What do young people want for the future of Europe? From 14 September, the Goethe-Institutes and the German diplomatic missions in the EU and the United Kingdom invite kids to workshops about Olafur Eliasson's artwork and to a direct dialogue with political decision makers.
Earth Speakr offers all age groups in Europe the opportunity to exchange ideas about the future of our planet and climate change. In order to reach more kids across Europe and to bring them into direct dialogue with political decision makers, the German embassies, in cooperation with the Goethe-Instituts in 24 EU member states and the UK, are organising two-part events for kids from 14 September until December 2020.
The kids will be introduced to the artwork and create Earth Speakr messages in their environment in a preparatory workshop at the Goethe-Instituts. Their contributions will actively contribute to the artwork, which has been evolving since 1 July. In a subsequent event at the German embassy, young people will present their Earth Speakr messages and discuss their views with political decision makers. The first workshop starts on 14 September in Naples, followed by Dublin (19 September), Ljubljana (24 September) and Bucharest (28 September).
According to Andreas Görgen, Director for Culture and Communication of the Federal Foreign Office:
This participatory project shows that cultural processes are far more important than products. It’s about participation, working together and actively shaping our European public. Culture, especially when conceived as a process, is essential for equal encounters - between all of us and especially with the younger generation. Earth Speakr challenges; it challenges young Europeans to get involved and us adults and today’s decision makers to open up to the messages of youth. With this EU-wide project, we are deliberately crossing boundaries - between languages, generations and nations.
Secretary-General of the Goethe-Institut Johannes Ebert underlined the importance of involving kids and young people more in shaping Europe, saying:
Most important decisions about the future of Europe are made by adults. Movements like Fridays For Future show, however, that young people and children are very concerned with the challenges of our societies and want to move and change things. Their forward-looking perspectives are an important contribution to shaping our societies because the future begins today. That is why we want to bring these opinions more strongly into the European discourse and promote intergenerational encounters within the EU. The Goethe-Institut also pursues this approach, which forms the basic principle of Earth Speakr, with many other projects in its worldwide youth work. We are therefore pleased that we were able to support the creation of Olafur Eliasson’s work of art through preparatory workshops at our European Goethe-Instituts. With the series of talks now beginning in cooperation with the German diplomatic missions abroad, the dialogue between children and political decision makers can be further intensified.
With an app and an interactive website in all 24 official EU languages, augmented reality, audio-visual presentations in Brussels and Berlin and an EU-wide network, Earth Speakr is the largest project in the Federal government’s cultural programme for the EU Council Presidency in 2020.
The artwork by the Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson was launched in collaboration with his studio, kids and young people, creative partners and a group of scientists and experts. Earth Speakr is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office as part of the German EU Council Presidency’s cultural programme and implemented in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut, with preparatory workshops held at the Goethe-Instituts.
The Goethe-Institut is the Federal Republic of Germany’s cultural institute, active worldwide. With 157 institutes in 98 countries, we promote the study of German abroad, encourage international cultural exchange and convey a contemporary image of Germany. As a national and European cultural institute, the Goethe-Institut is committed to the vision of progressive European integration and with its activities continuously advocates further strengthening the values of the European Union: liberty, equality, and openness. It operates 52 institutes in Europe.
The visual artist Olafur Eliasson (born in 1967) grew up in Iceland and Denmark. In 1995 he founded the Studio Olafur Eliasson in Berlin, where he works with an interdisciplinary team. Olafur Eliasson works in sculpture, painting, photography, film, installations, and digital media. He is internationally known primarily for his often large-format works of art in public spaces and in institutional contexts. Natural phenomena such as water, light, ice, fog, and reflections play an important role in his work and reflect his critical examination of nature and the consequences of climate change, as well as social issues. His artworks and projects have been exhibited at the Biennale di Venezia, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Tate Gallery of Modern Art in London, among others.
Further information about the cultural programme of Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union: here.