European Network of Cultural Centres (ENCC)

Looking back, looking forward

How did the local networks of cultural organisations react to the changes our societies experienced during and beyond the pandemic?

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After the in-depth guide to local cultural networks published by the ENCC in spring 2021, here is a follow-up by author Raluca Iacob, who re-interviewed case studies from the original guide (and a few others) to find out how the pandemic transformed their work, outlook and processes and compared their experiences with the findings of recent European-level policy papers and reports such as the Porto Santo Charter, the IDEA Consult Research for CULT Committee, or the DISCE Policy Brief on Managing Creative Economies as Cultural Eco-Systems.

The article describes how local and regional networks have responded to the precarity and the fragility of large swathes of the cultural sector, often filling the void in terms of representation and advocacy. It also looks at the strong potential for networks to contribute to a much-needed change in public culture, orienting cultural policy and practice towards participation, solidarity, sustainability, and care. While the previous guide discussed how local networks can transform the work of cultural organisations, this article asks how they interact with the current landscape of our societies.