Think tank European Culture 2013 - 2014
Topic
This year’s think tank will focus on European cultural heritage. The ceaseless public debate on how to
finance culture and the current economic crisis seem to suggest that today the state is less
concerned with the cultural education of its citizens. National governments, claiming to be
concerned with ´civilizing´ their people, created institutions like museums to preserve, disclose and
present their cultural heritage, both old and new. In so doing, they worked to establish a collective
repertoire which the public can refer to and in some cases also identify with. Nowadays, museums
are often independent and critical players who do not necessarily serve a designated political cause.
Hence, our conception of museums is being reassessed and rethought. Against this backdrop, a new
player is manifesting itself: the European Union providing national cultural organizations with
financial means to develop new initiatives mostly by collaborating with partner institutions in other
member states. This gives rise to the question what these member states have in common. Can we
conceive of a museum on a European level? And if so, what should it look like?
Assignment
The assignment for this think thank is to conceive of a concept for a ‘European museum’. By critically
reflecting upon the function of museums and by working towards a specific case study, the think tank
attempts to develop a good practice which can serve as an inspiration for the field of cultural
heritage, and for European as well as national cultural policies. In the first phase of the project,
participants will try to get a grip on what European Culture stands for. In the second phase they will
tackle a case study by working out a plan for disclosing the influence of Greek tragedy on European
Culture today (e.g. from opera to film and law to architecture). The challenge for the think tank is to
come up with a concept for a museum that meets the technological, educational and cultural
demands of contemporary society. So thinking ‘out of the box’ is required.
Deadlines
 October 14: individual paper on linking your own scientific background to the topic of this think
tank. Purpose: focusing on the topic and learning to understand each other’s perspectives.
 December 2: paper by a group of three or four students on a more defined topic related to the
assignment. Purpose: more focus, teamwork, keeping up the workflow, working towards the
final paper.
 May 1: group paper as a final product of the think tank. Purpose: result of combining forces,
useful for an external organization.
Who are we looking for
The think tank is open to Masters’ students from all scientific disciplines. Combining multiple
perspectives is necessary. We are specifically looking for students from politics, law, economics,
communication and information sciences, social studies and humanities.
Working weeks
The think tank will meet during three working weeks. Participation is mandatory.
1) Location Nijmegen: arrival Sunday August 25, departure Sunday September 1.
2) Location Rome: arrival Sunday December 1, departure Friday December 6.
3) Location Budapest: arrival Sunday March 23, departure Friday March 28.
During the rest of the year participants will communicate by e-mail and Skype.
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Proposal Think Tank 2013-2014