Practices of solidarity explored throughout Europe

Eurozine partner Krytyka Polityczna, Seville-based cultural organization Zemos98, and the European Cultural Foundation have set out to find and foster cultural practices that utilize empathy and mutuality, in order to offer solutions to increasing social fragmentation.

Zemos98 recently hosted the ‘Culture for Solidarity Encounter’ in Seville, Spain, which brought together artists, activists and professionals to examine the intersections of their activities and how they can utilize each other’s work and knowledge. The encounter was based on the premise of a 2018 participatory action research which wished to address social fragmentation by searching for and establishing practices of solidarity.

From Marseille, France, to Chisinau, Moldova, research groups relied on collective intelligence to gather an understanding of how mutual help is maintained in cultural practices, and how they can be introduced in communities which still lack the rituals of fellowship among their members.

The research emphasises interculturality/transculturality as well as the social stakes of identity and memory politics. It addresses the material preconditions of functioning communities, namely housing and patterns of employment. It also utilizes the feminist concept of ‘care’.

The meeting in Seville aimed at bringing cultural organisations and policy-makers together with researchers to discuss the findings of the 2018 cultural investigation and to explore how they can be applied in different contexts. The results of the study, soon to be published, will hopefully influence how European cultural institutions work with their audience and foster the development of a cross-sectoral approach in tackling social polarization.

Image by Gema Valencia