The British Council is a regular contributor to the European Development Days: Europe’s most significant annual forum on international cooperation and development organised by the European Commission. In 2019, the overarching theme was Addressing inequalities: Building a world which leaves no one behind.
British Council colleagues from across the globe joined the event to talk about the value of culture in addressing the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Our role at the European Development Days 2019
This year, we hosted a stand highlighting our Crafting Futures programme. We also joined forces with cultural organisations on a brainstorming session promoting gender equality through culture and creativity, strengthening the Call to Action launched in 2018 on the synergies between gender and culture for development; hosted a networking event on Culture and Development to connect key stakeholders; and led a Lab Debate on breaking the cycle of inequality in MENA through cultural approaches, which explored how music and activism can work together to build resilience and cultural understanding for young people in Iraq, Libya and Syria.
An interactive stand to explore the value of craft
Our Crafting Futures stand invited visitors to engage with artists and British Council staff to learn how linking crafts and design is making a positive change in different parts of the world, including Myanmar, Mexico, Malaysia, Thailand, Panama, and Pakistan. We hosted the stand to advocate for craft to be valued as a sustainable and ethical solution to social, economic, environmental and cultural challenges in today’s globalised world.
The Crafting Futures programme benefits local craftspeople across the globe, improving their livelihoods, providing education and training opportunities and connecting them with designers to ensure that the quality of traditional creative practice is preserved, revitalised and continues to develop. Artists directly involved in these projects were at the stand to share their stories and hold several activities: Jirapat Changlek, a Thai weaver from the Tai Lue Project shared traditional weaving techniques from her community; Alisa Ruzavina, a young designer working with indigenous communities of Guna Yala, in Panama, which are directly affected by climate change, shared the applique techniques used for typical Molas from the region .
Thank you to European Development Days and everyone we met or who joined and visited our stand!