Regional Cluster Focus Meeting in Timișoara
On 6 and 7 November 2023, colleagues from clusters in Central and South-East Europe met for a regional focus meeting in Timișoara, Romania.
Co-organised with EUNIC Romania, in the context of the Timișoara European Capital of Culture 2023, the EUNIC focus meeting brought together representatives from clusters in Central and South-East Europe: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czechia, Romania, Slovakia, Serbia, and Warsaw.
The seminar also involved representatives from EUNIC member headquarters and key local cultural and civil society stakeholders from Timișoara and partners of the EUNIC Romania cluster.
The focus meeting offered participants the opportunity to get to know and learn from each other, share experiences and challenges of working in the framework of EUNIC clusters in preparation of a cluster roadmap, exchange on most relevant, common topics and perspectives in the region. It also provided a unique opportunity to experience and explore together the recent collective partnerships of EUNIC Romania with Timișoara European Capital of Culture manifested through the House of European Institutes initiative and share perspectives on future European Capitals of Culture in countries represented by clusters in the meeting.
A panel conversation with the mayor of Timisoara, Dominic Fritz and representatives from the Centre for Projects highlighted the importance of the House of European Institutes with its complementary function of enhancing the European dimension of the Timisoara Capital of Culture 2023 through a curatorial programme of socially engaged art reflecting themes such as diversity, sustainability, equality, human rights. Through the exchanges participants emphasized the importance of informed, bottom-up urban planning, striking a balance between programming expensive cultural showcases and socially engaged cultural activities, as well as ensuring the sustainable approach to the European Capital of Culture by deployment of resources to maintain the legacy of the programe for longer-lasting impact.
The HEI curatorial team composed of EUNIC cluster members’ staff shared their own perspectives on the initiative as well the importance of securing continuity of the programme in 2024 beyond the European capital of culture. The Bucharest-based cluster also presented both emerging opportunities as well as challenges of managing an ambitious joint programme away from the capital city. This was complemented by an offsite visit to one of the core cluster partners in Timisoara, the Faber Creative Hub.
An impulse from Evghenia Jane Rozbytska, Head of Faina UA, non-governmental association founded by displaced Ukrainians settled in Timisoara provided an account of the evolving needs of Ukraine diaspora community in Timisoara and beyond, and the role EUNIC members continue to play.
The meeting was also an opportunity to take a look inwards at the network itself with a group exercise on values and paradigms linked to the growth and evolution of the cluster network. Colleagues also learned about recents projects implemented by clusters in the region and in light of shifting geopolitics identified common topics for EUNIC to address collectively in the region and beyond, such as misinformation, media literacy, climate action and sustainability, as well as socially responsive initiatives addressing amongst others, diaspora communities.