Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Specific challenge: At a time when other major global players, such as China or South Korea, are stepping up their public diplomacy efforts around cultural issues, including science and education, cultural diplomacy is also of increasing interest in the European Union. While there is a strong history of cultural diplomacy both within Europe and between Europe and the wider world, a  number of recent initiatives have been launched by the European Commission and the European Parliament to reinforce the link between EU foreign and cultural policies. The Commission's "European Agenda for Culture in a Globalising World" has led to the establishment of a Member States' expert group on culture and external relations (taking China as a test case), which has delivered a report with recommendations. Following its 2011 resolution on “Cultural dimensions of EU external actions”, the European Parliament has launched a Preparatory Action on culture in external relations, implemented by the Commission. These initiatives are based on the assumption that European cultural heritage and the long-standing experience with protecting it, as well as European science, need to be promoted, and therefore included in a broader global strategy.

Effective and coherent EU cultural and science diplomacy cannot only be a major means of furthering inter-cultural dialogues with third countries and regions, but it can also help in promoting trade in (cultural) goods and services to and from the EU as a basis for building relationships.

Moreover, it provides a significant tool for projecting Europe's immensely rich and diverse cultural heritage to the world and of allowing the EU to contribute to the global governance of culture and science. Inversely, cultural and scientific exchanges can also contribute to facilitating diplomatic relations and cultural diplomacy can be (co-)delivered by actors in a “bottom up” manner.

Scope: Research should analyse and compare in depth EU and EU Member States’ bi- and multilateral cultural relations with major third countries and regions in EU's neighbourhood and beyond, as well as international organizations. It should emphasize the institutional set-up, aims, processes and contents of the EU's external cultural activities and how cultural issues are embedded into its external relations more generally as well as examine how successful these activities are in building relationships. As part of this exercise, science and technology cooperation - as significant complement of cultural diplomacy - should explicitly be examined. The role of the Council of Europe and the multilateral dimensions of global cultural relations within UNESCO should equally be investigated.

Special attention should be paid to the role of non-governmental and private sector organisations as well as cooperation of cultural professionals and scientists. Research could compare the EU and its Member States with other major, and often very active global players (e.g. the US, China or South Korea). The broader social, political and economic developments that EU activities in the cultural and scientific domain are embedded into should be accounted for when researching this issue.

The participation of international partners in proposals submitted to this call is encouraged.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 1.5 and 2.5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected impact: Research that will look into the evolutionary nature of multiple cultural ties between Europe and specific countries and world regions, also from a historical perspective, is expected to furnish a critical overview of the existing EU and Member State external cultural and science policies. It will explore incentives for joint action and reveal possibilities for achieving synergies and coordination. It will highlight best practices and effective cooperation, but also inconsistences and shortcomings in political and economic terms. The findings will contribute to a better understanding of the potential for and challenges facing European Union cultural and scientific diplomacy and the embedding of culture into its external relations more widely. They will allow for drawing policy implications on the set-up, the role of different EU institutions and services in, as well as the contents and processes of such diplomacy.

Type of action: Research and innovation actions

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