The European Lab, a cultural forum, brings together key players from various categories of cultural activities and initiatives.
Over the years it has developed into a significant talking shop for professional exchange and creative discussion about the future of Europe.
The theme this year of the event, held in the French city of Lyon, was ‘Europe Cultural Refresh’ and that has a particular relevance after the European elections resulted in significant gains by eurosceptic and right-wing parties.
“There is a negativity, a fatalism among politicians, and the media too, which is very dangerous, for me more dangerous than the result itself. I think there is a lot of dissatisfaction with the way the European project is today, too economic, too technocratic etc and so it is necessary to talk, really discuss Europe again. The lives of Europeans and that is this project – how is it that we are Europeans and how do we want to live today,” said Vincent Carry, one of the organisers.
Mykhailo Glubokyi is a founding member of IZOLYATSIA, a non-governmental arts foundation, which is in a former insulation materials plant in Donetsk, Ukraine.
He knows very well how important the influence of culture can be. It was culture which helped influence minds in the Russian dominated region of Donbas.
“For the last 23 years Donetsk was under the influence of Russian culture, there was almost no development of Ukrainian cultural life. We had Russian TV shows, Russian pop music on air, Russian programmes etc, and no Ukrainian cultural products. So I think culture could and should be a good foundation to unite people,” he said.
Guest of honour at this year’s European Lab was French fashion designer Agnes B. Most people know her for her clothes, but she is also a filmmaker and philanthropist who supports world cinema and artists of many different disciplines around the world. She says she is a 100 percent European and defends the cultural diversity of Europe.
“We discover each other through culture; we discover our differences and are stronger. Our differences are our wealth. This time our differences are a wound. It’s ridiculous, it’s dramatic,” she told euronews.