In the framework of the Italian Presidency of the Committee of Ministers, the Council of Europe and the Italian Ministry of Culture has organised a Conference of Ministers of Culture in a hybrid format (in Strasbourg and online), on April 1st. The Italian Minister of Culture Dario Franceschini and Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić, delivered the opening speeches together with other high-level representatives. The Ukrainian Minister of Culture and Information Policy Oleksandr Tkachenko addressed the conference with a statement highlighting not only the negative impact and damage incurred to Ukraine’s cultural heritage and culture as a result of the Russian Federation’s aggression, but also showing how they are facing this with resilience and using their creative forces.
Culture, creativity and cultural heritage are strategic resources used to shape a diverse and democratic Europe. Culture is a motor for political, social and technological changes but is also directly impacted by today’s global challenges. Culture and creativity, cultural heritage and landscape lend the way to freedom of expression (on and offline), supporting artificial intelligence developments, empowering civil society, encouraging public debate and providing an education platform for democratic citizenship. Art and creativity, heritage and landscape can benefit from technological developments and also help define the new reality. In line with the priorities of the Italian Presidency, as well as the challenges linked to the digital transformation of our society, two questions were at the centre of the debate:
How to ensure that the unique legal framework created by Council of Europe Conventions on Culture, Heritage and Landscape supports society in addressing the challenges of our time?
What in the cultural landscape will guarantee the protection of cultural diversity and freedom of expression in the digital environment, while at the same time enlarging democratic participation?
Two side events offered an additional practice-oriented flavour to the conference:
- Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe: a European Heritage - A video edited by the Italian Presidency in collaboration with the Institute of Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe;
- the new Council of Europe digital #exhibition "Free to Create – Create to be Free".