DANUBE CULTURAL CLUSTER
1. Managing organization and contact
Danube Cultural Cluster – Verein für die engere kulturelle Zusammenarbeit der Donauländer (association for the strenghtening of the cultural cooperation in the Danube region) – registered association under Austrian law (reg. no.: 556555445, date: 27 Dec 2012)
Initiator: Balassi Institute – Collegium Hungaricum Vienna (Hungarian Cultural Institute)
Address: c/o Balassi Institute – Collegium Hungaricum Vienna (A-1020 Vienna, Hollandstraße 4)
Contact person: Dr. Márton Méhes (founding member of the association)
Organization structure: independent association with…
- an international membership based on partner institutions and NGOs from the Danube region (invitations to membership in progress)
- an advisory board representing important stakeholder institutions and distinguished personalities
2. General aims of the Cluster
to fulfil the desire of cultural players in the Danube region to increase the number of quality cooperations
to establish the „Danube” as a quality cultural brand, to strenghten the Danube community and identity
to fulfil the action plan of the EUDRS and the targets of Priority Area 3 (Culture and Tourism), especially the following ones:
- “Develop a Danube Brand for the entire Danube Region based on already existing work”.
- “Ensure the sustainable preservation of cultural heritage and natural values by developing relevant clusters, and networks of museums, interpretation and visitors centres within the Danube Region.”
- “Promoting exchange and networking in the field of the contemporary arts in the Danube Region.”
3. Methods, tools and implementation
- to serve as a project development centre (brand building through own initiatives, projects and promotion campaigns)
- to establish an information and cooperation network (based on reciprocity, when added together the power of cluster members is greater than the sum of the parts)
- to serve as a consultancy and lobby centre (for cultural affairs and activities in the Danube region)
4. Activities of the Cluster
4.1 Own brands/initiatives
- Danube Lounge 12 (culture and literature programme): In 2012 the Danube Lounge was presented for the first time at BUCH WIEN – Vienna International Book Fair with some 30 participants from 8 Danube countries at 22 events and with more than 20 cooperation partners. The Danube Lounge is likely to become the first international label of the Danube Cultural Cluster, establishing a „lovely” tradition at the Vienna fair. The successful first issue of Danube Lounge was opened by Austrian Federal President Heinz Fischer and Cultural Minister Claudia Schmied. EU-Commissioner Johannes Hahn was the most prominent panelist of the 4-days series of events. Main partners: BUCH WIEN, National Cultural Foundation of Hungary, EU Representation Vienna, KulturKontakt Austria, BMeiA, many publishing houses and other organizations.
- Donaubootschaften (live virtual forum for children): In January 2012 schoolchildren from Ulm, Vienna, Bratislava and Esztergom were brought together via skype and internet webcast to share their Danube experiences, stories, melodies or games with each other. The aim was also to stress the significance of involving the youngest generation in the Danube affairs.
- Drops from the Danube (project workshop): In December 2012 representatives of small NGOs and mini Danube-projects from Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, and Serbia came together for a workshop, discussing the chances of small projects and their contribution to the EUDRS. Main partner: Institute for Culture-resistant Goods, Vienna.
- Danube Lounge 13 (culture and literature programme): Last year’s Lounge programme at BUCH WIEN has to be continued with even more participants and events. In the meantime the Danube Lounge label is invited to the Lvov and Bucharest book festivals and also to Donaufest in Ulm. Main partners: BUCH WIEN, EU Representation Vienna, KulturKontakt Austria, Donaufest Ulm (new partnerships under negotiation).
- KulturKanal (outdoor exhibition centre at Donaukanal in Vienna): Probably the most ambitious project idea of Danube Cultural Cluster is to develope an art exhibition promenade between Salztorbrücke and Marienbrücke in the heart of Vienna at the Danube channel. With a beach-type bar (from spring till late summer) it would be a Danube cultural project that is really close to the real river… (detailed project plan is under preparation). Main partners: City of Vienna, Danube Dialogue.
4.2 Cooperation/promotion projects
- Der Mensch im Mittelpunkt (International conference on the EUDRS): In October 2012 a big international EUDRS conference was held in Krems/Austria. The Danube Cultural Cluster provided cultural expertise (lecturers from Germany and Hungary) and financial support. Organisers: Donau Universität Krems, IDM Vienna, ARGE Donauländer.
- Art Nouveau architecture in the Danube region (photography exhibition): The on-the-road-exhibition of Prof. Peter Schubert could be presented in Pécs/Hungary. Initiator: Cultural Department of the Government of Lower Austria, ARGE Donauländer.
- Europa erlesen. Donau (Danube literature anthology): The Danube Cultural Cluster provides promotion and presentations (in 2012/13) for the big German language anthology of Wieser Publishing House.
- EU-project on active citizenship: It is the first time that Danube Cultural Cluster is a project partner of an EU grant application. The aim of the project would be to promote active citizenship and local involvement through a very creative and innovative tool, the poll-map, an innovation of Újirány Group, a cooperation partner in Budapest. This tool, already tested several times in Budapest, is a huge orthophoto (approx. 50 sq. m.) of a selected district of the city, placed in a busy public spot with various stickers with which the public can express their opinion on various issues. It is kind of a „gamification” of participative democracy, drawing lots of attention. Within the project, the know-how of using poll-maps, tailored to the local needs would be transferred to the participating partners. Initiatior: Mindspace Budapest.
4.3 Expert works
- EUDRS PA3 membership: Márton Méhes is observing member in the international Steering Group of Priority Area 3 (Culture and Tourism) of the EUDRS and can therefore contribute to the development of the cultural an touristic issues of the Strategy.
- 1st Danube Cultural Conference in Ulm: Márton Méhes is member of the preparatory board of this first big international cultural meeting to be held on 15/16 April 2013. Initiator: State Ministry of Baden-Württemberg, Stuttgart, the City of Ulm.
- River Show: The Danube Strategy River Show project is specially designed to inform interested organisations, people, as well as administrations of cities and municipalities in the Danube Area about the Strategy and its implications for the coming years. During 2013 forums in several cities in Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, and the Ukraine will be organized. Márton Méhes is the permanent referent and moderator for the cultural sector. Initiators: European Danube Academy Ulm, the Foster Europe Foundation, Eisenstadt.
- UCL Danube Summer School in London: University College London, School of Slavonic and East European Studies is planning a two-week summer school on the theme of the Danube in May 2013. Márton Méhes got an invitation to participate as a lecturer on cultural topics.
- IDM Kulturführer Mitteleuropa: This year’s „Central Europe Cultural Guide” deals with the cultural revitalization of former industrial areas or halls and presents exciting new practices as well as venues in Central Europe and the Danube region. Márton Méhes is one of the editors of the magazine.
In addition, over the last years Danube culture and the stronger cooperation of the Danube countries was a permanent programme element of the activities of Collegium Hungaricum Vienna (art and photo exhibitions, literature presentations, conferences, workshops, etc.).
5. The network and the partners of the Cluster
The Cluster has got official intent of cooperation from:
- Austrian Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs (letter of intent)
- Serbian Ministry of Culture (letter of intent)
- Land Baden-Württemberg (the project is listed among the projects supported by Baden-Württemberg)
- Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Donauländer (ARGE Donau) (an official ruling of a strategic partnership was made)
Until now the following institutions and organizations have shown their strong interest in becoming official members of the association:
- Europäische Donauakademie, Ulm
- Donaubüro, Ulm
- Donumenta e.V., Regensburg
- Kultur Kontakt Austria, Vienna
- Duna Múzeum, Esztergom
- Mindspace, Budapest
- Balkankult Foundation, Belgrade
The list of members is lengthening continuously. Through its projects and activities the Cluster has worked with over 50 institutions and organizations from at least 10 countries over the past 3 years.
Remark: Danube Cultural Cluster is listed among projects approved by PA 3 in the 1st Annual Report of EUDRS PA 3.
Status: 22 Feb 2013