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European Neighbourhood programme

ECF’s European Neighbourhood programme has stimulated civil society working in culture to influence policy reform and societal development in the Balkans, Kaliningrad, Moldova, Turkey, the Ukraine and Arab-Mediterranean countries.

We continue to nurture cultural change-makers across Europe and beyond through our Tandem cultural managers exchange programme and Trio capacity building programme.

South East Europe 2000-2008

The goal of Kultura Nova was to strengthen a new generation of independent cultural organisations in Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. Between 2000 and 2004, ECF and our programme partners – the Open Society Institutes in these countries – provided 14 non-governmental organisations with tailor-made cultural management training, professional coaching for the implementation of long-term development plans and structural funding. By the end of the programme in 2004, the supported organisations had gained sufficient organisational capacity to become important agents of artistic innovation, cultural policy development, democratisation and the protection of cultural diversity in their local environments.

Policies for Culture was developed from 2000 to 2008 as a regional framework programme for South East Europe by ECF and the ECUMEST Association in Bucharest. The aim was to encourage a participative principle in the design, implementation and evaluation of new effective cultural policies throughout the countries in this region. The programme supported more than 20 projects across South East Europe, as well as developing publications in relevant local languages. These local initiatives promoted interaction and dialogue between citizens, the cultural sector and decision-makers.

Kaliningrad (Russia) 2004-2009

This cultural management programme provided a solid basis for cultural managers to influence policies and strengthen their networks across the region. Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave on the Baltic Sea, benefited from the programme as neighbouring countries were changing their identities and shifting the political and social climate. The programme was realised in conjunction with Tranzit Agency, Kaliningrad Ministry of Culture, Association of Cultural Managers Moscow, Ars Baltic Nordic, Nordic Council of Ministers and the European Union.

Turkey 2004-2012

The Invisible Cities project in Turkey from 2008 – 2011, provided arts management training and advice to local cultural operators in three Turkish cities, namely Kars, Antakya (Antioch) and Canakkale. Supported by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs Matra programme, it was an excellent example of ECF’s reflection and action approach. The goal was to create a new shared framework for cultural policy development that could expand into other cities. The project was carried out in partnership with Anadolu Kultur, Boekman Foundation, Istanbul Bilgi University and Istanbul Foundation for Arts & Culture (IKSV) .

In October 2010, ECF helped to set up the KPY Centre at Bilgi University in Istanbul. The new library and documentation centre act as a hub – both online and offline – where key information about cultural policy and practice can be stored and shared. Also supported by the Boekman Foundation, the centre received targeted training to connect with key organisations in other Anatolian cities to promote artistic innovation, collaboration and policy development.

Arab Mediterranean Region 2004-2013

From 2004 to 2008, ECF was involved in helping to design and deliver workshops for ‘Trainers of Cultural Management’ in Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia and Syria. By building the capacity of arts managers, individuals and organisations were in a much better position to achieve long-term partnerships and make an impact on cultural life. Partners for the project named Training the trainers, were Al Mawred Al Thaqafy, British Council – Syria and Lebanon, Boekman Foundation, and DOEN Foundation.

In June 2010, ECF co-developed the first international conference on cultural policies in the Arab region, together with local partners. The resulting recommendations offered a concrete working plan of sharing cultural policy research and experiences in and across the Arab region, as well as connecting to similar efforts in Europe. Later in the year, in October 2010, ECF published Cultural Policies in Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Syria and Tunisia, which mapped the cultural landscape in the region. Described as ‘an instrument for true change’, the publication provided a pioneering guide for EU practitioners and policy-makers.

Ukraine Culture Network 2007-2013

In 2008, ECF and its partner the Centre of Cultural Management in Lviv trained a group of 25 cultural managers to apply innovative ways of developing cultural policies during times of transition. The resulting Lviv Cultural Map charted the activities and needs of the cultural capital’s major arts players and organisations and led to a wider programme that produced alternative art guides to seven Ukrainian cities in 2012 and 2013. Partners included the Association of Museums and Galleries, Centre for Cultural Management (Lviv), Dzyga Arts Centre, Lviv City Council and Les Kurbas Theatre.

The programme, Ukraine Culture Network & Community Development, ran from 2011–2013 and focused on developing a network of cultural managers across the country to mobilise change by planning cultural aspects of community development and widening engagement with tools such as a ‘Ukraine Roundtable’, designed and produced by Public Art Lab Berlin.

Moldova 2007-2013

ECF and Soros Foundation Moldova from 2007–2011 were partners in the project, Culture as a Development Resource for Moldova, funded under the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affair’s Matra programme. By supporting Moldova’s long-neglected cultural sector to flourish, the project aimed to contribute to the country’s social transformation. In 2009, ECF helped to organise Moldova’s first cultural congress as part of a larger lobbying and advocacy campaign that sought to voice the needs of Moldova’s cultural sectors. Moldova’s President spoke in favour of cultural reform, which helped the lobby to make important steps towards realising a Moldovan cultural fund in the future.

Trio is a two-year capacity-building project in Moldova that is running until the end of 2013. It is organised in partnership with Soros Foundation Moldova, that has used resource mapping and planning by local cultural operators to re-activate the dilapidated cultural infrastructure in rural areas facing enormous challenges such as growing poverty, high levels of youth unemployment, underdeveloped public services and social disintegration.

In 2011, ECF launched an exchange programme for cultural managers called Tandem. Co-devised with MitOst and delivered in partnership with local organisations, the programme supports long-term cooperation, knowledge development and networking opportunities between cultural managers from the EU and outside the EU – to date from Moldova, Ukraine, Turkey and Arab-Mediterranean countries.


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