Open Call – Tandem Cultural Capitals 2019
European Cultural Foundation – Amsterdam
Leeuwarden – Fryslân 2028 (legacy organisation of Leeuwarden 2018) and Rijeka 2020 in cooperation with
Galway 2020, Eleusis 2021, Novi Sad 2021, Kaunas 2022 and Veszprém 2023


Tandem Cultural Capitals 2019
European collaboration programme for creative professionals, cultural managers and their organisations working in previous & future European Capitals of Culture.



The Tandem Cultural Collaboration Programmes were created by the European Cultural Foundation (ECF – Amsterdam) and the NGO MitOst (Berlin). Since 2011, Tandem has brought together almost 500 independent cultural organisations in wider Europe, supported internationalisation and professional development of more than 500 cultural workers, and connected a large variety of local players, audiences and artists from more than 200 cities and 40 countries.

Tandem uses cultural work and artistic action to strengthen cross-border collaboration, organisational structures and the values of autonomous work, wider strategic horizons and lasting professional empowerment. In Tandem, ‘art is a route to development for individuals and communities’ (F. Matarasso, Tandem review 2016).

The Tandem approach consists of a specific cross-border collaboration method and learning process that assists cultural organisations and their managers in developing long-term and equitable working relationships with new partners from other cities and regions. During a tailor-made Partner Forum participants first identify a new international partner of their own strategic choice. In ‘tandem’ they realise a brief working visit/placement at their new partner’s premises abroad and start working on joint pilot projects for the future. Each programme edition includes a cohort of up to 30 peers (15 Tandems) who reconvene for facilitated reflection and learning meetings that assist them with consolidating professional insights and new knowledge acquired abroad.

The Tandem programmes have created an international network of emerging cultural workers and their organisations. Participants share experiences, professionals insights and common values and continue to invest themselves creatively in the social, structural and cultural development of their own city or region. More information on method and success stories available at –


Tandem Cultural Capitals 2019

Building on the experience of 20 successful Tandem rounds so far (including a tailor-made edition for the most recently concluded ECOC Leeuwarden-Fryslân 2018) we now start a leaner (cost-effective) version of our programme for kick-starting new transnational partnerships among cultural organisations and art professionals working in ECOC cities. The overall goal of this specific Tandem edition is to incubate new European cooperation projects, support knowledge and international practice exchange and to provide meaningful networking between past, present and future European Capitals of Culture. In short, we aim to support professionals working in ECOC contexts with exploring and/or consolidating a European dimension of their local initiatives.

Responding to some of the most central and recurring pan-European collaboration needs of many organisations working in/with ECOC locations, this new Tandem format requires fewer resources than a ‘classical’ Tandem round. This slimmed-downed working approach saves financial resources, but also reduces intensity, workload and time involvement required from the programme participants. It therefore releases pressure from already stressed out ECOC project makers during a demanding working period, while it still delivers the collaborative benefits and strategic European essence of the established Tandem collaboration/experience-based learning method.

As most ECOCs already offer their own specific capacity building programmes and project funding opportunities for local initiatives, a specific goal of this Tandem is to initiate and further underpin the European dimension of ECOC projects with a long-term perspective. It facilitates networking for cultural organisations and arts professional across a relevant number of cities from the ECOC family (min. 3 – max. 10 participants/ organisations from up to 7 ECOCs). This substantially enhances knowledge and practice exchange on the level of up to 30 project initiators working in past or future ECOCs. It also brings participants into the already existing Tandem programme community of more than 500 professionals and their organisational hubs all over Europe.

What is the Tandem Cultural Capitals process for 2019?

  • Depending on each of the seven ECOC’s financial investment, between 3 to 10 cultural professionals/ organisations from their cities will be selected to participate in a gathering of up to 30 participants, the Partner Forum. There, they learn about Tandem, identify and match with peers to develop ideas for European cooperation projects among their ECOCs. Next to the matching process, which is an excellent networking tool in itself, we plan workshops on collaboration skills, peer-to-peer learning sessions on ECOC related issues and a study visit programme in Rijeka, host of the Partner Forum from 10-14.06.19.
  • Each participant further on receives a mobility grant of EUR 600.- for following up the Partner Forum with a an up to 3-5-day study and working visit. This short Tandem placement in their ECOC partner city takes participants to their newly identified partner organisation for a working week. There, they experience different ECOC realities at first hand, get inspired, engage in further knowledge and practice exchange, and use our Tandem placement toolkit and peer mentoring methods for working on their collaboration ideas.
  • After 6 months there is a concluding Follow-up Meeting, where all 30 participants reconvene one more time for reviewing the outcomes of their mutual placements, reflect on the exchange process (so far), continue working on their collaboration pilot ideas, which will ultimately allow them to present new project ideas with a real European dimension also to their local ECOC offices (or legacy organisation). The Follow-up Meeting will be hosted by Leeuwarden from 19-22.11.19.

What are Tandem’s intended effects?

  • Arts and culture professionals from various ECOCs gain skills, contacts and knowledge, and experiment with different ways of pan-European collaborations through arts and culture. They experience other ECOC realities in a way that gives them new confidence, inspires them and takes them to a new level in their working practice, locally and regionally/internationally.
  • Organisations learn about new ideas, processes and methods, gain access to resources and networks, engage with peers and situate their own work better within a European field of cultural innovation and organisational practice, becoming stronger and more effective.
  • Participants and producers who get involved with the new ECOC-based partnerships engage creatively in cross-border cultural, organisational or social/community practice and are empowered by learning how their creative expressions are both an asset and a means to address and invigorate the European dimension of their local ECOC strategies and challenges.

Implementation Period: March – December 2019 (10 months = +/- 8 months for participants)

  • Open Call for participation: 08 – 28 April 2019
  • Selection/confirmation of participants: First week May 2019
  • Tandem Partner Forum: 10 – 14 June 2019 in Rijeka
  • Mobility + mutual working placements: mid-June – mid-November 2019
  • Follow-up Meeting: 19 – 22 November 2019 in Leeuwarden
  • Ongoing programme coordination, (partner) facilitation, administration: March – December 2019


Please find here the link to the online call.

Useful links:

Further informaton:

consulting hours: Friderika Mike, Program Development and Foreign Relations

  • 16:00 – 18:00, 17th April 2019, Wednesday
  • Historia Hangvilla Café


We wish you a successful application!

– Team of Veszprém 2023