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ECF PMA laureate Krétakör in conversation at de Balie

  • De Balie 10 Kleine-Gartmanplantsoen Amsterdam, NH, 1017 RR Netherlands (map)

As we prepare for the award ceremony for the 2016 ECF Princess Margriet Award for Culture, which will take place at the Stadsschouwburg in Amsterdam on 15 March 2016, we invite you to meet both laureates in public events organised in Amsterdam: on 14 March (20:00, Pakhuis de Zwijger): Medialab-Prado will delve into the world of the commons and citizens engaging in the change of public institutions and cultural policies, and on 16 March, Krétakör will be at De Balie, see below for detailed information and to buy tickets.  

Krétakör's Free School Project. Photo by Máté Tóth-Ridovics

Krétakör's Free School Project. Photo by Máté Tóth-Ridovics

ECF and the Forum on European Culture are bringing together one of this year’s ECF Princess Margriet Award for Culture laureates and two of the hubs within the Connected Action for the Commons network, each of them representing countries that are either already an established (Hungary) or new members to the European Union’s illiberal democracy club.

What is the political and social reality that activists and cultural operators are forced to work in in these countries? What are the tactics and strategies activists can develop to fight the rise of undemocratic practices? Is there a shared message they can deliver to the forefront of the European discourse? 

Moderated by Kirsten van den Hul


Arpad Schiling, artistic director of Krétakör, Hungary
Theatre maker and activist Árpád Schilling is the founder of Krétakör, an internationally acclaimed theatre group and laureate of the ECF Princess Margriet Award for Culture 2016. The group uses dramaturgy as a means to bring different perspectives into debate and conversation. Since 2008, Krétakör has made a determined shift from theatre as a stage-based experience to theatre as a social forum. They work as a collective that enters into direct dialogue with different communities and settings in regional Hungary. Their work in secondary schools enables them to interact with and evoke the voices of young people especially. Krétakör's artistic work exemplifies a dynamic quest for new methods and theatrical forms capable of engaging with the changing landscape and social urgencies in today’s Hungary and Europe. Read our special featured people presenting the work of Krétakör and watch a video portrait of Krétakör below:

Teodor Celakoski, Culture 2 Commons, Croatia
Guided by the idea that culture can be an agent for transformation, 2014 ECF Princess Margriet Award for Culture laureate Teodor Celakoski has brought together and mobilised a broad range of citizens to explore new forms of public agency. Among the many initiatives he has been a catalysing force of are the Multimedia Institute with its cultural centre MaMa as a junction of various communities focusing on digital culture, human rights and critical theory; Clubture, a collaborative platform which connects independent cultural organisations in Croatia; and Right to the City (Pravo na Grad), an alliance engaging citizens and communities against the privatisation of urban commons. Celakoski is a pivotal figure in shaping Croatia’s independent cultural scene and committed to making real democratic processes possible. Culture 2 Commons is one of ECF's Connected Action for the Commons hubs, learn more about their work on our Meet the Hubs page. Also watch a video portrait of Teodor Celakoski below:

Igor Stokfiszewski, Krytyka Polityczna, Poland
Igor Stokfiszewski is a literary and theatre critic specialising in politically engaged art. Since 2006 he has been a member of the Polish leftwing movement Political Critique, one of our Connected Action for the Commons hubs, where he works as activist, editor and journalist. He was a member of the team overseeing the 7th Berlin Biennale (2012).
You can learn more about the work of Political Critique on our Meet the Hubs page. Also watch this interview with Igor Stokfiszewski made during ECF's Idea Camp 2015: 

Practical information

16 March 2016 from 17:00 to 18:30
Event is in English
Tickets are on sale via De Balie's website. Prizes are € 10,00 and € 8,50
Venue: De Balie, Kleine-Gartmanplantsoen 10, 1017 RR Amsterdam


It’s only taken a few months for the new Polish government to follow in the footsteps of the Hungarian example, which has kneecapped NGOs, independent media and the judiciary as well as the independent cultural scene. It is expected that Croatia will be next. Mr, Orban was quoted saying “We have to abandon liberal methods and principles of organising a society, as well as the liberal way to look at the world”. The uncompromising defence of national sovereignty together with a genuine distrust in the EU (both as an idea and symbol of shared value as well as an institutional framework for collaboration), as well as the idolised stability through strong leadership are what comprise the essence of the concept of “illiberal politics” that is being shaped in these countries. In practice, this brings about the gradual transformation of the democratic institutional framework together with the elimination (or at least damage) of checks and balances, increased pressure on the independent civil society, severe infringement of citizens’ individual and collective rights.

For more information, read our translation of Thijs Kleinpaste's analysis for the Groene Amsterdammer: The Dissenting Voice of Poland’s Intelligentsia.

This programme is part of the series ‘Re:Creating Europe’
From June 1-3 2016 De Balie and DutchCulture organise a Forum on European Culture entitled “Re:Creating Europe” about the value and impact of arts and culture for Europe and its future.