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Why do you organise TANDEM? We believe in the importance of cultural collaboration to create lasting connections between different groups and communities. Working with new organisations and in new localities provides inspiring learning experiences. The TANDEM scheme feeds into a variety of objectives – from facilitating creative innovation to nurturing local cultural communities. Our vision is to see creative networks emerge from this programme. We are confident that Tandem partnerships will continue beyond the year-long collaboration and thus contribute to the social and cultural well-being in their region.

What is different about Tandem Europe? Tandem Europe represents the most recent edition among our Tandem programme family. It is tailor-made for cultural managers who work on creative solutions that generate socio-economic impact throughout the EU. The programme builds on new strategic partnerships with foundations from Italy (Fondazione Cariplo), Greece (Stavros Niarchos Foundation) and Germany (Robert Bosch Stiftung). Tandem Europe stimulates strategic thinking in organisational renewal processes, helps to create and sustain culturally innovative effects across sectors, disciplines and borders and explores creative solutions for contemporary challenges in our societies. Obtaining new insights from all over Europe strengthens participants’ impact locally and increases their operational and financial resilience.

What does the programme look like? What are the important dates? Deadline online applications for partnership forum: Sunday 12 July, 2015 (23:59 CET). Selected participants are informed by the end of July 2015.  

  • Partnership forum: 18-22 October, 2015, Milan/Italy.
  • Deadline online Tandem applications: November 2015.
  • Selected Tandems are informed by end November/early December 2015.
  • Kick-off meeting: February 2016.
  • Mutual 12-day working placements at the Tandem partner organisations between February 2016 and February 2017.
  • Interim meeting: June 2016.
  • Final meeting and presentations: February 2017.

Selected TANDEM participants are obliged to attend all meetings.

What is the partnership forum all about? At the Partner Forum in October, the Tandem team will guide all 50 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 Europe partner before they actually form pairs and start drafting a concrete proposal for their collaboration plans and pilot initiatives. After finding your prospective partner, you’ll write the second application together as a Tandem with ideas for the project / co-production and the mutual placements, including a budget and time plan.

What happens at the planned Tandem meetings? Selected Tandem participants and their colleagues / directors are invited for the kick-off meeting. Here we offer workshops that help you fine tune your project plan, organise impulse sessions on social innovation topics and prepare for the upcoming placements to your Tandem partner organisation. The kick-off meeting also serves for arranging all organisational details.

Halfway through the programme there is an interim meeting. Besides sharing experiences from the placements, the main topic is to set a common working agenda for the final meeting and presentation. Workshops will focus on the past working visits to the partner organisation and will follow-up on the training topics from the kick-off meeting.

At the final meeting in February 2017 the project outcomes will be made publicly visible by presentations of the realised exchange processes, and the Tandem pilot projects. There will be an evaluation and the opportunity to connect to the growing Tandem network.

What do you mean with placements? The placements are a key element in the programme. You will receive a grant to spend a 12-day working visit at your partner organisation. During the visit you become directly involved with the community and the activities of your partner organisation. Together you will spend time on developing your pilot project but you’re also introduced to the organisation, local team and the immediate working environment (other partner organisations, local cultural scene, etc.). You will get the unique opportunity to present your organisation, communities and artists to your hosting organisation and community. And of course, your Tandem partner will also come to stay with you for 12 days. During the placements, participants are mentored and supported by their respective Tandem partner, the ‘guest’ organisation and by the project coordination team.

Can you explain more about the Tandem Europe pilot project/co-creation/prototype? During the placements and throughout the whole project period until the final presentation, you will have time to work on your Tandem pilot project. The exact format of these projects will be defined by your own collaboration and should be an experimental / prototype / incubator / pilot type project. However, all projects are expected to operate within the field of social innovation. You will receive a modest start-up budget (up to 8,000 Euro). You can use this ‘start-up capital’ to fundraise for additional budget in the likely case that provided means are not sufficient.

What kind of Tandem pilot projects do you have in mind? Below are a few hypothetical inspirations for Tandem pilot projects, however, you don’t apply to Tandem with a specific idea or project, but you design your own pilot project with your Tandem partner that you find at the partner forum!

A regional museum from Italy with a rich collection in different cultural and artistic disciplines and numerous potential working areas collaborates with a non-profit designer collective from Finland. Collaborating in the framework of Tandem Europe enables them to renew a series of products they offer in their museum shop as well as their interactive digital education programs for adult and young visitors. In return this experience enables the Finish designer collective to develop museum shop and educational offers also for Finish museums and interactive learning services for additional contractors such as local schools, etc.

A cultural NGO in a socially and economically challenged region of Portugal has established a social enterprise which sells locally manufactured organic goods. This helps them to co-finance their non-profit cultural work locally and has created a handful of new jobs. In their Tandem Europe collaboration with an NGO from rural Poland they develop a long-term strategy for establishing another local product line which is based on culture and traditions from the Polish regions. Both NGOs start offering goods and services from their new social enterprises also in each other’s home regions and beyond. Collaborating on European level also results in new international projects around the cultural community work both NGOs continue next to their social enterprises.

A collective of musicians from Amsterdam offers high quality cultural and historical sound walks around the city which also pick up on burning social issues and contemporary economic topics. In their Tandem collaboration with an NGO from a city at the Spanish coast, which is dominated by mass tourism, they develop a series of new smart-phone based acoustic tours which provide tourists with a new perspective on the city they visit. These new sound walks also touch upon local community problems which go along with mass tourism such as shrinking public space for local communities, etc.

A small social start-up initiative from a Greek city offers a range of free social support services to inhabitants across all generations in their community which struggles with the effects of the ongoing economic crisis. Their Tandem Europe partner from Hamburg operates a self-governed block of flats which offers shared private living and public community space to inhabitants across all generations. This so-called multi-generation house offers a range of cultural community outreach activities which involves increasing contacts to the Greek diaspora living in their neighborhood. Tandem Europe supports both partners in exchanging on their different operational models which in return also results in new creative service offers locally and more professionally operating management and financing structures in both locations.


I represent a creative start-up, social business or cultural entrepreneurship, not an NGO. Can I apply? Yes, we invite all pioneers working in the field of culture & social innovation to apply. However, we cannot support for-profit projects.

I represent a public institution, municipality, university, school, library etc. Can I apply? Yes, we invite all open-minded, non-hierarchical people working in the field of culture & social innovation to apply. However, make sure you have sufficient support within your organisation to implement the Tandem prototype.

I’m not from one of the target countries, can I still participate?
No. Due to strategic and financial restrictions, the Tandem Europe 2015-2017 is only for cultural managers coming from organisations based in the EU. We hope to expand the geographical spread in future rounds. Please keep an eye on the website or our Facebook pages for this and the other TANDEM programmes: Tandem Turkey-EU, Tandem Ukraine for Europe and Ukraine and Tandem Shaml for Europe and the Arab region.

How many persons per organisation can take part in the programme?
The TANDEM-programme is designed for one cultural manager representing a cultural organisation, institution or initiative. Other colleagues from the participating organisations will get involved and get to know the Tandem partner during the placements (working visits) in their organisations - depending on their involvement in the joint Tandem project.

I would like to apply; however, I don't work for an institution or organisation (I’m a freelancer). Do you accept individual applications? No. In order to be accepted to the programme, you should be working for an institution/NGO/organisation/association/initiative or collective that has some level of organisational and financial capacity. If you are not associated with any of the organisation types listed above, we cannot accept your application.

Is the programme also open to artists? No. This programme is targeting cultural managers and their organisations. Only if you are an artist also working as a cultural manager at an organisation, you are welcome to apply.

Is there an age limit for the project manager? What are other prerequisites for application? There is no age limit. Cultural managers should have institutional as well as international experience, be open to new ideas, interested in new input and improving themselves professionally. We encourage early-to-mid career professionals to apply for the Tandem Europe programme, but everyone is welcome to apply.

Can we apply twice in the name of one organisation?
Yes and no. It is possible to apply twice in the name of one institution if there are two cultural managers in your organisation who are interested in taking part in the programme. However, please note that only one application per institution will be selected.

Can I apply for only a part of the programme?
If selected, it is compulsory to participate in the full programme; participation only in one part is not possible. The aim of the TANDEM programme is to support an intense collaboration between cultural managers and partner organisations over the course of one year, thereby creating a long-term cooperation that continues beyond the Tandem process. As a cultural manager, by applying for the Tandem cooperation, you apply for the whole programme.

What kinds of project ideas are eligible for taking part in the partnership forum?
We ask for project ideas in the application form in order to get a picture of your understanding of a possible cooperation within the Tandem programme and to get to know you better. They are not necessarily the ideas which you will implement with the future Tandem partner. The Tandem project will be planned together with the Tandem partner during and after the partnership forum. Check page 3 for some inspirational samples.

What is the maximum funding that you will provide for the joint projects? What if we need more? All Tandems will receive a modest project/production budget (up to 8,000 Euro) for realizing the prototype. You can use this ‘start-up capital’ to fundraise for additional production budget in the likely case that provided means are not sufficient for realising your project. A follow-up ‘incubation’ voucher will give additional support for socially/culturally entrepreneurial approaches and strategic thinking about long-term innovation in the Tandem organisation.

Who will cover the travel expenses for the programme activities?
Accommodation, meals, transportation and other necessary expenses during the programme are covered by TANDEM. However, we only reimburse costs that have been previously agreed upon and can be proven by receipts.

Should I try to find a Tandem partner beforehand?
No. You can find a partner during the partnership forum. If you already have a partner in mind, you can indicate this on the application form. However, please keep in mind that your prospective partner also needs to fill in the application form and we aim to support new partnerships within the Tandem programme.

I already have partners within the EU. Can I apply with my existing partner / project? You can apply with an existing partner; however your project will not be supported if it’s already started. This programme is not about project grants but for new partnership development. Please do not apply with existing partnerships, only with newly found potential partners. And keep in mind that your prospective partner also needs to apply to the programme.

When do you inform us on the selection results?  We will inform you by the end of July, 2015, on the results of the selection for the partnership forum. The selection for the Tandem applications will take place by the end of November/early December 2015.

Do you need a copy of the organisation registration certificate from our institution? We will be asking for this documentation upon selection for the main phase of the programme.

How do you select the participants? What are your selection criteria? Selection for the partnership forum is based on the quality of the application and bringing together a balanced group for the partnership forum. The programme team and partner representatives will pre-select up to 50 cultural managers from all over the EU whose organisations and initiatives represent a balanced mix of working fields, professional backgrounds, strategic interests, original ideas and the socio-economic challenges they address.
We will invite those applicants who best fulfil the following criteria:

  • work on pioneering cultural ideas that tackle socio-economic challenges
  • explore unconventional ways of working that show potential for real social impact (on a local 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 the European Union
  • develop creative solutions for a sustainable socio-economic development of their communities, cities or regions which are based on local citizens’ needs
  • design new cultural formats for engaging citizens in re-shaping social and economic realities of the local environment they live in
  • are interested in finding new structural solutions, strategic development opportunities and alternative financing models for their cultural organisations
  • are ambitious to engage in strategic and lasting cooperation across national borders
  • represent an independent cultural NGO, a non-hierarchical and open-minded public institution or a not-for-profit social and/or creative enterprise
  • can rely on working structures that show sufficient financial and organisational capacity, are flexible and adaptive, socially responsible and respected in their working field
  • are early-to-mid career staff members with some decision-making responsibilities but also senior professionals who are strategically involved with the core mission
  • are socially committed, empathic, highly motivated, dynamic, open-minded personalities
  • are eager to experiment, ready for structural change, seize new opportunities, have entrepreneurial spirit and the courage to take risks and accept failure
  • 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 long process
  • are based in one of the 28 EU member states and are fluent in English

Selection for the Tandem collaboration phase is based on the quality of the project proposal, the placement plan and ideas for future cooperation. For the project we will assess: (1) relevance of the project to the thematic field; (2) its innovation, internationalisation and multiplication potential; and (3) feasibility in terms of time and budget.

I’m selected for the partnership forum.  Does this mean that I will be part of all TANDEM activities? No, not automatically. The main goal of the partnership forum is for selected applicants to find a suitable Tandem partner for their organisation. After the partner is found at the forum, Tandems re-apply with a joint project proposal. When the evaluation of these applications is completed (end of November/early December 2015), 15 Tandems/projects will qualify to take part in the full programme and receive the start-up funding.

If you have more questions, please do not hesitate to contact MitOst:
Anna-Dorothea Werner – thea.werner@mitost.org or +49 (0)30 31 51 74 88  




MitOst e.V.
Anna- Dorothea Werner
+49 (0)30 31 51 74 88