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“Culture is a potential weapon for integration”

A big gathering of artists and culture people in Mors started its opening at 2pm on 25th, August, 2016. This is well known as the Cultural Summit, Kulturmødet, in Denmark, which has almost the same impact as the Folkmødet in Denmark. The Cultural minister Bertel Haarder attended the opening and presented the opening speech

By Marion Chen

One of the main themes of kulturmødet in 2016 is Art and Culture without borders, which closely connects with the debate of the integration of immigrants. Christian Have, the founder and the organiser of the kulturmødet accepted the interview from New Times.

How can culture help with the integration in Denmark?
Many governments and states have tried a lot of things to solve the immigration problems and challenges and there is a beginning of awareness that it is not working. Integration is not working in Europe. That is because there has not been a big interest for culture and art to resolve the integration problems. But now there is a beginning of awareness that culture and art can in a way make people forget their religions, their culture, where they come from, their nationalities. If you think together, if you play together, other cultures can make us understand each other’s differences much better. Culture is a universal language where we can understand our differences much better. It’s a very potential weapon for integration. I am very happy that people start to realise that. The politicians in a way haven’t realized the potential in the last five ten years. They have been sleeping. They had a dream that this integration problem will go away tomorrow.  Now we can see that it is a permanent condition in the world. It will not go away. So that’s why they should not stimulate people but integrate them. People from outside shouldn’t be as a Dane like I am, but they should be it in a way to be in the Danish society to create something much more than we have together with us. That’s a different way to see the integration.

Kulturmødet is so important because I think it’s from there the changes are coming. It’s from the new artists, new musicians and new generations the future is created right now.
Christian Have says that Kulturmødet is so important: “I think it’s from there the changes are coming. It’s from the new artists, new musicians and new generations the future is created right now.” (Photo: Marion)

Is it the cultural gap that makes people very hard to integrate?
Yes, it is the culture gap that makes integration difficult. If we try to understand the culture, for example the Chinese culture and the Middle East culture, their expressions, their music, suddenly they are not strange. Suddenly I understand it in a different way, in a way, I could not say integration, but I could say communication, to communicate. Because that’s something different. We have something to share with each other, and not try to assimilate to each other.

Why is it the job of culture to do integration?
I think what is important is to understand that culture can do a lot.  If we are in a way, we can lead the world integration. I think integration is a bad word. If we start to say how can we communicate to each other in a different way, using other tools normally, it’s very important that we use our emotions, we use our consciousness and we use other things than our rational brain and mental brain. We have to be much more emotional in a way, because when we are emotional, we understand in a much better way. I think culture can do that.

What is the meaning of the kulturmødet?
The meeting where you focus on other cultures is so important to balance the very hard situation we have in Europe, with pressure of our values, immigration problems, economic problems, and identity problems. Where are we heading? In a way I think other cultures can give some alternatives, some other ideas, it could make an inspiration for the new direction we have to take in our society in Denmark, but also in Europe. Kulturmødet is so important because I think it’s from there the changes are coming. It’s from the new artists, new musicians and new generations the future is created right now.

The cultural summit (Kulturmødet) is Denmark’s  new centre stage for discussing arts and culture. There are about 85 dialogues and about 385 experiences of all kinds of arts: performing arts, music, film, literature, architecture and visual arts. A number of dialogues among knowledgeable and visionary people from within the Danish spheres of art, culture, business and politics take place in the cultural summit. When the Cultural Summit Mors opens on Thursday 25th August at 14.00 the whole town is ready to welcome the more than 20.000 visitors during the 48 concentrated hours. The main topics in 2016 is: Art and Culture without borders   Into the Art The Responsibility of the Artist Art in society Cultural heritage

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