Fablevision has developed partnerships in Europe for almost 40 years. This has always been “glocal and inter-local” (i.e. local issues shared with communities/communities of interests at a local level that have global interest and impact). Those projects have included arts and disability (leading to the formation of Birds of Paradise) – and more recently, Memory of Water EU, looking at the role of artists in future planning for post industrial waterfront heritage zones.
Memory of Water EU was originally 6 cities and on the journey we discovered that local communities are on the one hand most vulnerable but on the other, have huge resilience that could be channeled and supported. We also identified that the next ‘shock’ about to hit those same communities is climate change.
The plan for Memory of Water EU was to develop the next stages – a large-scale collaboration involving existing and new partners in the exploration. However, Brexit has interrupted play: although we understand both education and culture are devolved matters for the Scottish Government, we find ourselves excluded from both Erasmus and Creative Europe because the UK Government has made the unfathomable decision to remove all four of the home nations of the UK from those funding programmes.
Undaunted, we are rekindling relationships with like-minded Scottish artists and activists: reawakening an organisation, established by cultural activist Helen Kyle with incredible prescience in 1996 called Scotland in Europe (SIE).
Scotland in Europe (SIE) has been working between Glasgow and Paris: bringing artists together in partnership, amity and in the spirit of cultural collaboration over the intervening decades SIE is an idea whose ‘time has come’. The departing Scottish MEP Alyn Smith begged the EU to ‘leave a light on for Scotland so that we can find our way home’. Scotland in Europe is that light. A beacon for cultural co-operation and learning exchange in the darkness that is Brexit, SIE will support Scottish artists and cultural organisations to continue the relationships, partnerships and projects that have been/will be developed in the future.
Europe stands in solidarity with Scotland. Lights are coming on all over mainland Europe… We have already established SIE ‘desks’ in Stockholm, Barcelona and Paris, with others in the pipeline through membership of the River Cities Network.
Our vision remains what it has always been – collaborative, engaged and outward looking.