The research project entitled “EUROPEAN INVENTORY OF SOCIETAL VALUES OF CULTURE AS A BASIS FOR INCLUSIVE CULTURAL POLICIES IN THE GLOBALIZING WORLD is being realized within the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme from 2020 to 2023. The research will be carried out in: The Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, France, Spain, Great Britain, Serbia, Croatia, and, Switzerland, with the financial support of the European Commission.

The Project is implemented by: Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) the Netherlands (acting as the project coordinator), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) Spain, University of Haifa (UoH) Israel, University of Copenhagen (UCPH) Denmark, Tampere University (TAU) Finland, University of Zürich (UZH), Switzerland, École normale supérieure Paris-Sarclay (ENS) France, Institute of Social Sciences Ivo Pilar (ISSIP) Croatia, and the Center for Empirical Cultural Studies of South East Europe (CESK) Serbia.

The starting point for the project are the objectives of the New EU Agenda for Culture, which represents an exceptionally significant step forward in European cultural policy. Faced with the effects of the “financial crisis (…) growing social inequalities, diverse populations, populism, radicalisation, and terrorist threats” on the one hand, and with research indicating that “EU citizens believe culture is the most important factor in creating a sense of community” on the other, the EU has decided to assign a more prominent role to its policies regarding issues of culture.

However, the EU’s new focus on the sphere of culture is accompanied by theoretical and methodological challenges. The changes which Europe and the world have undergone over the last thirty years are so drastic that they require a different approach to creating cultural policy. The INVENT project sets out to identify, through research, the cultural and social preconditions required for the strategic goals of the New EU Agenda for Culture to be realized.

The INVENT consortium aims to contribute to a “social turn” in cultural policies, one that takes into account how the way of life and cultural participation of European citizens has been influenced by the mega-trends of globalization, European integration and the migrations that accompany them, the digital revolution, and rising social inequalities. The bottom-up approach of the project will provide insight into multiple, often mutually contradictory, concepts of culture and understandings of societal values of culture among various social (demographic, socio-economic, ethnic, religious, …) groups in European societies. At the same time it will be the foundation of new methodologies for capturing the societal value of culture. This is the overall goal of the project, aimed at supporting the values of culture vital for the preservation and improvement of the European project, by means of striving to promote identity and belonging, inclusiveness, tolerance, and social cohesion.

The nine countries where the INVENT research will be carried out – Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, the Netherlands, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom – represent different models of cultural policy and different media systems. This offers excellent opportunities for a comparative analysis of the prevalence of multiple notions of culture in each country, as well as how citizens perceive the influence of social mega-trends (globalization, European integration, migrations, and growing social inequalities) on both everyday culture and culture in a more narrow sense.

Using a multi-method and mixed-methods research design (surveys, a smart phone study with experimental stimuli, data scraping of online content, focus groups, case studies, interviews) and by focusing on the effects of mega-trends on the everyday culture of the citizens of Europe and their cultural participation, we will be in a position to identify the elements which must be present in cultural policy at the national and European level in order to aid in the realization of a higher level of inclusiveness, tolerance and social cohesion in European societies and Europe as a whole.

The project envisages the organization of several conferences during the project, as well as the publication of the project results in scientific journals and books.