Cluj-Napoca and Aveiro will host the next two conferences of the newly founded European cultural network

Representatives of the cultural sectors from Eleusis (Greece), Aveiro, Braga and Guimaraes (Portugal), Klaipeda and Plunge (Lithuania), Košice (Slovakia), Leeds (UK) and Cluj-Napoca, Timișoara, Târgu Mureș, Baia Mare, Alba Iulia and Sfântu Gheorghe (Romania) met in Cluj-Napoca to set up a European network around the topic of culture for urban development.

„Cluj-Napoca acknowledges the role of culture in the urban, social and economic development. We are the city having the highest cultural vitality in Romania and in our local development strategy culture is defined as a strategic element that connects the three pillars of urban development in Cluj: innovation, university and participation. We are looking for European ally cities that have the same focus as us and we made an open invitation to co-found a European network that will support re-thinking culture as a strategic factor in urban development across the continent”, says the director of Cluj Cultural Centre, Ștefan Teișanu.

The invited cities are current or former candidate cities for the title of European Capital of Culture. These cities have already proven their commitment to the idea of social and urban transformation through culture and have already set up large cultural programmes with this purpose, therefore cooperation between them can be fostered easily.

Kelly Diapouli, Artistic Director of Eleusis 2021 European Capital of Culture (Greece): ”We are willing and interested to contribute to the development of this network, as we believe that culture is indeed a transformative force in cities. With more and more cities making efforts to rethink the role of culture in their urban development, to connect them in a joint European project is not only a possibility, but also a must.”

Carlos Martins, former General Director of Guimaraes 2012 European Capital of Culture (Portugal): ”I salute this initiative. There are hundreds of European cities that were or are now bidding for the title of European Capital of Culture. All these candidacies build an immense portfolio of cultural projects that can make significant contribution to city development across Europe.”

Before the end of the year, the network will make its plans public and will invite other cities to join.
The administrative activities and the general secretariat will be hosted in Cluj-Napoca (Romania). Starting with 2018, two annual conference and a capacity programme will give the members chances to debate and work together on common projects. In 2018, the conferences will be help in Cluj-Napoca (Romania) in May and Aveiro (Portugal) in September.

Emil Boc, the Mayor of Cluj-Napoca, Steve Green, the former chairman of the European Capital of
Culture panel and András Farkas, the executive director of the European Network of Youth Capitals, attended the conference as guest speakers.

The conference was organised by the Cluj Cultural Centre and the Municipal House for Culture, with the support of Cluj-Napoca Municipality.

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