On the evening of 25 November in Brussels, Alessia Usai from Italy and Annika Hampel from Germany were announced as the winners of the 2015 ENCATC Research Award on Cultural Policy and Management. Alessia Usai, from Italy from the University of Cagliari for her PHD thesis on “The Creative City. Cultural policies and urban regeneration between conservation and development”. Annika Hampel, from Germany from the University of Hildesheim, for her PDH thesis on “Fair Cooperation. Partnership based cooperation in Foreign Culture Policy”.

After opening the Ceremony, ENCATC President Annick Schramme, gave the floor to Professor Marc Vervenne, President of the UNESCO Commission Flanders, who delivered the opening speech.

Next, 2014 ENCATC Research Award Winner, Elodie Bordat-Chauvin, presented her new book “When Cultural Policies Change: Comparing Mexico and Argentina”, the first publication in the ENCATC Book Series on Cultural Management and Cultural Policy Education.

A panel debate followed on “The role of research for practice. The importance of comparative and global research”. Chaired by Annick Schramme, ENCATC President, from the University of Antwerp / Antwerp Management School, Belgium, the panel included Lluís Bonet, Professor, University of Barcelona, Spain; Jacques Bonniel, Professor, University of Lyon II, France; and Jaime Alberto Ruíz Gutiérrez, Associate Professor, University of los Andes, Colombia.

The Award was given by Catherine Magnant, Deputy Head of Unit Cultural Diversity and Innovation at the European Commission. 

For the first time in the Award’s history, two PhD researchers were awarded ex aequo: “The work of  Annika Hampel because she analyzed the process, the involved stakeholders and the outputs of Cultural Relations between Germany and India. Her focus on the relation between developed and development countries from an equal perspective and on the basis of reciprocity is very original and relevant. Her conclusions and recommendations contribute very concretely to the improvement of Foreign Cultural Policy in general. The one of Alessia Usai because she uses a different and innovative perspective: her research is related to cultural heritage, landscape and urban planning. She analyzes the relationships between cultural heritage and urban planning in order to identify best practices for the development of innovative cultural policies and new urban regeneration tools. From this perspective she developed an interesting holistic model that takes into account the local cultural ecosystem and that can be relevant for local cultural policy makers,” explained Annick Schramme, ENCATC President, to the ceremony participants.

The winners were extremely honoured and appreciative of this prestigious recognition: “The ENCATC Research Award represents to me a great occasion to widely disseminate my PhD research outcomes at the global level. Moreover it is an opportunity to prove their scientific value thanks to the rigorous selection process managed by the Award’ scientific committee and jury members. In this regard, I would thank all of them for their professional and careful work and for all their suggestions as I advance in my research. I am sure the award ceremony is only the first step towards my work with ENCATC and I look forward a long and solid research collaboration with the network,” said Alessia Usai.

To confirm the importance of such an initiative to promote the career of young researchers, Annika Hampel said:  “I would like to sincerely thank the award’s jury for their decision and ENCATC for the beautiful award ceremony. I feel very honored and I am grateful for the ENCATC Research Award 2015. Without my Indian interview partners this research would not have been possible. Thus, I am very much looking forward to sending them and my international colleagues the English published version of my PhD thesis in the near future.

Alongside the 2015 ENCATC Award winners were two shortlisted finalists: Fiona Hutchison of the United Kingdomfor her PhD thesis “Socio-cultural Impacts of Museums for their Local Communities: The Case of the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter” and Ann Overbergh from Belgium for her PhD thesis “Extended cinema in Kenya and Tanzania. Technological innovation and Related Trends in Local Audiovisual Storytelling”.

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