Professional co-operation in the field of culture is manifested through a number of different ways; it may either take the form of inter-institutional exchanges which are promoted in the context of bilateral cultural co-operation or through state-aid support to not-for-profit organisations for their activities in each respective field (i.e. music, dance, theatre, etc.). The main objectives of direct professional co-operation can be summed up in the following:
- to strengthen co-operation in the fields of arts and culture and bolster artists’ mobility and intercultural dialogue;
- to foster co-operation and build networks amongst European partners in the framework of culture and education;
- to facilitate artists’ access to international or European cultural scene; and
- to promote the Cypriot culture abroad also in the context of co-productions.
In this context, innovative or experimental modes of cultural expression are promoted. In this framework, certain events have been supported by the Ministry of Education and Culture. In addition to the above, through the funding programmes, artists’ mobility is fostered either in the form of travel grants to professional artists and other creative professionals or in the form of promoting co-productions and cultural co-operation. Additionally, the European Dance Festival showcases works from the international contemporary scene, aiming at the best possible and most complete briefing of the public regarding European contemporary dance. In 2012, the Euro-Mediterranean Youth Music Expo took place in Limassol. This was a four-day event which combined various modalities of high-level youth music productions embracing all musical styles. It brought together over 200 young musicians (young soloists, youth bands and orchestras from all musical backgrounds, classical, ethnic, jazz, rock, hip-hop, reggae etc.), music teachers, organisers and professionals in the context of a multilevel educational and artistic fair which included workshops, seminars, open-air public concerts, music labs etc.
The Cultural Services provide subsidies for literary events in Cyprus and abroad organised by various literary agencies and individuals, as well as for the participation of agencies and individuals in conferences and events abroad.
Other measures aim to promote the visual arts (e.g. participation in the Venice Biennale) and the performing arts. For example, the Cultural Services, in cooperation with the Cyprus Centre of the International Theatre Institute, organise the Ancient Greek Drama Festival (at the 16th Festival of Ancient Drama eight plays from Germany, Israel, England, Greece and Cyprus have been staged).
Through a fascinating parallel programme of events and cinema workshops, the Cyprus International Short Film Festival offered to the public the opportunity to make short film escapes, embark on creative quests and engage in dialogue with film directors and creators from Cyprus and abroad. The Summer Screenings Marathon, organised jointly by the Ministry of Education and Culture, Theatro Ena and the Cinema Friends Club, is held at the oldest surviving open air cinema of Nicosia, the “Constantia” and can be considered of prime importance, both in the sphere of the cinema as well as the social and cultural life of Cyprus. In addition to the classic repertoire and more recent distributions, the programme also features a number of films for the young cineastes.
Cyprus’ cultural centres abroad and attachés of embassies contribute in many ways to direct cooperation activities (cf. chapter 1.4.1). For example, the House of Cyprus in Athens cooperated with the University of Athens Philology School in organising the 18th Seminar on Ancient Cypriot Literature and in Berlin the cooperation with German agencies and the participation of Cypriot artists in German activities ranks high on the agenda, with the main goal of creating multicultural programmes that focus on Cyprus.
In addition to the above, international co-operation is promoted through co-operation with leading international museums and institutions for the presentation of individual and group art exhibitions abroad, mobility of artworks is also supported and promoted.
In the field of cultural heritage, trans-national co-operation is also a prevalent issue as certain European projects, which are funded by Structural Funds as well as other European Funds, are aiming at fostering cultural interaction within Europe and beyond (for example Suspended Spaces, which explores island regions in Mediterranean Europe with a special interest in city-harbours, or HISTORY LOST, a multi-media exhibition tracing the looting of archaeological sites around the world). In addition, a number of foreign Archaeological missions have been in close co-operation with the Department of Antiquities as far as it regards excavations. The year 2015 marks the 50th Anniversary of Polish excavations in Paphos.
Certain semi-governmental organisations like, for example, THOC (Cyprus Theatre Organisation), as well as independent cultural organisations operating at national level like, for example, CySO (Cyprus Symphony Orchestra) are also active in professional informal networking.
Local authorities also promote international collaborations through a number of cultural activities they organise; most of these are funded by central government. In this context, town twinning projects are promoted.