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Call key data
Culture, the arts and cultural spaces for democratic participation and political expression, online and offline
Horizon Europe - Cluster 2 - Destination 1: Innovative research on democracy and governance
Estimated EU contribution per project
between € 2,000,000.00 and € 3,000,000.00
Link to the call
Link to the submission
Proposals are expected to investigate cultural activity and engagement, online and offline, as political expression, civic participation and political engagement, historically, in contemporary society, and to provide forecasts for the future. They should produce concrete policy recommendations and design proposals to allow the potential for political engagement through physical and virtual non-traditional spaces to be fully expressed, in an inclusive manner.
Participation in political life through conventional means, such as elections, has become a challenge. Participation rates decrease while parts of society feel unheard by political elites and see electoral processes as inefficient.
On the other hand, some citizens find alternative outlets to express political opinions, such as protests, expression on social media and in virtual spaces, art creation, music and vocal forms of expressive culture, etc. Cultural, artistic and online spaces (such as public libraries, art exhibition spaces, heritage sites, cultural centres, parks and other public places used temporarily to convey a message, social media platforms, metaverses, etc.) are increasingly positioning themselves as catalysers for social and economic changes. They become privileged places for deliberation and alternative engagement with politics through debate, education and free expression, for instance. Proposals should evaluate how effective they are at channelling bottom-up political energy. They should also propose options as to how those alternative initiatives could feed into the wider political debate (for instance through social innovation). In addition, proposals could look at art and cultural productions (in the broader sense, online and offline) as vectors of political expression, be it in democratic or non-democratic contexts. How efficient are they in mediating political messages? What kind of attacks and counterattacks are targeted at them, with what effects, from the side of the professional politicians and organisations? How are questions regarding the legitimacy of artistic activities answered?
Aside from physical spaces, virtual spaces for exchange and communication have been very active in the dissemination of political views and have influenced the political debate, notably through the use of popular culture references (memes, etc.) and through cyber-culture. While the link between social media and disinformation as well as political engagement has already been investigated, the revival of virtual alternative universes, such as metaverses, begs for more scientific evidence regarding what impact this will have on democracy. Digital universes have a strong potential to both threaten and nurture democracies. Proposals should propose forward-looking policy recommendations to ensure that such digital spaces can, by design, have a positive impact on democratic life, and to limit the potential threats to democracy. How can these new spaces be exploited as positive tools for citizen engagement? Proposals should also experiment solutions, methods and tools to support democratic behaviour and well-being for the next generation of social media.
Proposals are expected to investigate cultural activity and engagement, online and offline, as political expression, civic participation and political engagement, historically, in contemporary society, and to provide forecasts for the future. Gender, decoloniality and intersectionality should be taken into account. Investigation of examples and initiatives from outside Europe will be instrumental, given the many interesting experiences of art and activism around the world. Therefore, international cooperation is encouraged. Proposals should produce concrete policy recommendations and design proposals to allow the potential for political engagement through physical and virtual non-traditional spaces to be fully expressed, in an inclusive manner.
Research methodologies should include field research and participative methods. They may also involve culture and art practitioners and art-based research.
Clustering and cooperation with other selected projects under this topic and other relevant projects are strongly encouraged.
Proposals are encouraged to collaborate with the JRC Competence Centre on Participatory and Deliberative Democracy, particularly in respect to the development of evidence-informed policy recommendations on how digital universes, such as metaverses, can have positive impacts on democratic systems and democratic life in general.
Projects should contribute to the following expected outcomes:
- Recommendations on how to foster civic participation through a deep analysis of the use of spaces beyond classic democratic institutions, especially cultural and artistic spaces, as well as cyberspace and metaverses, for political expression.
- Forward-looking policy recommendations to ensure that digital spaces (including metaverses and social networks) can, by design, have a positive impact on democratic life and limit potential threats to democracy.
- Experimentation of solutions, methods and tools to support democratic behaviour and social well-being for the next generation of social media.
Regions / countries for funding
Moldova (Moldova), Albania (Shqipëria), Armenia (Հայաստան), Azerbaijan (Azərbaycan), Belarus (Беларусь), Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosna i Hercegovina / Босна и Херцеговина), Faeroes (Føroyar / Færøerne), Georgia (საქართველო), Island (Ísland), Israel (ישראל / إِسْرَائِيل), Kosovo (Kosova/Kosovë / Косово), Montenegro (Црна Гора), Morocco (المغرب), New Zealand (Aotearoa), North Macedonia (Северна Македонија), Norway (Norge), Serbia (Srbija/Сpбија), Tunisia (تونس /Tūnis), Türkiye, Ukraine (Україна), United Kingdom
Education and training institution, International organization, Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) / Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Other, Private institution, incl. private company (private for profit), Public Body (national, regional and local; incl. EGTCs), Research Institution incl. University, Small and medium-sized enterprise (SME)
To be eligible for funding, applicants must be established in one of the following countries:
- the Member States of the European Union, including their outermost regions
- the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) linked to the Member States
- third countries associated to Horizon Europe - see list of particpating countries
Only legal entities forming a consortium are eligible to participate in actions provided that the consortium includes, as beneficiaries, three legal entities independent from each other and each established in a different country as follows:
- at least one independent legal entity established in a Member State; and
- at least two other independent legal entities, each established in different Member States or Associated Countries.
Any legal entity, regardless of its place of establishment, including legal entities from non-associated third countries or international organisations (including international European research organisations) is eligible to participate (whether it is eligible for funding or not), provided that the conditions laid down in the Horizon Europe Regulation have been met, along with any other conditions laid down in the specific call topic.
A ‘legal entity’ means any natural or legal person created and recognised as such under national law, EU law or international law, which has legal personality and which may, acting in its own name, exercise rights and be subject to obligations, or an entity without legal personality.
- Affiliated entities — Affiliated entities (i.e. entities with a legal or capital link to a beneficiary which participate in the action with similar rights and obligations to the beneficiaries, but which do not sign the grant agreement and therefore do not become beneficiaries themselves) are allowed, if they are eligible for participation and funding.
- Associated partners — Associated partners (i.e. entities which participate in the action without signing the grant agreement, and without the right to charge costs or claim contributions) are allowed, subject to any conditions regarding associated partners set out in the specific call conditions.
- Entities without legal personality — Entities which do not have legal personality under their national law may exceptionally participate, provided that their representatives have the capacity to undertake legal obligations on their behalf, and offer guarantees to protect the EU’s financial interests equivalent to those offered by legal persons.
- EU bodies — Legal entities created under EU law including decentralised agencies may be part of the consortium, unless provided for otherwise in their basic act.
- Joint Research Centre (‘JRC’)— Where provided for in the specific call conditions, applicants may include in their proposals the possible contribution of the JRC but the JRC will not participate in the preparation and submission of the proposal. Applicants will indicate the contribution that the JRC could bring to the project based on the scope of the topic text. After the evaluation process, the JRC and the consortium selected for funding may come to an agreement on the specific terms of the participation of the JRC. If an agreement is found, the JRC may accede to the grant agreement as beneficiary requesting zero funding or participate as an associated partner, and would accede to the consortium as a member.
- Associations and interest groupings — Entities composed of members (e.g. European research infrastructure consortia (ERICs)) may participate as ‘sole beneficiaries’ or ‘beneficiaries without legal personality’. However, if the action is in practice implemented by the individual members, those members should also participate (either as beneficiaries or as affiliated entities, otherwise their costs will NOT be eligible.
other eligibility criteria
The Joint Research Centre (JRC) may participate as member of the consortium selected for funding.
Relevance for EU Macro-Region
EUSAIR - EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region, EUSALP - EU Strategy for the Alpine Space, EUSBSR - EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, EUSDR - EU Strategy for the Danube Region
UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs)
All proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funders & Tenders Portal electronic submission system (accessible via the topic page in the Search Funding & Tenders section). Paper submissions are NOT possible.
Proposals must be complete and contain all parts and mandatory annexes and supporting documents, e.g. plan for the exploitation and dissemination of the results including communication activities, etc.
The application form will have two parts:
- Part A (to be filled in directly online) contains administrative information about the applicant organisations (future coordinator and beneficiaries and affiliated entities), the summarised budget for the proposal and call-specific questions;
- Part B (to be downloaded from the Portal submission system, completed and then assembled and re-uploaded as a PDF in the system) contains the technical description of the project.
Annexes and supporting documents will be directly available in the submission system and must be uploaded as PDF files (or other formats allowed by the system).
The limit for a full application (Part B) is 45 pages.