European Network of Cultural Centres (ENCC)

FULCRUM: skills development for future-proof socio-cultural centres

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Orange Square
FULCRUM is a three-year Erasmus+ project aimed at unlocking the skills of socio-cultural workers and their organisations.

Visit the project's web page

We are delighted to announce the launch of FULCRUM, a three-year Erasmus+ project aimed at unlocking the skills and potential of socio-cultural workers and their organisations in the fields of community-building and environmental sustainability.

The Covid-19 pandemic has profoundly changed the way socio-cultural centres work and pushed them to reinvent their practices, as a complete return to normal never happened and relationships with communities and audiences seem to have changed permanently. At the same time, the global environmental crisis is forcing a rapid and radical shift to more sustainable ways of working and operating.

Many of the challenges European socio-cultural centres face are not new and predate the pandemic, but the need to transform cultural work in a more humanely, economically, socially and ecologically sustainable way has been enormously accelerated by this poly-crisis situation. Most organisations in the sector acknowledge the need for a change, but this tends to remain at a theoretical level, due to the general lack of vision and skills on how to transform knowledge into concrete and feasible steps.

Facing similar challenges, the FULCRUM project partners (all national networks of socio-cultural centres) aim to find together the right approach to make community-led cultural centres future-proof and future-oriented. Building on the actions already carried out by the single partners, this ambition can only be achieved by cooperating, exchanging experiences and expertise and co-developing future-oriented training paths.

Why "FULCRUM"?

A fulcrum is something that plays a central or essential role in an activity, event or situation. In other words, it is the main element necessary to support something or make it work or happen. Similarly, this project aims to provide capacity for action, to act as a lever allowing the socio-cultural sector to transform and develop.

What is FULCRUM about?

FULCRUM will provide two free and co-created training programmes designed for the volunteers and workers of the socio-cultural sector. The trainings will tackle the most relevant current challenges in the fields of community-building, audience development and environmental sustainability.

In parallel to the trainings, three online brainstorms gathering socio-cultural workers from all over Europe will offer a space to exchange, imagine the cultural centre of the future, and start working towards it together. We called this collective journey Visions for the Future.

The journey will culminate in a final international conference in Brussels, which will serve to amplify and consolidate the impact of the project's results.

Who does the project address?

FULCRUM was designed to empower and connect the workers of socio-cultural centres across Europe. If you work or volunteer in a centre which is part of one of the FULCRUM networks (see list below), we invite you to take part in the journey. Check if there are any open calls below or visit the project's dedicated web page.

Project partners

FULCRUM was entirely conceived within the ENCC community, under the lead of our Belgian member cult! vzw. Other partners are IG Kultur Österreich (Austria), Association des Centres Culturels de la Communauté française de Belgique (Belgium), Eesti Rahvamajade Ühing (Estonia), Bundesverband Soziokultur (Germany), DireFareBaciare (Italy), Latvijas Kultūras Darbinieku Biedrība (Latvia), and Arci Nazionale as an associate partner.

To reach out to us, write to fulcrum@encc.eu.

Transport is one of the economic sectors with the most significant impact on the environment.

For cultural organisations as well, travel and mobility account for a growing share of the overall emissions harmful to the environment and to human health, not just in terms of CO2 emissions that cause climate change.

As cultural networks that place environmental sustainability at the core of their priorities and values, and coherently with the goals of FULCRUM, we feel the neednecessity to adopt a travel policy that enables us to reduce the negative environmental impacts of all mobility choices involved in our activities to the minimum.

Travel hierarchy

While the exact amount of emissions of different pollutants caused by a km travelled using a category of means of transport (trains, air-planes, cars…) can vary according to the methodology used to assess them and the specific technology taken into consideration, and, in order to calculate the emissions caused by a single trip should be measured according to the specific vehicle used (what type of aircraft? What model of car?), there is a general consensus on the hierarchy of mobility choices to be made in order to reduce impacts, from the less to the most harmful:

1) Avoid unnecessary trips: it is quite obvious that a trip that does not take place causes no emissions at all. The FULCRUM consortium commits to seriously evaluate whether a meeting is really useful, and to substitute physical meetings with online meetings whenever this doesn’t critically compromise the outcomes of the activity.

2) Walking and cycling: active transport only needs human energy provided by the food we eat. At the local level, we will prioritise, incentivise and facilitate walking and cycling.

3) Rail transport: trains (and, at local level, tramways and metro lines) have the lower impact, especially if powered by electricity (trains with diesel engines used in some countries have a higher impact than electric trains but still lower than cars and planes). Trains will be the preferred means of transport for national or international travel whenever feasible.

4) Other public collective means of land transport such as buses. Bus travel will be prioritised whenever train travel is not a feasible option.

5) Private cars and taxis: many cars are needed to transport the same number of people that could travel on a bus, therefore the per capita emissions are much higher. Public transport will always be prioritised; when no public transport options are available, we will do our best to promote carpooling.

6) Flight is the choice that implies the highest consumption of resources and the highest emissions of carbon dioxide. Flight will be allowed only when other options are too demanding in terms of time, according to specific rules set out below. When flying, we will prioritise direct flights, as a single direct flight implies lower emissions than connection flights.

6) Environmental compensation. Compensating emissions is not a substitute for a serious travel policy. Every effort should be made in order to avoid or reduce emissions, and compensation should only be considered as a last resort to offset emissions that could not be avoided. Causing emissions and then compensating them is always more harmful than avoiding them in the first place. Moreover, while it is possible to calculate carbon emissions and take measure that sequestrate an equivalent quantitative, it is not possible to really compensate the damages caused to human health and the ecosystem’s health by other harmful pollutants emitted by internal combustion engines, by electric energy production, by the production and maintenance of engines, vehicles, and mobility infrastructures. However, there is still the possibility to generate positive environmental impact through environmental compensation measures, and as cultural organisations we are aware of our power to inspire our public by providing positive examples; therefore, while putting all our effort in reducing emissions, we will also do our best to compensate them by funding or directly implementing actions with a positive environmental impact.

Travel guidelines

We have set the following guidelines for travel reimbursement, in order to ensure that sustainable means of transport are chosen whenever reasonable; of course, if travelling by land from your location to the project venues is extremely long, flights will be reimbursed as well. Please contact your network of reference for travel arrangements before booking your tickets, in order to make sure that you are complying with our travel rules and to verify the maximum costs that will be reimbursed.

- If there is an option to reach the destination by train with a total duration of the trip under 6 hours, and whenever it doesn’t require an extra night, only train travel costs will be reimbursed (i.e., a training starts or finishes at midday; if there is a train option that allows you to reach your destination in the same day, only train travel costs will be reimbursed; if the first and last days of training are full days and participants are going to travel the day before/after, and the train allows them to leave and arrive in the same day, only train travel costs will be reimbursed).

- If the train travel requires one night stopover or to travel by night, and participants are still willing to choose the train, we will do our best to reimburse the additional accommodation costs, or accommodation options on a night train (i.e., sleepers, couchette).

- Whenever train options do not fulfil the above conditions, but travelling by bus does, we will reimburse bus travel costs, but not flight travel costs.

- If neither buses or trains satisfy the above conditions, we will reimburse direct flight costs; if there is no direct flight option, we will reimburse train or bus tickets to the nearest airport that allows direct flight. If the combination of train or bus + direct flight takes more than 4 hours longer than a flight connection, we will reimburse connection flights.

Need assistance applying to the FULCRUM training programmes? We are here to help. Contact us directly based on the network you belong to:


IG Kultur Österreich (Austria)
Yvonne Gimpel, gimpel@igkultur.at 
Tel.: +43 650 503 71 20 

cult! netwerk cultuurhuizen (Belgium)
Leen Vanderschueren, leen@cult.be
Fien Bracke, fien@cult.be
Tel.: +32 479 94 10 78

Association des Centres culturels de la Communauté française de Belgique (Belgium)
Céline D’Ambrosio, celine.dambrosio@centres-culturels.be
Tel.: +32 2 2230998

Eesti Rahvamajade Uhing (Estonia)
Sandra Nikitin, sandra.nikitin@gmaill.com
Tel.: +372 55643882

Bundesverband Soziokultur e.V. (Germany)
Franziska Mohaupt, franziska.mohaupt@soziokultur.de
Tel.: +49 30 23 59 305 17

Dire Fare Baciare (Turin)
Vittorio Bianco, vittorio.bianco@cecchipoint.it 

Arci Nazionale (Italy)
Lorenzo Siviero, lorenzosiviero@arciovest.it

Latvijas Kulturas darbinieku biedriba (Latvia)
Dita Pfeifere, dita.pfeifere@gmail.com 
Tel.:+371 67043668

European Network of Cultural Centres (EU)
Ingrid Danckaerts, ingrid.danckaerts@encc.eu