The ENCC is deeply anchored within European societies, reaching audiences and territories that are often underrepresented, including in rural and remote areas, villages, small towns, 'invisible cities' and peripheries. Since many years, it has been working to define and highlight the role cultural centres can play in territorial development, political participation and social innovation.
A little history
'Rural' versus 'urban' - it sounds so simple, but it is so complex to define. Since 2016, the ENCC has organised two conferences (in Olesnica in 2016 and in Hildesheim in 2017) focused on culture in territories and non-urban areas. Outcomes from this ongoing work include the ENCC Crowd-Sourced Manifesto for Shared, Smart, Innovative Territories and the book Vital Village, coordinated by the University of Hildesheim.
The ENCC Working Group
Our Working Group on Territorial Development and Culture in Non-Urban Areas 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.
Recent and past participants' organisations include:
- Netzwerk Kultur Heimat (Germany)
- IG Kultur Osterreich (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)
- 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 Michalowski.
Actions and Recommendations
In 2019-2020, the ENCC working group joined forces with networks Culture Action Europe, IETM and Trans Europe Halles for a major advocacy campaign. The goal is to give visibility to culture and arts in non-urban areas, redefine their role, highlight ways to support them, and give a new understanding of rurality and non-urban culture.