“Over the years, we have collaborated with ECF on many successful projects – from i-Portunus (supporting green mobility of cultural professionals across Europe) to the European Pavilion. Working with ECF, we have forged a strong, mutually respectful partnership – and made a bunch of life-long international friends in the process!”
Kultura Nova Foundation (Croatia), partner
Our thematic strand EXPERIENCE Europe is designed to provide citizens and cultural professionals with opportunities for direct people-to-people contacts. The programmes within this cluster aim to nurture a European sense of belonging building on long-term cultural and educational exchanges of people and common practices.
Together with Kultura Nova Foundation and MitOst, we concluded the i-Portunus Houses EU pilot project, which encourages cross-border mobility for artists and cultural professionals – laying the groundwork for the EU’s new mobility scheme Culture Moves Europe.
In 2022, we continued to support Generation Europe, a multi-annual programme for young Europeans from 14 countries, which we co-fund with Stiftung Mercator and regional ministries in Germany.
We also continued to support an initiative focusing on safe spaces in challenging contexts, VAHA (which means ‘oasis’ in Turkish).
Read more about the programmes in the EXPERIENCE Europe cluster below.
“I consider i-Portunus as one of the top programmes for mobility for artists and cultural professionals… Considering that its main goal is to connect and foster international collaborations, it is my opinion that the results carried by the programme are quote outstanding.”
i-Portunus Houses was part of the i-Portunus pilot scheme, which was initiated by the European Commission, dedicated to testing diverse mobility models for artists, creators and cultural professionals.
i-Portunus strongly believed in the professional value of making real-life contacts across European borders – despite Covid restrictions – and collaborating with peers face-to-face – as well as via digital platforms.
Implemented together with Kultura Nova Foundation and MitOst, the i-Portunus Houses pilot project was focused on hosts, underlining their value in providing efficient residencies and working environments for creative individuals travelling around Europe. The scheme was open for the 41 Creative Europe countries and offered specific support for local hosts to team up with up to five travelling artists and/or cultural professionals. After the pilot phase, the Culture Moves Europe mobility scheme has been included in the EU’s Creative Europe programme 2022-2027.
The i-Portunus Houses pilot scheme, which concluded in 2022, also included research on mobility in culture carried out by European experts from different disciplines. The findings were published in a four-volume publication in September organised into four interconnected parts:
- A compilation of conceptual frameworks and different perspectives on cultural mobility
- Exploratory research based on open questionnaires to European cultural actors involved in mobility and online discussions with them
- An evaluation of i-Portunus Houses grantees
- The development of scenarios for the future of mobility in culture
Read the publications.
Together with Stiftung Mercator, we have been supporting the scaling of a successful European educational youth engagement network that has been developed by the Internationales Bildungs- und Begegnungswerk (IBB) in Dortmund (IBB).
Generation Europe – The Academy is the continuation and multiplication of a previous multi-annual programme that offers young Europeans (aged 15-25) without any previous European experience a new impulse for public engagement. Alongside some start-up co-financing of this large-scale project, ECF also provided methodological advice for workshop design, regional European network contacts and advocacy expertise at the EU policy level.
EU Cultural Relations Platform
We have long been an advocate for more culture in EU external relations. Together with a partner consortium of European cultural institutes, networks and universities, we continue to contribute to the EU Cultural Relations Platform (CRP), a hybrid EU exchange and learning platform that supports cultural professionals from around Europe and the world to re-engage in global cultural relations during and after the pandemic.
Until 2025, we will continue to provide advice for this EU Platform, especially for the design of a series of annual exchange and learning experiences for leading cultural professionals from around the world and Europe. We provide expertise and professional connections to support the Platform in its aims to promote and facilitate sustainable cultural exchanges between Europeans and citizens from countries around the world.
One of our initiatives focusing on safe spaces in challenging contexts is VAHA (meaning ‘oasis’ in Turkish) – a two-year programme for cultural spaces of public discussion and free dialogue in Turkey and Europe. VAHA was initiated together with our Tandem Turkey partners Anadolu Kültür and MitOst.
The programme supported 50 cultural organisations in Turkey and neighbouring European countries to act as civil spaces for open debate and exchange and concluded in November 2022. It built on previous work and programme communities in the region, and answered new challenges for independent voices and autonomously working cultural spaces in Turkey and around Europe.
Phase 2 of the VAHA was all about building international partnerships between two or more local hubs. During these collaborations, the hubs scaled up their work into a larger ecosystem of independent places for free discussion and open dialogue through international collaboration. The six collaboration ideas that were approved by an external jury committee were implemented until September 2022. Read more
VAHA hubs met in Antioch (Antakya) and Vakıflı Village between 3-6 November 2022 to reflect on their collaborations and to make plans for the future. 13 VAHA hubs shared what happened during their international collaboration projects, reflected on the process and the impact the VAHA programme had on their work.
The programme has built common ground and shared knowledge between autonomous cultural centres and civil initiatives. First locally, then regionally, then across Turkish, Eurasian and EU borders.