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Launching Conference

4 April 2019

​La Tricoterie, Brussels, Belgium

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The Cultural and Creative Spaces and Cities Conference was the launching event of a 2-year experimental project involving cultural and creative spaces and policymakers. Brought together by a consortium of ten forward-looking organisations, dozens of stakeholders across Europe will explore how participatory governance and commoning practices can devise a more sustainable future for Europe.

Culture has the power to impact people’s lives

Participatory governance is a people-centred approach to deepen citizen engagement in governmental decision-making. Participatory processes facilitate communication and relations between public institutions and civil society, resulting in a better quality of democracy. Participatory governance is one of the top priorities in the EU’s cultural agenda for the upcoming years.

Participatory governance empowers people to decide their future

Commoning processes attempt to activate the power of social cooperation to make things happen. In this project, we think of commoning as a variety of collective actions enabling interaction between actors in the cultural sector. Their joint efforts intent to shape new institutional arrangements safeguarding the sustainability of creative work.

At this full-day conference, participants had the opportunity to learn how both civil society and the European Commission are addressing these topics. Participants also contributed by offering their knowledge and experience to the development of the Urban Labs which were organised in seven European cities.

Participants were able to…

  • A better understanding of how culture contributes to sustainable social and economic development.
  • Hear inspiring real examples of how culture improves people’s lives.
  • Contribute to the debate about how public administration and the cultural and creative sectors can increase their cooperation.
  • An opportunity to learn about the new EU Work Plan for Culture and how it addresses the increasing shift to digital technologies, globalisation and growing societal diversity.
  • A chance to get involved in the project Cultural and Creative Spaces and Cities.
  • Meet like-minded professionals that are making an impact in Europe.


08.30 Registration

09.00Welcome by Gitte Wille, director of the culture department at Region of Skåne, and Mieke Renders, managing director of Trans Europe Halles

09.10Welcome by Tamás Szűcs Director, Culture and Creativity, DG EAC, European Commission

09.20Introduction by Hanka Otte, researcher at University of Antwerp

09.40 Inspiration talk on The Precariat, the Cultural Commons and the Emerging Contributive Economy​ by Michel Bauwens, founder and president of the P2P Foundation

10.05 Inspiration talk on Participatory Governance in Culture by Dea Vidovic, Director of Kultura Nova Foundation

10.30 Coffee break

11.00 Presentation of the project Cultural and Creative Spaces and Cities (CCSC) by Asma Mansour, project manager

11.15 Lecture and Q&A on Cultural Commons: The Breeding Ground of Europe by Pascal Gielen and Maria Francesca De Tullio (University of Antwerp) and Marjolein Cremer (European Cultural Foundation)

12.00 Introduction to the CCSC Urban Labs

  • City of Lund, Sweden: Changemakers and Smart Cities
  • Region of Skåne, Sweden: City Cooperation for Regional Development.
  • Kaapeli, Finland: City Property, Public Property and Commons
  • AMBASADA, Romania: Communities for Urban Regeneration
  • Hablarenarte, Spain: Experimental Cultural Public Policies to Strengthen the Commons
  • Creative Industries Kosice, Slovakia: Creativity and Digital Technologies as Drivers of Change in Cities

12.30 Lunch break

13.30 Parallel workshops: the Challenges of the CCSC Urban Labs

  • Lund: What effective methodologies can foster cooperation between the municipality and cultural actors. In particular, how can the municipality embrace a peer-to-peer perspective in facilitating this cooperation?
  • Scania: How do we mobilise and engage different stakeholders in developing and implementing the regional cultural plan?
  • Kaapeli: Grassroots challenge: How to activate citizens and shift them from audience to co-creators?
  • Creative Industries Kosice: How to involve stakeholders to formulate the vision for the future of the city (and future of cultural sphere especially)?
  • Hablarenarte: How to encourage the commitment of civil servants and local politicians in the long – term development of participatory and collaborative public programmes?
  • AMBASADA: How could community-led organisations contribute in creating legislations and how could they obtain administrations’ responsibility to implement these legislations.

15:30 Coffee break

16:00Wrap-up session facilitated by Hanka Otte, University of Antwerp 

16:30 Inspiration talk on Co-creation of cultural policies by Mirik Milan, first Amsterdam night mayor and founder of VibeLab

16.50 Peer learning approach in the new EU Work Plan for culture and participatory governance in cultural heritage by Erminia Sciacchitano, policy officer, DG Education, Youth, Sport and Culture, European Commission

17.15 Evolving from European Commission project to a peer-led association: the European Creative Hubs Network by Iván López Garrido, general manager of Republikken, and Atılım Şahin, Creative Hub Director of ATÖLYE

17:30Closing remarks by Barbara Stacher (policy officer, cultural policies, European Commission) and Mohssin El Ghabri (deputy mayor in charge of culture at Saint Gilles Municipality)

18.00 Cocktail and networking

​19.00 End