Major European grant for research on societal preconditions for inclusive cultural policies

The Erasmus Research Centre for Media, Communication and Culture (ERMeCC) as coordinator, together with eight other consortium partners across Europe, received an H2020 grant of 3 million euro for the major international research project INVENT: European Inventory of Societal Values of Culture as Basis for Inclusive Cultural Policies. Leading research institutions and scholars in nine European countries will closely collaborate to identify the societal preconditions for inclusive cultural policies. The project starts in February 2020 and is led by Susanne Janssen, professor of sociology of media and culture at the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication (ESHCC).

Recently, the EU and the EUR signed the grant agreement as part of the highly competitive Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation funding programme. The INVENT project is coordinated by the ERMeCC and will run for three years. Susanne Janssen has extensive experience in directing international comparative research projects, including an NWO Vici- and a HERA joint research project. Marc Verboord, associate professor at ESHCC’s department of Media and Communication, also plays a central role in the project.

‘Well-considered interdisciplinary approach’

The peer review evaluation of the project proposal was very positive, praising the research excellence of the consortium, the well-considered interdisciplinary approach blending approaches from sociology, economics, media studies and cultural policy and management, and the excellent integration of a wide range of stakeholders from different spheres. The well-balanced gender composition of the team was also highly appreciated.

New EU Agenda for Culture requires social turn in cultural policies

The New EU Agenda for Culture represents an exceptionally significant step forward in European cultural policy. However, the EU’s  new focus on the sphere of culture is accompanied by theoretical and methodological challenges. The changes which Europe and the world have undergone over the last thirty years are so drastic that they require a different approach to creating cultural policy.

The INVENT consortium aims to contribute to a “social turn” in cultural policies, that takes into account how the way of life and cultural participation of European citizens has been influenced by the mega-trends of globalization, European integration and the migrations that accompany them, the digital revolution, and rising social inequalities. The bottom-up approach of the project will provide insight into multiple, often mutually contradictory, concepts of culture and understandings of societal values of culture among various social (demographic, socio-economic, ethnic, religious…) groups in European societies. At the same time it will offer the foundation for new methodologies for capturing the societal value of culture.

The INVENT project sets out to identify, through research, the cultural and social preconditions required for the strategic goals of the New EU Agenda for Culture to be realized. This is the overall goal of the project, aimed at supporting the values of culture vital for the preservation and improvement of the European project, by means of striving to promote identity and belonging, inclusiveness, tolerance, and social cohesion.

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