Hands Across the Water

Is there a new spirit of internationalism about?  The last fortnight seems to have been full of overseas intent, much of it across the North Sea.  First there was the film festival planning day that spoke to a Northern European trans-national film culture.  Aspirations for cultural collaboration with film-makers in ports that were once the trading life blood of Scotland and the North of England.  Next came the Shetlands workshops, the Nordic feel of the place, and the creative opportunities looking East.

This week the Nordic Horizons event at the Scottish Parliament with Icelandic economist Professor Thorvaldur Gylfason described how the Icelandic post crash ‘pots and pans’ revolution migrated into a proposed ‘people’s constitution’, stimulating great debate over a Scottish constitution and citizen involvement.  It was a great advertisement for trans-national co-operation and intercultural dialogue.

It seems as if there is a new internationalising interest in the creative and cultural industries sector in both Scotland and some of the English regions.  Some of this may be just a case of eying up funding opportunities in the face of a domestic investment drought, but there are those that see wider benefits from looking across the water.

The recent consultation on the new Creative Europe proposals attracted commentary on future trans-national working.  The upcoming IFACCA and  Council of Europe Compendium authors’ meetings in Helsinki is another avenue, and the focus on cultural participation in the latter should offer many opportunities for dialogue that advances both policy and practice.


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