Press release 23/11: 2016 ECF Princess Margriet Award for Culture announced

2016 ECF Princess Margriet Award for Culture goes to Krétakör in Hungary and Medialab-Prado in Spain. 

The European Cultural Foundation (ECF) is proud to announce the ECF Princess Margriet Award for Culture laureates for 2016: socially-engaged theatre-makers Krétakör (Budapest, Hungary) and citizen laboratory for digital culture Medialab-Prado (Madrid, Spain).

The Award jury unanimously agreed to give the 2016 edition of the ECF Princess Margriet Award for Culture to Krétakör and Medialab-Prado for their exceptional bodies of artistic and cultural work in developing critical spaces of social participation and political experimentation through culture. The Award, which will be presented on 15 March 2016 in the Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam, includes a sum of €25,000 for each laureate. In support of the Netherlands Presidency of the Council of the European Union during the first half of 2016 ECF has decided to bring the Award ceremony, which is usually held in Brussels, to Amsterdam.

(Left) FreeSchool project by Krétakör, © Dorottya Vékony - (Right) Editing together to make ourselves visible on Wikipedia, © Medialab Prado CC BY-SA 2.0

Key to both of the new ECF Princess Margriet Award laureates is the leading role they play in empowering individuals and building communities through culture. Their creative methods of learning through theatre and media encourage people to become more acutely aware of their social environments and of how to act and change the circumstances around them.

By honouring these two laureates, ECF is highlighting the importance of culture in creating a more open and inclusive Europe. This is a Europe that ECF believes in and supports through its entire body of work, from its grant schemes and cultural managers’ exchange programme to its Connected Action for the Commons programme, which connects cultural change-makers at grassroots level and encourages new models of participation and democracy.

Many European ideals of unity, stability and solidarity are beginning to collapse around us under the weight of economic, environmental, social and democratic crises. Change is sorely needed in Europe to keep these ideals alive. We know that change most often happens at a local level first – as the work of our laureates proves.
— Katherine Watson, Director ECF

The laureates

Krétakör is an internationally acclaimed theatre group led by the renowned theatre maker Árpád Schilling. 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. The jury selected Krétakör for their 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.

Medialab-Prado is a digital platform and physical workspace where people with different skills and knowledge come together to access and build a digital commons in Madrid, across Spain and the global media sphere. Through workshops, participatory events and modes of collaborative action, Medialab-Prado has been among the front-runners for many projects that have gone on to nourish democratic processes in digital culture in Spain. Supported by the municipality of Madrid, Medialab-Prado demonstrates that it is possible to develop new cultural initiatives as permeable, civic-public partnerships that are capable of rethinking public institutions from within.

The ECF Princess Margriet Award for Culture

Ranging from the late UK cultural theorist Stuart Hall to Ukrainian collective Visual Culture Research Center, previous laureates of the ECF Princess Margriet Award for Culture have inspired viable change in the way citizens engage with Europe as a shared cultural space.

The ECF Princess Margriet Award for Culture was initiated by ECF in 2008 and named after the foundation’s former President Princess Margriet of the Netherlands. It was established in partnership with the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Award is given annually to two laureates from different disciplines and different geographical locations. This tandem aspect of the award is based on the idea that a European award for cultural change cannot be represented by a singular discipline alone, but requires interplay between cultural practices. Each of these contributes to building an awareness of European issues from a diversity of perspectives.


Karen Jochems | Senior Communications Officer

Wietske Maas | Curator/spokesperson ECF Princess Margriet Award