European Network of Cultural Centres (ENCC)

Make Space for the Future: our 2022 annual conference

Turin, Italy
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Our 2022 annual conference was the first live gathering of the whole network since the beginning of the pandemic.

In Turin, we’ll make space to talk and think about how to respond to the climate crisis and build a “new normal” based on sustainability as a common starting point. We’ll think about how to do the same thing with our communities, both inside our centres and in other public spaces. How to create common practices around public space? How to dedicate this space to debate, participation, reappropriation by the community, and cooperative action? How to activate it, create systematic change, and move toward sustainability?

Participants will get the perspectives of other cultural operators and practitioners across Europe about sustainability and mitigating climate change through participation and community building. They will get a space to disconnect from daily work, reflect, share, and ask questions, and come away with contacts, ideas, practices, and inspiration. And on the last day, they will be able to join a session dedicated to European funding for culture, as to further shape new possible joint actions.

Monday 13 June 

9.00 - 10.00: Registration and Welcome 

10.00 - 10.30: OPENING SPEECH 

10.30 - 12.00: Panel discussion on revitalisation and activation of public spaces and the catalyst role of cultural centres, moderated by Piotr Michałowski (ENCC co-chair and Coordinator of ENCC WG for Territorial Development), with: 

  • Leandro Pisano - curator, writer and new media producer, 

  • Irina Suteu - Non Riservato 

  • Mello Weijs - European Cultural Foundation 

  • Lorenzo Ricca - Radio Banda Larga

Key Topics: 

→ Community and territorial development through culture: focus on local collective actions and spaces that contribute to shaping a territory, and create new forms of coexistence and civism.

→ Togetherness & (post) COVID 

→ culture (and sustainability) as starting points to re-appropriate public spaces and as a transformative force of community regeneration

→ a critical look at urban regeneration, the role of culture

→ systemic approach to break silo mentality and norms of practises facing current crises (climate, economic inequality, political legitimacy, covid pandemic) 

12.30 - 14.00: Networking and light lunch

14.30 - 17.00: tour different grassroots initiatives on culture, regeneration and sustainability combined with group discussions (detailed info available soon).

17.30 - 18.30: Workshops on urban and rural integration, cohesion and regeneration by OFFTOPIC Torino.

Tuesday 14 June 

9.00 - 9.30: Registration and welcome

9.30 - 10.15: Inspirational call to action - The great urgency. Cultural centres for climate education, awareness and empowerment. By Bridget Mckenzie, Climate Museum / Culture Declares Emergency. Watch here.

10.15 - 12.15: Panel discussion: intersections between culture, community and sustainability. Moderated by Théo Majcher, AlterEGo-X, with:

  • Vittorio Bianco - Cecchi Point


  • Mari Gaud - Le Laba / Slowfest Low Carbon events 

  • Maria Lodovica Gullino - University of Torino / WeTree 

  • Ben Twist - Creative Carbon Scotland 

Key Topics: 

→ How to build a “new normal” based on sustainability as a common starting point?

→ How to respond to the climate crisis as cultural organisations

→ How can Cultural Centres and public spaces be catalysts for sustainable local development? How can they inspire positive action?

→ How can we advance cross-sectoral links between culture, arts and green practice to mitigate climate change and design a more sustainable planet?

→ How can we build on path-breaking initiatives to encourage bolder efforts and recommend strategic approaches for taking innovative grassroots initiatives to scale for greater, faster, longer-term impact? 

12.30 - 14.00: Networking and light lunch

14.00 - 15.00: UP Grants Award Ceremony 

15.00 - 16.30: World Cafe / OFFICINE:

Discussion with winners of microgrants and division into 4 tables on:

  • Sustainability of culture / reducing our footprint 

  • Culture of sustainability / how to increase our handprint

16.30 - 17.00: Key findings from the 4 tables


17.30 - 19.00: Workshops:

  • A sustainability codex for the sociocultural field in Germany, by Franziska Mohaupt & Jennifer Tharr - BUNDESVERBAND SOZIOKULTUR

  • Experiment a new self-assessment tools for sustainable events, by Maud Gari - LE LABA / Slowfest

  • Youth as a critical element for local development, by Thibault Janmart and Virginie Cordier - La Venerie

  • PsychoGeography maps, by VTC Margarita's Arts Department 

  • MMM platform: an innovative tool to highlight and facilitate the understanding of migrant and refugee artists, by Lou Pohin & Pierre Vechaudez, Le LABA & ENCC

Wednesday 15 June 

9.00 - 9.30: Welcome and opening

9.30 - 11.30: Crash course on EU Funding for culture & sustainability

9.30 - 11.30: (closed meeting) Meeting between ENCC Board, Staff and National and Regional Networks

11.30 -12.30: practical exercise: joint project design

Closure with hosts of Moving the Network 2023 edition.

Consult the programme of the event, including workshops and study visits, here

Bridget McKenzie is a researcher and creative curator in culture, learning and environment. After 14 years in roles such as Education Officer for Tate and Head of Learning at the British Library, she founded Flow Associates in 2006. In 2019, Bridget founded Climate Museum UK <>, an experimental museum which stirs and collects the emerging response to the Earth crisis. She is an advisor for Culture Unstained <>and co-founder of Culture Declares Emergency <>.  She presents and publishes internationally on the possibilities of Regenerative Culture.

Maud Gari is the General Secretary of LABA, a French organisation specialising in European cultural projects, for which she is also responsible for communication and marketing. She is in particular in charge of the projects around gender issues and sustainability. Before that, she worked for 5 years as General Delegate for FELIN - Fédération Nationale des Labels Indépendants, and created the European cooperation project dedicated to women entrepreneurs in music: MEWEM Europa, carried out by le LABA and 6 European partners. Besides this, Maud is co-founder and volunteer chairperson of Slowfest, an association based in Bordeaux that experiments and produces Low carbon events in the cultural industry.

Ben Twist has been director of Creative Carbon Scotland since 2011, combining over 25 years experience of in producing events and running permanent and temporary venues in the cultural sector with an MSc in Carbon Management and a doctorate in applying complexity theory to social systems to bring about more sustainable social practices. He has developed CCS into a leader in both technical support for cultural organisations in carbon management and climate change adaptation, and developing culture’s influencing role in addressing climate change. He has accordingly been asked to speak about this work to groups from Salzburg Global in Austria via the ArtCOP Professional workshop in Paris to the Glasgow Life Green Team Awards and the Sustainable Scotland Network annual conference. As a theatre director and producer, he was the associate director at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh and artistic director at Manchester’s Contact Theatre. He ‘revisioned’ Contact to prepare it for the 21st century and he led the restructuring of North Edinburgh Arts to bring it out of a financial crisis: both are now thriving organisations. As Chair of the Scottish Arts Council Lottery Committee, he facilitated and supported organisational change with many cultural organisations and led the distribution of over £150m of National Lottery funds, mostly to capital projects. He has directed theatre and music theatre as a freelance across the UK, Europe, North America and New Zealand. He was Chair of Scotland’s leading chamber classical music group Hebrides Ensemble and Vice-Chair of the Theatres Trust and the Edinburgh Sustainable Development Partnership.

Piotr Michałowski has more than 20 years of experience as a researcher, expert on territorial development, cultural consultant and manager. Vice-Chairman of the ENCC Brussels, and Consultant, Project Manager and Expert on Creative Economy and Territorial Development at EUROCONSULTANTS S.A. Thessaloniki. He holds an MA in Cultural Studies (University of Wrocław), MSci in Management (Lower Silesian University for Public Services) and a second MSci in Cultural Diplomacy (Jagiellonian University in Krakow). He is a graduate of the Polish-American Freedom Foundation’s School of Moderators, of the University of Wrocław in Musicology and the Wrocław School of Jazz (as a jazz guitarist). He has trained at the National Centre for Culture in Poland and at Stanford University on International Cultural Management, Local Strategic Development for Cultural Institutions, and Creativity and Innovation. He is a certified leader in the Design Thinking methodology. He has successfully coordinated over 100 projects. He has 20 years of experience working for the NGO sector, and 15 years – for the public sector, including as a Cultural Coordinator at the Municipality of ECoC Wrocław 2016. Since 2013 he has run his own CI called “Micro Art Centre '', involved in cultural consulting, management, artistic productions, and international cooperation. He is affiliated with “Teatr na Walizkach '' Theatre and Culture Centre from Wrocław – a member of the ENCC network.  

Barbara Gessler was born in Belgium (German nationality) she lived and studied in Konstanz, Paris, Buenos Aires and later Bruges. Worked in the European Parliament before joining the European Commission in 1994. Started in the Directorate General's Unit for Audio-visual Policy, and changed to Environment in 1996. From 1998 until 2003, she worked as the representative of the European Commission in Berlin. During her year of personal leave from 2003 to 2004, she advised the umbrella organisation of the German cultural organisation Deutscher Kulturrat on European affairs. Until 2009, she was Head of the Regional Representation of the Commission in Bonn. She returned to Brussels as Head of the Press Unit of the European Economic and Social Committee until mid-2011. Until 2016, she ran the Culture Unit at the Education, Audio-visual and Culture Executive Agency which implements the EU's funding programmes in these areas. Since 2017 she has been responsible for the Creative Europe Culture sub-programme at the Directorate-General Education, Youth, Sport and Culture.

Vittorio Bianco coordinates European projects for Rete delle Case del Quartiere and for several other non-profit organisations. With a major in Natural Sciences, he started his career in Legambiente, the main environmental organisation in Italy, with a focus on urban ecology and sustainable development. He then expanded his field of activity to other aspects of sustainability in the urban context such as social inclusion, culture, health, and solidarity economy. Throughout his career, he has been promoting cooperation between non-profit organisations and private and public bodies participating in bottom-up participatory processes that gave birth to several local networks. Vittorio has been Vice-President of Mirafiori Community Foundation and of the Agency for Local Development of San Salvario, and is currently co-coordinator of Hub Multiculturale Cecchi Point – Casa del Quartiere Aurora. He is also the co-founder and CEO of Bici-t, a start-up offering sustainable mobility services. On an international level, he has experience in European programmes such as European Voluntary Service, Horizon 2020, Life+ and Interreg, and worked in the Sino-Italian Cooperation Programme for Environmental Protection with Venice International University, the Italian Ministry of Environment and several ministries and city administrations of the People's Republic of China.

Irina Suteu Designer, teacher, and Noa’s mum, Irina is in charge of research and development for the Non Riservato network and was part of the board of directors from 2018 to 2021. Her research and practice focus on cultural innovation projects that have as a core mission disciplinary, cultural, and cognitive diversity. She collaborated on research and educational projects with many private and public institutions among which, Fondazione Cariplo, Comune di Milano, Unicredit Pavilion, Fabbrica del Vapore; National Film Board of Canada, Azure Magazine e Festival de Metis. She was a visiting professor at Tsinghua University Graduate School of Design Management at Shenzen, China and Institute Without Boundaries in Toronto, Canada. Since 2014 she has been a senior lecturer in interaction design at Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti (NABA) Milano, Italy.

Théo Majcher graduated from the European Studies Institute of Paris 8 with a Master's degree in Cultural Policies and Management in Europe. He soon focused his research on the issue of European identity in the field of arts and culture and on the role of European cultural networks. In 2017, he collaborated with ENCC (European Network of Cultural Centres) in Brussels and took part in the organisation of the European Conference Record (Rethinking research, rethinking cultural centres) in partnership with Aarhus (Denmark), European Capital of Culture in 2017. 

In 2018, he was invited to speak at the University of Clermont-Ferrand on the topic of European funding for culture. In 2019, Théo Majcher worked with ETC (European Theatre Convention) in Berlin, where he was in charge of Artists in Residency, an international residency programme for emerging artists. He also assisted in the organisation of the International Theatre Conference on the theme of participatory theatre in partnership with the Stadtschauspiel in Dresden (Germany). 

Théo also works as an actor, writer and dramaturg and co-founded the European theatre company ALTER EGO (X) (Annecy, France) that same year. He is in charge of the Laboratory Department (international artistic cooperation, touring abroad, etc.). Since January 2021, he has been working with other international structures to help with the preparation of European applications (Erasmus+, Creative Europe).

Jennifer Tharr represents the Bundesverband Soziokultur (German Association of Socioculture) in the ENCC. She is also the Project Manager of NEUSTART - Programme for Corona-related investment in cultural institutions ( and START – Create Cultural Change (

Giorgio Bacchiega is a lecturer at the Catholic University of Milan. He is also a Director at Milan's Urban Peripheries Research Centre for Consulta Periferie Milano, a network-centric platform formed by 36 cultural, charity, trade, visual and performing arts organisations, cultural centres and local newspapers active in the peripheries of Milan to draw constant attention and find original solutions to the problems of the multifaceted peripheral landscape of Milan in cooperation with academic, political and societal forces. Giorgio is also a member of the Research and documentation team for Amateo, which represents a unique, privileged opportunity for gaining information, debating and finding original solutions to complex social problems through participation.

Maria Lodovica Gullino is a Full Professor in Plant Pathology, Director, of Agroinnova, University of Torino and Immediate Past President of the International Society for Plant Pathology.

Lorenzo Ricca is co-founder of the online radio community RBL.MEDIA and manager of the cultural centre Imbarchino in Torino. He guides the development of cultural and media projects that enable communities to act in a sustainable and impact-oriented way, where music always finds its role.

Menno Weijs is the Programme Manager at the European Cultural Foundation. This independent foundation based in Amsterdam has promoted European solidarity since 1954, by developing and supporting cultural initiatives that let us share, experience and imagine Europe. Menno is responsible for a portfolio of projects and programmes fostering an inclusive European public sphere, including digital infrastructure and the media space.

WORKSHOP 1 - by La Venerie

"Youth as a critical element for local development".

The workshop, organized by Thibault Janmart and Virginie Cordier from La Venerie (Belgium), addresses two main questions of this conference edition, namely:

→ How to build a “new normal” based on sustainability as a common starting point?

→ How to activate public space to create systemic change and transition?

During the first part of the workshop, Thibault and Virginie will focus on examples where youth groups played an essential role in their territory and how they emerged after the crisis. The second part will be an interactive animation to share experiences creatively.

WORKSHOP 2 - by Margarita’s VTC Art Department

Margarita’s VTC Art Department proposes an artistic laboratory where the participants will explore through experiential activities the relationship between the body, the memory, and the public space. The participants will be invited to remember, navigate and create a personal psychogeography route in a common blank art space. Each participant is free to choose materials and techniques of preference that correspond to the senses and emotions to create, in a specific or more abstract way, a new kind of map tailored-made for each personality. The personal and common space meet, finding new ways of coexisting and interacting which benefit the individual but also social practices. The goal is to re-explore the time and space aside from the predefined and rational ways, allowing re-creating a new imaginary space as a personal journal.


"What tools can improve our sustainable events?

Come and try a new self-assessment tool, created in the framework of the European project Future Festival Tools by cultural and environmental organisations ". Le LABA presents the project "Future Festival Tools», supported by Erasmus+ project that gathers 7 seven European partners, amongst which are Julie’s Bicycle in the UK, Green Operations Europe in Germany, Green Events International BV in NL, working together to bring their expertise to create a set of knowledge tools that will transform the European live events sector to be future-ready. Future Festival Tools will enable the new generation of event professionals to create a greener future for the sector. The self-assessment tool for events has been created, based on several existing tools, to understand and assess their impact in 6 key areas:  Energy, Materials, Food, Water, Transport, and Strategy.


WORKSHOP 4 - by Migrants Music Manifesto Project (MMM)

Through music, the Migrants Music Manifesto Project (MMM) aims to dispel prejudices and alert the population to the positive contributions of migrants and refugees in Europe. Lou Pohin from LE LABA and Pierre Vachaudez from the ENCC will present the project and the tools it developed, navigate through the website, and discuss with participants wishing to renew and share their know-how in the promotion of minority cultures. By filling in this form, you can pick and register for the workshop that you would like to attend. 

Our 2022 annual meeting took place in Turin, Italy, on June 13-15, 2022. Despite a daunting heat wave, the event gathered 79 participants from 20 countries (Italy, Finland, Serbia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Greece, Turkey, Denmark, Czech Republic, Malta, Latvia, Belgium, Germany, Austria, France, Estonia, Bulgaria, Spain and UK). It was the first annual meeting after the pandemic, and there was a sense of relief and relishing time together.

The keynote was delivered by Bridget McKenzie from Culture Declares Emergency and Climate Museum UK. She talked about extractive futures vs. regenerative futures and discussed supportive transition, truth-telling through art and education, decolonising and decarbonising culture, culture therapy and care, and much more. Watch a recording of her keynote here, or go to our resource base to get all items from the conference.

“It was the first time we met the ENCC family in person and it was very important and stimulating for us” - Make Space participant

Two panels addressed the interlocking themes of the conference: sustainability and public space in relationship to cultural centres. Gathered speakers were a combination of ENCC members (NON Riservato network (IT), Rete delle Case del Quartiere (IT), Bundesverband Soziokultur e.V. (DE), Le Laba (FR) and experts from the sector and the European level. Highlights from the panels included discussions about awareness and pattern change tools to support a shift in the cultural sector.

Menno Weijs & Lorenzo Ricca presented Mediactivism and the Right to the City projects, involving digital public spaces and Torino as a case study in the Mediactivism project. Leandro Pisano brought a counterpoint in highlighting rights not only to the city but also to non-urban areas, and questioned the “development” paradigm in “territorial development”. Irina Suteu from NON-Riservato brought a critical look at urban regeneration vs participatory processes. Giorgio Bacchiega brought a European perspective from the AMATEO network, connected with work on the peripheries of Milan. The network took stock of emerging paradigms and questions about arts and sustainability to be addressed in future debates. 

I was interested in making new connections, learning and sharing around important topics. The conference even exceeded expectations! - Make Space participant

The UPgrants award ceremony was a moment of emotion and sparkles. Théo Majcher from ENCC member Alter Ego X (FR) announced the winners of our microgrants scheme for innovation and sustainability in cultural centres. Winners had the opportunity to come on stage and briefly present their projects, inviting participants to join the following session, a world cafe brainstorming. There they could further exchange experiences related to the reduction of our footprint and the potential for change through arts and culture. Connections between winners and organisations willing to work on the topic started to develop thanks to this space for sharing, with new synergies to be developed over the summer

Workshops led by ENCC members Le Laba (FR), La Vénerie (BE), and VTC Margarita (GR) offered tools and practices on sustainability and community development by cultural centres. Le Laba presented a new tool, designed in collaboration with 7 international partners, for festivals to self-assess their sustainability.  

"The tour of local cultural centres was very relevant for me, I had the opportunity to meet younger artists and fringe cultural centres on the periphery of Turin." - Make Space participant

Participants braved the heat for a walking visit to local cultural centres in the Barriera di Milano neighborhood: PietraTonale, Vernicefresca, La Scimmia in Tasca, Via Baltea, and Ventunesimo. We were struck/interested by the public space and the demography of the volunteers, with young and senior generations working and creating side by side. 

The last day of the conference was dedicated to a crash course in EU funding led by Mathilde Sallez of La Saline Royale (FR). Mathilde presented best practices and practical tips regarding 3 main funding schemes: Creative Europe, Erasmus +, and Interreg. Based on the rich experience of her organisation, she went deeper into the meaning of cooperation, defining what kinds of projects are supported by the EU and a few common misunderstandings in interpreting EU funding calls. Participants were then split into small groups to imagine a project and create a pitch. Each group pitched their work to the audience and received some first feedback. 

Get all recordings, photos, presentations, websites and tools from the event in our resource base.

Many thanks to Cecchi Point and Vittorio Bianco of Rete delle Case del quartiere for co-organising, to Fondazione Compagnia di San Paolo for sponsoring, to all of our speakers and members who participated in the keynote, panels, and workshops, to the organisations and artists who hosted the inspirational study visits. 

This event is part of the ENCC CUBE 3-year project, co-funded by Creative Europe.