Tandem Shaml Open Call 2018. Photo by Constanze Flamme.
Tandem Shaml Open Call 2018. Photo by Constanze Flamme.

OPEN CALL: Tandem Shaml 2018-2019

The Tandem programme for cultural exchange is looking for 26 cultural managers from Europe and the Arab region to join the next round of Tandem Shaml.

In the spirit of ‘Doing-it-together’, the one-year Tandem programme gives cultural managers a space to experiment with multidisciplinary project ideas and inventive approaches to create change in our societies through culture.

Where are the borders? Photo by Constanze Flamme
Where are the borders? Photo by Constanze Flamme


Tandem Shaml is a cultural collaboration programme. During the Tandem year, cultural managers from all over Europe and the Arab region kick-start collaborations with a partner from abroad. Together, they design and test new ideas by realising a pilot project for their own local environment.

Tandem offers a space to build real, meaningful and sustainable relationships that can grow through shared artistic interests, enthusiasm for creative discovery and the joy of making things happen together.

Tandem Shaml allows cultural professionals, including cultural managers and activists, and more, from many different disciplines to acquire skills required for engaging in long-term partnerships. The Tandem process provides hands-on possibilities for getting real insights into European and Arab cultural scenes. Participants gain practical experience by collaborating within rapidly changing fields in both regions.

Since its inception in 2011, Tandem has supported long-term collaborations, knowledge development and networking opportunities for more than 300 cultural managers from over 200 cities across the wider Europe. There are currently five running Tandem editions which focus on different regions and topics.

Making art with earth at the Tandem Meeting in Odesa, September 2017. Photo by Constanze Flamme.
Making art with earth at the Tandem Meeting in Odesa, September 2017. Photo by Constanze Flamme.


Tandem believes that the urgent 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. We believe these experiences can contribute to increasing empathy, building resilient civil society actors and shaping a common future.

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.


  • Application deadline: 29 March 2018
  • Selection: Mid-April 2018
  • Partner forum: 19 to 24 June 2018 in Tunisia
  • Kick-off meeting: October 2018
  • Placements: between Autumn 2018 > Summer 2019
  • Interim meetings: February 2019
  • Final Meeting: Summer 2019

Up to 26 applicants will be invited to the Tandem Shaml Partner Forum where they find many networking opportunities and most importantly – their potential Tandem partner. They apply together for the full programme with a specific collaboration plan and idea. 9 Tandems are then selected to continue the Tandem journey.

Within each Tandem programme, participants form cross-national partnerships of two, aka tandems. These Tandem partners organise working visits to each other’s’ cities or regions and develop a joint pilot project which serves as a space for mutual learning and engagement.

Throughout the year, participants meet for networking, workshops and peer-to-peer exchange. At the end of the project there is a final presentation and the opportunity to connect with the growing Tandem network.

The programme acts on different levels, offering professional development to individuals, as well as supporting organisational change processes and creating a space to experiment with innovative ideas.

The key activities for all Tandem programmes follow this timeline. Drawing Erica Brisson.
The key activities for all Tandem programmes follow this timeline. Drawing Erica Brisson.
In short, Tandem offers:
  • 12-day reciprocal working visit at your Tandem partner organisation
  • 4 Tandem network and training meetings in the Arab World and Europe with moderated peer to peer learning sessions and input by experienced trainers
  • Methods and Tools for professional and organisational development
  • Ongoing expert advice for the development of the cross-border collaborations
  • Start-up funding of EUR 5,000 for a pilot project to develop in collaboration with your Tandem partner
  • Joining a network of ca. 300 cultural professionals across Europe and its neighbouring regions


To take full advantage of the Tandem programme, you need to be curious, willing to work in a partnership and experiment beyond your own discipline(s), approaches and national borders. A constructive, generous and collaborative culture is central to Tandem’s way of working. This creates positive growth for the participating individuals and organisations.

You can but do not necessarily have to work for an arts organisation (see more details under eligibility). Regardless, you should be strongly interested in designing new formats of cultural-social work that engage communities in re-shaping their current and future realities, and motivated to explore unconventional ways of working together with a Tandem partner you don’t know yet. You should be committed to identify and pursue new ideas for cultural work that addresses urgent societal issues, both in your local community and beyond.


Independent cultural NGOs, non-hierarchical and open-minded public institution or civil society initiatives which are well rooted in a local community and have an established professional network based in the Arab region OR in a European country*

You should have the organisational and financial capacity, ambition and experience to engage in a one-year intensive international programme. Your structure has to be ready to commit to providing sufficient working time of one cultural manager.


To apply, please fill in the online application form.
Application deadline is Thursday, 29 March 2018 (23h59 CET).
Selection of applicants and invitations to the Partner Forum will be announced by mid-April (see detailed timeline above).

The main language of the Tandem programme is English and participants need to be able to work in English in order to participate. The Tandem Shaml application form is in English. Please note that in addition to English, you may answer some of the questions in Arabic or French if you feel more comfortable writing in those languages.

For applicants from Europe, please get in touch with Silvana for further inquiries.

For applicants from Arab Countries: Contact Dana for further inquiries.

Please also feel free to check the collected FAQs.

Tandem Shaml Open Call 2018. Photo by Constanze Flamme.
Tandem Shaml Open Call 2018. Photo by Constanze Flamme.


Mirror Images: Cultural Collaboration and Civil Society: an essay by Francois Matarasso reflecting on the impact of the Tandem programme on participating organisations and individuals.

The Tandem Approach to Social Innovation: an introduction to the tools and methods used in Tandem to create change.


#TandemFacetoFace. Photo by Constanze Flamme
#TandemFacetoFace. Photo by Constanze Flamme

We need your help to share the new Tandem Shaml open call face to face and grow the Tandem family together. Check our online campaign #TandemFacetoFace for more info and see how you can participate.

Tandem Shaml – Cultural Managers Exchange Europe – Arab Region is an initiative which was developed by the European Cultural Foundation (Amsterdam) and MitOst (Berlin) in collaboration with Culture Resource (Arab Region). The programme is supported by the Robert Bosch Stiftung (Stuttgart), the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (Abu Dhabi), Stichting DOEN (Amsterdam) and Mimeta (Norway).