Interest group of environments

During the Annual Assembly in may 2013 of the European Outsider Art Association the first ever meeting of the Interest Group of Environments was held,

The conclusions of this meeting are republished here (part of the minutes of the meeting).

screen print from the EOA website

(Part of the) MINUTES of the meeting of the

Interest Group of Environments (Heidelberg, may 2013)

Discussions of the group and letters written by Laurent Danchin and Henk van Es concluded the group to see five dimensions to recognize some ethical questions (EQ) around Outsider Art environments and some sights for the Interest group in future.

1. Documenting

- Documenting is the most urgent and essential work when the site still exists and the creator is alive.

- EQ: How to save the voice of the artist, getting to know the original spirit of the site? Who will do it? Role of private enthusiasts to be active, role of mediators, responsibility by experts and organizations?

2. Authorizing

- Gathering interest of experts, researchers, documentarists, enthusiasts, organizations, media etc. together

- Awakening public interest and good will for the site

- Awakening awareness that the material and immaterial value of the site is connected with the spirit of the European treaty of cultural heritage

- Awakening awareness how the site can communicate and share its value to the community around it, for marketing the area and inspiring cultural tourism there

- EQ: Question about understanding the unique value of the site as cultural heritage. Role of sensible mediators?

- EQ: How the national legislations should be developed for agreeing European visions? How to get local authorities and communities to agree their responsibilities?

3. Sustainable use

- Promoting and marketing the site for achieving popularity by visitors

- Regular and professional caring and guarding for keeping the site open and in safe

- Being aware of varying national and local traditions and practices (like Agrotourism in Italy)

- EQ: Each site has its own special character and special ways for being cared well. There is no common standard.

- EQ: Question about spontaneous, voluntary work by enthusiasts / professional work for keeping the quality

- EQ: How much tourism and visitors the site will stand? How to make restrictions?

4. Protecting

- When building the site the artists have unique, self-created materials and techniques and very strongconnection between the art objects and their surroundings

- EQ: How much caring or conservation the works / the sites will stand? How much the protectors can touch without changing the nature of the art objects or whole environment? What is the responsibility of the local museums to help?

5. Communicating and networking

- We need to communicate more for recognizing good practices we already have, and for changing them.

Some good practices mentioned in this meeting:

- Nek Chand Foundation organizing voluntaries and funding for Rock Garden

- Blog by Henk van Es “Outsider Environments Europe”

- SPACES: international archive, directed by Jo Farb Hernandez, willing to document and save also European material

- Rivista dell´ Osservatorio Outsider Art: on-line magazine on outsider art environments, published by Palermo University

- In Sicily Agrotourism maps including outsider art sites

- French legislation which is parallel with European treaty; in France there are 6 sites registered as cultural heritage; one of them is Jean Linard’s Cathedral

- In Finland ways to use EU funding for actions to protect Parikkala Sculpture Park

What to do:

- Henk van Es suggested a discussion group in Facebook and a regular monthly newsletter. We decided to ask if Henk could be responsible of these actions by himself, developing his current blog for wider agendas. We could be active members and participants on those forums. After the meeting we have seen that Henk already opened the FB page Outsider Art Environments Europe

Let’s promote this page!

- It could be founded also a closed FB group for the involved key persons. Danilo, Minna and Raija will create it and invite participants.

-Interest group of Environments is willing to keep its mutual round-table meetings in future in connection with events of EOA. We shall continue this practice in next general assembly. Maybe it could be a one-day small seminar for invited key persons, including also communicating with our coaches?

- Websites of each site should share links for other sites. This will help cultural tourism.

- European map for cultural tourism, like Agrotourism maps in Sicily

- Bilateral friendship relationships between some sites, for visiting each other, changing ideas and practices, learning by doing

-EQ: Role of the mediators (=us) is essential. We need to act ethically: widening our awareness, combining theoretical research, pragmatism and passion, maintaining venues to share information and be the channels for people’s enthusiasm, using social skills and promotional abilities to awaken good will for the sites…

EQ: There is a huge difference if the artist is alive or passed away. It’s important to get familiar with the artists and the sites early enough, and after artist’s death to respect the original spirit of the site, for giving the second life for it.

added to OEE texts june 2013