The third episode of the European Conference 2020 took place on September 14. Under the theme “The cultural institution – What needs to change”; Teodor Celakoski, Félix Dupin-Meynard, Victoria Durrer and Dea Vidović (chair) participated in the third episode of the European Conference.
The debate focused on two main questions:
- Why do cultural institutions need to change the way in which operate?
- Do cultural institutions want to become more open?
In relation to the first question, cultural institutions must evolve and tackle the topic of participation. But, they need to address the topic taking into account three problems: definition, values and capacity. Indeed, cultural institutions usually tend to tackle participation focusing on techniques without considering their own capacity. Also, they need to reflect on the role of artists on participatory processes.
However, the second question refers to the willingness of change. There is a large part of cultural sector happy with the current status quo. Many institutions are reluctant to evolve because they need to confront the fear to cultural democracy. According to Félix Dupin-Meynard these fears are:
- Cultural democracy can be considered as a threat to the autonomy of the institution (fear to lose the independence of artistic institutions).
- Cultural professionals are afraid of leaving the artistic choice to unqualified people (fear related to competence and expertise).
- Fear about confusion: What does cultural democracy really mean?
- There is a long habit of concentrating the authority in cultural organisations within institutional hierarchies (fear to lose the power).
In conclusion, cultural institutions need to consider participation as a community wide phenomenon. Participation itself becomes political in terms of a need to change the system. For this reason, they need to involve people and have really honest conversations with them.