Amateo, the European network for Active Participation in Cultural Activities - of which Creative Lives is a founder member - has been awarded funding by the Creative Europe Programme – Cultural Networks strand for the 'Arts Take Part' project. The project will be implemented between August 2017 and December 2021.

The overall aim of the project is to develop the capacity of national and regional participatory arts organisations, and their networks, to operate trans-nationally and to support their active participation in art and cultural activities at a European level.

Amateo was established in 2008 in Ljubljana, Slovenia and is registered as an international organisation in Ghent, Belgium. Amateo was founded by a group of national organisations from across Europe, including Creative Lives, which each represent and promote active participation in cultural activities. The network was inspired by the "Value, Include, Connect" conference organised by Creative Lives in Cardiff in 2005.

The Amateo network has grown to include organisations from 14 different European countries. Aled Rhys-Jones, a trustee on Creative Lives' board, is currently President of Amateo and has worked tirelessly to bring this Creative Europe project application to fruition along with the board of Amateo and Hans Jørgen Vodsgaard of Interfolk in Denmark.

The Amateo network is looking forward to an exciting period of innovation and sectoral collaboration and development.

Aled Rhys-Jones, President of Amateo and Creative Lives trustee, said:

This major support from Creative Europe will really change how Amateo operates and provide opportunities to build and strengthen the network. For those organisations working in the field of creative participation, it is a chance to forge links on a European level, to gather and share research data, find partners for projects, discuss common agendas, try out new ideas and to generally celebrate taking part in the arts. Amateo is a relatively young organisation - founded in 2008 - but we have grown in strength over the years and this funding will allow us to take our work to the next level.

See the Amateo website for more on the network.