Future Unlocked!

Future Unlocked!

More than anything before, the pandemic uncovered the immense contribution of culture and creativity to citizens’ well-being, social innovation, economic growth, and international cooperation. Policymakers and businesses now increasingly recognize cultural and creative sectors (CCSs) as the key players in the construction of the “new normal”. With the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals in mind, the main challenge remains how to empower the CCSs to boost sustainable development in the global context to the best of their capacities.

Let’s unlock the future!

From 12 to 15 September 2021 and with pre events in April, May and June, Creativeforum.si, the European Creative Industries Summit and the Centre for Creativity Slovenia will join hands in this endeavour. The European Creative Industries Summit (ECIS) is a yearly conference organised by the European Creative Business Network (ECBN). Hosted by the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU, they will gather creatives from the European Union and beyond to identify skills, tools and methods used to unlock the potential of the global creative economy. How can it best contribute to green transition, social innovation, economic growth and innovative administration, efficient in building a sustainable post-COVID world?

The high-level conference will also address the CCSs’ often overlooked yet unique contribution to foreign relations, with particular focus on ensuring peace and stability. In partnership with the Union for the Mediterranean, the conference will look into successful practices from Southern Mediterranean and make a case for a reinforced support to creative economy in the context of foreign policy.

Join us in testing and boosting new forms of collaboration to make creative economy a strategic enabler of international peace and prosperity.

Photo gallery

Photos by Mankica Kranjec


Live streamed online:

MONDAY, 13/9/2021

9.15 Opening of the Conference
Slobodan Šešum, Acting Director-General for Economic and Public Diplomacy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Slovenia
Abdelkader El Khissassi, Deputy Secretary General, Union for the Mediterranean
Anja Zorko, Director, Centre for Creativity, Slovenia
Bernd Fesel, Director, European Creative Business Network

9.30 EU Senior Officials’ Meeting 

Welcome and introduction
Slobodan Šešum, Acting Director-General for Economic and Public Diplomacy, MFA Slovenia

Cultural relations promoting peace and stability – Discussion co-organised with EUNIC Global
Introductory words: Andrew Manning, Director, EUNIC

Presentation of the study “Cultural Relations and the Promotion of Peace and Stability in Fragile Contexts”
by Jordi Baltà Portolés, Trànsit Projectes

Panel discussion
Oliver Rentschler, Director, EU External Action Service
Amalia de Lizaur López, AECID Spain
Björn Technau, Goethe-Institut Jordan (video)
Jordi Baltà Portolés, Trànsit Projectes

Moderator: Petra Kežman, MFA, Slovenia

9.30 #ECIS21 Expert Forum

Green CCSs: Good case and presentation
Alison Tickell, Julie’s Bicycle

Good case: Climate Culture Pavilion
Karlheinz Boiger, Breathe Earth Collective

Innovating green public services through creative bureaucracy
Charles Landry

New European Bauhaus
Examples: Porto, RI.SE, Amsterdam; Michela Magas (video)


Moderator: Eberhard Schrempf, Creative Industries Styria

11.00 Break

11.30 Creativeforum.si
In what way is creativity an element of innovation for skills development and social inclusion?

Chryssa Vlachopoulou, Makers Exchange, EU-funded pilot project on makers’ mobility

Panel discussion:
Sybilla Britani, EUNIC
Ewen Chardronnet, Makery
Michal Hladký, Creative Industry Košice
Wolf Kuehr, VOLUMES

Moderator: Vassilis Charalampidis, European Creative Hubs Network

11.30 #ECIS21 Expert Forum
DeuS Living Lab presentation and workshop

DeuS is an Erasmus+ pilot project on vocational education and training focusing on how to unlock the potential of the creative and cultural sectors and inspire new policies on training and entrepreneurship. The team has co-created the DeusComp training programme and challenge- based methodology in critical thinking and entrepreneurship that specifically responds to the needs of cultural and creative professionals across Europe. DeuSComp has also been designed to support DeuS Living Labs in the identification of creative and original solutions to local multi-sectoral economic and societal challenges. The open process highlights how an injection of creative thinking and creative skills can drive real solutions to real challenges.

Rita Orlando & Raffaele Vitulli, DeuS

13.00 Break

14.20 – 16:00 Panel Discussion: Cultural and creative sectors as generators of economic growth

In the International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development, we are celebrating the role of creative economy. How can we empower cultural and creative sectors to boost citizens’ well-being, social innovation and economic growth?

Moderator: Dražen Dragojevič

Zdravko Počivalšek, Minister of Economic Development and Technology, Slovenia
Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for Internal Market (video message)
Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education, Youth, Sport: “The Future of Creative Skills is the Future of Europe” (video message)
Christian Ehler, Member of the European Parliament (video message)

Rym Ayadi, Euro-Mediterranean Economists Association (video)
Anja Zorko, Centre for Creativity, Slovenia
Bernd Fesel, European Creative Business Network
Michela Magas, Industry Commons (video)
Romana Jordan, Governing Board of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology

TUESDAY, 14/9/2021

9.30 High-level panel discussion: Cultural and creative sectors as drivers of peace and stability

The cultural and creative sectors have made an often overlooked but yet unique contribution to foreign relations. How can the international players strengthen the role of international cultural relations to promote peace and stability?

Moderator: Bernd Fesel, European Creative Business Network

Keynote addresses:
Gašper Dovžan, State Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Slovenia
Nasser Kamel, Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean (video message)
Stefano Sannino, Secretary General of the EU External Action Service (video message)

Ljubomir Mišurović, State Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Montenegro
Abdelkader El Khissassi, Deputy Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean
Badr Abdelatty, Assistant Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Arab Republic of Egypt
Matthieu Peyraud, Director for Culture, Higher Education, Research and Networks, Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, France

11.00 Break

11.30 – 12.30 Way forward – innovative approaches in international cooperation in culture

What are the lessons learnt from the recent projects, testing new approaches in international cooperation in culture?

Moderator: Petra Kežman, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Slovenia

  • Robert Kieft, EUNIC – European Spaces of Culture Project Manager “Nogoonbaatar – International Eco Art Festival”
  • Tere Badia, Culture Action Europe Secretary General “Engaging with MENA cultural agents in the EU”
  • Sébastien Lagrave, Africolor Director “Festival des Communes”
  • Petra Kežman, Head of Department for International Relations in Culture at MFA Slovenia “Europe Readr”

11.30 – 12.30 Revolutions, deaths and innovation. What creatives can do

How are cultural and creative industries reshaping the way we approach calamities, risk and uncertainty, positively impacting society? A webinar with the Creative Business Network presenting start-ups addressing relevant social issues.

Rasmus Wiinstedt Tscherning, Creative Business Network

Francis Obanijesu, The Lightning Artz, Nigeria
Isabella Oriani, TAI – Safari Seat, Kenya & Sweden
Chris Richmond Nzi, Mygrants, Italy


Creativeforum.si is a platform for a lively and cross-sectoral exchange between creatives, entrepreneurs and policy makers. It invites different sectors – industry, foreign policy, education, tourism and more – to jointly create an enabling environment for the cultural and creative sector to prosper. It provides capacity building, networking opportunities and room for debate. It is an advocate for and a catalyst of policy change.

Primarily, it targets the regions of the Western Balkans and the Southern Mediterranean. However, it knows no geographical limits and partners with institutions and businesses from around the globe. A strong cultural and creative sector is a global need. It is key to development, peace and people’s well-being.

The Forum was launched in 2018, in cooperation between the Slovenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Union for the Mediterranean. Since then, it has considerably grown and joined forces with a wide array of international partners. While its first edition in 2018 reviewed the regional state of affairs in the cultural and creative sector, the 2019 edition set the ground for collective action under the title “Creative Capital United”. Many new partnerships were established and new ideas born. Some networks expanded and others were imagined for the future.


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