Re-imagining work: approaching labor market challenges through the Cluj Future of Work project

Cluj Future of Work is a project that explores the different ways and systems through which the city of Cluj-Napoca could face the challenges that will appear in the future on the labor market. Thus, under the dome of Cluj Future Of Work, programs were initiated to address the issue of the future of work from different perspectives:

    • Cluj Innovation Fellowship

    • re:form – experimental programme for rethinking work

    • Culturepreneurs

    • Work Upside Down

    • Future Scenarios Workshops

This multilateral approach allows a simulated intervention, artistic activities such as Work Upside Down or Future Scenarios Workshops being tools that can facilitate the experimentation of possible futures, but it also serves for practical purposes, with programs such as Cluj Innovation Scholarships, Culturepreneurs or re:form offering the know-how needed to meet the changes that the work environment will face in the coming years.

Cluj Innovation Fellowships

In 2021, the Cluj Innovation Fellowships encourage the diversification of collaboration possibilities between the public and private sector in uncertain contexts. The program is addressed to individuals or legal entities in Romania that operate in the public and private sector, academia or the civil society.

Starting from the COVID-19 crisis and the short-term and medium-term solutions found on a national and local level, the Cluj Innovation Fellowships offer potential innovators a framework in which they can develop a strategic intervention plan and detect changes in behavior and new forms of collaboration and use of resources that could create a kind of stability between different environments and areas of activity.

re:form – experimental programme for rethinking work

re:form is a facilitation and microgrant program for rethinking work practices in culture. Through financial support and specialized consultancy, it guides cultural organizations that want to develop and implement experimental solutions to the challenges met when working in the cultural sector.

Within the program, five organizations from Cluj-Napoca have the opportunity to implement strategies that can improve their internal dynamics and help them find solutions to strengthen and restructure the team so as to adapt to both the new ways of working imposed by the pandemic and to other challenges faced by the independent cultural sector in Romania.

The program is ongoing, and its implementation phase ends in September 2021.


Within this edition of Culturepreneurs, framed by Cluj Future of Work, entrepreneurs from the cultural and creative industries receive support and advice to develop their own projects and businesses, and guidance to adopt new technologies in their creative process.

Over 60 participants have access to workshops and learning modules held by specialists in various fields, and at the end of this stage, five of the projects will receive financial support for implementation and promotion at an international level.

The program was launched in April 2020 and is aimed at novice or advanced workers in the cultural and creative sectors, with an openness to technology and entrepreneurship, interested in developing sustainable projects.

Work Upside Down

Work Upside Down seeks to create bridges between the lived present and the imagined future of work. Following the call launched in March 2021, 12 works of art were selected to be created and then included in the exhibition of the same name, in the fall of 2021. The concept, developed and curated by the Austrian association Time\’s Up, aims to offer the general audience the opportunity to experience through art how the work environment might change in the coming years.

The 12 projects will take their visitors through 12 scenarios of the future, materialized with the help of different immersive artistic means: installations, performative acts or audiovisual ensembles.

Future Scenarios Workshops

To understand the challenges of work in the future, three forecasting workshops dedicated to the three scenarios of the project will be organized: informal work, cultural and creative industries and work 4.0. Within them, specialists in related fields will have access to information and processes that will help them identify trends, describe the future work context in the studied sector and design and write future scenarios.

The first series of workshops took place in 2019, and a new series is to take place in 2021, the information being communicated in advance on the website of the Urban Innovation Unit.

Cluj Future of Work is an initiative of the Urban Innovation Unit in Cluj-Napoca, created by the Cluj Cultural Centre in partnership with the Center for Innovation and Civic Imagination of the Municipality of Cluj-Napoca.

The project is co-managed by the Municipality of Cluj-Napoca and Cluj Cultural Centre in a consortium with eight other local organizations: Art and Design University of Cluj-Napoca, Cluj IT Cluster, Intercommunity Development Association Cluj Metropolitan Area (ADI ZMC), Transylvania Creative Industries Cluster, Transylvanian Furniture Cluster, Transilvania International Film Festival, Transylvania IT Cluster, ZAIN Transylvanian Creativity Festival.

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