Culture and cross-border cooperation

Poles of Cultures – Cultural Policy as a Tool for Community and Regional Development

The general aim of the project was to improve social and cultural cohesion in Romania‐Serbia cross border area by promoting cooperation regarding the formulation and evaluation of cultural public policies based on active participation for regional development.

The project was financed by the European Union through the Romania-Republic of Serbia IPA Cross‐border Cooperation Programme and was meant to: improve the quality of the public services offered to the population by cultural actors; increase the professional competences of public employees and decision‐makers in applying the public policy cycle for the cultural field; contribute to the increase of the involvement of civil society throughout the elaboration, implementation and evaluation of the public policies and to promote European values as catalysts of European cooperation and integration.

The Intercultural Institute Timisoara – lead partner, together with City Hall Timisoara, City Hall Zrenjanin, City Hall Pancevo and Civic Parliament Free Town Vrsec, coordinated the implementation of this cross border project between June 2013 and October 2014.

The main activities of the project were:

  • A sociological and statistical research analysing the cultural demand and offer in Timisoara, Pancevo, Zrenjanin and Vrsac and Timis county, the main content of the cultural consumption and offer, behaviour patterns of consumers and cultural providers and identification of new cultural needs. This activity took place in the whole area of the project by carrying out ample sociological research of the cultural demand at the level of the population in Timisoara and Timis County, in Zrenjanin and Vrsac, as well as statistical research at the level of cultural providers in the same area. In Pancevo, the sociological and statistical research aimed at an intermediary evaluation of the impact of the City Cultural Strategy that was in full process of implementation.
  • Between December 2013 and June 2014 the two cultural strategies envisioned in the project were elaborated, on the basis of several public debates and round tables in Timisoara and the three partner cities – the Cultural Strategy of the city of Timisoara for the period 2014‐2024 and the Cultural Strategy of the city of Zrenjanin for the period 2014‐2024. At the same time, the intermediary evaluation of the impact of the Cultural Strategy of Pancevo was carried out and several actions to include culture in the public priorities of the Vrsac Municipality were initiated. Following the results of the research carried out, correction measures for the Pancevo strategy were defined through a new Action Plan and in Vrsac, through a consultation with the cultural providers, an Action Plan was elaborated for the municipal council.
  • The project supported a major cultural event with the participation of 15 young artists in the Biennale of Contemporary Art in Pancevo – September 10th 2014 – October 1st 2014.
  • A youth camp was organized for 24 young leaders, aged between 18 and 30 from Timisoara and Serbia. For 8 days, these young people took part in non‐formal education activities, with an important part dedicated to the promotion of European values, European citizenship and culture as a development factor. The selection of participants was based on an open call and on criteria defined within the Council of Partners. A main selection criterion was the volunteering and/or participation in activities carried out by cultural organizations. The camp took place between July 27th and August 3rd 2014.
  • The project also included a training course for employees in the public cultural sector, which took place in April 2014. For 7 days, 20 public employees took part in interactive learning modules focused on project management. The training aimed to increase their capacity to develop viable projects in order to achieve the general objectives defined in the strategies. At the same time, it contributed to the increase of the capacity of cultural actors to attract financial resources from community or private funds.

The project ended with a final conference and a “matching event”, organized in November 2014. This event offered the possibility to publicly present the results of the project, to draw conclusions and make plans for the future. On this occasion, the public authorities signed a Protocol for cross‐border cultural cooperation, which included the definition of the cooperation potential as well as the means and resources the partners could engage.

This project contributed to the foundation of Timisoara’s candidacy to become European Capital of Culture and identified long‐term development directions for the cultural field.