A programme for young cultural operators
Lights On is a funded staff exchange and training programme for young professionals under 35, working in cultural centres and other cultural organisations in Europe. The ENCC has been running this type of programme since 2008. It offers participants an international work experience and a European perspective and helps them acquire new competencies and skills that are crucial for their work with their audiences and the broader community.
Reasons to participate
- To learn from your peers and share experiences at an international level
- To acquire new skills and competencies that are useful for your professional development and for your organisation
- To introduce new ideas, knowledge and collaborations into your work upon your return from the programme
- To get experience living and working in other countries and cultures
- To spend time reflecting on your current professional situation, competencies, needs, and future career
- To get an ‘outside eye’ on your work and organisation when you host your own exchange
- To create partnerships and cooperation with cultural centres from different countries and work towards international solidarity and empowerment in the cultural field
How the programme works
Lights On is a capacity-building and process-oriented programme that unfolds over about 8 months. During this period, you should plan to be absent from work for about 12 days. The programme is largely funded by the ENCC. Your organisation covers only subsistence costs for the staff exchanges and if it is not a member of the ENCC, your travel costs to the launching seminar.
A 5-day launching seminar, held in a different European city each year, is your first opportunity to meet with all the Lights On fellows and mentors. The seminar focuses on cultural management, professional self-development and soft skills, through a mix of training, workshops, coaching, peer-to-peer learning, and study visits to local networks and organisations.
During the months following the seminar, you will travel to another participant’s organisation for at least 7 days, and host a participant in your organisation for the same amount of time.
From the moment of being selected to participate in the Lights On programme, up to project evaluation (about 8 months later), you will be supported and mentored by your programme trainers and the ENCC office. This makes Lights On a self-designable process, in which you can choose to pursue certain learning paths or research areas over a longer period of time, according to your needs and time capacity.
At the end of the Lights On programme, we'll ask you to make a small report on your experience. This is an important moment for you to give the ENCC feedback, but also to evaluate the impact of the programme on your organisation, and get your co-workers involved in new perspectives and projects.
FAQ about the programme
> Does Lights On replace your former BECC programme?
Lights On is the new name for BECC (Bridge between European Cultural Centres). The former name reflected the initial objectives of the programme like building cooperation between European cultural centres and exchanging good practices. Since 2015 the programme has evolved into a training programme for cultural operators that aims to professionalise staff and help them develop their individual career paths. It has also opened up to other cultural organizations than just cultural centres.
> Is Lights On fully funded?
The ENCC funds most of the programme, making Lights On one of the most generously funded training programmes for cultural operators in Europe. Participants' organisations only need to cover subsistence costs for the exchange (food, accommodation, pocket money). If they are not ENCC members, they also need to cover travel to and from the launching seminar. We invite participants to make a sustainable and environmentally-friendly choice when deciding how to reach their destination.
> How long do the Lights On programme last? How long will I need to be away from work?
The Lights On programme includes 5 compulsory activities:
- The online preparatory meeting
- The kick-off seminar lasts 5 days including travel.
- The staff exchange is a minimum of 7 days including travel.
- You'll need at least 2 hours to write your final report and ca 4h to prepare before the launching seminar.
So all in all, plan to be away from your mother organisation for about 12 days.
Keep in mind, though, that Lights On is a self-designable process. Participants can choose to pursue certain learning paths or research areas over a longer period of time, according to their needs and time capacity. The Lights On trainers and the ENCC staff will be available to support them.
> What's in it for me?
Beyond the core training, based on cultural management, soft skills and professional self-development (with a strong focus this year on working with very diverse communities and finding a perfect management model for your organisation to do so), one of Lights On specificities is bringing together many diverse profiles. Training with cultural managers, communication officers, programmers, youth workers and others will give you a different perspective on your daily work. And beyond the obvious benefit of making professional contacts, many participants forge friendships that last well after the programme.
You'll come out of the training and exchange with fresh ideas, new perspectives, new contacts for cooperation and new ideas for programmes. The hosting part of the staff exchange can also be very interesting for your mother organisation, as it will benefit from an "outside eye" on its activities.
By joining the Lights On learning community, you'll have access to the Lights On resource base dedicated to cultural management. You'll also be able to join the Lights On Fellow Facebook page, dedicated to learning and exchange.
And you will be regularly informed of and invited to future activities organised by the ENCC. Your organisation may even become a future host for a Lights On seminar.
> My organisation is not an ENCC member, may I apply anyway? Are the terms of participation the same as for ENCC members?
Yes, you may apply. Terms of participation are similar to those for members, except that your organisation will have to cover the cost of your travel to and from the launching seminar. See the question below about the costs of the programme.
> My organisation is an associate member of the ENCC, are the terms the same as for members?
> My organisation is a member of a regional or national network that is a member of the ENCC, may I apply as a member?
> Does the participant receive written proof at the end of the program, e.g. a certificate confirming the acquired skills?
Yes. After fulfilling all the conditions of participation in the program, the participant receives an ENCC Lights On Certificate confirming participation in the program and the acquisition of particular competencies.
> I do not work in a cultural centre but another cultural organisation. May I apply anyway?
Yes. In the selection process, we'll be especially attentive to applications from cultural centres' staff, but we want to hear from all motivated candidates. The goal is to select the most diverse and balanced pool of participants possible.
> I am not living/working in a EU member state, or I am not a EU member state citizen, is that OK?
You may apply no matter what your nationality is. To be funded, participants need to work for organizations based in Europe, in a country eligible for Creative Europe funding. Participants from organisations based in Europe but not eligible for Creative Europe Funding are welcome to apply, however if selected their organisation will be responsible for all costs related the programme.
If you're hesitating to apply because of this question, drop a line to email@example.com.
> Will the Lights On programme cover all the costs of my exchange?
For participants working in ENCC member organisations, the ENCC covers the costs of travel (up to 250€ per trip both ways), accommodation, meals and training for the launching seminar and the cost of travel to your exchange (up to 250€ both ways). ENCC does not cover subsistence costs during the exchange (accommodation, meals and any other related costs).
For participants working in non-member organisations, the ENCC covers accommodation, meals and training for the launching seminar and the cost of travel related to your exchange (up to 250€ both ways). ENCC does not cover subsistence costs during the exchange (accommodation, meals and any other related costs) nor travel expenses to and from the launching seminar.
> Does Lights On accept more than one candidate per organisation?
We accept all applications, but will only select one person per organisation.
> Is Lights On open to people with disabilities?
The ENCC is open to everyone and has experience in organising inclusive meetings. However, as our events take place in different locations, we depend on the limitations of the hosting organisations. We do our best to allow everyone to participate. If you are a candidate with special needs, please inform the ENCC well in advance about the conditions that need to be fulfilled, so that we can check to what extent we can support your needs.
The ENCC cannot provide any support for special needs during the exchange. This must be agreed on and organised between sending and hosting organisations.
> Is Lights On open to a parent with a child participating in the Seminar?
Yes. ENCC events tend to be family-friendly. When possible, the ENCC tries to provide support in organising daycare for children. If the ENCC cannot provide daycare, parents must take responsibility for organising it during the training. Please bear in mind that the Lights On training involves a small group of people and is a very intensive process, so it is not possible to invite children to the training. They are welcome to join all meals and free time slots.
In order to prepare for the meeting, the ENCC must be informed well in advance if a participant plans to bring their child along.
> How many hours does the Seminar take per day? Will I have time to work remotely for my home organisation?
The seminar has a very full programme, so we advise you to organise your tasks in a way that you have free space to focus only on the training. We start every day at 9:00 and finish at 17:00-18:00, followed by a dinner with the whole group and sometimes an additional cultural programme. The seminar is an intensive learning process and an opportunity to connect with others, so we ask participants to be present at all the meals.
> Will I have time for sightseeing?
Sightseeing is not part of the training, so please plan it before or after the Seminar. We will however organise study visits to interesting local organisations.
> Why are Lights On limited to people under 35 years old? I am over 35 but have recently changed my career path and am still a junior professional. May I apply?
Lights On is the only ENCC capacity programme dedicated to younger professionals, hence the age limitation. For professionals over 35, we offer other activities like Incubator or European Cooperation Fairs.