The 5th meeting of Culture Next. Candidate Cities Network will take place in Klaipeda, Plunge and Neringa, Lithuania on September 25th – 29th, 2019.

Since its founding in 2017, four network meetings took place – in September 2017 and May 2018, in Cluj-Napoca, in October 2018, in Aveiro (Portugal) and in May 2019 in Debrecen (Hungary). Each meeting takes on a challenge which is explored through working sessions, networking and membership activities, as well as a programme dedicated to understanding and learning from the local context.
For the meeting in Lithuania, the aim is to look at various examples of institutional or organisational structures which take the legacy of the ECoC candidacy after the bidding process – either for winning cities, as well as cities which haven’t been selected.

The last meeting meeting in Debrecen, which took place in May 2019, focused on the topic of cultural tourism and was organized by the Secretariat of the network – Cluj Cultural Centre and VisitDebrecen. 

In the meeting that will take place in Lithuania, on  September 25th – 29th, 2019, cities from the network will present their case studies, reflecting the diversity of scenarios which can be put in place and challenges that local organisations face after the bidding process. The overview will also be extended with various other examples from Europe, looking at what works and what doesn’t in terms of structural legacy of the ECoC candidacy.

The meeting will also include a public event where guests will bring their expertise to explore the topic of the meeting.
Among the guests is Jordi Pardo – international expert in cultural projects and urban renewal, director general at Pablo Casals Foundation & founder and partner of Nartex Barcelona projects, whose keynote speech ‘Culture, driver of change’ will talk about how arts, culture and knowledge can be drivers of change, improving citizens’ wellbeing, boosting the economy and inducing innovation, creating more attractiveness and competitiveness. This requires new approaches, shared visions, methodologies, commitment and agreement that Jordi Pardo will discuss in his speech.

The Culture Next. 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.

Culture Next. Candidate Cities Network  was founded in 2017 by ten European cities, current and former candidates to the European Capital of Culture title. The mission of the network is to support cities to implement culture-led urban development programmes and policies, building on the experiences, participatory processes and collaborations established during the preparation for the ECoC bid.