Cultural diversity and creativity at heart of EU project

Written by Dace Melbārde on 15 December 2014 in Opinion
Opinion

The Latvian presidency is an opportunity for the country to share its culture with other European citizens, writes Dace Melbārde.

Great is the one, who carries great responsibility – these are the words of classic Latvian writer Rainis, whose 150th birthday is coming up next year. These words perfectly express how Latvia currently feels, while preparing for its first EU council presidency. I believe that cultural diversity and creativity are at the core of the European project. Culture is at the heart of European traditions and creativity and innovation are values in themselves.

In the area of culture, the presidency will look for ways to raise awareness and encourage innovation and growth, by enabling cross-sector cooperation. With this in mind, the presidency's aim will be to strengthen Europe as a creative and innovative union and to come up with new and effective solutions for the challenges of 21st century.

“The presidency's aim will be to strengthen Europe as a creative and innovative union and to come up with new and effective solutions for the challenges of 21st century”

Several conferences will be organised on the sidelines of the well-established annual creativity week, RADI! (Create!), in March 2015 in Riga. The event looks to highlight the potential and growth of creative industries, and will also include an international conference on cultural and creative crossovers, stimulating partnerships between culture and other sectors. Another conference will provide a forum to discuss how cultural heritage interacts with modern architecture and design. These events will give an important input to the upcoming council conclusions on culture and creative crossovers to stimulate innovation, economic sustainability and social inclusion.

In the audiovisual field, the presidency, in cooperation with the commission, will organise a conference that will reflect the need to strengthen the European audiovisual media market so that it can respond to rapid technological developments, increasing global competition and the current geopolitical context.

As an honest broker, the presidency will steer the process of modernising copyright rules, with an aim to boost the creation of new works and services, to improve access to content and in this way, invest in future generations of inspirational, challenging and entertaining talent.

It is my pleasure to embed the EU council presidency's political agenda in a rich and colourful cultural programme, to enable audiences to get to know Latvia from its historical traditions to the most recent and innovative cultural expressions.

The programme will bridge the end of Riga's year as European capital of culture and the beginning of the Latvian presidency. Stages and exhibition halls in 11 countries worldwide, including Belgium, Luxembourg and France, will showcase Latvia's foremost talents and artwork.

The official opening concert of the presidency will be held in the prestigious Bozar centre for fine arts in Brussels. This internationally renowned venue will welcome world famous Latvian artists – opera singers Elīna Garanča and Aleksandrs Antoņenko, the world stage conductors Andris Nelsons and Gidons Kremer, talented violinist Baiba Skride, the Latvian radio choir and the Latvian state choir. In addition, within the framework of the Brussels jazz festival, the Flagey cultural centre will host an outstanding programme, featuring the stars of Riga Rhythms festival, Laima Jansone Trio and Maris Briezkalns Quintet.

“The presidency will steer the process of modernising copyright rules, with an aim to boost the creation of new works and services, to improve access to content and in this way, invest in future generations of inspirational, challenging and entertaining talent”

The Latvian days in Strasbourg are sure to surprise audiences, with a performance by classical accordionist Ksenija Sidorova in February. The exhibition 'breakfast in Europe' will see 30 Latvian artists sharing their impressions on travelling through Europe.

During Latvian culture week in Luxembourg, we will introduce both traditional and contemporary works and events. The programme was developed to present our most gifted artists, who are the best ambassadors for both our culture and our country.

This is just a glimpse of the extensive and exceptional programme of cultural events offered by the Latvian presidency. The closing event includes two grand performances – the Latvian radio big band concert with maestro Raimonds Pauls in Brussels on 16 June and the eighth Nordic Baltic choral festival 2015 in Riga on 27 June.

I hope that the experience of Latvian cultural richness offered by the presidency's culture programme will bring you a step closer to Latvia and will demonstrate once again that culture is our greatest treasure for common growth.

 

About the author

Dace Melbārde is Latvia's culture minister

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