Culture Next. Candidate Cities Network

The Candidate Cities Network is born out of the need of a structure that brings together European cities, current or former candidates to the European Capital of Culture title (ECoC). Its mission is to support cities to implement culture-led urban development programmes and policies, building on the experience, participatory processes and collaborations established during the preparation for the ECoC bid. It aims to gain wider European acknowledgement of culture as sustainable development and to extend the existing European cultural cooperation frameworks. The network also makes a contribution to the ECoC programme legacy, by facilitating the implementation of more ECoC programmes throughout Europe.

The programme of the network focuses on capacity building for member organisations, organizing conferences and annual meetings, and developing a platform for promoting member cities, as well as facilitating collaborations among them. Also, the network aims to become a voice in shaping European cultural policies.

Since its founding in 2017, two network meetings took place – in September 2017 and May 2018, in Cluj-Napoca. The first meeting was attended by several candidate cities for the ECoC title in Romania (Timișoara, Târgu Mureș, Baia Mare, Alba Iulia, Sfântu Gheorghe and Cluj-Napoca), but also from Greece, Portugal, Slovakia, Lithuania and UK. As a result of the meeting, also attended by Steve Green, former president of the jury competition, the network was founded and its mission and work methods defined. The second meeting of the network, in 2018, included the lecture The Economy of Culture in Post-industrial Times, by Pier Luigi Sacco. Pier Luigi Sacco is Professor of Cultural Economics at IULM University in Milan, Senior Researcher and Visiting Scholar at the Harvard University, and Special Adviser to the European Commissioner for Culture and Education.

In 2018, we organize the next network meeting in Aveiro, Portugal – candidate city for the European Capital of Culture 2027 title in Portugal. The meeting brings together representatives of candidate cities and aims to define cooperation projects between members. Also, in 2018 we will continue to work on the expansion of the network and we will launch the online platform that will promote the network and its members.