Network Cultures-Europe
Joseph II straat, 174, 1000 Brussels - Belgium
Tél. +32 (0)2 234.68.47 - Fax +32 (0)2 231.14.13
E-mail :
reseau.cultures@skynet.be
Web Site : http://www.NetworkCultures.net

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What is Network Cultures-Europe ?

Network Cultures-Europe is all
about people engaged with the
quintessentially cultural nature
of all human thought and
activity.
Many are fieldworkers, researchers,
community leaders, decision-makers.
The network is made up of
people who give ongoing input into its activities, and a broad mix of
centres, agencies, NGOs and
university institutions that
work with it on a range
of issues through research,
training and action.

Network Cultures-Europe is
the European branch of the
South-North Network Cultures
and Development founded
in 1987.

WHY CULTURES ?

Culture is not just a heritage,
it is also a project. Culture is at work in all the personal,
economic,social, scientific
and political choices that
human beings make.

Culture gives meaning to what we do and what we experience.

Culture influences the way
we interpret reality and
respond to its challenges.
Culture is the key to
strengthening and giving
direction to economic
programmes and political
alliances like the European
Union,not to mention international solidarity movements.


 

Our approach

 

Reasearch... plus action.

 
Network Cultures-Europe runs a series of activities fine-tuned over more than a dozen years at international level.

Networking and
experience-trading

Social actors need to meet so as to develop new solutions, build up a mix of know-how, seek out social and economic alternatives, bring on a new cultural paradigm which informs and underlies community life.
The personal testimony, methods and thinking of people and agencies engaged in front-line activities can help others to innovate. But too few are the opportunities to analyse and share those experiences. The Network assists social actors to take this step back.

Research and Meetings
A “Three Waves Workshop” methodology allows researchers to crystallise their experiences and reflections in two or three rounds of written papers. These accounts are analysed and discussed at an international workshop, where their wealth of similarities and differences are brought out. Local communities are invited to be the subject, not the object of research on their lives.

Spreading the Network’s
collective knowledge

The Cultures & Development journal distils (in French and English) the essence of the meeting and workshop proceedings. It is an information vehicle specifically focused on the cultural dimension of community, economic and political life. An updated overview of its works and activities is posted on Network Cultures’ web site (www.NetworkCultures.net).

Training and forward studies
Training programmes are set up on request. Training sessions are tailored to the specific requirements of the organisation (social movements, NGOs) or public institutions (city authorities, local and regional government, central government departments, international bodies) concerned. They focus on the practical application of new strategies, policies or attitudes which bring cultural dynamics into the equation. Concrete projects are analysed in light of the cultures in play and the Network’s know-how in intercultural relations.

Intercultural consultancy services
Network Cultures offers its expertise as an intercultural relations consultant for programme design and evaluation, and refocusing policies and activities.

Database
Network Cultures is involved in the DPH international database for the exchange of concrete experiences.


 

Network Cultures in action
Network cultures-Europe's agenda is focused on several core issues

 
Deep-rooted democracy and citizenship

Culture is the mainspring of what people do. Cultural identities inform alternative paths to local development and democracy, leading to globalisation in diversity.

Conflict resolution and peace cultures

Every culture is “dynamite” or “dynamic”, with its own particular approach to conflict prevention and resolution. Studying them at first hand, bringing peacemakers together is an important job.

Reciprocity between South and North, East and West

The western world has for too long imposed its model.
Reciprocity is the prerequisite for
international solidarity. Based on mutual listening and respect, it is the new paradigm for cooperation.

Languages and intercultural
communication

Language both facilitates and impedes communication, which is beset by misunderstanding that must be cleared up. So-called universal declarations must be written from different cultural and linguistic worldviews.

Arts and societies

Art expresses an underlying social, political and economic reality. Artists can participate meaningfully in local development, and enhance peoples’consciousness

Gender and social change

Do values generally considered as female tend today to balance out an emphatically “yang” way of thinking and acting ? What is the essence of the more yin art of managing and deciding ? How can we get a different take on knowledge and power ?

Economies and cultures

Economies are “embedded” in the community and cultural life of societies. Human behaviour cannot be reduced to that of the allegedly universal “economic man”. People are not driven solely by utilitarian materialism. Local cultures offer sources for alternatives.

Spiritualities and the quest for meaning

One key function of culture in the broadest and most profound sense of the term is the quest for meaning. It is through their values and spirituality that women and men withstand alienation, find direction and venture into alternatives. Seeking more meaning to their lives, they innovate.

Training in interculturality

Interaction between the many different cultures in Europe and throughout the world is an enriching opportunity. But it means knowing how to approach and understand others. Network Cultures offers training and advice in this.


 

The members of Network Cultures-Europe
coordination team have worked with :

 
Intergovernmental agencies

* UNESCO, UNHCR
* European Commission :
- LEADER Programme and relevant units on Agriculture, Regional Policies, External Relations, Forward Studies Unit, etc.

National government departments and agencies

* DGIS in the Netherlands; DANIDA in Denmark; NORAD in Norway; Ministry for Culture in France; FINNIDA in Finland; DGCI/DGIS and CTB/BTC in Belgium, etc.

Universities and institutions of higher learning

* Leiden (Netherlands); Lille (France); Louvain and Brussels, ICHEC, Académie Royale des Sciences d’Outre-Mer (Royal Academy of Overseas Sciences), CIMIC (Belgium)

Local and regional authorities

* Regions: Centro, Alentejo and Norte (Portugal); Lombardy, Piedmont, Sicily (Italy); Franche-Comté (France)
* Counties: Baranya, Tolna (Hungary)
* Towns: Pecs (Hungary); Tours (France), Toledo (Spain); Cosenza (Italy); Oloumouc (Czech Republic); Poitiers, Tours (France)

NGOs, community-based organisations and Churches

Christian Aid, SCAWD (Great Britain); CIDR, CIMADE, CCFD, Deveco (France); KEPA (Finland); FOCSIV, Frères des Hommes (Italy); Gam Pubuduwa (Sri Lanka), APRODEC, PREFED, CNONG (Dem. Rep. Congo); Forum des Jeunes Entreprises (Congo); APICA, Africa Well and Chefferie de Bamedjan (Cameroon); ISER (Brazil); PDP (Mexico); Pipal Tree (India); TOES (USA); Beyond Borders (USA-Haiti); Oral History Project (South Africa), Evangelical Academies of Iserlohn and Bad Boll (Germany); VIDC (Austria), M.S., Images of Africa Festival (Denmark); IRED (Niger); Veco, Wereldsolidariteit, CIMIC, Atol (Belgium); AFS, W.C.C., WFDD, CIDSE; IRED (international); etc.

International foundations

* Charles-Léopold Mayer Fondation pour le Progrès de l’Homme (FPH) (France)
* Toyota Foundation (Japan)
* Civicus (USA)
* European Cultural Foundation
* Prince Claus Foundation (Netherlands)
* King Baudouin Foundation (Belgium)
* World Faiths Development Dialogue



Networking collective knowledge
Combining hands-on practice with research, Network Cultures aims to give visibility to the rich mix of social alternatives and different solutions which communities have devised to address the challenges of their social and natural environments. In this way, the Network has built up a body of collective knowledge which it passes on through training sessions, consultancy services, its Internet site, its publications and its “Cultures and Development” journal. Network Cultures is constantly improving its methodologies to embrace social and cultural dynamics. Its agenda includes putting its research findings over to relevant policy-makers. It is a forum for international networking.