Say what you want about the European Union (pipe down, Brexit people) but nobody is praising its branding these days. EU officials know this and have commissioned none other than Rem Koolhaas to help reform its image in this time of nationalist and anti-globalist pushback. Koolhaas and German photographer Wolfgang Tillmans earlier this year put out a call for ideas to essentially re-brand Europe, and this week they are hosting Eurolab, a four-day workshop at the Forum on European Culture in Amsterdam to hone the best of these schemes.
According to Eurolab’s website, this will be a “4-day fact-finding mission exploring what has gone wrong in the last 25 years of communicating Europe and how to make a new start.” Yoeri Albrecht, one of the forum’s organizers, told the New York Times that it was “a kind of jam session for the greatest cultural thinkers in Europe to tinker and work with the idea of Europe.” Koolhaas told the Times that he wanted “to find a crystal clear language to talk about Europe and to give it a more coherent narrative.” He added: “I think that inevitably we also need to look at what’s causing this kind of persistent problem of the difficulty of communicating about Europe.”
The group plans to share their ideas after the workshop completes on June 3, presenting a “comprehensive toolbox of ideas, visuals and strategies that can be used to communicate the EU in times of rising nationalism, populism and the growing support of far-right parties.” That’s no small feat. Good luck, Europe.