"Shortcut Europe" are meetings that provide platforms for experts, cultural professionals, artists and amateurs from all over Europe to meet, exchange their experiences and identify ways to enhance culture as the fourth pillar for sustainable development (by implementing the EU Agenda for Culture that advocates and enhances the role of culture in local community).
- Strengthen cultural centres as local focal points for culture development;
- Promote intercultural dialogue and partnership;
- Accelerate experience exchanges between professional culture workers;
- Articulate interests and strengthen the role of cultural centres at the European level;
- Imagine innovative functioning models for cultural centres and their networks;
- Stimulate development of new cultural organisations in the regions where such organisations do not exist.
Since 1996, the European Network of Cultural Centres has organised the meetings under the label "Shortcut Europe".
The first Shortcut Europe conference took place in 1996 in Copenhagen, European Capital of Culture. It was organised by Kulturhusene i Denmark in cooperation with Copenhagen cultural centres. The conference lead to the creation of the label "Shortcut Europe" and the organisation of such conferences as a part of the official European Capital of Culture events.
Further conferences were held in Weimar, Germany in 1999, and in Brussels, Belgium in 2000. After a few years of reorganisation without financial support from the EU, the European Network of Cultural Centres relaunched "Shortcut Europe" with a conference in Berlin in 2006. The conference was dedicated to cultural differences on local, regional and European levels. A year later in Copenhagen, Denmark, we discussed the European cultural centres from the perspective of social and cultural development. In 2008 "Shortcut Europe" in Pecs, Hungary, tackled the topic "Cultural Vitality - Mapping Europe", dedicated to cultural policies, relations between politics and culture and the civil society. The meeting in 2010 in Dortmund, Germany was focused on cultural policies and social exclusion. The meeting in Warsaw, Poland, in 2011 continued the discussions by questioning the phrase "Culture (Not) For All?" In 2012, in Zagreb, Croatia, local professionals, experts and organisations explored the "Place of Culture, the Culture of a Place". In 2013 "Shortcut Europe“ was held in Murcia on the theme "Cultural Centres and their Neighbourhoods”. In 2016 "Shortcut Europe" went west to Manchester-Bury, United Kingdom, and explored the theme "Cities and Territorial Challenges: the Role of Cultural Centres in Resilience and Development Dynamics".