2013, Antwerp, Belgium. Schelde River near Antwerp, Belgium, Henrik Spohler, Audiovisual Library of the European Commission, CC BY-NC-ND

We are living in a Europe that changes every day, every hour and every minute. In these fast-paced changes, how do we define Europe’s social dimension and the world of work today? How about equal opportunities and access to the labour market? What about fair working conditions? And what will social protection and inclusion look like in the near future?

The European Pillar of Social Rights proclaimed by EU countries and institutions in 2017 stands up for the rights of European Union’s citizens in a fast-changing world.

To illustrate the social realities and situations of workers Europe-wide, the Still a Working Title? Social and Employment Realities in Europe exhibition portrays Europeans in real-life situations and shows some of the principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights as they are lived by Europeans every day.

In partnership with major and upcoming European artists, the European Commission has created a story around equal opportunities, the labour market, working conditions or social protection and inclusion (The European Pillar of Social Rights in 20 principles).

The exhibition shows how living and working in Europe shape our daily reality. It shows activities and movements of people within and across the borders of Europe, in a radically different fashion than is usually dealt with in the (mass) media.

Selected by Belgian curator Ive Stevenheydens, the carefully chosen European photographers represent a geographical and gender balance. Together, their emotive works formulate a reflection upon our contemporary working and social realities, and of the future of work in Europe. Each of them tells a different story sourced from a common history, that of Europe.

The European Union stands for free movement. In his photographs, Petruț Călinescu shed light on migratory flows of workers, and the different lives experienced by many, between their old-home and new-home countries. From another perspective, Boris Németh takes a more nuanced approach in a series that sparks surprise at what it still means to move freely around in Europe. Also focusing on movement, Henrik Spohler’s series looks at the flow of commodities travelling around the world in the current one-click economy. Every one of these objects is delivered by men and women whose days are framed by their smartphones. Their story is told by Laura Ben Hayoun, using the same tool to photograph them, a phone.

In Europe today, we develop ourselves and our projects in innovative spaces where science and technology are creating new realities, opportunities, ecologies, and even whole cities. Focusing on the steps we take before entering active work life, the painstakingly detailed photographs of Michele Borzoni testify to the methods, situations and architectural solutions we have devised to select just one person out of hundreds of candidates for a future opportunity.

Equality, equal opportunities and inclusiveness are essential parts of any working environment. Documenting the impact of one’s social situation on working conditions, the work of Marilou Liotet shatters clichés about the role of women in a mainly male-dominated working area. Celebrating different ways of working together, the series of the association Nos, Why Not? highlights the best qualities of each participant. Pilvi Takala addresses the question of equality and equal opportunities by challenging everyday human interactions in co-working spaces. Finally, Mar Cuervo’s series illustrates new opportunities and inclusiveness in Spain’s fishing industry.

Presenting the exhibition as a part of Europeana Collections creates a special link between today and the past. In this context, contemporary artworks tell the story of how living and working in Europe shape our environments today, and how these environments in themselves determine our individual realities