The ENCC is deeply anchored within European societies, reaching audiences and territories that are often underrepresented, including in non-urban and small-town environments. Since 2016, it has been working to define and highlight the role cultural centres can play in territorial development, political participation and social innovation.
One of the results was a Crowdsourced Manifesto, Culture for Shared, Smart, Innovative Territories. This set of recommendations and demands, created with the participation of over 100 cultural organisations, mostly from small cities and rural areas, has already been brought to policymakers' attention by the ENCC in the stakeholders preparation for the New European Agenda for Culture.
Since 2019, the working group has joined forces with networks IETM and CAE to highlight the role of culture and arts in non-urban areas, looking at the practices, needs and demands of organisations from small towns, suburbs and rural and remote areas. Three different steps are planned:
- Create a transnetwork online platform for resources, data and position papers on culture and arts in rural areas and in relationship to territorial development.
- A submeeting of the ENCC Working Group in the context of CAE Beyond the Obvious (BtO) meeting Culture Crops: Cultural Practices in Non-Urban Territories, in October 2019.
- Expand the Working Group to interested participants and explore the possibility of a cooperation project on data-gathering.
- Make strong points to policy-makers on development strategies in rural areas and small towns, and synergies with cultural development in urban areas. This will happen during a meeting organised by the ENCC with policy-makers in February 2020. It will also be an opportunity to propose next steps for the ENCC Working Group and for transnetwork collaboration.
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The ENCC Working Group on Cultural Centres and Territorial Development is coordinated by Piotr Michalowski, ENCC Secretary and expert on territorial development and networking.