Image: Thorsten Ludwig

A new report from the European Commission supports IE’s beliefs on the importance of participatory, value-based interpretation.

On 23 June, the European Commission published a report on how citizen participation in cultural activities enhances civic engagement, democracy and social cohesion. In the run-up to the European elections in 2024, international research shows that citizens who participate regularly in cultural activities are more likely to vote, to volunteer, and to participate in community activities, projects, and organisations. 

The report, which also gives guidance for actions at national and local levels, presents evidence that the density of the local cultural offer and the volume of available public funding are positively linked to patterns of civic and democratic behaviour. It concludes with key policy lessons and a set of 14 concrete recommendations for policy makers. 

IE has been emphasising that interpretation needs to be participatory and that it should discuss European values and encourage critical reflection. As such, interpretation is a perfect tool for all sorts of heritage sites to contribute to more mindful, democratic and inclusive societies. 

This report is the result of a study announced in the EU Work Plan for Culture 2019-2022. The report and more information can be found here.

To cite this article:  IE News Team (2023)Culture and democracy – The evidence in Interpret Europe Newsletter 2-2023, pg. 27.
Available online: