Participants to the Tandem Europe Final Meeting. Photo by Constanze Flamme
Participants to the Tandem Europe Final Meeting. Photo by Constanze Flamme

Tandem Europe II: application closed

The application for Tandem Europe - Social Innovation is closed. The extended deadline for submitting the applications ended on 5 July 2017 (23:59 CET). Applicants will be informed on the selection latest by mid August.

What is Tandem Europe?

Tandem Europe – Social Innovation is a cross-border learning and doing programme. During their Tandem year, cultural-social initiators from all over Europe kick-start long-term collaboration with a partner from abroad. Together, they design and test new ideas by realising a pilot project for their own local environment. Tandem offers the space to develop real and meaningful visions by prototyping project ideas and building on new cross-border working relations. It establishes peer-to-peer contacts that are based on mutual societal concerns or cultural and artistic interests. Tandem participants share their enthusiasm for creative discovery across European borders, cultures, sectors and artistic disciplines and embrace the joy of making new things happen together. They join a growing community of cultural-social innovators who are deeply engaged in shaping a common European future, both transnationally and bottom-up.

How does it work?

Up to 40 applicants will be invited to the Tandem Europe Partner Forum where they find many networking opportunities and most importantly – their potential Tandem partner. They apply together for the full program with a specific collaboration plan and idea. 12 Tandems are then selected to become part of the Tandem family – benefitting from a broad international network, a placement opportunity in their Tandem-partner city, and financial and mentoring support to prototype their idea and establish a mutually beneficial partnership.

Is Tandem for me?

Do you as an individual and in your organisation work on cultural ideas that tackle socio-economic challenges in our societies? Then we encourage you to apply! You can but do not necessarily have to work for a classic arts organisation. Nonetheless, you should be strongly interested in designing new formats of cultural-social work that engage European citizens in re-shaping their current and future realities. You should be motivated to explore unconventional ways of working together with a European partner who you don’t know yet. You should be committed to identify and pursue new ideas for cultural work that addresses burning societal issues, both in your local community and across Europe.

Eligible to apply are:

Civil society organisations, public institutions, non-profit initiatives and social enterprises that are engaged with cultural questions and innovation in their societies and are based in one of the 28 EU member states or in Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Switzerland, Norway or Iceland.

If you like what you have read so far and you’re interested in applying, please continue to read the full call.

How to apply?

The extended deadline for submitting the applications ended on 5 July 2017 (23:59 CET).

Applicants will be informed on the selection latest by mid August.

Tips to prepare your application video

Download a PDF version of the call

Illlustration by Erica Brisson.
Illlustration by Erica Brisson.

Why Tandem Europe?

Faced by various crises (social, economic, political), unorthodox initiatives have started to emerge all over Europe. Creative initiatives – especially those from the financially and socially most affected regions in Europe – have started to experiment with new social designs and alternative economic strategies for addressing burning issues in their local working fields. They show the imaginative power we need for finding new answers and fresh approaches to the current challenges in our societies. These exceptional cultural initiatives often provide substantial meaning to people’s lives. They put forward the pioneering ideas, new social alliances and alternative economic and collaborative working models that we need in order to be really capable of changing the system.

At Tandem, we believe that these new initiatives are important creators of social good.

By supporting them to connect across European borders, we support meaningful change. We believe that in order to answer their needs, we can inspire further cross-pollination and mutual engagement with colleagues from all over Europe. We make change happen by investing in people, making their organisations more resilient, innovating their creative practice and supporting their communities.

For the upcoming round, Tandem Europe supports 24 cultural-social initiators and their organisations to step up their strategic game. Our programme assists those organisations to build new tactical collaboration channels together with creative minds from abroad and accumulate pathways of change that could be later mainstreamed or scaled. The cultural organisations and initiatives team up in Tandems and think, act and reflect together for 1,5 years on how their practice can further contribute to more just, participative and human Europe that builds on the potential of cultural work across borders.

Illustration by Erica Brisson.
Illustration by Erica Brisson.

What is Tandem?

Tandem is a cultural collaboration programme that strengthens civil society in Europe and beyond. 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. We believe these experiences can contribute to increasing empathy, building resilient civil society actors and shaping a common future. Our vision is to see networks of creative communities emerge from this programme, and our mission is to support the impact of their ongoing efforts. The programme was co-created by the European Cultural Foundation (ECF) and MitOst in 2011 and so far has supported more than 300 cultural organisations from over 200 cities inside and outside the EU.

What is Tandem Europe?

Tandem Europe – Social Innovation represents the most recent edition among our Tandem programme family. It is tailor-made for cultural initiatives that work on creative solutions that make social innovation possible throughout Europe. The programme builds on a new strategic partnership between the Tandem core partners (ECF and MitOst), foundations from Italy (Fondazione Cariplo), Greece (Stavros Niarchos Foundation), Switzerland (Pro Helvetia) and Germany (Robert Bosch Stiftung), and NGOs from Portugal (4iS), Greece (COMM’ON) and Bulgaria (Ideas Factory).

Tandem Europe is an one-year long learning and doing programme that allows cultural initiatives to kick-start long-term collaboration on a European level. It offers participants a working placement with a partner abroad and engages their organisations in a joint social innovation or strategic development project of their own choice. Up to 24 cultural pioneers accumulate international know-how while realising one of up to 12 Tandem pilot projects that serve as prototypes for future tactical collaborations. Obtaining new insights from all over Europe strengthens participants’ impact locally and increases their operational and financial resilience.

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 and collaborative solutions for contemporary challenges in our societies.

How does it work?

For one year, 24 cultural organisations and creative initiatives from all 28 EU member states, as well as the Western Balkans, Switzerland, Norway and Iceland, will form 12 cross-border collaborative Tandems. In October 2017, up to 40 project managers and/or creative project coordinators will join the Tandem Partner Forum where they can form a European partnership with another Tandem candidate organisation of their choice. After the Partner Forum, a jury will select the 12 most promising Tandem proposals for participation in the main programme phase.

Throughout the following year, selected participants realise a 2-week work placement at their new Tandem partner organisation. During their vocational visit, Tandem participants become directly involved with their partners’ organisational working environment and get hands-on insights into local socio-economic and cultural realities. Spending two mutual placement weeks together on site will provide participants with the necessary shared working time for co-designing, testing and realising their pilot collaboration initiatives. Each Tandem will receive modest start-up funding (€ 5000) for bringing their cultural innovation idea to life. Outcomes are showcased locally and in the framework of a public presentation organised by Tandem at the end of the programme.

Illustration by Erica Brisson
Illustration by Erica Brisson

Project initiators and their colleagues of all 24 participating organisations will attend Tandem group meetings at the beginning, in the middle and at the end of the process. These meetings allow for a mutual exchange of Tandem collaboration experiences with all other programme participants. All meetings will feature peer-to-peer group learning sessions among participants but also workshops with cultural and social innovation experts. The programme team will accompany and mentor all 12 Tandem pilot collaborations from inception to completion.

Frequent group meetings will also add to a growing network of colleagues across all European locations involved. After the programme ends, participating organisations will therefore be able to build on viable European relations and new knowledge exchange contacts for scaling-up their Tandem pilot ideas towards a broader impact. At the same time, participants join the growing Tandem network connecting them to cultural change makers in the European neighbourhood.

Who is it for?

We are looking for project initiators representing civil society organisations, public institutions, non-profit initiatives or social enterprises that:

– 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 Europe

– 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 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 and/or senior professionals who are strategically involved with the core mission of their organisation

– are socially committed, empathic, highly motivated, dynamic, open-minded personalities

– are eager to experiment, ready for structural change, seize new opportunities, have an entrepreneurial spirit and the courage to take risks and fail forward

– 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, or Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Switzerland, Norway or Iceland, and are fluent in English

What do we offer?

– participation in a partner forum with up to 40 cultural organisations from all over Europe (one applicant per organisation for the whole meeting, plus one colleague for the last two days of the meeting)

– 2 weeks abroad during a vocational placement at a new partner organisation

– 3 group meetings including peer-to-peer learning sessions, and workshops with experienced trainers on social innovation

– reimbursement of travel costs and living expenses during project events and placements

– € 5000 start-up funding for testing a shared pilot collaboration idea

– expert-facilitated mentoring of pilot collaboration initiatives from inception to completion

– a public showcase event to present the outcomes of all pilot collaboration initiatives

– small-scale follow-up support to scale-up pilot ideas towards broader impact

– access to a growing alumni network of cultural initiatives in more than 200 cities across Europe and its neighbourhood

Main programme events include:

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.

– a 5-day Tandem partner forum including workshops in Bulgaria (11-15 October 2017)

– a 5-day kick-off meeting including workshops in Portugal (February 2018)

– a vocational placement of 12 days at individual Tandem partner locations across Europe (self-organised by individual Tandems between February and November 2018)

– a 4-day interim meeting including peer-to-peer learning sessions and workshops (June 2018)

– a 4-day final learning and evaluation meeting (November 2018)

How do we select participants?

Selection of Tandem candidates to the Partner Forum is based on the quality of their individual application. The programme team and partner representatives will pre-select up to 40 project intiators from all over Europe 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 criteria listed above.

Deadline for submitting applications to participate in the Tandem Europe Partner Forum is 30 June 2017. Successful candidates to be invited to Bulgaria will be informed by the end of July.

At the Partner Forum in October, the Tandem team will guide all 40 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. The first 3 days, the applicant joins the Partner Forum individually; the last 2 days she will be joined by a colleague to test the new-found partnership and work on the Tandem application together.

Shortly after the Partner Forum up to 20 new Tandem pairs will submit their written proposals for assessment. The second selection process will be carried out by an external programme jury which will choose the 12 most promising Tandem proposals for participation in the main programme phase.

How to apply?

The extended deadline for submitting the applications ended on 5 July 2017 (23:59 CET).

Applicants will be informed on the selection latest by mid August.


Want to know more?
Browse the Tandem website or contact the project coordinator at MitOst in Berlin:

Hatem Salama
☏ (+49) (0) 30 31 51 74 88

Tandem Europe is an initiative developed by European Cultural Foundation (Amsterdam) and MitOst e.V. (Berlin) together with Fondazione Cariplo (Milan) with additional financial support from Robert Bosch Stiftung (Stuttgart). It is implemented together with 4iS (Aveiro), COMM’ON (Athens) and Ideas Factory (Sofia).