with the support
The ExTra! project aims to promote cultural diversity in Europe and enhance the exchange between different cultural traditions present in European societies today. One of the primary motivations behind the ExTra! Project is the strong belief that a higher intercultural competence will contribute to a peaceful world. The ExTra! project strives to ensure that the exchange between different cultural groups is handled with the utmost sensitivity and respect.
The following recommendations have been developed in the context of the political frameworks of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, and the European Agenda for Culture in a Globalized World.
- Artistic expression is a human right. Access to culture must never be the preserve of a privileged social elite: Any elitist concept of culture has to be questioned. Young people from migrant backgrounds deserve particular attention, as they are at a higher risk of social exclusion.
- Nation states are a European reality. However, we have to be aware of the fact that the concept of nation state is challenged by migration, often functioning beyond and across national boarders. The inclusion of cultural minorities in European societies partly originating from outside Europe could help overcome historically and socially rooted reasons for discrimination and racism.
- It is essential to respect the context in which traditional music is expressed: some musical traditions consist of highly complex rhythmical and tonal structures, created to be performed on stage for an attentive audience; other musical traditions are part of a day-to-day culture or street culture, have a participatory character and do not necessarily practice the idea of "performer" and "audience". Taken out of context, some traditions might lose their essence. A particular sensitivity is needed in order not to distort the transmission and the reception of the traditions or the community where they come from.
- As artistic expression is a human right, arts education is as fundamental to basic school education as reading, writing and arithmetic, according to the UNESCO World Conference on Arts Education (Lisbon, March 2006). Music making and singing need to be seen as an integral part of any curriculum from nursery to secondary school. Cultural diversity has to be included in these curricula.
- Teaching and learning material needs to reflect the cultural diversity of European societies.
- Music teachers and musical project leaders need to be trained for a culturally diverse reality.
- Cooperation between formal and non formal music education is essential for the acquisition of intercultural skills. The cultural scenes themselves offer a wide range of projects with integration aspects in popular and other music styles, which respond to the environment and context of different persons from various social backgrounds and all age groups.
- Intercultural Competences are a prerequisite for the peaceful coexistence of diverse cultures in European societies, as well as for the strengthening of a European cultural identity. Musical diversity has to be acknowledged as an enriching reality and intercultural competences have to be acquired; we have to learn together - from each other - not just about each other.
- Intercultural cooperation can only succeed if different sectors and different levels of government work together. Cooperation of civil society organisations among themselves, cooperation of political decision makers at local, national and European level, and cooperation between politicians and civil society is essential. It is vital to include ethnically and culturally mixed groups in cooperation initiatives.
- Mobility is the oxygen of culture and intercultural dialogue. Accessible visa regulations, transparent taxation and social insurance systems must be provided for cultural operators.
- A fair legal framework for the distribution and production of traditional music needs to be installed: it should respect the particularities for Internet distribution as well as for collective ownership, which is characteristic of some musical traditions.
- The media should strengthen their role as mediator and present the richness of various musical cultures.
- Aspects of intercultural exchange need to be respected in all political fields.
Financial as well as human resources need to be installed to guarantee further sustainable development of cultural diversity and intercultural exchange:
- Significant data need to be collected about musical diversity in schools and about how migrants live and express their culture within their communities
- Mobility of artists and cultural operators is crucial for the development of intercultural competences and needs financial support
- Intercultural cooperation projects need sufficient funding
Public funding shall enhance the plurality of music and musical expressions.
For further reading:
EFMET recommendations, EMC, AEC and partners, 2004
"2. Berliner Appell", German Music Council, 2006,
"MIX IT!" Recommendations, European Music Council, 2006
Rainbow Paper, Platform for Intercultural Europe, 2008
"Visas / the discordant note" A White Paper on visa issues, Europe and artists' mobility, Freemuse, 2009
UNESCO Convention for the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, UNESCO, 2005
European Agenda for Culture in a Globalized World, EU, 2007
UNESCO Road Map for Arts Education, UNESCO, 2006