Thanks to the European Cultural Foundation and my crowdfund backers, I have had the privilege of travelling across the EU28 this year: to speak/perform at events, meet fellow EU activists, record interviews with campaigners working to promote the EU, and make photography, sketches and paintings to promote the beauty and cultural diversity of our great continent.
The aim of my project was two-fold:
Firstly, to take my anti-Brexit message to our European friends: to assure them of the strength of the Remain campaign fighting to save our relationship with the EU and to emphasise the need for the EU to learn from the UK's Brexit mistake.
Secondly, to promote the EU back home in the UK - where the anti-Brexit narrative is so dominated by a British-centred, negative focus - More needs to be done to communicate a parallel narrative that is positive, pro-EU - to inspire hope and belief in the UK's place at the heart of Europe...
Using the hashtag #TheFutureIsEurope my #EUsupergirlTour project was inspired by the European Cultural Foundation's founding mission statement: To create a "European Sentiment".
Brexit was partly a result of a lack of European identity in the UK, a failure to understand the value of our EU citizenship and how the EU supports Europe's cultural diversity and facilitates our access to live, work, study, travel and enjoy the EU28 members states. The mission of my #EUsupergirl campaign is to promote a "sense of belonging" to Europe.
I was awarded a "Democracy Needs Imagination" grant by the European Cultural Foundation, match-funded through crowdfunding: to travel to the EU28 this year. In addition to my music video promoting travel in Europe 'Always On the Road' (which achieved over 300K views on Twitter), I will produce two key project outcomes: A video documentary and a sketch book report.
This crowdfunder is exclusively to self-publish, print and distribute the copies of "The Future is Europe" #EUsupergirlTour sketch book report. The document will be a soft cover, A4 size book with roughly 100 pages. A print run of 1000 copies including P&P will cost around £2500. Copies of the report will be freely donated to libraries/schools/appropriate places.
Crowdfund backers can pledge to receive signed copies of the publication for £10.
Additional donations to the crowdfunder are also gratefully received to help support the project.
The sketchbook report will include: My sketches and watercolour paintings from my travels to the 28 EU member states, photography, quotes from interviews, song lyrics and written recollections and reflections of my experiences.
The project deadline has been extended to match the latest Brexit deadline: 31st January. However, I will focus on the sketchbook report first, so I hope to have completed and distributed the literature well ahead of this target (ideally before Christmas - but I can't promise at this point).
My ambition is to create a document that paints a picture of the rich history, and cultural diversity of the EU member states in the contemporary political landscape. To reflect on how EUcitizens consider their relationship with the EU and to give voice to the activists who are fighting to defend the great European project.
Regardless of the outcome of the ongoing Brexit mess, much needs to be done to promote the value of EU membership across Europe, and understand why apathy is so rife and participation in European democracy so low. "Democracy Needs Imagination" because there are no easy solutions to the challenges Europe faces.. But a positive vision for the future is always a good starting point.
Madeleina with Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands at the European Cultural Foundation "Princess Margriet Award for Culture 2019" event.