At the end of 2016, the Minister President of the Brussels Capital Region, Rudi Vervoort, announced that Brussels would be a candidate for the European Capital of Culture in 2030. In order to prepare the application and to enable the development of a shared vision of culture in Brussels in partnership with the sector, the Minister President entrusted Brussels cultural networks – specifically the Réseau des Arts à Bruxelles and Brussels Kunstenoverleg (RAB/BKO), Brussels Museums (CBM-BMR) and La Concertation – Action Culturelle Bruxelloise – with the assignment of developing a prospective roadmap intended to raise awareness among cultural stakeholders and encourage mobilisation.
To fulfil this assignment, the networks appointed a project manager, Yannick Schandené, for ‘Prospection concerning the cultural future of Brussels’. The project manager was supported in his mission by a steering committee made up of 12 people – from the socio-cultural, artistic and tourism sectors as well as the academic world and civil society – that was headed by Ann Olaerts (the director of the RITCS – School of Arts and vice president of the Brussels Kunstenoverleg).
This committee met for the first time on 28 September 2018, when it identified several priority themes for reflection on the cultural future of Brussels, including the one adopted for the first brainstorming day on Wednesday 24 October: demographics, youth and diversity in Brussels. Two other brainstorming days were organised in the autumn of 2018:
- Wednesday 21 November, on the theme of sustainability.
- Wednesday 12 December, focusing on the notion of ‘fluid society’ and increasingly blurred borders.
Finally, on 28 January 2019, the preliminary results of the process were presented to the sector at the plenary sitting during the New Year’s reception for the cultural networks in Brussels. The definitive conclusions were presented to the Brussels Capital Region a few weeks later.
During the preparatory phase, it was often pointed out that 2030 was still a long way away and that there were more urgent issues to address. That is why the decision was made to develop a methodology based on Fo.AM’s approach to the future, which uses projection to expose current problems. We are convinced that the route leading to 2030 is as essential as the final destination and hope to involve everyone in this constantly evolving process.