Meeting of the Board of Trustees

Euskara. Kultura. Mundura.

2022-07-11

Basque President Iñigo Urkullu presided over the meeting of the Etxepare Basque Institute Board of Trustees this morning held at the office of the Basque Government. Also in attendance was Bingen Zupiria, Minister for Culture and Language Policy and Spokesperson for the Basque Government, and Etxepare Basque Institute Director, Irene Larraza. Larraza reported on the activities undertaken in the past year and the main lines of action for the coming months.

Although 2021 was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, changes made to the calendar of activities allowed the Institute to accomplish most of the projects set out.

After welcome remarks from Urkullu and the minutes from the previous meeting were read, Larraza presented the 2021 annual accounts and management report to the Trustees, along with the activities slated for the second half of 2022.

Larraza emphasised that, despite the uncertainty caused by the health crisis in 2021, the Institute managed to keep its commitments. "The programmes geared to teaching the Basque language and culture were maintained in their entirety and, to a large extent, in person; we were able to carry out 80% of the cultural activities in person, despite the fact that on numerous occasions we were forced to adapt them and change the dates; and 92.5% of the subsidies were allocated, a sign that the mobility of creators has partially resumed," she pointed out. However, given the complicated situation between countries in terms of restrictions on mobility, priority was place on activities "closer to home".

The director placed special emphasis on the results of the ZABAL programme, aimed at promoting contemporary Basque creation internationally and strengthening ties between the Basque and international art communities. Thanks in part to this programme, works by artist June Crespo were on display at the Venice Biennale, and the Consonni publishing house is taking part in the international exhibition Documenta Fifteen in Kassel, Germany.

The health crisis had a direct impact on the Saison Québec - Pays Basque programme, a project that aims to strengthen relations between the two countries through culture. In fact, Quebec kept very restrictive measures in place for much of 2021, which meant that cultural activity did not resume until autumn. For this reason, most of the programme took place in the last quarter of 2021 and continues throughout 2022.

Larraza also briefed the Board of Trustees on the cultural programme that will be carried out with Flanders throughout 2023. In October 2021, professional meetings were held in the Basque Country between Flemish and Basque cultural operators, and in June 2022, a cultural delegation from the Basque Country travelled to Flanders to set up the project.

As for teaching Basque language and culture, Larraza highlighted the three new in Basque studies chairs to be launched in 2022: one in Wales at Trinity St. David´s University; another in Quebec at McGill University; and the third in California, at Bakersfield State University. She also highlighted the International Congress of the Comparative Literature Association (ICLA) to be held from 24 to 29 July at the State University of Tibilisi, Georgia, where a panel has been organised to analyse the comparative vision of Basque and Georgian literature.

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