New boost for Saison Québec-Pays Basque cultural exchange

Euskara. Kultura. Mundura.

2021-05-31

The Minister of Culture and Language Policy, Bingen Zupiria, the Basque Government´s Secretary General for External Action, Marian Elorza, the Director of External Relations, Myriam Larroulet, and the Director of the Etxepare Basque Institute, Irene Larraza, met online this afternoon with Nathalie Roy, the Québec Minister of Culture and Communications and Member of Parliament for Montarville. The minister was accompanied by Isabelle Dessureault, Director of the Québec Office in Barcelona.

Zupiria stressed that the meeting served "to rekindle" the bilateral relations that the Directorate of External Action and the Etxepare Basque Institute have been maintaining with the Quebec cultural administration with a view to organising a cultural exchange. In this regard, the minister pointed out that the pandemic “has forced the programme to be irremediably delayed “to 2021-2022, but that it is "very important to materialise the cultural exchange" between Basque and Quebec creators.

Thus, during the second half of 2021 and throughout 2022, through the Saison Québec - Pays Basque project, a window will be opened on contemporary Basque culture and creation in Québec and, likewise, the work of Québec creators will be shown in the Basque Country through various actions and activities in areas such as literature, dance, theatre, audiovisual production, music and the plastic arts, with the participation of institutions, organisations and artists from both communities.

More than 30 agents

With the aim of fostering collaboration between cultural organisations and creators, more than 30 Basque and Quebecois organisations are collaborating in the different events. EIZIE, Mintzola, Bertsozale Elkartea, Azkuna Zentroa, Euskal PEN Kluba, Euskal Kultur Erakundea (EKE), Dantzagunea, Dantzaz Konpainia, Tabakalera, Filmoteca Vasca, Musikagileak and Bitamine Faktoria are ammong the Basque representatives.

 The projects to be launched over the coming months through the programme are: "Itzultzaile Berriak - Nouveaux Traducteurs", the seminar "La voix des autres - Besteen ahotsa" at the Université LAVAL, the dance creation residency at the Ecole de Danse Montreal and many others. Some will be in person – public health concerns permitting – while others will be online. In turn, this year the Season Québec - Pays Basque film season has been jointly organised at the Tabakalera Cultural Centre, and the screening held in March was attended by the Director of the Québec office in Barcelona, Isabelle Dessureault.

International cultural cooperation

In 2019, the Etxepare Basque Institute launched the creation of a framework for cultural collaboration with the territories considered priorities within the Euskadi Basque Country strategy.  The first result was the Scotland Goes Basque initiative, aimed at promoting Basque language and culture in Scotland throughout 2019. 

Under the same premise, the 2020 target was Québec, following the Memorandum of Understanding (Protocole d´entente) signed in 2017 by the Basque Government and the Government of Québec, insofar as Québec, like Scotland, is among the territories that the General Secretariat for External Action considers to be strategic. In this regard, the Minister stressed that institutional and cultural relations between Québec and the Basque Country already have "a consolidated tradition" that "was already reflected" in the aforementioned Protocol.

To conclude, Zupiria emphasised that the document was signed by both administrations for "the promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions" promoted by the UNESCO Convention, for the exchange of "good practices in matters of common interest for our respective language policies and mutual support in economic matters, relations with international consortiums, and the exchange of knowledge in matters related to the environment".

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