Call for Applications: Tandem Fryslan on open communities in the arts

Tandem is a cultural collaboration programme that strengthens communities and civil society in Europe. Tandem Fryslân has been developed around Leeuwarden-Fryslân 2018 (LF2018), European Capital of Culture. With open community as a central theme, LF2018 focuses on cultural interventions that encourage new approaches to the challenges faced by this rural region of the Netherlands. Tandem Fryslân will facilitate the exchange of similar experiences across wider Europe. The programme stimulates the search for innovative solutions, by building long-term collaborations between cultural actors working in Fryslân and other regions in wider Europe. Deadline for applications is Saturday, 30 September 2017.

The challenges that Frisian communities face are similar to questions that many regions are trying to tackle across Europe at the moment. The programme of LF2018 is focused on cultural interventions that can encourage new approaches to these challenges, including exchanging ideas and experiences from around Europe. Tandem Fryslân brings together key cultural actors from various European regions in a learning, collaboration and networking programme.

Tandem believes that the burning cultural and social questions of our times can be addressed much more creatively and effectively through inspiring learning experiences that are provided by collaborating with new organisations and across other realities and localities. The vision is to seek strong networks of creative communities and cultural change-makers emerge from this programme and to support the impact they make on their communities and regions.

Do you want to engage internationally to grow your work, in collaboration with peers who face similar issues in their home regions? Do you work on cultural ideas and projects that tackle community challenges in your region? Then Tandem encourages you to apply. The main criteria is that you are part of a team and have roots in your community. Nonetheless, you should be strongly interested in designing new formats of cultural-social work that engages regional communities in re- shaping their current and future realities. You should be motivated to explore unconventional ways of working together with a partner from another region who you don’t know yet. You should be committed to identifying and pursuing new ideas for cultural work that address burning societal issues, both in your regional community and across Europe.

How does it work?

Starting from the shared vision and objectives of LF2018 and Tandem, this special edition of Tandem will bring together cultural-social initiators from Fryslân and other regions of Europe. During one year (November 2017–October 2018) they will engage in a peer-to-peer learning process that will kick-start long-term collaboration ‘in tandem’ with each other. Together they design and test new ideas by realising a pilot project for their own local communities.

Tandem offers the space to develop real and meaningful visions by prototyping project ideas and building on new cross-border working relationships. It establishes peer-to-peer contacts that are based on mutual societal concerns or cultural and artistic interests. They join a growing community of cultural-social innovators who are deeply engaged in shaping a common European future, both transnationally and from the bottom-up.

Up to 24 applicants (12 from Fryslân and 12 from other European regions) will be invited to the Tandem Fryslân Partner Forum from 20-24 November 2017. Participants will find many networking opportunities on a pan-European scale and – most importantly – their potential Tandem Partner. Once the partnerships are formed, each “tandem” will apply for the full programme with a specific collaboration plan and idea. Seven tandems will be selected.

Who is it for?

Tandem is looking for project initiators working for civil society organisations, public institutions, non-profit initiatives or social enterprises that:

  • work on pioneering cultural ideas that tackle regional community challenges
  • explore unconventional ways of working that show potential for real social impact (on a local, regional and European level)
  • are highly motivated to extend their cultural work to new working areas which contribute to social and alternative economic innovation processes all over Europe
  • develop creative solutions for a sustainable socio-economic development of their communities, cities, villages or regions that are based on local citizens’ needs
  • design new cultural formats for engaging citizens in re-shaping social and economic realities of the region they live in
  • are ambitious to engage in strategic and lasting cooperation across national borders
  • are socially committed, empathetic, highly motivated, dynamic, open-minded personalities
  • can rely on working structures that show sufficient financial and organisational capacity, are flexible and adaptive, socially responsible and respected in their field
  • are early-to-mid career staff members with some decision-making responsibilities and/or senior professionals who are strategically involved with the core mission of their organisation
  • are eager to experiment, ready for structural change, seize new opportunities, have an entrepreneurial spirit and the courage to take risks and fail forward
  • have sufficient skills, experience and resources to engage in an intense international learning and reflection process that requires a minimum time investment of 10 working weeks throughout a one-year process
  • are based in one of the 28 EU member states*, or in Albania, Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Egypt, Iceland, Israel, Jordan, Kosovo, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Macedonia (FYROM), Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Norway, Palestine, San Marino, Serbia, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey or Ukraine and are fluent in English

Programme outline

In addition to becoming part of the broad international network of the “Tandem family”, each participant and their tandem will benefit from a placement opportunity in the region where their partner is based. They will also benefit from financial and mentoring support to prototype their idea and establish a mutually beneficial partnership.

During the year, selected participants will realise an eight-day work placement at their new Tandem partner organisation. During their work visit, Tandem participants will become directly involved with their partners’ organisational working environment and get hands-on insights into local socio-economic and cultural realities. Spending two mutual placement weeks together on site will provide participants with the necessary shared working time for co-designing, testing and realising their pilot collaboration initiatives.

Each tandem will receive modest start-up funding (€4,500) for bringing their cultural innovation idea to life. Outcomes will be showcased locally during the LF2018 events.

Project initiators of all 14 participating organisations will attend three Tandem group meetings at the beginning, in the middle and at the end of the process. These meetings allow for a mutual exchange of Tandem collaboration experiences with all other programme participants. All meetings will feature peer-to-peer group learning sessions among participants but also workshops with cultural and community experts. The programme team will accompany and mentor all seven Tandem collaborations from inception to completion.

Frequent group meetings will also add to a growing network of colleagues across all European locations involved. After the programme ends, participating organisations will therefore be able to build on viable European relations and new knowledge exchange contracts for scaling-up their Tandem pilot ideas towards a broader impact. At the same time, participants join the growing Tandem network connecting them to cultural change-makers in the European neighbourhood.

Selection Process

The deadline for submitting applications to participate in the Tandem Fryslân Partner Forum is Saturday, 30 September 2017. Successful candidates will be informed by mid-October 2017.

At the Partner Forum in November, the Tandem team will guide all 24 participants through an interactive mix of informal matchmaking and presentation sessions. All candidates will have sufficient time to identify and get to know their potential Tandem Fryslân partner before they actually form pairs and start drafting a concrete proposal for their collaboration plans and pilot initiative. For the first three days, the applicant joins the Partner Forum individually; for the last two days, they will be joined by a colleague to test the new-found partnership and work on the Tandem application together.

Shortly after the Partner Forum, up to 12 new tandems will submit their written proposals for assessment. The second selection process will be carried out by an external programme jury, which will choose the seven most promising Tandem proposals for participation in the main programme phase.

Selection of Tandem candidates to the Partner Forum is based on the quality of their individual applications. The programme team and partner representatives will pre-select up to 24 project initiators; 12 from/working in Fryslân and 12 from across Europe. These organisations and initiatives will represent a balanced mix of working fields, professional backgrounds, strategic interests, original ideas and the regional socio-economic challenges. We will invite those applicants who best fulfil the criteria listed above, as well as making sure we have a balanced mix of participating organisations at the forum.

Tandem Fryslân is co-developed by Leeuwarden-Fryslân 2018, European Cultural Foundation and MitOst, supported by Fonds voor Cultuurparticipatie and Rijeka European Capital of Culture 2020, implemented together with Keunstwurk

More information, a time table and the application form can be found on the Tandem website:

Management Topic: Miscellaneous
Cultural Area: General
Submitted by editor-in-chief on Sep 13, 2017