regional transformation for Marseille-Provence with the development of new cultural venues and urban landscapes"(1).

      Rod Fisher

      Rod Fisher is Director of International Intelligence on Culture, the consultancy he founded in the 1990s and Associate Lecturer at Goldsmiths, University of London. He was Director of the European Cultural Foundation UK (2002-2012), visiting lecturer on international cultural policies at City University, London (1984-2007) and worked for the Arts Council of Great Britain and in cultural management for city governments. Rod co-founded the cultural research network CIRCLE (Chairman 1985-1994). He has undertaken research, lectured and addressed conferences in 33 countries. Rod chaired the European Task Force on Culture and Development that produced the major report In from the Margins for the Council of Europe in the 1990s. Research interests include cultural policies internationally (especially in Europe and Asia) and cultural diplomacy/cultural co-operation, e.g. whether there has been a paradigm shift in the cultural relations policies of EU Member States (2009-2011), research for the EU on programmes supporting the mobility of artists (ERICarts 2008), a study on the skills/training needed for managing transnational cultural projects (Fondation Hicter 2007) and his report 'A Cultural Dimension to the EU's External Policies' was published by Boekmanstichting (2007). He was an independent expert (2013-14) examining the deployment of culture in the external policies of different countries for the Preparatory Action on Culture in European Union External Relations (Engaging the World: Towards Global Cultural Citizenship). He is an expert on the new EU project Voices of Culture – European Structured Dialogue. A book on the evolution of cultural action at EU level is expected to be published at the end of 2015.

      Prof. Dr. Oliver Scheytt

      Prof. Dr. Oliver Scheytt is the Executive Director of his own company, Kulturexperten Dr. Scheytt GmbH. Founded in 2011, Kulturexperten offers high level co-working events and strategy workshops, such as for example "KULTUREXPERTEN-Werkstatt" (July 2011) and "KMM-Führungsforum" (2011-2013). He is also President of Kulturpolitische Gesellschaft e. V., which organizes a wide range of conferences, and from 1998-2007 was Board Member of the Stiftung Zollverein, which also hosts a large number of events every year.

      Oliver Scheytt also works as an advisor for numerous art and cultural organizations, such as the German Bundestag's "Culture in Germany" Review Commission (2003-2007), the Cultural Committees of the German UNESCO Commission and the Association of German Cities, and the Association of German Music Schools. He also lends his expertise to the Kunststiftung NRW, the Rat für Kulturelle Bildung and the Goethe-Institut. Furthermore he is Board Member of the Kulturforum der Sozialdemokratie and in 2013 was also a member of the "Kompetenzteam" of the Social Democrat's Chancellor candidate, Peer Steinbrück.

      From 2004 to 2006, Oliver Scheytt chaired Essen's successful bid to join the Ruhr Region as the "Cultural Capital of Europe 2010" and served as Managing Director of RUHR.2010. He has written numerous books on cultural policy and cultural management, and in 2007 was appointed professor of Cultural Policy and Cultural Infrastructure at the Institute for Cultural Management and Media Management (KMM) at the Hamburg Academy of Music and Drama.

      Jordi Pascual

      «Europe needs to become a true cultural project. Local voices must be heard.»

      Jordi Pascual is a founding coordinator of the "Agenda 21 for culture" process (www.agenda21culture.net) for the Committee on culture of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), as well as a founding member of the European Laboratory for Cultural Cooperation: www.labforculture.org. He was member of the jury of the European Capital for Culture on several occasions: in 2006 (appointed by the European Parliament), in 2007(appointed by the European Commission) and 2010-11 (appointed by the Spanish Government).

      Jordi Pascual holds an MA in European Cultural Policies and International Cultural Relations (1997),a BA in Geography (1997), BA in Humanities (1992) and Master in Methodologies in Demographic Studies (1993) and has been a teacher of urban cultural policies and management at the Open University of Catalonia since 2005.