EU to announce competition for cultural project grants in fall

Head of the National Bureau of the EU programme Creative Europe Yulia Fediv talks about international cooperation projects, study visits to Slovenia and Spain for representatives of the cultural sector, grants for literary translators and the media.

You are currently working on two positions: Executive Director of the Ukrainian Cultural  Foundation and Head of the National Bureau of the European Union Creative Europe Program in Ukraine. How effective and productive is this synergy for both areas of your activities and for you personally?

Creative Europe is a grant program of the EU and covers 42 participating countries. Each of these countries has cultural institutions that support projects that have won the Creative Europe competition at the national level. The goal of Creative Europe is to support cooperation at the European level between cultural, creative activists and artists from all 42 participating countries. The Ukrainian Cultural Foundation in Ukraine is the institution that provides grant support to Ukrainian cultural activists. Therefore, the existence of Creative Europe in the structure of the UCF is a great synergy for the Ukrainian projects funded by Creative Europe with the support of the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation to move from the Ukrainian to the European market, and then to the world.

In addition, the condition of Creative Europe is co-financing by the state. And this co-financing can be guaranteed by the UCF. Therefore, the fact that the two largest grant programs, Ukrainian and European, are in one place is a double positive.

Where exactly do you see the main field for using investments in Ukrainian culture? What, in your opinion, most of all attracts or may attract potential investors in the Ukrainian cultural sphere?

In my opinion, all eight sectors of the cultural and creative industries are attractive for business investment. For sure, the amendments to the Law “On Culture” and the introduction of the term “creative industries” currently let the Ukrainian business off the leash in the sense that culture can also be profitable, and it can and must be invested. The fashion and design industries as well as information technology are on top in this list. It is more difficult to attract investors’ attention to the sphere of cultural heritage, in particular museum or library activities.

But this is a challenge for the future, and this is the purpose of our strategic sessions, which we have already begun – to bring the public, state and business sectors together and show all the opportunities and attractiveness of each of the eight sectors of the cultural and creative industries.

In such events as the competitions of cultural projects for receiving grants, the following question becomes important: “Who are the judges?”. It is known that the experts who evaluate the projects were selected by drawing lots in two stages. However, most of their names remain little known to the general public, which may cause suspicion in their engagement. Do you think that the mechanism chosen by you to form a group of experts excludes such risks as protection and corrupt components?

The mechanism envisaged in the regulation “On Expert Boards” eliminates the possibility of any protection as well as the existence of certain corruption schemes, since the competition for experts was open and any representative of one of the sectors of culture and arts of the country could apply on a general basis and submit a full package of documents for participation in the competition to the expert boards of the UCF.

The first selection was a technical one, during which we “eliminated” the candidates who did not belong to the sector or did not have experience in expert evaluation. Then, the principle of drawing lots was chosen, which eliminated any possibility of influence from the outside. In this case, the lot was drawn by our partner from the EU Delegation to Ukraine, Mr. Jurgis Vilčinskas. He, accordingly, made it impossible to influence the selection of experts by the Directorate of the Foundation, the Supervisory Board or other authorities. Therefore, in my opinion, this is still a unique case of selecting experts in Ukraine. Effective 10 July, we submit our applications for consideration to expert councils and you will have the opportunity to review the assessments of each expert, and accordingly, each of the participants of the UCF project competition will receive a full answer, which will be based on expert assessments. Why his application was successful or unsuccessful. We hope that in August you will see to what extent the experts were impartial when assessing projects.

It is known that on 2 July, the First International Cultural Grants Fair, organized by the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation and the Creative Europe Bureau, was held. How do you determine the main mission and goal of the Fair? What are the outcomes of this event?

On 2 July, the National Bureau of the EU Creative Europe Program in Ukraine, with the support of the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation, conducted the First International Cultural Grants Fair. We have started a tradition for representatives of the Ukrainian cultural creative sector, namely the opportunity to learn all the grant opportunities offered by representatives of other countries and Ukrainian institutions for cultural projects on one square meter.

I think it’s a cool opportunity to get acquainted with the grantors, colleagues from other institutions, and find out during a day where you can submit your project application and who you can collaborate with in order to make your application as successful as possible. Therefore, we plan not to stop with our first fair and continue the tradition in subsequent years. The outcome of this fair is 423 visitors from different sectors of culture and art of Ukraine, from different corners of Ukraine, and 15 grant programs that were presented within 10 hours. We got a lot of positive feedback from participants and speakers. In addition, we had an online broadcast and even those who could not personally attend the Fair watched it online. We will keep this tradition, because at times our possibilities are more limited than our desires.

Your future plans for the development of the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation and the National Bureau Creative Europe. What changes, improvements and new stages of developing both areas of your activities should be expected in the near future?

The activities of the Creative Europe Program are in line with the rules of the operation of all national bureaus in all 42 countries, and it has clearly defined objectives: promotion of the Creative Europe Program and conducting consultations and information days. We will continue this activity over the next three years, since the program exists until 2020. But in June 2018, the European Commission decided to continue it for the next 7 years.

Since September, the announcement of the next Creative Europe Program competition, namely international cooperation projects, is scheduled to take place, and my colleagues from the bureau will start a series of information days, training sessions, workshops for the representatives of the Ukrainian cultural sector, so that all persons concerned can prepare their applications together with their partners from abroad.

As part of our cooperation with the Cultural Bridges Program, we plan study visits to Slovenia and Spain, so you have the opportunity to register for the purpose of participating and setting contact with Slovenian and Spanish cultural organizations and already have one of the three partners to apply for international cooperation projects. In addition, the Autumn Competition of Artistic Translations will be announced in autumn, and from January 2019, we also expect announcements of competitions for the Media program. So there are a lot of opportunities, and my colleagues will make efforts to raise awareness of the representatives of the cultural sector and maximize the possibility of obtaining funding from Creative Europe.

As for the plans of the UCF, we will start a series of strategic sessions and from 10 July to 6 August we will meet with representatives of the sectors of visual, audiovisual, audio art, design and fashion, performing arts, and cultural creative industries. Therefore, every willing representative of the sector can join our sessions, in the first place, to tell about their personal needs and wishes regarding the UCF support programs for 2019-2021. We will also raise the issue of cultural diplomacy and promotion of Ukraine abroad.

At the end of August, we plan to present the strategy of the UCF’s activities for 2019-2021, which will allow us understanding all possible types of cooperation with the UCF.

Already in November, we are ready to announce the next competition for the support of the UCF projects, therefore we ask potential applicants to prepare their applications for 2019 in advance. In addition, we will start a series of training sessions and trips to different parts of Ukraine in autumn. Thus, if you are interested in the UCF visiting your city and telling you about its grant opportunities, invite us and we will visit your city with pleasure. My colleagues will conduct training sessions on project and financial management as well as the development of communication strategies in order for your applications to be successful and for us to get cool projects in 2019.

Question asked by Karyna Borzakivska

The original article was published on Reklamaster