Special issue - coaching cities and regions for better cultural policy making

Since October 2016, ten cities and regions have been selected to benefit from expert coaching on their current challenges. The aim is to support them to achieve better local cultural policies. These ten cities and regions have welcomed teams of experts and city peers for in-depth meetings and discussions about local issues and obstacles in implementing policies and actions. Coaches provided host cities and regions with concrete proposals, methodologies, tools and tips tailor made to fit their local contexts.

The coaching process has been rated as very valuable by each of the ten host cities. Coaches helped hosts prioritize their goals and actions, and guided them on how to best identify the right stakeholders to engage with. The visit by an international team also allowed the host to broaden their perspective and sometimes to change the way of working inside the administration itself. Examples from other cities (from cities’ peers) or other projects on which coaches had worked offered inspiration and knowledge for new local projects.

Host cities and regions saw the coaching visit as an opportunity to create a platform and basis for future work and cooperation between local authorities and different administrative levels or with local and regional stakeholders.

You can read the conclusions from the coaching visits in Loulé, Lublin, Kalamata, Oulu and Belfast further below, as well as impressions from coaches. Happy reading!

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?

The CCR programme will end in October 2017 with a final event in Ghent! See below for more information.

Reading corner

You can download each of the 15 Culture for Cities and Regions thematic study visits reports here. Reports on the coaching visits and the related presentations are also available here.

Coaching visit to Creative Loulé
19-21 April 2017

In April, Arthur Le Gall from KEA European Affairs together with city peers from Ghent, Lisbon and Lincoln, went to Loulé, Portugal, to help the small town work on its new strategic plan for local development, with a strong focus on culture and creative industries and crafts.

Read more.

Save the date … you’re invited!

The Culture for Cities and Regions final event will take place in Ghent on 25 October 2017 and is open to representatives from cities and regions that have been involved in the programme. The event will focus on the findings of Culture for Cities and Regions and will be an opportunity for cities and regions to learn from each other and from experts.

Read more

Zoom in on...


Seeding a new life to an ancient tradition.

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THNX: A world-class institute for creatives.

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Culture to drive bottom-up urban revitalisation.

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Coaching visits opened ‘a space for dialogue’ in host cities, say city coaches

During Culture for Cities and Regions’ ten coaching visits, representatives from cities and regions interested in sharing knowledge and in deepening working relationships with the coached cities or regions formed our pool of coaches. They shared their experience and offered independent support and reflection to the city or region willing to carry out changes through the coaching process.

As the coaching visits came to an end, we wanted to hear from our pool of city coaches how they think the coaching process was useful for host cities and regions, and what they themselves learned while taking part in the visits.

Read more


In Lublin, fostering audience development and monitoring cultural policies
10-12 May 2017

On 10-12 May, a coaching team travelled to Lublin, the largest city in eastern Poland, to help the city foster audience development and design tools to monitor local cultural policies and activities. The visiting team included independent expert Marianna Kajantie, Julie Hervé (EUROCITIES), and the heads of cultural affairs departments of the city councils of Dortmund and Espoo.

Lublin is an academic centre and has a young population. The city’s bid was short-listed for the European Capital of Culture title in 2016. Although unsuccessful, the preparation of the bid has given the city momentum to reflect on its strengths and weaknesses, and to develop a long-term cultural vision and strategy. Priorities of Lublin’s culture development strategy 2013-2020 include cultural education and bringing culture into the districts.

Read more


Northern creative highlights: Culture for Cities and Regions went to Oulu
7-9 June 2017

On 7- 9 June, a team of coaches visited Oulu, to help the city develop its new cultural strategy. The visiting team included University of Valencia professor Pau Rausell-Köster, Tom Fleming from TF Creative Consultancy, the head of department of cultural affairs of the city of Dortmund Kurt Eichler and special advisor for culture and international relations at the Institute for Culture in Barcelona Esteve Carames.

Changes in funding and organisation structures at national level and municipal level, and Oulu’s enlarged neighbourhood (having absorbed some surrounding municipalities into the city) were key points to consider. A European Capital of Culture bid for the year 2026 will also be a key feature of the plan.

Read more


Coaching visit in Kalamata, a leading ‘peripherical creative city’ in South-West of Greece
18-20 May 2017

On 18-20 May, a Culture for Cities and Regions coaching team travelled to Kalamata, Greece. The visit mainly focused on the sustainability of the city’s cultural sector and the future of its local creative industries. The coaching visit was not only about reflecting on local actions but also provided new ideas for inspiration.

The visiting team included KEA European Affairs expert Arthur Le Gall, Peter Inkei of the Budapest Observatory, and the heads of the cultural affairs departments of the city councils of Ghent and Espoo.

Read more


Culture for Cities and Regions’ last coaching visit paved the way for Creative Belfast
21-23 June 2017

The last Culture for Cities and Regions coaching visit of the programme took place in June in Belfast. The team of coaches visited Belfast to help the city strengthen its cultural sector and infrastructure. The visit addressed three main questions: how to prove the economic and social value of culture? Would a cultural organisation or company such as ‘Creative Belfast’ be useful in that context? What would be the framework and roadmap for such a structure?

The visiting team included KEA European Affairs director Philippe Kern, University of Valencia professor Pau Rausell-Köster, head of the department of cultural affairs of the city of Dortmund Kurt Eichler and co-founding director of Creative Dundee Gillian Easson.

Read more


If you are receiving this newsletter, you have been added to our mailing list. In the coming days you will receive a log-in and password you can use to participate in our online forum, ask your questions about activities and events and interact with other participants. Just click on “Partners login” in the Culture for cities and regions website.


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Contact :
Cécile Houpert - project support officer culture