Tandem Community&Participation 2016-17

Tandem is an international exchange programme for cultural managers. Since its inception in 2011, Tandem has supported long-term collaborations, knowledge development and networking opportunities for more than 200 cultural managers from over 100 cities in 30 countries across the wider Europe. There are currently five Tandem editions which focus on different regions and topics. Tandem Community & Participation in its third and final round will run from April 2016 to July 2017.

Tandem Community & Participation (C&P) helps establishing long-term partnerships between cultural organisations working in the field of community arts, voluntary or amateur arts and (non-formal) arts education, with a focus on citizens’ inclusion and active participation in local arts & culture and community life.

The programme allows organisations to explore new trends in the community arts field internationally and enables them to freely develop a collaboration idea of their own choice. In response to developments across Europe, group learning sessions throughout the upcoming Tandem round will also specifically address new social challenges of our intercultural cities. Participants will get an opportunity to reflect what their new Tandem collaboration ideas could contribute to complex urban environments. They will discuss how their Tandem pilot projects could thematically relate to local community issues around migration, cultural diversity, integration and social cohesion.

Tandem believes that the burning cultural and social questions of our times can be addressed much more creatively and effectively through inspiring learning experiences when working with new organisations and across new localities. Our vision is to see strong networks of creative communities and cultural change makers emerge from this programme and to support the community impact they make.

Tandem is primarily a learning and networking programme, therefore the priority is on the construction and sharing of the process which will result in a lasting network of knowledge exchange in cultural participation and community engagement.

Bringing cultural managers from one country into the participating organisation from another country and in each other’s communities supports a process of reflection and innovation which will equip participants with a much needed tailor-made toolkit for dealing with on-going changes and challenges in their societies and work fields.

Merging professional skills of the Tandem partners in a joint transnational project yields new insights and practical approaches. Through Tandem, participating organisations can confidently find their way to and into a complex international scene of cultural collaboration.

The cultural managers selected to be part of the 2016-17 Tandem Community & Participation programme will be engaged in an intensive one-year transnational collaboration process, which includes the realisation of a joint interdisciplinary pilot project that is linked to their cultural expertise and their community.

In short, participation in Tandem C & P means:

  • following an intensive one-year international learning programme through peer to peer relations, inside a larger network
  • making time & space to reflect on function, purposes and methodologies of your projects and structures inside changing societies, both on an individual level and on the level of your organisation
  • developing a small scale learning-by-doing pilot project (note: Tandem is not a grants/funding programme!)

In addition, Tandem offers the opportunity to enlarge your international network inside the Tandem community and beyond.



Tandem C & P is designed to strengthen participants’ skills in the field of cross-cultural collaboration and international project management. Engaging and interacting with a Tandem partner from abroad and experiencing a different approach to cultural participation work, will deliver new transnational practices and methodological insights.


  • For one year, six cultural managers from the Netherlands on one side and six from Germany, Belgium or UK on the other side, form six cross-border collaboration ‘tandems’
  • All participants engage in a 10-day working visit to their partner’s organisation. Next to experiencing a new cultural environment, this placement includes the planning and implementation of an artistic or cultural community pilot project
  • In addition to these exchange visits, the entire group meets four times to share their experience and knowledge of cutting edge practices in cultural participation and community arts, as well as discuss challenges and opportunities around the topic of intercultural cities, migration and diversity
  • Throughout the process, participants receive know-how support on transnational collaboration from the programme organisers as well as start-up funding for their joint pilot project


The programme addresses cultural managers and project coordinators of cultural organisations working in the field of cultural participation; both at the beginning of their career, as well as experienced professionals. Applicants should show an ambition to engage in sustainable international collaboration and should be open for a peer-to-peer, collaborative exchange of knowledge. The organisations they work for should have a certain level of financial and organisational capacity and should contribute to the field of cultural participation in an innovative manner.

We are looking for organisations that:                                                     

  • work in the field of cultural participation and community engagement through the arts
  • operate at community level to promote citizen participation in local cultural life    
  • encourage new forms of community arts and amateur arts        
  • support creative citizenship engagement, talent development and/or (non-formal) education
  • develop creative solutions for a sustainable development of their city or region

Criteria for the applying organisations:

  •  be based in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany or United Kingdom
  •  be a registered non-profit, for benefit or public organisation
  •  have the (organisational and financial) capacity, ambition and/or experience to engage in a one-year intensive international programme
  • commit to providing sufficient working time of one cultural manager: on average, participants invest 8-10 weeks throughout the one-year Tandem programme period (12 months). Working time spent by participants on Tandem is not reimbursed by the Tandem programme.
  • applicants need to have a good command of English language in order to follow the programme sessions


In a nutshell, Tandem C & P offers you:    

  • 10-day working placement at your Tandem partner organisation   
  • peer-to-peer learning sessions moderated by experienced trainers
  • reimbursement for travel and living expenses during Tandem meetings
  • start-up funding of EUR 5,000 for a Tandem pilot project (collaboration prototype)         

In chronological order, the Tandem C & P programme activities include:       

  •  5-day Partner Forum in Rotterdam (13-17 April 2016)
  •  5-day Kick-Off Meeting incl. learning workshops in Brussels (22-26 June 2016)
  • mutual 10-day working visits (placements) at the Tandem  partner organisations in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium or UK (June 2016 - July 2017)
  • 3-day Interim Meeting incl. learning workshops (January 2017)
  • 4-day Final Meeting & presentation of Tandem results in Leeuwarden (July 2017)

Last but not least: a lot of inspiration from meeting international colleagues, exploring project collaborations, and gaining access to local, regional and international networks.
Upon completion of the Tandem collaboration project, our alumni network offers various possibilities for follow-up projects and on-going exchange both online and offline with other Tandem participants from Europe and neighbouring countries.

Selection process          
Selection for the Partner Forum will be based on the quality of the application and our programme aim to invite a balanced mix of interests, challenges and professional backgrounds. We focus on organisations working in the field of cultural participation: citizen/community activation, creative community development, voluntary or amateur arts and (non-formal) arts education. However, interdisciplinary working backgrounds and approaches (e.g. to addressing issues of intercultural cities and urban (community) challenges) are highly welcome as applicants are specifically assessed for their innovation, internationalisation and regional multiplication potential. In total up to 10 applicants from the Netherlands and up to 10 applicants from Germany, Belgium and UK will be invited to the Partner Forum. Tandem is about finding new partners, which means you unfortunately cannot apply with existing partnerships.

The Tandem Partner Forum
The Tandem C & P programme kicks off with a Partner Forum which takes place from 13-17 April, 2016, in Rotterdam (NL). During the Forum, all pre-selected Tandem candidates will be offered a group programme that allows them to get to know and find a matching partner organisation. After identifying their potential partner, new Tandem pairs are invited to submit a plan for their mutual placements and their joint artistic or cultural community pilot project. This collaboration proposal includes a project concept for the collaboration ‘prototype’ they intend to realise during Tandem, a time plan and a budget. Not all of the 20 Tandem candidates will remain in the programme after the Partner Forum, only the six best Tandem proposals will enter the main phase of the Tandem process.

Pilot project and main phase of the programme
Following this second selection round, six Tandems (six cultural managers from the Netherlands and their six counterparts from Germany, Belgium or the UK) will continue to the main phase of the Tandem programme. This includes three meetings (kick-off, interim and final meeting) as well as the mutual placements: a 10-day vocational working visit as a host to your Tandem partner and a 10-day working visit as a guest at your Tandem partner’s organisation.

Throughout the placement period you will get to know your Tandem partner’s organisation and its local working context, and you will also work together on a pilot project which will be presented in the local communities involved with your project and during the final Tandem event in 2017.



The Tandem Cultural Managers Exchange Programmes were co-created by the European Cultural Foundation (ECF) and MitOst in 2011. Tandem Community & Participation is an initiative of the Dutch Cultural Participation Fund (FCP) and European Cultural Foundation (ECF), implemented by MitOst e.V. in partnership with the Dutch Centre of Expertise for Cultural Education and Amateur Arts (LKCA).


MitOst e.V.
Sophia Meyer-Landrut
Programme Officer
TEL +49 (0)30 31 51 74 88

Application for round 3 is now closed

Call for applications (PDF)