home > publications > review > no.34 > dossier  


Culturelink review, no.34/August 2001 - contents - imprint - archive

The Role of the Arts in Processes of Social Change


Based on the background of the ongoing social changes in Europe, the conference on The Role of the Arts in Processes of Social Change focused on the contribution and functioning of the arts and arts mediation within these processes and on future policy strategies. The ÖKS (Austrian Culture Service), on behalf of the artsandeducation network, and the Hungarian Association Nullpont organised this Conference, held at the European Youth Centre in Budapest in December 2000. Further collaborating partners were the European Commission, the Council of Europe, the European Cultural Foundation, the Austrian Ministry of Education and Culture, the Soros Foundation, and KulturKontakt Austria.

The goal of the conference was to discuss new strategies for cooperation between the artistic and the educational world, taking into account the processes of fundamental political and social change that are sweeping across not only Central and Eastern Europe, but the whole continent.

The conference met in four working groups:

  • The contribution of arts and education to stability in the Balkan region,
  • Arts and youth culture as indicators of social change,
  • The impact of the arts and new media on politics, and
  • Challenge: Search for new models of artistic intervention.

Forty-five participants attended the conference. They came from Slovenia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Yugoslavia, Lithuania, Germany, Austria, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Italy, and Finland.

A general introduction was given by Michael Wimmer, Director of the ÖKS. He presented a short survey of the Network's history and explained the activities of the ÖKS.

Reflecting on the anxieties caused by the wars in the Balkans, the philosopher Renata Salecl dealt with the question of whether we live in a period of anxiety or not, and how new trends in the arts relate to it. She undertook to examine how the arts reflected the war anxieties experienced by people in the Balkans. Secondly, she examined the reaction of the arts to anxieties brought about by new technologies and the genetic revolution. She focused on the question of how the arts deal with a changed perception of body and mortality in today's society.

The special representative of the Austrian Government for EU enlargement, Erhard Busek, stressed the need for culture in Europe. The mutual and individual understanding of individuality expresses itself in culture. He underlined the acceptance of "the other" as an important precondition for creating a new integrated Europe.

Max Fuchs, President of the BKJ in Remscheid, stressed the OECD's view of the importance of cultural institutions in the field of education. Noting that discussions in education theory and pedagogy on defining the axioms of "education" and personal development were never simple, he focused on the intentions of international organisations, such as the OECD, to improve their understanding of education in order to enable their economic and Third World policies to function properly.

Further information is available under the e-mail address: sabine.schaschl@oks.at

Sabine Schaschl

Contact address:
Sabine Schaschl
ÖKS International
Stiftgasse 6
A-1070 Vienna
Tel.: (431) 523 57 81 22
Fax: (431) 523 89 33
E-mail: sabine.schaschl@oks.at


  • The Role of the Arts in Processes of Social Change - Foreword
    by Sabine Schaschl
  • Introduction
    by Michael Wimmer
  • Can Europe Convince on a Cultural Level?
    by Erhard Busek
  • Art and The New Age of Anxiety
    by Renata Salecl
  • Arts, Culture, Economy and Development - The Discussion on the Level of International Organisations
    by Max Fuchs