European Network of Cultural Centres (ENCC)

Cultural centres and non-urban areas

Rural Areas
For many years now, we have been working to define and highlight the role cultural centres can play in political participation and social innovation in non-urban areas.

A little history

Our work on culture and non-urban areas started with two conferences (in Olesnica in 2016 and in Hildesheim in 2017), which resulted, among other outputs, in our Crowd-Sourced Manifesto: Culture for Shared, Smart, Innovative Territories and in the book Vital Village, coordinated by the University of Hildesheim. 

In 2020, we joined forces with networks Culture Action Europe, IETM and Trans Europe Halles to give visibility and advocate for non-urban culture. Together, we created an online campaign and a policy paper that was launched during a joint advocacy event. In 2021, the group organised Wide Open Spaces, an online event about non-urban culture after the pandemic. In 2022, we became a consortium partner of IN SITU, a new project on cultural and creative industries in non-urban areas of the EU. This four-year project is funded by the Horizon Europe programme of the European Commission.

What does the working group do?

Since its creation in 2016, the working group has helped organise small-scale meetings and webinars, international conferences, and advocacy events. It works as a discussion forum with its own mailing list, contributes to creating international partnerships, consults on policy papers, and interacts with our other multiyear projects, such as Seeds of Sustainability and IN SITU.

For more resources on the topic, browse our Non-Urban Reading Room here.

The working group is a transectorial platform gathering ENCC members, partner networks, researchers, practitioners, policymakers and cultural policy experts. The group shares practices and needs, makes recommendations, and participates in shaping our advocacy efforts. It is coordinated by Piotr Michałowski, our co-chairperson.

Recent and past participant organisations include: 

  • Netzwerk Kultur Heimat (Germany)

  • IG Kultur Österreich (Austria)

  • IGBK - International Society of Fine Arts (Germany)

  • EESC (European Economic and Social Committee)

  • Wales Council for Voluntary Action (UK)

  • Kreativni Pogon (Serbia)

  • EPP, S&D (European Parliament)


  • KD Mlejn (Czech Republic)

  • Divadlo Yarmat (Slovakia)

  • Basedonart Gallery (Germany)

  • Kult X/Cinema (Germany)

  • Transitory Museum/Zeitgarten (Switzerland)

  • Donostia Kultura (Basque Country)

  • IKULT (Austria)

  • Netzwerk Bilderungsberatung Salzburg (Austria)

  • University of Hildesheim (Germany)

  • Galway 2020

  • Museumsverein Klostertal (Austria)

  • Derveron Projects (Scotland)

  • Tampere Region ECOC 2026 Candidate Office (Finland)

  • EURAC Research (Italy)

  • Zavod Muzikator (Slovenia)

  • O'Babeltut (France)

  • Broumov Monastery Educational and Cultural Centre (Czech Republic)

  • Ibero-American Foundation for Cultural and Creative Industries - FIBICC (Spain)

  • The Ukrainian Cultural Foundation (Ukraine)

  • Cēsis Cultural Centre (Latvia)

  • Teatr Na Walizkach theatre & cultural centre (Poland)

  • Cultural centre "Nikola Djurkovic" Kotor (Montenegro)

  • Centrala Space (UK)

  • Centre for Culture and Civic Initiatives in Podkowa Leśna (Poland)

  • Spazju Kreattiv (Malta)

  • Lavanderia a Vapore - centre for dance residencies (Italy)

  • Stiftung Neue Musik-Impulse Schleswig-Holstein (Germany)

  • Network of the Regional Cultural Centres of Luxembourg (Luxembourg)

  • Foundation czAR(T) Krzywogońca (Poland) 

  • Cultural centre Cerknica (Notranjska regional park) (Slovenia)

  • Culture Centre of the village of Ouled Youssef (Morocco)

  • Bitamine Faktoria (Spain)

Experts and practitioners with relevant experience, needs, challenges or questions to share with the group and with policymakers are welcome to join. To find out how to participate, please contact the working group coordinator, Piotr Michałowski. You find his contact details here.