European Network of Cultural Centres (ENCC)

Local networks: a guide to reimagining the work of cultural organisations

Drawings of a web-like network
How can cultural organisation struggling for resources, time and energy join forces with other similar organisations?

How can policymakers create conditions to support this type of cooperation at the local level? What about the crazy way many small cultural organisations seem to operate? Is it creative chaos, dysfunction, or something else altogether?

Download the publication as a PDF

With this new, in-depth publication, we hope to bring new insights and ways of thinking to the conversation about local cultural and socio-cultural work, including pointers for rethinking our work in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis.

A few key points:

  • What do we mean by socially connected culture? 

  • What are the 3 most common ways of talking about local networks?

  • How do we define local networks (hints: 'organised anarchy' and 'meta-organisations')?

  • What are the limits of building a local network just for pragmatic reasons (audience development/pooling resources)?

  • What are the triggers of change for local networks (hints: institutionalisation is one)?

Written by Raluca Iacob as part of the ENCC Hubs to Nodes research project (2018-2021), the guide offers tools for thinking rather than step-by-step advice. It scrutinises the way cultural organisations work and opens perspectives that are anchored in research and existing theory rather than in common wisdom and hopeful thinking. 

The publication also offers a treasure box of case studies of local cultural networks across Europe, from ENCC membership and beyond.

About the author

Raluca Iacob is a cultural manager and a public policy specialist. She is the president of the MetruCub Association, in Bucharest, Romania. Since 2007 she has been involved in advocacy for good governance, participative policy-making, and cultural planning at local and national levels. She has also researched the misuse of European funds, the evolution of the independent cultural sector, and local public administration’s competencies in culture, and has developed communities of practice integrating the arts in education.
Read more about Raluca here.

This publication is a result of the research project, From Hubs to Nodes, carried out in the framework of the ENCC Next Generation project (2018-2021).

Coordination & editing: Lucie Perineau & Sara Turra

Proofreading: Ryan Brinkey

Graphic design: Marine Domec & Lucie Perineau

Illustration: Marine Domec (except p.58 Lucie Perineau