Summary 07.04.99 Rabenstein
The European Cultural Backbone (ECB) is a coalition of media-cultural institutions and individuals working together to creatively use and develop participatory media for contemporary art practice and for social change.

The formation of the ECB in March 1999 is the result of several international meetings during which people from institutions from across the wider Europe have jointly identified the need for strengthening existing collaborative structures and for lobbying policy makers to recognise independent media culture as an important field in-between contemporary culture and the development of media and information technologies.

The ECB aims to:
- achieve an improved technical infrastructure for media culture and extend access to bandwidth
- develop new tools for creative expression and widen access to them
- enhance participatory and inclusive forms of social interaction
- stimulate critical public debate about the social and cultural effects of technological development

The ECB will set up a series of thematically focussed working groups and meetings on issues relating to media-cultural practices with such aims as the sharing of knowledge, experience and skills in business strategies, fund-raising, project management, technology, legal issues etc., and the setting up of collaborative research projects.

The ECB will campaign and raise public awareness around media-cultural issues. It will engage in dialogue with cultural and media policy makers on local, national and international levels and will promote best practice in media culture by creating networks for joint dissemination.

The ECB will develop tools for collaboration and online environments for information exchange, communication and digital decision making.

The ECB aims to become a platform in which independent media-cultural institutions can build and foster cooperations within the existing and growing networks based on mutual trust, commitment to collaboration, and generosity. In its start-up phase, the ECB will focus mainly on a campaign for access to high bandwidth networks for media-cultural centres. Other initial activities are directed at establishing tools and operational structures for the ECB network.

The initial member organisations that participated in the ECB launch meeting in Vienna in March 1999 included: Ars Electronica Center (A), ARTEC (UK), De Balie (NL), C3 Center for Culture & Communication (H), CRAC Media Centre (S), CyberREX (YU), E-Lab (LV), FACT (UK), Glass Palace Media Centre (FI), Ljudmila Digital Media Lab (SLO), Open Studio/WRO Foundation (PL), Public Netbase t0 (A), Steim (NL), Terravista (PT), V2_Organisation (NL), De Waag/ Society for Old and New Media (NL).