Wednesday, 16 February 2011 16:20

Karl-Erik Norrman and the European project

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From 14th till 20th of February E&M author Christian Diemer will be one of about 60 selected international participants attending the academy "Arts as Cultural Diplomacy" at the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy (ICD) in Berlin.

The ICD is a cool thing. Mark C. Donfried, its founder and director, is a cool guy. The participants, having travelled to Berlin from all over the world (including Nigeria, Mexico and Australia), must be a cool group. But is Karl-Erik Norrman a cool guy as well? The Swedish ex-ambassador to Spain is the second speaker at the prestigious gathering's opening ceremony.

Talking about Sweden, he is reserved and a bit ignorant. The Swedish myths: the bizarre notion of Bergmanesque melancholy, ABBA, H&M, and IKEA. The Swedish facts: a rich country with a formidable social welfare system. A country that has lived 500 years of history without occupation (though occupying others) and 200 years without war. Why would such a country need cultural diplomacy to sell itself to the rest of the world? Sweden sells just as it is!

Talking about Europe, Mr. Norrman becomes more ambitious. In response to the criticism that Europe is merely an economic and political project run by technocrats and bureaucrats in Brussels, the retired ambassador established the European Cultural Parliament. Following the message of the late violinist Sir Yehudi Menuhin that "the artists need a parliament", by now 160 musicians, painters, philosophers, sculptors etc from over 43 (!) European countries are giving their input on what Europe could become beyond politics and economy. Members are eligible from countries such as Azerbaijan or Iceland. "It almost breaks my heart to say that Canada is not a European country, when we have so much in common with them as well!"

Wednesday, 02 February 2011 16:07

Greetings from a Europhile on her way home

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As the Shake-up Europe! conference comes to an end, with people leaving for home and the rest of us kicking back and enjoying a much needed café au lait, there is time to look back and reflect on five crazily busy days. I've really enjoyed being here and meeting so many new people working with European journalism, and it has been very inspiring to learn about the approaches and points of view of the different editorial offices across Europe.

What I find very interesting about this conference is that even though all of the different European media have very diverse approaches and goals with their work, we all deal with the same challenges and questions. Is there such a thing as 'European journalism'? If so, how should the editorial line of a magazine approach this sub-genre? And what is this Europeanism really about?

After this conference, I may not have the answer to all these questions, but I have definitely become aware that there are literally thousands of ways to write about Europe and convey everything that is happening here. Luckily, these European media are realizing some of these ways in their daily work.

I do know, however, why people are so passionate about and fascinated by Europe. I will happily admit that I am a Europhile, and, walking the streets of beautiful Strasbourg, drinking coffee, eating croissants and enjoying the cold, crisp afternoon air, I think to myself: how could I not be? Happy afternoon to you all!

Juliane x

Wednesday, 02 February 2011 11:37

„Does the Eurogeneration have anything to say?“

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Live from Strasbourg, E&M representatives report from the heart of the debate:

Heated discussions take place in the wood-panelled restaurant "Le Strissel" in Strasbourg, where Alsatian journalist Gilles Chavanel chairs a lunch debate with representatives of young European media. Although he tries to be investigative and critical, he actually tends to adhere to the worn out clichés of those refusing to live in a European present - a present which is best proved by the Strasbourg gathering itself. 

This present is not – as Chavanel theorises – Brussels determining more than fifty percent of daily life through its ballooning legislative and bureaucratic apparatus. Indeed at the conference there are young European media covering this institutional side of the EU and successfully sparking interest among a growing number of readers, such as MPNews or Les Euros du Village. Yet E&M authors Ingvild and Christian agree with a majority in the room that this is only half the picture. For the „European generation’s“ daily life Europe has many other meanings, as Café Babel Paris head Katharina Kloss insists.

Europe to them means communicating in several languages, thinking beyond borders, feeling at home in more than one country. Europe they see as the term to grasp the dense and intertwined cultural and historical wickerwork of a region which fascinates them precisely for that reason. Europe, for them, has to do with being pluralist, curious, open-minded and sexy. Of course one can argue that this Europe is not yet evident to a lot of people, and that those who are passionate about it are still the relatively privileged and educated ones. Still, in the end it becomes clear that this is really thanks to the voices carping about the invisibility of Europe - and not to those who are living their vision of Europe every day.

Chavanel concludes that while Europe is not relevant, European journalism won’t be relevant. Europe and E&M prove that he has missed something.

E&M's Lucy, Christian, Ingvild, and Juliane are reporting from Shake-up Europe!

Monday, 31 January 2011 10:18

Photos from Strasbourg

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Lucy (Editor), Christian, Ingvild and Juliane (Authors) are currently in Strasbourg presenting E&M at Shake-up Europe! They're participating in the conference as an integral part of new-generation European media. 

For you, we have some photos from the beautiful city of Strasbourg.

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