Cultural diversity is one of Europe's most valuable assets and European educational and cultural systems need to cater for diversity and enable all citizens to build the skills and competences needed for effective inter-cultural dialogue and mutual understanding. The challenge is about understanding how young people make sense of Europe and its differing cultures. The influences on young people are wide ranging including formal education, family and cultural background and media. The aim is to gain a greater understanding of cultural literacy itself as a non-normative concept covering relevant culture-related knowledge, skills and competences and how young people in particular acquire it.
The research to address this challenge should focus on one or two dimensions that have to be comprehensively addressed. The research may also cover other issues relevant for addressing the specific challenge.
1) Promoting cultural literacy through formal education
Research under this topic should address concepts of cultural literacy by performing a comparative analysis of cultural literacy of young Europeans of diverse origins and backgrounds as well as their inter-cultural competencies. It should address the role of formal education regarding knowledge, skills and competences needed for effective inter-cultural dialogue and mutual understanding as well as for becoming informed and responsible users and producers of the European cultural heritage and culture. It should study whether "European culture" as a possible common set of cultural and conceptual models is emerging for young generations. It should pay particular attention to early childhood (pre-primary), primary and secondary education, due to their importance in building cognitive, emotional and civic bases and study also how cultural literacy developed in formal education influences actual attitudes and behaviours of young people.
2) The role of non-formal and informal education and others factors in the development of cultural literacy
Based on a comparative analysis of cultural literacy of young Europeans of diverse origins and backgrounds as well as of their "inter-cultural" competencies, research should investigate the role and impact of informal education in the broadest sense, by family, gender, communities of origin, peer-groups or society at large on the development of cultural literacy. Representations of culture and the role of the Internet, social and digital media in the development of cultural knowledge and skills should equally be investigated, as many ideas related to issues of cultural diversity, popular culture, ethnic groups, minorities, discrimination and segregation are conveyed by such media. Research should identify successful actions that have already proven to have improved cultural literacy and awareness in order to provide recommendations on best practices and make suggestions on how informal forms of education can contribute to enhancing the level of cultural literacy among the young.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU in the order of EUR 5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. This does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
Research under this topic will contribute to better understanding and enhancing cultural literacy for the young generations, which will lead to greater appreciation of diversity. It will moreover contribute to reinforcing demand for sustainable and creative uses of European cultural heritage. The research will involve policy-makers, stakeholders and educational practitioners for the development and uptake of teaching material and tools both for formal and informal education. This will also include testing innovative practices for enhancing cultural and inter-cultural competencies in their real-life context making reference also to the fight against stereotypes.