The Faculty of Fine Arts has been given the leadership role of a NOK 20 million EU project for young people in theatres in 10 European countries.
For four years, the theatre community at the Department for Visual Arts and Drama will lead ConnectUp – The Life of the Others, a large cooperation project with fourteen partners from Hungary, Portugal, Poland, Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovenia, the United Kingdom, Italy and Norway.
The project is part of the European Commission’s Creative Europe Programme and was awarded the maximum funding of €2 million. The grant covers about 50 percent of the project costs, and the rest comes from the participating organisations.
“A main focus for ConnectUp is to contribute to bridging the social and cultural divides that are widening in Europe today. To achieve the ambition of increased cultural inclusion, it is important to give young people the opportunity to cooperate with people from other national, cultural, social, physical and mental backgrounds. Doing this through theatre, while examining new ways of involving a young audience, is a good way of achieving that.”
Says Head of Department Merete Elnan, who is also project leader of ConnectUp, and whose main task is to steer the project and the cooperation between the participating institutions over the four years the project lasts.
“When we are done, I hope we can look back at around 30 theatre performances around Europe which thousands of young people have taken part in creating and seeing in cooperation with hundreds of artists – where they have had the chance to tell each other, the audience and us adults what they are concerned about today”, she says.
Monday this week, Merete Elnan and Project Controller Terje Sætan from UiA visited Berlin to take part in the first gathering for everyone who received funding for cooperation projects during the final round of Creative Europe. All in all, 346 project proposals were submitted and 19 accepted. One of them was ConnectUp.
“The purpose of the first meeting was to learn about the rules and regulations for projects in EU’s Creative Europe Programme, both project management and finance control. It is very exciting to lead a large project such as this, and the meeting and the information we received was helpful”, Merete Elnan says.
The ConnectUp project will start in the new year 2020. Then, all 14 partners will meet to get to know each other and present their respective sub-projects.
“During the project, 29 professional productions will be presented at 22 festivals around Europe. In Agder, the first results will be presented at the international Sand Festival for children’s and youth theatres in Kristiansand”, the project manager explains.
At UiA, the Faculty of Fine Arts will be affected by the participation in ConnectUp throughout the project period. In addition to leading the project, the theatre community at the faculty will also develop and establish an online theatre education for its European partners. Theatre professionals will here be able to track all the productions and ongoing processes in the included sub-projects, not least to make sure the institutions turn into places where young people from all social and cultural backgrounds feel welcome.
“To reach new audiences and to harmonise relations with the existing audience, special skills of mediation are required. We therefore want to offer an eighteen-month certified Dual Education ‘Theatre Mediation’ which combines formal e-learning with peer-group learning and practical work”, Merete Elnan says.
Merete Elnan also explains that the ConnectUp project which is starting now originates from a previous EU project which the theatre community at UiA took part in, PLATFORM shift +, where UiA was one of nine international partners working with digital aspects in connection with theatre performances and production.
“This was a successful project with an exceptionally good cooperation, where we in the end tried to see if we could do more together. This led to ConnectUp. Honestly, it wasn’t easy to find a good project. We applied twice and were rejected. But the third time – and after solid preparations – our application was accepted. And now we are about to start. I really look forward to it”, Merete Elnan says.
Facts about ConnectUp
Partners in ConnectUp