Using culture as a driving force for sustainable development

Culture and the SDGs


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Culture and the SDGs
enhancing creative cross-sectoral collaborations

Project decripton

Culture and the SDGs: enhancing creative cross-sectoral collaborations is an experimental project that sits somewhere between an action research, capacity-building training, and a creative residency. At one end, it seeks to raise awareness about the UN SDGs framework within the cultural and creative industries (CCIs) and highlight the inherent interlinkages between culture and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs,) while at the other end simultaneously encouraging professionals from other sectors (such as education, environment and policy) to engage more actively with the culture sector. It wishes to provide a space for developing open collaboration models for inclusive sustainable development that draw from creativity and cultural expression, as much as from sectoral expertise in combating the world’s most pressing problems.The project aims to create these publicly accessible models so as to facilitate collaboration between diverse actors, and in parallel, define the potential of culture in the successor of the 2030 SDGs, sharing the insights across the CCIs through creative advocacy media. Lastly, it also aims to extend the discussion on culture’s role in the SDGs, to better understand the opportunity for culture to feature as an explicit goal or as an implicit transversal actor, within the post-2030 framework on sustainable development.

Why is this relevant?

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (adopted by the United Nations Member States in 2015) has at its heart 17 SDGs, which navigate across various thematic areas and are geared towards achieving global prosperity. However, culture as a thematic area has been missing from the sustainable development conversation and is not a part of any of the 17 established goals. Indeed, culture is referred to in only two of the 169 targets, namely, target 4.7 and 11.4. This lack of an explicit and tangible link between the culture sector and the SDGs in public discourse has often translated into the two being viewed and addressed as mutually exclusive concepts, greatly diminishing the role that culture plays towards the holistic development of the society.
The project emerges from the belief that the knowledge of the SDGs within the CCIs is often scattered and limited to the practice of specific sectors, and requires wider awareness raising. Another gap in the conversation the project aims to address is the limited sensitization of the other sectors on the potential of arts and culture in contributing to their activities in achieving the SDGs. To address these challenges and make the presence of culture explicit in the sustainable development context as opposed to its current implicit role, concerted efforts and interdisciplinary collaborations are required both at the policy and the grass-root levels.

Residency programme

Who can take part?

CCI professionals and professionals from other sectors (such as education, environment, and policy), who have geared their practice towards sustainable development. The participants must be:
  • emerging or mid-career professionals, aged between 25 and 40 years old at the time of application
  • professionals in the CCIs or preferably be working in the sectors of education, environment, or policy (participants from other sectors of work are welcome to apply)
  • familiar with the UN Sustainable Development framework
  • actively engaged in activities contributing to the SDGs, and must have either implemented a related project in the past, or propose a new project for implementation, ensuring cross-sectoral collaborations
  • open and willing to address contrasting ideas and challenge traditional forms of collaboration, to develop the frameworks of creative collaboration models, combining diverse viewpoints and bridging sectors
  • professionally proficient in English, as the activities of the project will be conducted entirely in English
  • able to commit fully to the online sessions (2-3 sessions, up to 3 hours/day) and the in-person residency programme (full day) of the project,

About the team

Aleksandra Bajde, Slovenia (in Austria) – host organisation

Pravali Vangeti, India (in France), 

Nisa Ashila Ghaisani, Indonesia

Saidakmal Ikramov, Uzbekistan

with the support of Kai Brennert, Germany (in Cambodia)
This project is funded by the European Union through the Cultural Relations Platform, and hosted by the non-profit organization Culture and Sustainability Lab. The residency programme of the project is being organised with the kind support and  collaboration of the Austrian Cultural Forum Istanbul.

The Cultural Relations Platform is an EU-Funded project that connects cultural practitioners worldwide for dialogue, exchange and co-operation. It also provides expertise to the European Union (EU) in the field of international cultural relations. The Platform is implemented by a consortium of our organisations: the Goethe-Institut Brussels (the consortium leader); the European Cultural Foundation; the International Network for Contemporary Performing Arts and the University of Siena.

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