Culture for Cities and Regions (CCR) will come to a close at the end of 2017. Over the past two years, CCR has been the EU’s flagship initiative to promote smart investment in culture at local level. Cities and regions have been truly enthusiastic participants and beneficiaries, which clearly proves that they need EU-wide peer learning schemes that allow them to meet for regular exchanges.

In its final year, CCR will continue to disseminate the knowledge accrued over the years to a wide range of international, European, national, and local professionals. The Culture for Cities and Regions team

CCR’s main ambition has been to raise the awareness of decision makers and also to develop practical policy recommendations, provide guidance, and improve capacity-building for local authorities throughout Europe. CCR has used specific tools, study trips, and coaching visits to achieve its goals.

The Culture for Cities and Regions team

Culture for Cities and Regions in a nutshell

Running until October2017 and funded by the European Commission under Creative Europe, it aims to:

  • Identify good practices in cultural investments in cities and regions throughout Europe.
  • Help selected cities and regions improve their cultural strategies through coaching and tailored advice.

Activities in 2017

Eight new coaching visits aiming to provide practical and targeted recommendations.

What’s next?

Culture for Cities and Regions will end in October 2017, but in the meantime stay tuned!

Reading corner

A series of reports
You can download all reports on Culture for Cities and Regions study visits organised after September 2015 here. Reports on the first coaching visits to Bratislava and Kaunas are now available on the website, together with the presentations made during the visits.

Inspiration toolkits
Our ‘inspiration toolkits’ series aims to provide practical tools on specific themes of interest for cities and regions. The first two toolkits were compiled by EUROCITIES with input from Culture for Cities and Regions. They focused on cities fostering cultural education for children (inspiration toolkit 1); and on the role of culture in the integration of refugees and migrants (inspiration toolkit 2).

European Capital of Culture 2015 – main takeaways
The European Commission has published its evaluation of the European Capitals of Culture 2015 – Mons and Pilsen. The main recommendations are available here, and the full report here.

Coaching visit to Bratislava

Bratislava’s policies and practices for promoting the cultural and creative industries, and the challenges entailed, were discussed during the first Culture for Cities and Regions coaching visit that took place in October 2016. The coaching team concluded that Bratislava should prioritise its goals and actions in order to gain the trust and confidence of the local community, and that the city should build its plans on the coaching visit’s conclusions. The coaching report is available here.

Save the date

In 2017, the European Commission will organise its biennial European Culture Forum, and Culture for Cities and Regions will be represented. Watch this space for further details.

Valorising Kaunas’ modernist heritage

A Culture for Cities and Regions coaching team, which brought together peers from Birmingham and Lisbon, visited Kaunas in December 2016 to help the city address two main issues: improve cooperation between Kaunas city and Kaunas district; and valorise its modernist architectural heritage. Kaunas is shortlisted for the European Capital of Culture 2022 title. It is therefore vital for the city to encourage creativity as a driver for local action and to develop a clear and long-term cultural vision.

More information


Coaching visit to Friuli-Venezia Giulia region

In the middle of February, five Culture for Cities and Regions coaches, including peers from Lincoln and Lisbon, met in Trieste and Aquileia to help their hosts make the most of their cities’ local and regional cultural heritage.

The coaching visit had two main goals:

  • help make the UNESCO World Heritage archaeological site at Aquileia a driver of economic and social development in the region;
  • improve the newly created regional structure that ensures the global and integrated management of cataloguing, protection, restoration, and enhancement of regional cultural heritage.

While this Italian region is eager to make its cultural assets a key driver of its development policy, the large number of stakeholders involved in the process (region, local authorities, local public, and private stakeholders) makes it difficult for the authorities to achieve that goal.

The archaeological site at Aquileia has a great potential to drive the region’s economic and social development on account of its historical value, state of preservation, size and uniqueness. The site’s enormous tourism potential (near the seaside resorts of Grado, Trieste, and Venice) is also clearly underexploited. During the visit, the participants considered policy actions that could build trust in the local community, which appears to be unaware of the site’s true economic potential. A variety of actions were proposed, including co-creation workshops.

The coaches also proposed policy actions to improve the efficiency of Fundazione Aquileia, which is in charge of managing the site. They encouraged the foundation to be more proactive in destination management and business development, and to strengthen cooperation with the local tourism bodies and communication outlets (notably social media).

The full report will be available soon.


Local impacts of capitals of culture initiative

On 31 January, the European Parliament hosted a roundtable entitled ‘Capitals of culture - A driver for cultural, social and economic changes for cities’ and organised by the Tuscany region. The objective of this event was to examine the impacts of the capitals of culture initiative on local economic growth and regional development, and to welcome the Tuscan city of Pistoia as 2017 Italian Capital of Culture.

This latter initiative was launched in 2014 by the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage, following the EU Action "European Capital of Culture from 2007 to 2019". In 2017, Pistoia holds the title. This city of around 90,000 inhabitants boasts a well-preserved medieval centre and a vibrant contemporary art scene. However, time and again it gets overshadowed by its larger neighbours Florence and Pisa. But this year Pistoia will do its best to capitalise on this distinction.

Other European countries have also launched national capital or city of culture schemes. Derry/Londonderry became the UK’s first city of culture in 2013. By creating the city of culture title, the UK aimed to build on the success of Liverpool, which held the title of European Capital of Culture in 2008. In 2013 alone, every pound invested in Derry’s culture brought a return of £5. In 2017, Kingston upon Hull holds the UK City of Culture title.

Commissioner Tibor Navracsics attended the roundtable at the European Parliament and stressed that the Creative Europe programme supports exchanges between past, present, and future European capitals of culture, thereby helping cities learn from each other.


Public consultation on Creative Europe post-2020

The European Commission has launched a public consultation on the future of the Creative Europe programme. This evaluation gives stakeholders in Europe’s cultural and creative sectors a chance to make their voices heard. The consultation closes on 14 April.

Find out more here.


Did you know?





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Contact :
Cécile Houpert - project support officer culture