Evens Foundation Annual Report 2020

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Harmoniously in Europe
Report 2020


Our Mission 3

What we Do 3

About The Evens Foundation 3

Chairwoman’s Message 4

Common Purpose through Differences 5

Assemblies: Modern Rituals 5 Sharing European Histories 6 The Aesthetic Experience 7

Evens Lecture & Debate Series 9 Mayday Magazine, Podcasts and Event 10

Norms and Values within the European Reality 11 (Re)Thinking Values in Europe 11 Skills to Resist Radicalisation – German version 11 Cultural institutions as places of resistance 12 Models of Ethical Journalism and development of critical media 12 Journalistic voices diversified 14

Media Meets Literacy – small-scale events 14 Resilience Reports 15

Difference Day 15

Image & Memory: Writer’s Series 16 Fact-Checking Integrated 16

Evens Prizes 17

Evens Education Prize 2020 17

Evens Science Prize 2020 18

Evens Journalism Prize for Geopolitics and Education 2020 19 Evens Arts Prize 2019 20

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2 I EVENS FOUNDATION I Annual report 2020

Our Mission

The Evens Foundation aims to contribute to rethinking and building a European reality committed to the values of diversity, freedom, responsibility and solidarity. We identify and support innovative ideas and achievements through our prizes and calls, initiate experimental projects bridging the gap between research and practice, and facilitate knowledge exchange through our lectures, seminars, debates and publications.

What we Do

The expression Living together harmoniously in Europe embodies the founders’ vision and stands at the core of our work. We look for tangible ways to engage with this key concern from philosophical, social, cultural or educational perspectives.

We identify and support innovative ideas and award achievements through our prizes and calls. Furthermore, we foster experimental projects that bridge the gap between research and practice, and facilitate knowledge exchange through lectures, seminars, debates and publications.

We collaborate with an ever-expanding network of citizens, practitioners, researchers, NGOs, and academic and cultural institutions connecting different communities and perspectives across the continent and beyond.

As an operative foundation, we initiate and run projects together with our partners. Since the Foundation’s outset, we have taken risks by stimulating experimentation – whether by designing our own projects or supporting independent pioneering ideas. We mainly focus on developing pilot projects testing scientific hypotheses, innovative pedagogies or artistic processes.

About the Evens Foundation

The Evens Foundation is a public-benefit foundation started as a family endeavour in 1990. Its founders, Irène Evens-Radzyminska and Georges Evens, established it because of their commitment to the European project. Born in Poland, they witnessed the troubled history of the Second World War that tore the continent apart. Forced to leave their country of birth, they found a new home in Belgium.

Corinne Evens, daughter of the founders, is the Honorary President of the Foundation. Monique Canto-Sperber is the Chairwoman of the Executive Committee of the Foundation.

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Chairwoman’s Message

The year 2020 marked history with an unprecedented global health crisis causing a disruption from which, as we write this report halfway through 2021, is still unresolved, and for which future consequences to our societies are still to be discovered.

None of us would have foreseen the dramatic health and economic situation in which the world has found itself and the consequences society has had to accept as a result. Not long ago, it would have been difficult to imagine the restrictions recently experienced in regards to our freedom of movement, of assembly, or even the impact on education or access to cultural spaces.

We have experienced, beyond the differing views and criticisms of the European Project, its usefulness, whether through its integrated response preventing a heavier death toll in Europe or through an unprecedented mobilisation to create a strong economic recovery plan amidst a wave of solidarity.

On the other hand, it has also been the year of the U.K. leaving the European Union and thus a moment to reflect, as a critical friend, on the future vision for the European Project.

At an individual and collective level, we have also seen the best of mobilisations with citizens all over Europe engaging in a wide range of formal and informal initiatives, both as immediate responses to the public health crisis and as political actors to reshape our societies’ functioning, priorities and policies. In parallel, innovative ways of belonging and coming together emerged that gave life and a voice to the long-standing work of the Evens Foundation over its 30-year span. Moreover, our guiding principle to bridge radically different opinions to nurture a contemporary and sustainable vision for the future became more relevant than ever.

All we have collectively experienced during this unique year has reaffirmed our direction as an organisation. The Evens Foundation will not cease to promote, support and initiate harmonious living together in this unprecedented turning point in history.

With the ambition of rethinking and experimenting with ways of living together in complex times, the Evens Foundation’s projects build upon the diversity of human histories, cultures, and experiences, considering the recognition of these differences as a precondition to shape a common world.

For thirty years, we have been active in key fields of intervention such as democracy, education, media, arts and science. For our strategic plan 2018–2020, we designed two leading initiatives: Common Purpose Through Differences, and Norms and Values Within the European Reality. These concerns unfold several thematic axes, exposing the challenges that Europe faces.

Our projects explore different forms of togetherness and belonging, call for new solidarities and aspire to create a neutral space for the plurality of voices and discordant viewpoints to intersect. We seek to critically investigate values, social constructs and narratives in order to enable collective reflection within the wider society.

In this very unique year of operating under permanent uncertainty, which we are reporting about, some of our activities had to be cancelled, postponed or reinvented. As with most of our peer organisations, all the activities that have been realised for which you have the examples below, could not have been possible without the creativity and engagement of our team, the solid trust and collaboration of our partners and the adaptive support received from our board.

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Common Purpose through Differences

Assemblies: Modern Rituals

The Evens Foundation launched a transdisciplinary research and experimentation project to explore the arts of assembly making.

In the past decade, popular and citizens’ assemblies reemerged alongside public protests, occupations and social movements, reviving politics and agendas of emancipation. A symptom of growing defiance of traditional forms of leadership and representation and a reflection of the ever-louder demands for radical democracy, the relative proliferation of assemblies bears witness to the desire to reshape the ways collective and political subjects are formed. In order to determine what assemblies can become in the future, it is necessary to open a new collective inquiry bringing together different areas of knowledge and practice concerned by the questions of political forms and formats, in the arts and in the social sciences.

During the initial phase of the research, we focused on an emerging form of collective policy-making: citizen assemblies, formed by a randomly selected representative sample of a country’s population, mandated to draw policies on important political and legal issues. In times of severe social polarisation and distrust in political institutions, citizens’ assemblies are also increasingly instituted by public authorities, generating a growing ‘industry’ and ‘market’ of participatory formats. Considered tools for restoring legitimacy and public consent, they may also serve to divert and defuse other forms of democratic practices and political mobilisation. Be they alternatives to traditional policymaking

or complements to ageing representative institutions, these forms of participative and deliberative decision-making contain a promising collaborative potential and are likely to be institutionalised. That is why it is important to critically examine their mechanisms, effects, benefits and limits.

To gather empirical material, we have joined an independent group of researchers to observe two French nationwide experiments and real-life contemporary case studies, unprecedented in scale: the National Great Debate (March 2019) and the Citizens’ Convention for the Climate (CESE, Oct 2019 – April 2020). A fellowship grant was given to researcher Dimitri Courant (Université de Lausanne and Université Paris 8) to study these experiments through a comparative lens alongside other European deliberative experiments.

In the second phase of the project, we decided to organise a forum where researchers and practitioners could discuss the conceptual, methodological and political aspects of assembly making. The pandemic rendered impossible the organisation of a large-scale public event and, instead, we started to work on a publication that would become the place of encounter to initiate the much needed transdisciplinary conversation on the arts of assembly making.

The publication, to be released in 2022, weaves together original perspectives on the aesthetic, anthropological, historical and political aspects of assembly-making. From ancestral and indigenous practices to online forums, from the

forgotten legacy of the prolific local assemblies of the Middle Ages to contemporary experiments in radical democracy, the book explores the diversity of practices and institutions across history and geography, challenging univocal Western narratives of ancient agoras and modern parliaments.

Unique in its ambition to bind reflective and experimental approaches, the publication commissions architects and artists to design proposals for new types of assemblies that could meet our contemporary political aspirations.

© Andrés Jaque / Office for Political Innovation. Photo: Miguel de Guzmán
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Sharing European Histories

With the Sharing European Histories initiative, the Evens Foundation and EuroClio are seeking to support and disseminate innovative projects and pioneering teaching strategies that help young people to understand the complexity and multiplicity of European history and recognise how history can engage everyone in understanding Europe and their part within it.

In 2020, we focused on the finalisation of the Sharing European Histories publication – composed of five innovative strategies for teaching multi-perspective and inclusive history. Concretely, the authors involved in the project have continued their work with the project team to transform their creative ideas into original teaching strategies.

As a result, we now have five teaching strategies designed and tested by teachers for teachers. As they are not linked to a specific topic, they can be adapted to fit many different history curricula across Europe. The strategies include using object biographies, analysing historical figures, deconstructing commemorative practices, studying the roots of important ideas and exploring personal life stories to understand the complexity of history.

To make this new resource more accessible and convenient to use for teachers and educators all over Europe, the strategies

will be translated into ten more languages over the course of spring 2021. Together with our partner EuroClio we are also preparing a series of webinars to introduce each of the strategies in depth, including suggestions on how to adapt the strategies to different contexts.

Apart from the teaching strategies, 2020 also saw the finalisation of (Re)Viewing European Stories, one of the two granted projects which aims to encourage and promote historical-critical thinking among high school students and teachers. Based on short films featuring different borderland contexts and associated local narratives, these new learning materials encourage students to widen their perspective on European history and to deepen their understanding of 20th century events which still resonate in the present.

The project brought together archival practitioners, historians and educators – as well as external experts from a number of European countries: Documenta – Center for Dealing with the Past (Croatia), Borderland Foundation (Poland), European Observatory on Memories (Spain), European Network Remembrance and Solidarity (Poland and others), National Film Archive – Audiovisual Institute (Poland), Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision (Netherlands), with Jacek Staniszewski (Poland), a history teacher and EuroClio ambassador.

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The Aesthetic Experience

In 2019, the Evens Foundation launched a research and experimentation project to explore the conditions that enable a transformative aesthetic experience. It spans ancient, modern and contemporary creation, from the visual arts to music and sound.

Our aim was to look closely at the assumption, popular in the field of philanthropy, that an aesthetic experience and arts education contribute to social and cultural inclusion. This project, ultimately, seeks to experiment with creation of a common space for different publics to come together and share their symbolic worlds.

We have established partnerships with two major cultural institutions, the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium in Brussels and the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and a collaboration with Theatrum Mundi, a research centre founded by sociologist Richard Sennett. Three experimental projects, each with a specific focus and several overarching concerns, have been designed that could generate responses to our common questions.

To accompany these pilot projects, in February 2020, the Evens Foundation organised a seminar for the partners to reflect collectively on the challenges encountered during the experimentation, opening up the conversation to a few invited professionals, such as cultural anthropologist Jonas Tinius (Carmah Berlin), Collective Learning curator Jessy Koeiman (Kunstinstituut Melly, formerly known as Witte de With), sociologists Lionel Ochs and Astrid van Steen of Méthos. The event was hosted at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium in Brussels.

Museum in Dialoog/Musée en Dialogue Museum in Dialogue is a joint initiative of the Evens Foundation and the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, realised in partnership with FMDO vzw, to explore how art – and in particular the collections of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium – can be a factor for social cohesion in a super diverse society, and what this means for the more conventional art historical interpretation of the art works.

In the spring of 2020, we launched an open call for participants who would be interested to take part in exploring whether the museums and their collections could be a space for encounter.

Before the actual start of the process, we talked to each of them to explain the initiative and to explore expectations.

Despite the pandemic, the group managed to gather four times in autumn and winter 2020, offline and online. Through a series of working sessions, accompanied by external facilitators, they have visited the museums and shared their reflections and ideas about how the institute, and the masterpieces it houses, can serve as a space for encounter and dialogue.

At the end of the first phase the group selected a couple of actions that are in the process of being implemented. One working group is currently preparing a podcast for visitors addressing the main question of the initiative, another group will share their experiences with other departments of the museum in order to raise awareness internally. In parallel, a joint publication is being prepared to share the insights and lessons we have collectively learnt throughout the process.

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La Tablée

Launched in partnership with the Centre Pompidou, the project experiments with inclusive mediation practices by creating a device – a set of modular and mobile tables designed by architect Didier Faustino and hosted by a mixed team of museum educators and volunteers.

La Tablée is an invitation to sit, slow down, engage in a creative activity, recount an aesthetic experience, learn about art (or someone else’s experience of it) and question our ways of seeing. It creates a unique space where different audiences can share wider conversations and experience a deeper engagement with artworks and, more importantly, with each other.

In 2020, the modular structure at the centre of the La Tablée project was designed and built but due to the pandemic and the closure of cultural institutions, the experiments could not take place. The Centre Pompidou’s educational team has been working on the programme of activities, which will be implemented when the institution reopens.

Voi[e,x,s] Research Fellowship

At the core of this project is the creation of a new major sound art work, a collaboration between professional musicians and a group of residents – permanent and transient – of the Parisian La Chapelle neighbourhood. In partnership with the Theatrum Mundi, we have initiated a research fellowship and commissioned a study to explore how this shared aesthetic experience could emerge and enrich forms of togetherness.

One of the key objectives of this research is the development of a critical handbook aimed at a broad audience of practitioners, public authorities and citizens, showing how performance-making affects people’s relationship with each other and their environment.

The project, like many other experimental projects involving public workshops with residents, was largely disrupted during the lockdown. Only workshops with migrants at the Porte de la Chapelle could continue – a fortunate exception that makes it possible to work with populations in great precarity even in times of health crisis. Several interviews with migrants were conducted and filmed for research purposes. The project team was also able to work on the publication to be released in 2021.

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Evens Lecture & Debate Series

European Challenges: Debates

The European Challenges series, at the crossroads of disciplines, concerns and viewpoints, aims at stimulating and enriching public debate on topical or long-standing controversial issues Europe has to face. Organised at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, these regular debates revive the tradition of the public agora.

In 2019, we co-organised two debates: first, on the eve of the European elections, we questioned the idea of cultural Europe with historian Emmanuelle Loyer, linguist and philosopher Jean-Claude Milner, artist Natacha Nisic and writer and cartoonist Emmanuel Ruben; and second, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, we re-examined the consequences of German reunification and tried to bring a better understanding of the troubled relationship between two Europes with historian Sona Combe, philosopher Francesco Masci, political scientist Jacques Rupnik, artist Marie Reiners and writer and journalist Géraldine Swarz.

The third debate in the series, originally scheduled for 2020, has been postponed until 2021 due to the pandemic and the closing of the Centre Pompidou.

European Challenges: Lectures

The Evens Lecture series is a new initiative of the foundation, strengthening our active contribution to the quality of public debate on the pressing issues of our times. In Brussels we work in collaboration with BOZAR, Centre for Fine Arts, where we invite renowned speakers from different fields to reflect on the broad theme ‘Common purpose through differences’ in a keynote lecture.

In 2018, we welcomed two prestigious keynote speakers: Michael Ignatieff, Rector and President of the Central European University in Budapest and Ivan Krastev, Chairman of the Centre for Liberal Strategies in Sofia and Permanent Fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna.

In 2020, it was our priority to welcome Ann Pettifor, Director of PRIME (Policy Research in Macroeconomics) and Prof. Arjun Appadurai, Professor of Anthropology and Globalisation at the Hertie School in Berlin and Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, both lectures were rescheduled for 2021.

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Mayday Magazine, Podcasts and Event

In 2020, the Evens Foundation launched Mayday, a joint project with BOZAR, Are We Europe, Open Society European Policy Institute and the Bertelsmann Foundation. The project has the ambition of looking at the lessons of the past, understanding the intense realities of today and envisaging the future through the mediums of a magazine, podcasts and events.

At the beginning of this decade, we face an unprecedented opportunity to rethink the future of our society. Yet, as the economy experiences its biggest contraction since World War II, inequality and social marginalisation are exacerbated. Forced isolation has left deep marks on many. And the climate clock continues to tick, decreasing our chances of keeping the rise in the earth’s temperature under control. If the 2020s are about ‘relaunching’, we need new, collaborative conversations. How can we reimagine the future of Europe? Mayday – from ‘venez m’aider’ (‘come help me’ in French) –is the international distress signal and Mayday Magazine is a call for help to the future.

The first issue of Mayday magazine was launched in October 2020 at Bozar in Brussels with a cast of speakers featuring economist Yanis Varoufakis, Philippe Van Parijs, graphic novelist Judith Vanistendael, Frank Andrews and Anneleen Ophoff (Are We Europe and the European Network against Racism) and Heather Grabbe (the Open Society European Policy Institute).

Four Mayday podcasts were simultaneously developed under the title of ‘ridiculed, radical, reality’: ideas once ridiculed which are now slowly gaining a place in our society. The four themes were: ‘The commons: building collaborative cities’, ‘The end of meat: the new climate action’, ‘Decolonisation: power and the public space’ and ‘Basic income: building resilience’, with guests including Guy Standing, Stella Nyanchama Okemwa, Roanne van Voorst and Stavros Stavrides.

The second issue of Mayday magazine is scheduled to be launched in 2021 and, along with the first issue, will be available via Are We Europe’s website.

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Norms and Values within the European Reality

(Re)Thinking Values in Europe

With this project the Evens Foundation wishes to bring together think tanks in a series of meetings around the key values that underlie the European reality. By organising challenging debates, the foundation aims at stimulating reflection on the meaning of the core European values today.

In May 2019, a first pilot consultation took place in BOZAR, Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels in collaboration with the museum and the Association of European Journalists Belgium. On that occasion, seven think tanks and about 30 students aged 18–26 met to discuss environmental issues. The foundation then proceeded towards devising a series of think tank meetings and developing new consultation formats between organisations and audience, planning its first session on social and economic freedom in Europe in 2020.

Unfortunately, due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in early 2020, the project had to be halted in its initial formulation and was later translated into a podcast series in which think tanks could present their work and discuss European values with a specific projection towards the future, including their vision for a better Europe. The podcasts are planned to be finalised and launched in 2021.

Skills to Resist Radicalisation – German version

In 2020, the Evens Foundation initiated a new partnership with Ariel Trust (UK) and planpolitik (Germany) to facilitate the wider dissemination of an online interactive resource called Skills to Resist Radicalisation.

This educational resource was created and developed by Liverpool-based charity Ariel Trust, one of the candidates shortlisted for the 2020 Evens Education Prize dedicated to supporting critical thinking. The resource allows primary school teachers and their pupils to explore issues of extremism and radicalisation and to build young people’s resilience to such messages.

Berlin-based planpolitik, which specialises in designing interactive formats on political and social topics and was one of the candidates shortlisted for the 2017 Evens Peace Education Prize, will adapt the resource to fit the German context, where teachers are confronted with similar challenges.

From previous experience, we know that a thorough adaptation process is crucial to ensure that a tool or resource answers local needs, habits, sensitivities, tastes and so on. The role of the foundation is limited to facilitating this process and turning it into a learning process for all parties involved.

The kick-off meeting of our common project took place online in the last week of October 2020. In December we had the first adaptation meeting where we discussed the changes to Module 1 proposed by the team of planpolitik. In 2021 two more adaptation meetings are scheduled for Modules 2 and 3.

The launch of the programme and website in Germany is planned for autumn 2021.

© dkmnews - Daniel Müller
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Cultural institutions as places of resistance

The objective of this project is to research, map and understand which actors are playing, or could play, an active role in counterbalancing cultural dominance and offering a democratic vision for institutional activities. We aim to engage with polyvocal activities and promote a neutral proposal from and for institutions, artists and students. Concurrently, the programme would encourage the creation of an unbiased environment and a tool to resist and shift the narrative as determined by a dominant discourse, offering a plurality of counter-narratives in return.

In particular, this project would help to foster a comprehensive cultural proposal that guarantees a form of participation based on the agency of everyone involved, ensuring inclusiveness in terms of demography, geography, religion and gender. We therefore wish to create a new

possibility to engage with heritage horizontally, encouraging the concretion of a new and alternative cultural paradigm.

The working group, which includes professionals and academics covering the full spectrum of cultural production and research, represents the backbone of the project. It has been involved in the research phase and in the early design of the project which was supposed to include several meetings around Europe to assess the state of the arts across the continent. These meetings, in the form of public gatherings organised by local cultural institutions, should have created the ground for a final symposium at the end of 2020. The public health emergency made it impossible to deliver the project as initially conceived; therefore, it is now planned to develop the project into a series of fellowships investigating good practices and the limits of monoculturalism in the cultural field.

Models of Ethical Journalism and development of critical media

Building Trust in Journalism

Free and responsible media are fundamental to democracy and the values it carries. In order to propose adequate tools and practices for ethical journalism, it is necessary to have a clear view on the needs and challenges journalists face. To explore the condition and needs of the media community in Central and Eastern Europe, the Evens Foundation has partnered with the Ethical Journalism Network and the Fritt Ord Foundation for the ‘Building Trust in Journalism’ project. With this initiative we aim to raise awareness of the importance of ethical professional journalism in building trust in the media. We also aim to facilitate the crucial role that journalists can play in fostering democratic systems.

In 2020, the work on the series of policy reports continued. After having gathered additional interviews and feedback during their study visits in Warsaw, the Ethical Journalism Network experts continued working on the report to thoroughly reflect ongoing changes in Polish media situation. It was then peer reviewed by the independent experts and published in August 2020. Simultaneously, during 2019 and the beginning of 2020, the research in Hungary was being carried out – extensive interviews with media organisations and journalists were conducted and then worked on with Hungarian media practitioners and academics to examine the findings. The report was launched in September 2020.

While in the previous cases the fieldwork was still possible, the Bulgaria report, due to the Covid-19 travel restrictions, had to rely on the interviews conducted remotely over the phone or via online platforms. This required even more effort from our respondents, who provided the EJN expert with the required information, feedback and reviews, and made the production of the report possible without compromising the quality and accuracy. The Bulgaria policy report was published in October 2020.

The Czech Republic and Slovakia reports are now being prepared and will be issued in 2021.

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When developing the reports, each time we engage with representatives from both traditional and new media outlets and initiatives. We are also interested in the academic perspective, as well as those of NGOs dedicated to media development and media freedom. We aim to reach the widest possible group: mainstream and niche, national and local, from different sides of the public discourse. We ensure that the reports cover diverse perspectives and voices. Every report is reviewed by external professionals in the field. Such an approach allows us to understand the full spectrum and complexity of the media situation in a given country and identify the most striking challenges regarding professional ethics in journalism that should be addressed. Finally, there is the recommendations section in each report that offers

concrete ideas of actions that can be undertaken to tackle previously diagnosed issues. The recommendations are shared with both policy-makers and media practitioners in mind and can serve as a point of reference for further initiatives.

Our publications were noticed and appreciated, among others, by ‘Visegrad Insight’, who spoke to Aida Kaisy (EJN) about the investigations of the media in the region and how trust in journalism can be (re)built. Their podcast was published in September 2020.

This year the pandemic restrictions disabled offline dissemination and networking events, oriented towards professional development of the media communities in V4 countries and Bulgaria. It is still the goal of the project to translate its learnings into journalistic practice and we intend to create such opportunities in 2021.

Becoming Ethical Journalists

The Evens Foundation and the Center for Citizenship Education (Poland) designed and delivered a pilot educational project on media literacy by initiating local coalitions of schools and media outlets. Convinced that media literacy is an important condition for active citizenship in today’s information-based society, we aimed to strengthen critical thinking skills and increase ethical standards in journalism through collaboration of all actors in the public debate at a local level.

The project consisted of two parallel paths undertaken by the participants: teachers took part in the blended learning course and the local coalition (school team guided by a teacher and media partner) ran a common project resulting in the production of an original journalistic piece covering locally-important topics.

Throughout the programme teachers became familiar with methods of deconstructing media coverage via the blended learning course. The core of the training is based

on the European edition of the “Mind over Media. Analysing contemporary propaganda” programme founded by Renee Hobbs PhD, and the Polish curriculum developed within it. The course was accompanied by two workshops and the teachers also got individual mentoring support.

Under the teachers’ supervision, students cooperated with local media to create a column in a local newspaper in one of the three categories: ‘MEGA locals’, ‘Unknown places/ Unheard stories’ or ‘Youth speak!’. Alongside this, they learned to analyse media messages – by conducting one week’s desk research, interviewing a journalist and taking part in the expert webinar.

The final meeting of the project took place on 2 March 2020 in Warsaw, gathering almost 100 participants of the initiative – teachers and students from schools all over Poland. The Central House of Technology partnered with us to host this event. In its unique space, the students listened to an inspiring keynote, ‘My professional way from “Witnica News” local newspaper, to a countrywide TV station’ delivered by award-winning journalist Justyna Suchecka (TVN24), author of the book Young Power. The official opening was followed by the table sessions – students were presenting their articles and documentation, sharing experiences from the project with their peers. The event agenda also included visiting the interactive virtual exhibition at the location, media workshops for the youth and a self-care workshop for their teachers.

© David Sypniewski
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Journalistic voices diversified Media Meets Literacy – small-scale events

(In)Separable. Difficult subjects in Polish-Jewish relations.

The Evens Foundation is keen to take new initiatives to diversify journalism and the media. More specifically to help to diversify journalistic voices in a broad sense, covering the (geographical or cultural) origins of those voices, the content of media channels and operational aspects, such as forms of distribution.

The aim of this project – which is to be considered a pilot at this stage – is to support refugee and exiled journalists to re-start, progress or re-address their careers in Europe. Displaced journalists frequently arrive in Europe with a remarkable range of skills (gathered whilst defining a professional career in their home country) but they experience a general absence of work possibilities, exclusion from employment circuits, cultural barriers and an overall lack of agency.

The Evens Foundation aspires to create an environment that could offer project participants the possibility to pursue their professional path in Europe – more specifically in Belgium –through work placement (although temporary), training and mentoring. A specific focus will be put on narrative practices and immersive-style storytelling as we believe that it would prove particularly meaningful, thorough and compelling for this project and in this context.

After the initial mapping and research phase, at the end of 2019 the foundation identified the Narrative Journalism Foundation (Stichting Verhalende Journalistiek) and Are We Europe as ideal partners and planned to jointly launch the project in mid-2020. After the outbreak of Covid in early 2020, the project had to be rescheduled as the live part is fundamental for participating journalists. The launch is planned for when sanitary measures will be lifted in Belgium.

In 2020 the Evens Foundation continued its partnership with the Galicia Jewish Museum (Kraków, Poland) in the “(In)Separable. Difficult subjects in Polish-Jewish relations” project, addressing and aiming to overcome key stereotypes and misunderstandings related to the Polish-Jewish relations.

At its origins this project is a response to a series of events threatening Polish-Jewish relations and challenging a process of reconciliation. There are indications that the Polish public lacks basic knowledge, but is also led by misconceptions and anti-Semitic prejudices that determine the way Jews and the Holocaust are perceived. It is a global issue but in Poland – due to its specific history – it is particularly acute.

In the second edition of the initiative, due to the pandemic related restrictions, the debates were moved to an online environment. From May till November 2020 we invited the audience to a series of eight panel discussions recorded and uploaded to the YouTube channel of the museum. The panels were again led by Adam Szostkiewicz, author and journalist at “Polityka” weekly, and hosted some of the most recognisable

Polish historians, researchers and experts. Together they were confronting most persistent stereotypes, fake-news and misconceptions that keep influencing how Poles perceive the Jews, Israel and Polish-Jewish relations. The programme was built around the emotions present in the public discourse around the Polish-Jewish matters and included topics such as: Greed? (Post-)Jewish property in Poland, Betrayal? AntiPolish attitudes in Israel, Love? Philosemitism in Poland, Lie? The image of Jews and other minorities in the media.

The whole series attracted a large public – a total number of 3,815 views was noted.

We foresee the third edition in 2021.

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Resilience Reports

When the coronavirus pandemic emerged in early 2020, the European Journalism Centre (in partnership with the Evens Foundation) launched the Resilience Reports, a series of studies investigating how news organisations across Europe dealt with the impact of the health emergency. The series wished to address how independent organisations adapted their operations and business strategies to the new and challenging reality. The project wanted to look into the approach of media organisations towards sustainable practices in a moment of extreme hardship when the drop of advertising and canonical revenue systems had greatly affected their activities. Moreover, in a period connoted by extreme disinformation, journalists were subject to implacable demand for reliable (mainly sectorial) information putting them under an extraordinary pressure and stress.

Difference Day

In 1993, the United Nations General Assembly declared the 3rd of May as World Press Freedom Day to raise awareness of the importance of freedom of the press and to remind governments of their duty to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression.

In 2015, the Evens Foundation, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Erasmushogeschool Brussel, BOZAR and iMinds (now imec) named this special day Difference Day, which is intended to honour individuals and organisations who make a difference by defending and promoting these values. Press freedom is of paramount importance for the Evens Foundation, especially in the contemporary European context where it has been so much under pressure in recent years.

The event consists of a programme aimed at high-school and university students and a session open to the general public. These sessions can be plenary as well as panel discussions

The initiative targeted 24 innovative newsrooms in 19 different European countries operating in various areas including fact-checking, investigative and local journalism and was made possible through the collaboration with all media professionals engaged with the organisations involved in the project ranging from editors, membership managers, directors and audience engagement leads.

A final summary report will be published in 2021.

Participating organisations: Bivol (Bulgaria), gal-dem (UK), Heidi.news (Switzerland), Cenzolovka (Serbia), OKO.press (Poland), Hromadske Radio (Ukraine), Are We Europe (Belgium), Buletin de București (Romania), Koncentrat (Denmark), Átlátszó (Hungary), Maldita.es (Spain), Istinomer

and are shaped by the Difference Day key partners. BOZAR also ensures that an artistic component is integrated into the day.

Due to the pandemic, this edition took place online through a livestream from Pilar’s Concert Hall on the VUB campus.

The 2020 theme was ‘Journalism Without Fear or Favour’ and focused on Journalism being under pressure from politicians and other pressure groups that try to restrict, direct or intimidate the media. That is why journalism is more important than ever before and why more and more actions are being taken to support independent journalism. It’s no surprise that independence is the theme of this 2020 Difference Day: journalists should not be afraid to do their job, nor should they be forced to grant certain favours to anyone.

Every year, the Difference Day Honorary Title for Freedom of Expression is awarded by the Brussels universities VUB

Read the reports here:


and ULB and their numerous partners. In 2020, the title went to the Turkish journalist and writer Ahmet Altan, at the time serving a life imprisonment sentence, and the Turkish writer and women’s rights activist Elif Shafak. In 2015, Saudi blogger Raif Badawi was the first recipient of the prize. Unfortunately, he remains in jail today. In 2016, the winners were Djemila Benhabib and Zineb El Rhazoui; in 2017, the Global Investigative Journalism Network; in 2018, Daphne Caruana Galizia; and, in 2019, Marcela Turati. (Serbia), Apache (Belgium), Faktograf (Hungary), Solomon (Greece), The Local (Sweden), Dublin Inquirer (Ireland), Nanook (France), Mediacités (France), Mérece (Hungary), eldiario.es (Spain), Reporter Magazin (Czech Republic), Radio ARA (Luxembourg), Teyit (Turkey).

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Image & Memory: Writer’s Series

Fact-checking integrated

An editorial series initiated by Evens Foundation and designed with LE BAL invites writers to contribute with short literary texts that shed light on images that have shaped our collective memory.

The project inaugurates a new collaboration with our longstanding partner and the acclaimed French institution, marking our continuous support for visual studies. Ten writers will explore ten photographs exposing moments of our present or recent past. Familiar or forgotten, some of these images have shaped our vision of the world, others were left at the margins of official narratives.

Through writing, the images unfold the often-imperceptible at first sight historical, political, and cultural significations, revealing how our collective gaze is being conditioned, be it by cultural habits or technical possibilities, and how ways of seeing persist or change over time.

The texts will be published both in the French daily Libération during Autumn 2021.


In 2020 the Evens Foundation continued supporting the European Journalism Training Association in their didactic project designed to implement a methodical fact-checking curriculum in Journalism schools across Europe.

Within the Foundation’s strategic frame on ethical issues, norms and values in the European reality, we supported the EUfactcheck project as a good practice that is challenging socially dangerous consequences of the overflow of mis- and disinformation by equipping future journalists with necessary skills and awareness.

EUfactcheck offers a sustainable curriculum unit on factchecking for Journalism schools across Europe, with students producing fact checks based on a common methodology for dealing with misinformation. EUfactcheck’s overall goal is to improve the quality of journalism through education and to foster fact-based public debate through the growth of democratic awareness of EU voters and European citizens. Through fact checking European political claims and trying to tackle misinformation, the students and their public grow a deeper insight and interest in democratic processes, both on national and European level. For the pedagogical process a specific methodology has been developed: the EUfactcheck flowchart, as well as the free handbook featuring didactic guidelines and best practices.

In February 2020, project partners in collaboration with the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana organised a 2-day ‘Train the Trainer’, inviting both experienced and new participants of the initiative to Slovenia. Over 40 journalism teachers from 17 countries gathered to explore in depth the EUfactcheck approach and exchange experiences. The meeting was crafted to encourage more Journalism schools,

with a specific focus on the CEE and Balkan countries, to join the programme and introduce developed methodology into their curricula. A keynote speech was delivered by Milena Popović, Editor-in-Chief of istinomer.rs, while the EJTA team provided practical workshops.

Despite the challenging circumstances, the international collaboration between schools continues and new fact checks are being regularly published on the dedicated project website.

Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus. Photo: United Nation Relief and Works Agency.
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Evens Prizes

Evens Education Prize 2020

The Evens Education Prize 2020, ‘Critical Thinking as a Practice of Freedom’, invited applications in two categories: firstly, embedded practices that support critical thinking about social questions and, secondly, scholarly but practiceoriented work that furthers our understanding of practices, pedagogies, curricula or projects that foster critical thinking and the conditions in which education for critical thinking can thrive.

The call was open to a broad variety of practices implemented in institutional and non-institutional spaces by teachers, scholars, students, educators, youth workers, artists, civil society organisations, citizen groups, etc. This includes formal, non-formal and community-based education for youth as well as adults.

Because we were not able to organize site visits due to the pandemic, a series of videos were produced about the work of the practice applicants in order to give the jury the opportunity to experience the practices in some form.

In September 2020, the European expert jury of the Evens Education Prize 2020 gathered in a series of online meetings to select the laureates of this year’s edition. All applications in both categories were discussed in detail.

The jury unanimously agreed to award the 2020 prize in the practice category to Maslaha in the UK for their ‘Schools with Roots’ project.

In the research category, the prize will be shared between two programmes: ‘Black Studies: Decolonising the university and creating critical education off campus’ by Prof. Kehinde Andrews (Birmingham City University) and ‘Critical Media literacy through Making Media (MMM): A key to participation for migrant youth?’ by Prof. Koen Leurs (Utrecht University).

Maslaha is a UK-based organisation that seeks to change and challenge the conditions that create inequalities for Muslim communities in areas such as education, gender, criminal justice, health, negative media coverage and a continued climate of Islamophobia. Their work is practical and rooted in local communities but with a reach that is national and international and with a view to influencing policy and the public imagination.

The winning ‘School with Roots’ project is a great example of the way in which Maslaha recognises and relies on the knowledge and expertise that exists in the communities they work with and the power this has to create change across society.

In this project, the jury particularly appreciated the way Maslaha supports schools and teachers to engage in critical thinking in order to make learning more relevant for both pupils and their families, gently challenging the teachers’ preconceived ideas and unconscious biases. The jury emphasized the importance of the capacity-building approach Maslaha developed compared to a deficit-based one. They also praised how their solid educational focus – proposing a new way to think about education – has the potential to make a real difference in the lives of the pupils and their families.

Prof. Kehinde Andrews from Birmingham City University developed the first Black Studies degree programme in Europe and is director of the Centre for Critical Social Research.

The course developed by Prof. Kehinde Andrews, ‘Black Studies: Decolonising the university and creating critical education off campus’, is both the main source and focus of the research which consists for a large part of reflecting on the process of establishing the programme within the University of Birmingham. The methodology involves reflecting on practices and also interviewing key

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Evens Science Prize 2020

stakeholders, such as staff, students and partners. It also situates the researcher as not just an active participant in the research but a vital component of it.

Apart from exploring how to embed critical pedagogy that challenges Eurocentrism, they have been researching the extent to which critical thought and engagement with publics outside the university is possible in the context of neoliberalism.

Their work critiquing Eurocentric knowledge claims, on critical pedagogy, the student experience, and building a community component to teaching and knowledge production, is also applicable to contexts outside Black Studies.

Prof. Koen Leurs is an assistant professor in Gender and Postcolonial Studies at the Graduate Gender Program, Department of Media and Culture, Utrecht University, the Netherlands.

The participatory action research project ‘Media literacy through Making Media: A Key to Participation for Young Newcomers’ explored the question to what extent critical media literacy education can acknowledge and strengthen young migrants’ participation and resilience.

The assumption was that promoting their media use as a critical practice may contribute to migrant youth’s participation, resilience and socio-cultural inclusion, on their own terms. As such, being critical is not the goal, but the means to an end. By making media, students learn to understand the workings of the media, necessary in order to be able to critically reflect on them.

Although they focused on media literacy education for young people who found themselves at a particular intersection of nationality, ethnicity and religion, the question of what migrant students can teach us about media literacy yielded important and broadly applicable insights about the potential impact of media literacy education on the lives of other vulnerable, disadvantaged and marginalised groups.

For both research projects, the jury stressed the importance of the empowering dimension both initiatives have. They both put the focus on individuals and communities taking charge of their representations and their voices. In doing so they also address the oftenexisting gap between academia and society.

The Evens Science Prize supports scientists by acknowledging their importance in exploring and finding out answers to the major challenges in our societies.

Since its establishment in 2007, the Evens Foundation has been focusing on Cognitive Neuroscience that furthers understanding of our behavior and mental state, whether individual or collective, with special emphasis on research that has ethical and societal impact.

Neuroscience encompasses the various scientific disciplines dealing with the structure, development and function of the nervous system, as well as the study of its chemistry and its impact on human behaviour. Cognitive Neuroscience applies an interdisciplinary perspective that involves fields as varied as mathematics, linguistics, computer science, psychology, philosophy of mind and anthropology.

This edition of the Evens Science Prize focused on scientific research with the potential to further the understanding of stress and resilience. Stress is a highly complex, multifaceted phenomenon, the study of which engages disciplines as varied as biology, neuroscience, affective neuroscience, psychology, the social sciences and neuro-ethics. Stress can be chronic or acute. It may concern individuals, families, organizations or entire social groups. Not only can the very same state of affairs (i.e. loud music) be experienced as enjoyable or as stressful but different individuals may also respond to it in very different ways – some exhibiting resilience in the face of traumatic situations, others developing long-term pathological conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

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The Evens Science Prize 2020 went to Professor Karin Roelofs of Radboud University (Behavioural Science Institute and Donders Institute for Brain Cognition and Behaviour).

The international expert jury of the Evens Science Prize 2020 decided unanimously to award the prize to Prof. Karin Roelofs for her research on acute stress responses, resilience in the face of traumatic events and the underlying neurocognitive mechanisms that shape how we react when confronted with these events.

Prof. Roelofs’ research has important implications for our understanding of how to design intervention programs aimed at training those imbued with societal responsibilities to exert effective control over their own behavioural responses when confronted with stress. The research aligns with the Evens Science Prize mission to

further our understanding of human behaviour, with an emphasis on ethical aspects, cooperation and altruism.

The jury praised the work for its ambitious scope as well as for the richness of its measures and its careful design. Based on solid theoretical frameworks rooted in animal literature, such as freeze-fight-flight reactions, Prof. Roelofs’ research involved a longitudinal study comparing control participants and populations exposed to stress – in this case 340 Dutch police officers whose responses were studied over an extended period of time – and employed a wide variety of cognitive, physiological, hormonal and imaging measures. The results demonstrated not only that the frontal lobe of the brain exerts control over emotional fight-or-flight responses in stressful situations but, crucially, that the extent of this modulation is predictive of long-term resilience.

Evens Journalism Prize for Geopolitics and Education

2020The Evens Journalism Prize aims to reward journalists whose work contributes highly to making Europe more comprehensive and accessible to a broad audience.

From 2019, the prize has been awarded in three different categories: Culture, Geopolitics and Education. With each prize, the Evens Foundation wishes to provide scope for independent and reliable journalism practiced by professionals with an established expertise on the subjects taken up by our organisation.

By means of these recognitions, we seek to support and honour journalists who have the potential to both challenge the current media landscape and to enrich its practice whilst positively contributing to the quality of the public debate. The ultimate goal would be to emphasise the importance of knowledge and ethical storytelling as a keystone for democracy.

For its 2020 edition, the Evens Journalism Prize focused on Geopolitics and Education.

For Geopolitics, it focused on contemporary dynamics in the European region, its power plays, geographical characteristics and recent history. The prize aimed at honouring journalists, reporters, and organisations that, through their work, favour the decipherment of Europe, offering their precise knowledge pertaining to European strategic internal and external relations, historical legacies, collective identity construction in an existing context of divisions, reunifications and discord. The main interest was on topics such as: European borders, political domestic

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tensions in Eastern, Central and Southeast Europe, external European relations through Eurasian lenses. The candidates’ works should offer a particular analysis of current challenges facing the region and new perspectives in geopolitical scenarios whilst probing the historical and cultural perspectives and operational conduct of the EU on both political and administrative levels.

For Education, the prize was open to all journalists and commentators reporting on education-related issues, including school, higher education and vocational education. The candidates should have produced outstanding coverage on pan-European, EU national, regional and/or local education matters, possibly defining the characteristics of specific educational policies and their effect on both the national and the broader community.

Due to the impact of the pandemic, the jury meetings and prize selections have been postponed until 2021.

Evens Arts Prize 2019

The Evens Art Prize is a biennial award established by the Evens Foundation to support artistic initiatives that engage with contemporary realities in Europe and envision perspectives for shaping our common world.

The 2019 edition of the Prize celebrated artist and choreographer Eszter Salamon as the laureate and composer Éliane Radigue who received the Special Mention of the Jury.

On 13 September 2020, a special event in homage to Radigue was organized at the Centre Pompidou, as a result of a partnership between the Musée National d’Art Moderne, IRCAM and the Evens Foundation. A one-day programme consisted of live concerts, an immersive sound installation, a film screening and a conversation with the artist, offering a rare opportunity to experience different periods of the work of this pioneer of electro-acoustic experimentations, who has created a unique and highly influential path in contemporary music.

At the very beginning of the year, in January 2020, Kaaitheater in Brussels presented the premiere of our laureate Eszter Salamon’s new piece, MONUMENT 0.8: Manifestations, that addressed the marginalised history of the Eastern European feminism. This challenging year, made of cancellations due to the pandemic that brought our cultural lives to a standstill, was also the period where Salamon created and premiered another new piece, Still Dance for Nothing, and experimented with a new medium – film. Reappearance, dedicated to Valeska Gert, will be released in 2021.

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Evens Foundation

Board of Directors

Corinne Evens, Honorary President Yolande Avontroodt Angélique Berès Monique Canto-Sperber Daniel Kropf

Xavier Vidal

Executive Committee

Monique Canto-Sperber Corinne Evens

Xavier Vidal

The Team


Marjolein Delvou, Programme Curator Federica Mantoan, Programme Curator Caroline Coosemans, Office Administrator Maria Orejas, Operations Director


Anne Davidian, Programme Curator, Head of Paris Office

Warsaw Hanna Zielińska, Programme Curator, Head of Warsaw Office Magdalena Braksator, Project Manager

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Contact Details

Antwerp Office

Frankrijklei 37 bus 12 2000, Antwerpen – Belgium

T +32-3-231 39 70

F +32-3-233 94 32 antwerp@evensfoundation.be www.evensfoundation.be

Paris Office

7, rue Charles V 75004 Paris – France

T +33-1-44 54 83 90

F +33-1-44 54 83 80 paris@evensfoundation.be Fondation Evens France

Warsaw Office

ul. Chmielna 21 lok. 20 00-021 Warszawa – Poland

T/F +48-22-692 49 21 warsaw@evensfoundation.be

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