Visuele Educatie: Welk Europa?

Which Europe? In 2018 the Netherlands will be furnishing a “Cultural Capital of Europe” for the third time. The Hague, Utrecht, Maastricht, Leeuwarden, Almere and “Brabantstad” (an association of the five largest cities in the province of Noord-Brabant plus the province itself) have all put themselves forward as candidates. With the European ideals of cultural unification in the background, the candidate cities have been involved in a contest at the national level to secure this prestigious title. Independent of the competition and beyond the one-year event, there are fundamental questions to be asked about the “Cultural Capital of Europe” phenomenon. For example: how does the event compare with our perception of “Europe”? What do we mean when we say “Europe,” anyway? Do we mean the continent of Europe, the idea of Europe, cultural-historical Europe, Brussels Europe, Euro Europe, Schengen Europe, EasyJet Europe…? This research project uses the phenomenon of the European Cultural Capital as its context for investigating the theme of “Europe,” thereby contributing to conceptualization and the forming of opinion. The first model developed for the project is aimed at “visual education.” It uses visual instruments as “interfaces” between various public groups and between the public and various organizations. The model makes it possible to study what people mean by the notion of Europe, for example, and it stimulates discussions of these perceptions.