A1: Cultural Capabilities: Barriers and Opportunities


Original description: The report Towards Cultural Democracy (Wilson e.a.) advocates the promoting of 'cultural capabilities' for everyone. Cultureel vermogen (Drion e.a.) proposes four coherent cultural capabilities that young people need to develop. Both reports emphasize the necessity of an integral policy approach (cross-societal, cross-sectoral, and cross-governmental), that works towards a viable cultural 'ecology'. In this panel we discuss the concepts of cultural capability and cultural democracy and investigate how these concepts may come to life. 

Download report Towards cultural democracy. Promoting cultural capabilities for everyone

Results / lessons learned

After an introduction of Geert Drion on his document “Cultureel vermogen” (Cultural capability) a discussion was held starting from the next question: If the content of culture does not point in any clear direction for our profession, policy or organisations, what does? 

The discussion, between Nick Wilson and Geert Drion, moderated by Ronald Kox and with interaction with the participants, showed a clear urgency and need for clarifying, unifying terms for goals and dialogue in society, for policies on the work floor, in the classroom, in the neighbourhood, on the streets, in the homes. A grounding theory for research, evaluation and validation is needed.

Some of the ‘lessons learned’ which came to front in the discussion:

  • Art = being in relation. It all starts with relations and interaction. In other words: communication is the heart of culture. From an educational point of view: it’s about finding and starting relations, facilitating these relations and enriching pupils. Providing young people with challenging experiences.
  • What are our cultural grounds and what would we like to grow? What are our ‘values’ which provide a basis in formulating policies? Values such as equality, humanity, inclusiveness. 
  • There is a tension concerning the process of value or validating cultural- or arts expressions. Maybe not all expressions are welcome…
  • Everybody has his/her own ‘bubble’: how can we connect to other ‘bubbles’? How can we make connection? It is good, but also a necessity to share! 
  • We have to find a common / universal language of human being in relation to music, dance, creativity, imagination, spirituality.
  • We have to work and collaborate across professionals on a European scale!

Download the presentation by Nick Wilson
Download the presentation by Geert Drion