Strasbourg, France June 8 – 11 2023
What is EYE?
8500 people between the ages of 16 and 30 travel to Strasbourg to spend 2 days taking over the city, the buses and trams, the European Parliament building and temporary village surrounding it. Almost unimaginable till you get there and see the queues. And getting there is a problem because someone doesn’t tell the airlines, the national train companies, who are failing anyway and most of their trains are late, in particular Eurostar, nor the Europe wide buses, that there will be this number of young people travelling to and from 92 countries on a couple of days in June. The corporations certainly take advantage of this by raising the prices through the iniquity of so called “market forces”…..and when you only hear about your successful application to participate in mid-April, then the prices are already at their highest and most of the accommodation has gone. This is not for the faint hearted.
Strasbourg is also quite a small city and where all the young people stay, I have no idea. We were lucky in finding a good hotel at a reasonable price, and lucky to have the reserve funding from previous TCFT projects + some Gift Aid from multiple crowdfunding campaigns and generous donors, to pay for it + of course the EYE funding we applied for which worked out at about 50% of the cost. As always with EU funding their travel and accommodation allowances do not keep pace with inflation, yet alone excessive profiteering.
“8500 participants in Strasbourg and more online. 400 speakers, moderators, and facilitators. 300+ activities, both inside the European Parliament and in the EYE Village, co-created with young people. 31 MEPs, 3 EP Vice- Presidents and EP President Roberta Metsola. 22 artistic performances and 8 hybrid activities. This was #EYE2023.”
You can read much about the EYE on their web site, the list of activities is endless, democracy discussions, LGBTQI conversations, Climate Change activism, Mental Health and Young people post Covid, Empowerment, Ukrainian Resistance, Ideas for Projects, Music, Food, quiet rooms, etc., It’s a very large and complicated event, inside an enormous building, and in 2 days you can barely scratch the service, no matter how much you plan in advance.
So what is TCFT?
Whilst we were touring Differences in Bosnia in 2007, I was invited to visit some young artists in Srebrenica to talk about their passion to work with more artists, so they could work with children, and so the seeds of The Complete Freedom of Truth began, the journey of which still continues in many different forms. (See the celebrations of the International Day of Democracy 15th – 17th September 2023.
An extract of the documentary Candles against the Night edited for Davos and a seminar on Music and Social Justice presented by Emeritus Professor Nigel Osborne MBE.
Who’s involved - past and present?
Zoe and George choregraphing, Srebrenica 2022
A Highlight in Paris:
On Line Bureaucracy:
But was it worth going?
“…………..it has been really interesting and inspiring and given me some more energy to try and do more in the ways of activism…..” Z
“ Strasbourg was an amazing opportunity! I never thought I’d be lucky enough to travel to visit the European Parliament with an organisation let alone get involved in the learning and change making! The whole trip was totally enjoyable learning experience and the first time I’ve been able to leave the UK since July 2019. Thank you so much for inviting me and looking forward to working with you in the future! Particularly memorable was being able to sit in on a talk about fighting the climate catastrophe. As a young activist Dominika Lasota really inspired me, finishing the talk with us all chanting to demand action on climate policy” G
“Being given the opportunity on the trip to the EYE in Strasbourg has been an eye opening experience for me. I went with an open mind thinking I knew very little and I discovered I knew more than I realised and I have a say just like all the other young people around the world in which I got to meet during this experience. I thought it was extraordinary that so many young people from so many countries came together for this and the issues they wanted to voice are actually quite similar to others. We had the chance to make a change and be heard by people who can help us do that and they wanted to hear what we had to say! I’ve taken this experience back with me and I know I want to have an impact for my community and put that into action for others to see as well.” A
EU membership and some of what we’ve lost:
What most people didn’t know, and still have no idea, that leaving would remove us from all EU funding, or even that we had access to so much in the first place.
The EYE is funded by EU funding managed by the European Parliament and co-organised by the European Parliament and young people. Council of Europe has nothing to do with the funding for the EYE. Council of Europe is an international organisation, the leading human rights organisation in Europe, having 46 participating countries in it. It is a different entity from the EU institutions. I know it is confusing, especially because the building of the Council of Europe is right next to the building of the building of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
The EYE was organised on the premises of the European Parliament and in a set-up special village next to it. The administration of the town of Strasbourg has been involved in numerous ways in this organisation. The raising of the awareness about the EYE had already started in 2022, including by the Calls for co-organisers of the event, so many people, including economic operators, across Europe had already known that this huge event was going to happen in June 2023. In a previous edition of the EYE we have had more than 12,000 participants and so far the event has been taking place every 2 years since 2014.
Erasmus + €26,2 billion
Creative Europe €2.44 billion
New European Bauhaus €85 million but growing
Perform Europe €1.5 million
Horizon Research Funding €95.5 billion
And many other cultural funds to which we can no longer apply.
September 15th – 17th International Weekend of Democracy
(further information shortly – Sunday 17th, Bridport Arts Centre, 3pm the film screening of Belonging/Becoming – see poster above)
More information soon.