What We've Been Up To: Vitamine C, Belgium

Our series of blog posts presenting recent work of ICEnet partner organisations continues – this time talking about Vitamine C from Flanders, Belgium.

Vitamine C is a bottom-up platform for all, both in policy and in practice, who are passionate about connecting young people with the arts. It is a cross-cutting network that brings together cultural and arts centres, theatre and dance companies, museums, libraries, etc. – in short, people and children working with children and youth around arts. Vitamine C has a very strong international focus. In the first stage we want to enrich the Flemish practice and policy with an international dimension, and vice versa. In the second stage our goal is to strengthen international ties and contacts and to expand the network and in doing so, to establish a European and international Vitamine C network.

Apart from the network and platform Bruismee (http://bruismee.be), Vitamine C organises events which aim to connect and inform their members: art teachers, art practitioners, art educators in a broader sense. During the past 9 months, Vitamine C co-organized three bigger events in Belgium: a three-day event in Antwerp, one eventful day in Brussels’ Bozar and a recent event evening ARTopia, in collaboration with Lasso in Beurschowburg, in Brussels. 

From 23rd to 25th October Vitamine C co-organized a range of events in Antwerp. First one was on the evening of 23rd October. Located in a beautiful baroque church, AMUZ, the evening started with an inspiring keynote speech by Chris Torch, the founder of the renowned Swedish Intercult and a member of several European networks, including Culture Action Europe. The keynote was followed by networking for the participants, in a less formal setting. Participants could choose between joining in professional speed-dating or discussion tables. In the groups of 10 gathered around discussion tables, guests had the chance to engage in conversation with one of few international guests, professionals in art education, and learn about their work and their local cultural/educational politics.

Chris Torch giving a keynote speech

Next two days in Antwerp were reserved for meetings of ICEnet/TRaKSforA partners. Apart from the meetings themselves, this included study visits to inspiring organisations in Flanders, such as a practice visit to deFilharmonie , visiting De Tuin from HetPaleis or workshops and roundtables.

Second big event Vitamine C co-organized was the Eee-Changez! meeting of Flemish and Wallonian practitioners, on 4th December 201, in Bozar, Brussels. The aim of the meeting was for Flemish-speaking and French-speaking Belgians to learn about each other’s work, make connections and bring them closer in common interests. During the meeting, all members had the opportunity to introduce themselves and their work in short, as well as to network and learn something new through group discussions. The aim of Eee-Changez! is making a tour to visit good practices at both sides of the language border. 

Eee-Changez: presentation of participating organisations

The same day an inspiring lecture by Professor Louis Hetland was held. The lecture ‘The Benefits and Future of Visual Arts Education’ was held by one of the leading experts worldwide in the field today. Intended to motivate art educators and other professionals who in any way have impact on developing creativity in children and youth, Professor Hetland’s academic lecture was based on the topics of arts, culture and education in general. After the lecture, the audience had the opportunity to participate in a workshop, organized by Vitamine C, on the topic of Professor Hetland’s lecture.  Divided into nine groups, the participants were able to discuss the issues brought up during the lecture from a practice-based perspective. (More about the event: http://icenet.ning.com/profiles/blogs/lecture-on-visual-arts-educat...)

Prof. Hetland referring to Banksy. ©Lisanne Valgaerts

Third big event worth mentioning was co-organized together with Lasso (link to Lasso: http://www.lasso.be/en/about). The evening event ARTopia was held on 14th May in Beurschouwburg, in the heart of Brussels.  Airan Berg, international “multi-practicum” professional in arts, education and culture, and Tuur Florizoone, Flemish musician, held “a musical speech” about artists as engines of social change. Questions they tried to answer were: Can artists act as engines for social change? And how can they intervene in the lives of young people? This event was intended for everyone who is passionate to bring arts and culture closer to children and young people, in a contemporary and new approach. After Airan and Tuur’s inspiring speech, several artists presented themselves to the audience and held round-table discussions. (More about the event: http://icenet.ning.com/profiles/blogs/airan-berg-and-artopia-in-bru...) (Video: Airan Berg on PechaKucha, Maastricht http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Y0dRNbG2PE)

With this event and two Vitamine C core-group meetings, Vitamine C will bring this season to an end in order to take a break and get ready for another busy year ahead. 

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