The mobility grant gave us the opportunity to experience in depth the work that the Culture Next founding member, Cluj Cultural Centre, is doing and to come in contact with local stakeholders from the public and private sector and the independent scene. Seeing in person Cluj’s river regeneration plan, the endeavor of the Municipality to become a Net Zero city, the large-scale Innovation Park project, the Qub project that activated thousands of kids through educational programmes, the community radio in the marginalized Pata Rât area, the connection with the rural area through the network called Remarkable Romania gave me a more comprehensive and holistic idea of the city. Being in Cluj in 2018 and coming back again in 2024 gave me perspective on how a strategy designed during the bid process can be implemented even if a city loses the ECoC title, how the team can advocate for better conditions of the local cultural field, how diverse skills such as adaptability, patience and creativity  can help in such processes even when you come to a point of thinking that nothing is possible. 

Angeliki Lampiri, Director of Cultural Training of 2023 Eleusis ECoC

We were given a unique chance to parallel concepts and models of management and legacy from a very successful example. It was an inspiration to see how a ‘mistake’ can be transformed into an opportunity and ultimately become even more beneficial. Sharing is caring and emotionally stirring.

Anastasia Amanatidou, Director of Intellectual Property and Legacy projects

Our itinerary included visits to various cultural venues revitalized through the initial bidding process, where we gained insights into their programming and maintenance protocols. Exploring the newly developed urban areas along the riverfront prompted contemplation on the broader impact of cultural initiatives, inspiring us with ideas for managing the tangible legacy of the cultural venues we’ve spearheaded in Eleusis.

Participating in the Eurocities 2024 conference provided illuminating examples of how European cities are addressing climate change, while our meeting with the State Secretary for European Funds and Projects underscored the pivotal role of local authorities and private cultural initiatives in project development and collaborative efforts.

The garden party provided a conducive environment for further networking and brainstorming on future endeavors, including initiatives like “Remarkable Romania,” the city’s transition to Net Zero, and projects such as the Qub and the innovation center, particularly in relation to youth engagement.

Our visit proved immensely valuable, furnishing us with an array of invaluable resources to enrich our endeavors moving forward.

Chryssa Martini, Director of Venues, Premises & Infrastructure 2023 Eleusis ECoC

An experience that showed us that the self-goal is not only the title of the European Capital of Culture. Τhe deeper purpose is to create bases and a cultural policy that can be  implemented regardless of the title. Cities with strengthened capacity and the right cultural strategy can achieve a lot for the local community.

There is always a way to make it, don’t give up! Just do it like Cluj Cultural Centre.

Ioulia Kolovou, Head of Recovery Fund Project Implementation